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Oct 15, 2021 - 4:11:06 AM
655 posts since 10/3/2012

Has anyone tried it — what were your impressions— for those not familiar with this system it’s basically tuning your guitar in CDGAEG

Oct 15, 2021 - 10:30:02 AM

79 posts since 9/5/2016

quote:
Originally posted by Steven Clarkson

Has anyone tried it — what were your impressions— for those not familiar with this system it’s basically tuning your guitar in CDGAEG


You've got the intervals wrong there. NST is C-G-D-A-E-G.  You have an interval of a fifth between the lower 5 strings and a minor third between the E and the high G. 

I use more than a dozen tunings on guitar. That's not one that has stuck. Yeah, Fripp likes it. Good on him.

But really, it is just a mandocello tuning extended through octave mandolin range. So I suppose I use it since I play both of those.

My son also plays mandocello and octave mandolin tuned in the standard fifths. But he uses the minor third interval variation on his bouzouki and it helps with chording - long scale length. He plays guitar in good ol' standard tuning, drop D, double drop D and open G.  No NST there either

So here's my perspective.  Tuning in fifths brings order to playing scales. I like that.. I think the violin family evolved with that tuning to facilitate single string playing. It makes a lot of sense. NST may come from the extended range electric fiddles of the late sixties-early seventies. (I should look back into what Ponty played.)

Chord shapes are another matter. It compresses some chord structures and spreads out others. Depends on how you build chords.  So while it may simplify the position of the notes in a chord it may not help make them easy to play. That, I would postulate, is where old standard guitar tuning has an advantage.

So I like the tuning for single string work. But I am not stringing up a 6 string guitar just to do that. I  have mando family instruments for that, as well as tenor banjo and low tuned banjos if I want to go there.

Just my thoughts.

Oct 15, 2021 - 10:41:52 AM

655 posts since 10/3/2012

Thanks a lot — and yes, typing way too fast and my dyslexia transposed the g and d — I have not picked up a guitar in 20 years and am contemplating getting one and using NST — I’m primarily a single or double string player so it might work out — thanks again

Oct 15, 2021 - 12:10:33 PM

79 posts since 9/5/2016

There is a lot more to NST than what I wrote above. I avoided getting into the whole temperament/intonation thing. ... and beyond ... if you want to be a "crafty guitarist" then NST seems to be the way to go.

Alternate tunings to me are used when you you need them - frequently for stylistic or technical reasons.

A Fifths tuning is a standard tuning to me having played fiddle and mandolin for 50 years or so. So NST doesn't strike me as a new way of looking at music.

For a guitarist who never played anything besides standard guitar tuning it would surely necessitate a re-think on how to approach everything. And I guess that is how Fripp used it in his guitar craft courses. Since you are already playing mandolin, NST is same-old-same-old. Where's the creative advantage to that?

So, if you are thinking of using NST to achieve a creative boost as Fripp suggests, it will not be there for you. Better to maybe use OST or something like DADGAD to switch things up.

On another line of thought... I tried to tune a beater 12 string guitar as an extended range mando-family-thing some years ago. The idea was to start with cello tuning on the lowest four pairs and continue on up in fifths. I ran into the same issues with the highest string as Fripp and others have. Even using banjo strings the high B strings broke easily. At that pitch you'd probably want a shorter scale length than a typical guitar to start with. But then you would have issues with the low strings. I left the experiment at ten strings.

Eventually I came to the conclusion that separate mandocello, octave mando and mandolins were the better path to follow. That's one of those days when you realize that things have evolved to where they are concerning the relationships between pitch and scale lengths for good reasons.

Oct 16, 2021 - 10:46:52 AM

15 posts since 12/24/2010

Dennis, your comment "the high B strings broke easily" gives me some hope.
Did you manage to get them up to high B at all?
I have a 21.5 inch octave mando, 3 frets shorter than guitar, that I'd like to tune to DAEB. I know a guy who does that with a 20.5 inch scale. I hope to try it with a pair of 009's at my next string change.

I'd also like to get a low D note on a guitar, but I can't seem to get comfortable with drop D, or open D, or DADGAD. Probably because of that fifth interval on a guitar scale. Still looking for a solution there.

Edited by - kennyb on 10/16/2021 10:48:38

Oct 16, 2021 - 12:14:42 PM

79 posts since 9/5/2016

quote:
Originally posted by kennyb

Dennis, your comment "the high B strings broke easily" gives me some hope.
Did you manage to get them up to high B at all?


No, not to where I could play the thing tuned all the way up to pitch. This was decades ago. But I am pretty sure I was using .009ga strings as the high B. Nowadays .007ga are available. Don't know how that might work.

So try your DAEB tuning.   See if it flies.   I suspect that 21.5" is long for that pitch with an .009ga.  DAED might work as an alternative.

Which reminds me... I think folks like D'Addario have string tension calculators on their websites now. And I think some such calculators will tell you which gauge string to use for a specific pitch at a specific scale length. You could test the workability of the DAEB tuning for your scale length with one of those. It beats buying and breaking a bunch of strings.

Oct 16, 2021 - 5:48:39 PM

79 posts since 9/5/2016

quote:
Originally posted by kennyb

Dennis, your comment "the high B strings broke easily" gives me some hope.
Did you manage to get them up to high B at all?
I have a 21.5 inch octave mando, 3 frets shorter than guitar, that I'd like to tune to DAEB. I know a guy who does that with a 20.5 inch scale. I hope to try it with a pair of 009's at my next string change.


I looked over on that cafe mandolin board just now.  There is a thread where a person set up a Tacoma Papoose guitar  to play as an extended range mandocello in CGDAEB. They used strings from.070 for the low C  up to .009 for the high B.  The Papoose as I recall was conceived as a small, short scale guitar that was tuned as standard guitar with a capo on the fifth fret - so high and low strings tuned to A.  Scale length was about 19.??" AFAIK.  Here is what they used.


B - .009 p
E - .014 p
A - .020 p
D - .032 fw
G - .050 fw
C - .070 fw

So your plan for DAEB could work with some adjustment to these string guages. 21.5" might still be a stretch for those gauges, 20.5" not as much of a stretch

Edited by - Mandodennis on 10/16/2021 17:52:06

Oct 17, 2021 - 3:51:53 AM

15 posts since 12/24/2010

Thanks Dennis.

I think by now my curiosity will only be satisfied by buying some 009's and trying it. There's a youtube video of a guy testing strings from various mfgrs on a strat, mostly 010's and one 009 and they all seem to break within a half step of A, so at 3 frets shorter, I might get there, except there's no indication as to how they might stand up to actual playing. They're only about a buck each, much cheaper than looking for a Tacoma Papoose.

There's also octave4plus who make strings from extra high tensile strength steel to get to higher notes, but they're quite pricey.

On the guitar side, to get down another octave to low D or lower, I've been thinking about a baritone like tuning, 7 half steps below normal, ADGCEA. There might not be much response from the low A string, so I might tune that one an octave up. But if a low C works on a Papoose, maybe a low A will work on a dreadnought body.

Before I ordered my octave, I tinkered with a banjo and a capo and 21.5 was as long as I thought I could handle in fifths tuning, and I have fairly big hands. I don't know how you mandocello guys manage.

Oct 26, 2021 - 9:23:25 AM

655 posts since 10/3/2012

Dennis,

Thanks again for your input. I ended up tuning the guitar to the NST — Before this, I didn’t have an electric that would play this range. It seems to me, after playing it a few days that it’s opened the door for me somewhat.

This is the first recording I did with it. Just a single usb room mic. My wife thought it sounded like a good song for Halloween— hence the name and anime video.

I do agree wholeheartedly that NST is nothing new. I also feel that some instruments lead to new ideas. At least that’s the case for me. Thanks again,

Steven

youtu.be/K-D-ESCG0kA

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