CGDA tuning

ficelles

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Retuned my medium scale (32") fretless ABG to CGDA a few days ago, surprising how good the low C is but then it is strung with Thomastik jazz flats... anyway tonight tried some Bach on it (pieces which I play on cello) and realised how much harder fifths tuning is when the fingerboard is sideways. Anyone else play CGDA tuning?
 

MickM

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I'm not a bass player but the CGDA tuning is the default tuning for mandolas. I bought one when I thought I was going to take over the mandolin/mandola world. They sound great once you find a place for them in certain songs but I never did follow through with my mando aspirations.
 

Killing Floor

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Thought about but never done it. Maybe I’ll give it a go tomorrow morning.

And TI Jazz Flats are my best friend.
 

mexicanyella

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I played a beater archtop Guitar for awhile In CGDGBB tuning, and even on guitar that makes for some pretty big stretches and more hand shifts.

For awhile there the question of whether the extra gymnastics was worth the fun new timbres was one I considered. A lot. Eventually I adapted to the tuning and had some fun with it. It sounded pretty cool alongside standard-tunes guitars and capo-ed up guitars, with that low C-G interval and those two high unison Bs giving sort of a chorus effect.
 

loopfinding

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i never tried it on bass but i use it for bach cello pieces on classical guitar.

i agree, at guitar/cello/bass scale, if you aren't using open strings or writing material specifically for it (both of which are mostly the case for cello), it's not horribly useful as a general tuning for single note lines (easy interesting voices for chording though).

on guitar one workaround that can make things easier is to use a tuning like CGDGAE. i did this initially so that i didn't have to tune the G up to A and put too much tension on it. initially i ignored the center G and just used the CGD and A strings.

but if you don't ignore that center G, it actually has a few bonuses. it makes single note runs a bit easier between the DGA strings (same fingerings as DADGAD). and having those closely-spaced strings can also facilitate melodic lines that ring out more, like a piano with the sustain pedal depressed. it also makes for some interesting chord voicings having that major second spacing on the inside. what you lose with the wider intervals of fifths tuning from the G & B spacing, you get back with the tight G & A spacing.

i think why i have never considered it for bass is that you lose easy access to the box shape (root on the E or A, 4th and 5th on the A or D, 7th and octave on the D or G). it either puts the 7th far away, or the root far away depending on position. and dancing between the root, 5th, 7th and the octave is is like 90% of basslines in any genre that comes from the blues.
 
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trapdoor2

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Cello/Viola/Mandola tuning. I got pretty comfortable reading both Bass and Tenor clef.

The Mandola/Viola thing requires either excellent skills up the neck or just usually re-scoring mandolin/violin tunes to suit. One can often just drop an octave on the high parts and play them as written. Some tunes just don't fit and need to be re-harmonized...unless you're playing by yourself. Playing alone, you can read violin/mandolin parts directly, you'll just be in a different key.
 

W.L.Weller

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I'd be careful of using a set of strings designed for EADG tuned to CGDA. I think the decrease in tension on the lower 2 strings, combined with the increase in tension on the highest string could potentially warp the neck. Labella used to sell individual strings, not sure if there's a UK retailer that does, but I think you'd want a slightly thinner string for that high A.
 

ficelles

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i think why i have never considered it for bass is that you lose easy access to the box shape (root on the E or A, 4th and 5th on the A or D, 7th and octave on the D or G). it either puts the 7th far away, or the root far away depending on position. and dancing between the root, 5th, 7th and the octave is is like 90% of basslines in any genre that comes from the blues.

Very true, although as I play cello I'm used to the bigger intervals of fifths tuning but it's surprising how they are much bigger when playing horizontally... although playing classical pieces you play positions but even so it's hard work.
 

CryptCaster

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Retuned my medium scale (32") fretless ABG to CGDA a few days ago, surprising how good the low C is but then it is strung with Thomastik jazz flats... anyway tonight tried some Bach on it (pieces which I play on cello) and realised how much harder fifths tuning is when the fingerboard is sideways. Anyone else play CGDA tuning?
I do, and I prefer it. Granted, the first instrument I ever played was the cello when I was a little kid, so maybe there's something to that. But, yeah... I agree that playing classical tunes when the fingerboard is sideways is a bit tricky. I don't do it well either. But I like fifths tuning because of the way it inspires me to think about fingerings and sculpt bass lines. It's a really energetic and interesting way to play.
 

drmordo

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Retuned my medium scale (32") fretless ABG to CGDA a few days ago, surprising how good the low C is but then it is strung with Thomastik jazz flats... anyway tonight tried some Bach on it (pieces which I play on cello) and realised how much harder fifths tuning is when the fingerboard is sideways. Anyone else play CGDA tuning?

I played in the Fripp Crafty tuning for years, which is a 6 string roughly in 5ths (CGDAEG). It was definitely a challenge, and I did enjoy the spread of the pitches within the chords. That said, conventional lead guitar is almost impossible IMO. That might be a good thing, I guess.

FWIW, jazzer Carl Kress tuned to B♭-F-C-G-D-A, apparently due to his learning on a tenor banjo before moving to guitar.

NOTE: I have a friend who permanently warped the neck on a Ric 4001 tuning it to CGDA. He didn't adjust the set of strings to match the tuning, just tuned it up(down?) and killed the guitar.
 

ficelles

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I have a friend who permanently warped the neck on a Ric 4001 tuning it to CGDA. He didn't adjust the set of strings to match the tuning, just tuned it up(down?) and killed the guitar.

Expensive mistake! Especially as the twin truss rods on a Rick bass can counteract uneven tension if properly adjusted. My CGDA bass is a nice but low-value ABG and the low tension Thomastik flats I have on it shouldn't do any harm, although I'll see how stable the tuning is (if it keeps going out that's a bad sign).
 

Maguchi

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Retuned my medium scale (32") fretless ABG to CGDA a few days ago, surprising how good the low C is but then it is strung with Thomastik jazz flats... anyway tonight tried some Bach on it (pieces which I play on cello) and realised how much harder fifths tuning is when the fingerboard is sideways. Anyone else play CGDA tuning?
Cool! Cello or viola tuning. Also works for mandola.

Not since I was little when I dabbled with viola and cello a bit at grade school.
 

W.L.Weller

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I played in the Fripp Crafty tuning for years, which is a 6 string roughly in 5ths (CGDAEG).
the high G is tuned to the pitch on the 3rd fret of the 1st string on a guitar in standard tuning? Cobbled together from like a .012-.054 set and an .008-.038 set? .054, .036, .024, .015, .010, .008? That looks balanced-ish.
NOTE: I have a friend who permanently warped the neck on a Ric 4001 tuning it to CGDA. He didn't adjust the set of strings to match the tuning, just tuned it up(down?) and killed the guitar.
That's the origin of the warp, it's much less tension on the bass side and more on the treble side.

To tune a bass to CGDA, you're dropping the low string 2 whole tones, dropping the third string one whole tone and raising the first string one whole tone. With a set made for EADG, the strings are not balanced at all. Tension/pitch-wise, you're making the neck 4 frets "longer" on the low string and 2 frets "shorter" on the high string. That's pretty dramatic.
 

drmordo

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the high G is tuned to the pitch on the 3rd fret of the 1st string on a guitar in standard tuning? Cobbled together from like a .012-.054 set and an .008-.038 set? .054, .036, .024, .015, .010, .008? That looks balanced-ish.

It was back in the 90s that I played that tuning, so it's been a while. That said, those string gauges are definitely close to what I settled on. It was pretty frustrating because I broke the high G often enough that I very frequently played a 5 string guitar, but we played very aggressive music. I couldn't get a .007 back then, but that is what I would play now. I might try a .006 if I could find one.

In this pic, I am playing that tuning, and it looks to me like only 5 strings, but it's hard to tell.

Thundermug.jpg
 

WingedWords

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I don't use that tuning, but do love playing from Bach's Cello Suites on standard 5 string bass, BEADG. Not all are a good fit and a lot are beyond me, but the Eflat Bourrees and Gigue are fun.
And I've a particular soft spot for the Ricecari of Domenico Gabrieli.

 
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ficelles

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I don't use that tuning, but do love playing from Bach's Cello Suites on standard 5 string bass, BEADG. Not all a good fit and a lot are beyond me, but the Eflat Bourrees and Gigue are fun.
And I've a particular soft spot for the Ricecari of Domenico Gabrieli.



Very nice, and interesting bow grip... one of my favourite cellists is Ophelie Gaillard, who is a very energetic player.

 




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