The poor man's baritone

Choice of classical guitar strings and technical issues connected with their use.
gilles T
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Location: Paris, France

The poor man's baritone

Post by gilles T » Thu May 21, 2015 8:46 pm

Hello,

Few days ago,on YT, I was impressed by a recent rendition of Bach's 1007 suite played on a baritone classical guitar. So I looked at my old beater with fresh eyes and wondered if I can do anything to achieve this lush and low sound.
Well, I installed a low B-string (Savarez 5209R) as a sixth and then a regular set of Savarez hard tension (but any set will do the job) from E to B. So the guitar is tuned to B-E-A-D-F#-B.
And it does work fine !
No drilling, no modifications, just an extra b-string and so it goes... The Bach suites 1007 to 1012 sound very effective in that tuning, without having to add bass notes in order to "fill" the harmony : the tuning is so resonant that you get something really close to the cello sound.

If you have an old guitar you don't play often and want to experiment someting fresh, I strongly advice to try this tip.

Regards,

Gilles
PS : I post this thread in the "strings" section, because that's what it's all about, but if the moderation wish to move it elsewhere, it's not a problem for me.

billy robertson

Re: The poor man's baritone

Post by billy robertson » Fri Nov 06, 2015 6:42 pm

Hi Gilles
What a great idea, thank you for that post!
I am going to give it a try.
I know your post is a little old now but I would love to know if you are still using this trick.
thanks,
billy robertson

gilles T
Posts: 245
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Location: Paris, France

Re: The poor man's baritone

Post by gilles T » Fri Nov 06, 2015 6:57 pm

Dear Billy

Wow! At last, one kind answer ! Thank you very much for your attention. Yes, I do play this mock-baritone from time to time and still think this very benign modification can open up a whole new world of sounds.
Since my first post, I discovered that a Hannabach "silver special" C-string sounds better and feels far better than the Savarez, which is quite thick and needs an extra strength in the thumb to ring with clarity. The Hannabach extra-bass strings are really better.

I would be delighted to have your feedback once you have tried this new tuning.
Regards,
Gilles

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acmost9
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Re: The poor man's baritone

Post by acmost9 » Fri Nov 06, 2015 7:10 pm

How's the intonation...livable?

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Tonyyyyy
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Location: Sussex, UK

Re: The poor man's baritone

Post by Tonyyyyy » Fri Nov 06, 2015 7:28 pm

I have done the same on an old Tatra guitar. I used a d'Addario NYL052W for the bass B (or C) and it sounds good but perhaps it is a bit too thick.
It give a new personality to the instrument for sure, and its an easy change to make. You have a semi-bass guitar with no extra expense or need to adjust to a different instrument. I can imagine it would be very useful in duet playing.

kajmano

Re: The poor man's baritone

Post by kajmano » Fri Nov 06, 2015 7:38 pm

Some years ago I made a similar experiment. As Gilles says, sound was just wonderful. No intonation issues. But I had to make a new nut, because the strings wouldn't fit well in the different slot.

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Tonyyyyy
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Re: The poor man's baritone

Post by Tonyyyyy » Fri Nov 06, 2015 9:43 pm

The strings did fit in the 'wrong' slots, and the intonation seemed ok.

I think many guitarists are unaware that there are these thicker 'classical' strings available. there are thinner ones too if anyone wants to make a similar experiment with higher pitches.

gilles T
Posts: 245
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Location: Paris, France

Re: The poor man's baritone

Post by gilles T » Sat Nov 07, 2015 12:02 pm

Hello all,
Thanks for your various comments.
To be really honest, I must admit you may have to file the slots at the nut to accomodate thicker strings. But only for the B and the low E. Plus, there are no consequences I you wish to come back to standard strings.
Regards,

GT

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Tonyyyyy
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Re: The poor man's baritone

Post by Tonyyyyy » Sat Nov 07, 2015 1:24 pm

And for those who want even more bass...

http://www.rafaelandia.com/en/theorbure.html

I did try it and surprisingly it seems to work

Seter
Posts: 68
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:34 am
Location: Houston, TX

Re: The poor man's baritone

Post by Seter » Sun Sep 30, 2018 3:41 pm

I am very curious about trying this, so I just acquired an old Yamaha G-245S with a 658mm scale. I'm going to try using the La Bella 7 string set minus the high e first unless someone has a better idea. I'll probably end up experimenting with some different options for the low B. I'm also curious about trying it in AEADEA, baritone DADGAD.

gilles T
Posts: 245
Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2014 4:11 pm
Location: Paris, France

Re: The poor man's baritone

Post by gilles T » Sun Sep 30, 2018 4:27 pm

@seter

hello, many moons since my OP and inbetween I discovered the "Magma transpositor" strings which come in a variety of low tunings and lets you string a regular CG as a bass guitar (one full octave lower).
Not many reviews on the web (but a few vids on YT), and my post in the strings section of this forum didn't raise any interest so far.

I'm very happy with these strings which settle in quickly and have a nice sound while not being very expensive and don't call for any modification on the guitar. If you give them a try, I'll be happy to hear further from you.
Regards.

Conall
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Location: Scotland

Re: The poor man's baritone

Post by Conall » Sun Sep 30, 2018 6:01 pm

gilles T wrote:
Thu May 21, 2015 8:46 pm
Hello,

Few days ago,on YT, I was impressed by a recent rendition of Bach's 1007 suite played on a baritone classical guitar. So I looked at my old beater with fresh eyes and wondered if I can do anything to achieve this lush and low sound.
Well, I installed a low B-string (Savarez 5209R) as a sixth and then a regular set of Savarez hard tension (but any set will do the job) from E to B. So the guitar is tuned to B-E-A-D-F#-B.
And it does work fine !
No drilling, no modifications, just an extra b-string and so it goes... The Bach suites 1007 to 1012 sound very effective in that tuning, without having to add bass notes in order to "fill" the harmony : the tuning is so resonant that you get something really close to the cello sound.

If you have an old guitar you don't play often and want to experiment someting fresh, I strongly advice to try this tip.

Regards,

Gilles
PS : I post this thread in the "strings" section, because that's what it's all about, but if the moderation wish to move it elsewhere, it's not a problem for me.
Was the player Slava Grigorian?

Seter
Posts: 68
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:34 am
Location: Houston, TX

Re: The poor man's baritone

Post by Seter » Sun Sep 30, 2018 8:02 pm

gilles T wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 4:27 pm
@seter

hello, many moons since my OP and inbetween I discovered the "Magma transpositor" strings which come in a variety of low tunings and lets you string a regular CG as a bass guitar (one full octave lower).
Not many reviews on the web (but a few vids on YT), and my post in the strings section of this forum didn't raise any interest so far.

I'm very happy with these strings which settle in quickly and have a nice sound while not being very expensive and don't call for any modification on the guitar. If you give them a try, I'll be happy to hear further from you.
Regards.
Thanks for the advice, it looks like Magma strings are hard to come by here in the USA but I'll keep my eye out. I'll order the La Bella 7SG set to start and see how that goes. I don't have the Yamaha here yet, I'm curious how the nut will take to baritone tuning. A poster over on mandolincafe inspired me to start tuning a baritone ukulele in cello tuning (CDGA) which actually turned out well, it sounds good for playing the Cello Suites and such on. that modification involved using a Pyramid 7 string set.

Scott Phillips
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Re: The poor man's baritone

Post by Scott Phillips » Fri Oct 05, 2018 8:47 am

Big River site has them. A little over $18.00 a set.

gilles T
Posts: 245
Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2014 4:11 pm
Location: Paris, France

Re: The poor man's baritone

Post by gilles T » Fri Oct 05, 2018 9:19 am

Scot Phillips is right, althought be aware it seems that the only set theysell is the special "cello tuning" which lets you play the Bac cello suites with the actual fingerings, but may be a little tricky for anything else...

BTW it's curious that these strings are so easy to find in Europe and so difficult to purchase in the USA, the brand being based in Argentina, if I'm correct.

That said, I fully agree with Seter, the best option to play Bach's cello suites with actual cello fingerings is to play a baritone ukulele tuned in fifths, and I saw on different uke forums that you can achieve this tuning with a mix and match of standard guitar strings.

Regards,
Gilles

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