Very low tuning

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Dave M
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Very low tuning

Post by Dave M » Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:18 am

I discovered this performance on the video site of Andrew York playing one of the unaccompanied cello suites. (York Bach will lead to it.)

Apart from the wonderful performance I was interested in how well the very low tuned strings sounded. He says it is tuned to the cello tunings which presumably means a bottom string of C.

He doesn't say anything about the guitar but I wonder if it was built specifically to handle this?
Dave

Cincy2
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Re: Very low tuning

Post by Cincy2 » Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:46 am

Dave,

I doubt it. The steel string guitar world addresses altered tunings by "fanning" the frets. This means implementing different scale lengths for bass and treble strings. This results in frets and a bridge which look slanted. Several manufactures (Lowden and Greenfield are the ones I have owned) make guitar models with this feature. Because the scale lengths are different, lower tunings (like DADGAD) can support higher string tensions in the bass without compromising treble performance. I probably did a poor job of explaining this. If you Google "Fan Fret Guitars" you will get a wealth of information.

The problem with very low tunings on a standard guitar is the strings that are tuned down get "floppy" and lose their crisp response. You can compensate for this to some degree by putting thicker strings in the low E, low A and B/high E positions.

I found that I adjusted to the fan fret architecture in about 15 minutes after I first tried it. The difference in scale lengths can affect this. Some are extreme (2.5 inches) while others are mild (1.0 inches) and deliver almost all of the benefits. My Greenfield has a 1.0 inch difference and I can't tell the difference between it and my standard scale guitar when I play.

Cincy
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decacorde
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Re: Very low tuning

Post by decacorde » Sun Sep 16, 2018 12:55 pm

Using an extra-hight-tension 6th string on a standard classical guitar, you can tune down to C without buzzing, floppy or losing the sound clarity. From my own eperience.

Cincy2
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Re: Very low tuning

Post by Cincy2 » Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:48 pm

Here is a picture of my steel string fan fret guitar. Works marvelously in DADGAD without any compromises in tone.

Cincy

20180421_093558.jpg
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Beowulf
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Re: Very low tuning

Post by Beowulf » Sun Sep 16, 2018 3:34 pm

David Russel uses CGDGBE tuning for his arrangement of Niel Gow's Lament for the Death of His Second Wife and I've never encountered any problems...with high tension strings. One does need to ensure sufficient string wraps at the rollers...particularly the low E.
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Dave M
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Re: Very low tuning

Post by Dave M » Sun Sep 16, 2018 3:51 pm

Cincy thanks, I was aware of the multiscale solution but I also vaguely remember reading something by Trevor Gore about how he arranged for the body resonances to fall in somewhat different places for a guitar that was to stay in a low tuning.

Was just wondering if Andrew York had followed that route.
Dave

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pogmoor
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Re: Very low tuning

Post by pogmoor » Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:56 pm

Beowulf wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 3:34 pm
David Russel uses CGDGBE tuning for his arrangement of Niel Gow's Lament...
I seem to remember too that John Williams used a bass C tuning for his recording of Les Barricades Mysterieuses.
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Yamaha (SLG 130NW silent classical guitar 2014).

ddray
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Re: Very low tuning

Post by ddray » Mon Sep 17, 2018 12:03 am

TBH I'm not thrilled with the guitar's sound in the York video. He does play it extremely well, obviously, but I think the lower strings sound too slack, with a little too much scraping and buzzing. I imagine this would sound much better on an extended-range guitar.
Bei einer andächtigen Musik ist allezeit Gott mit seiner Gnaden Gegenwart.
--J. S. Bach

Wuuthrad
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Re: Very low tuning

Post by Wuuthrad » Mon Sep 17, 2018 1:48 am

I tune to A440, A430, A420 and lower. I use open D, open G, DADGAD, 3rd F#, 3rd F and a few other tunings on steel string dreadnaught, parlor, nylon string 650 and 640.

Higher tension strings help but aren't always necessary to me. I must admit I've never even considered a modified guitar just to play with different tunings.
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rojarosguitar
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Re: Very low tuning

Post by rojarosguitar » Mon Sep 17, 2018 4:28 am

Here is my own rendition of the JS Bach Cello Suite #1 G-Major played in the 'cello'-tuning (here it means e-d-a-D-G-C) on a 650mm Guitar (René Baarslag, Granada, 1980), no fan frets.It was even in a = 415Hz pitch
The bass strings were: low C LaBella 2001 EHT; low G LaBella 2001 HT; low D LaBella 2001 MT.



For me that works perfect. The recording quality is not the greatest, but good enough to hear that it works.
Of course some guitars may support this deep scordatura better than others but generally it can be done.
These days I have one guitar permanently tuned in a similar tuning (e-b-a-D-G-B) which can be quickly converted to the above tuning.
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ddray
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Re: Very low tuning

Post by ddray » Mon Sep 17, 2018 4:49 am

rojarosguitar wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 4:28 am
Here is my own rendition of the JS Bach Cello Suite #1 G-Major played in the 'cello'-tuning (here it means e-d-a-D-G-C) on a 650mm Guitar (René Baarslag, Granada, 1980), no fan frets.It was even in a = 415Hz pitch
The bass strings were: low C LaBella 2001 EHT; low G LaBella 2001 HT; low D LaBella 2001 MT.
...
Very nicely done, resonant and faithful.
Bei einer andächtigen Musik ist allezeit Gott mit seiner Gnaden Gegenwart.
--J. S. Bach

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rojarosguitar
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Re: Very low tuning

Post by rojarosguitar » Mon Sep 17, 2018 5:47 am

Many thanks for your kind comment!
Music is a big continent with different landscapes and corners. Some of them I do visit frequently, some from time to time and some I know from hearsay only ...
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Steve O
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Re: Very low tuning

Post by Steve O » Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:27 pm

I've played a tune in C-G-C-G-C-D (Ramble to Cashel). The tuning is wonderful and very resonant. I didn't find the strings too floppy, but I play quite softly and I had no need to play loud enough to project into a concert hall.

Give it a try you might love it.

I gave up playing Ramble to Cashel because it was too much trouble to switch between standard tuning and altered tuning.

Cincy2
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Re: Very low tuning

Post by Cincy2 » Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:38 pm

Steve O wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:27 pm
I gave up playing Ramble to Cashel because it was too much trouble to switch between standard tuning and altered tuning.
Great reason to buy a second guitar! That's my story anyway.

Cincy
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rojarosguitar
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Re: Very low tuning

Post by rojarosguitar » Mon Sep 17, 2018 5:04 pm

Cincy2 wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:38 pm

Great reason to buy a second guitar! That's my story anyway.

Cincy
Really? You need a reason? :lol:
Music is a big continent with different landscapes and corners. Some of them I do visit frequently, some from time to time and some I know from hearsay only ...
My Youtube Channel is: TheMusicalEvents

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