best strings for E tuning on guitalele?

Choice of classical guitar strings and technical issues connected with their use.
gilles T
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best strings for E tuning on guitalele?

Postby gilles T » Tue Oct 21, 2014 5:03 pm

Hello,

I'm playing a Gretsch GL 9126 which is, IMHO, far better than the Yamaha — i.e. the neck is wide enough to accomodate almost all of the repertoire. Weeks ago, I decided to tune it in regular tunning, bought some savarez alliance HT classic and found the instrument plays pretty well when tuned in F (FA#D#G#CF).

But the strings are still a little too loose for my taste. So I'm in search of very hard tension strings that can fit this low tuning, in E or F. D'addario Pro arte EJ 44C seem to be a good choice but maybe you have any other suggestions ?

Cheers,

Gilles

oc chuck
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Re: best strings for E tuning on guitalele?

Postby oc chuck » Fri Oct 24, 2014 5:36 am

Just a guess on my part, I assume you are tuning down to F or E from the A tuning
that is recommended. The highest tension strings I know of are hannabachs.
The normal tension Hannas are equal to the highest tension D'Addario's.
I suggest the Hannabach 815 super high tension would be the highest tension nylons.

viewtopic.php?f=43&t=62207

You may think about calling the Gretch tech people to discuss.

gilles T
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Re: best strings for E tuning on guitalele?

Postby gilles T » Fri Oct 24, 2014 9:00 pm

Thanks a lot oc chuck for your kind answer. And, yes, you're absolutely right : I should have stressed the point that "regular tuning" means "in A" for the guitalele, and "in E" for the guitar. So, in order to tune the guitalele a fourth below its regular tuning, you need very, very hard tension...

I'm just about to try the d'addario pro arte, but the next set will be the Hannabach you advice. I'll let you know whiwh works the best.

Cheers,

GT

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CarlWestman
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Re: best strings for E tuning on guitalele?

Postby CarlWestman » Sun Mar 01, 2015 2:46 pm

gilles T wrote:Hello,

I'm playing a Gretsch GL 9126 which is, IMHO, far better than the Yamaha — i.e. the neck is wide enough to accomodate almost all of the repertoire.


Isn't it the case that the Gretsch and Yamaha have the same nut width and scale length? Namely, 1-7/8" and 17" respectively (48mm/432mm)?

While I can believe that some characteristics could make it "far better" than the Yamaha, neck width isn't one of them.

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CarlWestman
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Re: best strings for E tuning on guitalele?

Postby CarlWestman » Wed Mar 18, 2015 2:05 am

gilles T wrote:So, in order to tune the guitalele a fourth below its regular tuning, you need very, very hard tension...

I'm just about to try the d'addario pro arte, but the next set will be the Hannabach you advice. I'll let you know whiwh works the best.

Cheers,

GT


Looking forward to your post, but wanted to pass this along: I have read on other forums of a clever approach to tuning E to e on the Guitalele without having super floppy strings, or even hard tension strings. There may be a "catch" that I'm missing, but based on what little I know, I can't figure out where its logic is faulty.

So here's the deal. Note that a guitalele is tuned ADGCEA, and a guitar of course is tuned EADGBE. The idea is this:

1) Remove the first (high) A string from the guitalele.
2) Shift the remaining 5 strings down one string. You now have xADGCE, pretty close to EADGBE.
3) Tune the now-second string on the guitalele down one semitone from C to B. You now have xADGBE, almost the same as EADGBE.
4) Add an E string to the Guitalele in the open sixth slot. Tune to E. It will be comparatively slack but it still might not buzz. You now have E-to-e tuning on the Guitalele!

Possible catches:

A) The overall tension is lower than A-to-a tuning, but only mildly so. 4 strings will be the same as original tension, 1 more will just be one half-step detuned. The low E will be substantially lower in tension, but that's only one string.
B) The nut slots for strings 1, 2, 4, and 5 may need to be re-filed to accommodate the wider strings from the shift. Slot 3 may actually be larger than slot 4, just eyeballing it - the clear 3rd string looks to be larger in diameter than the wound 4th string. Slot 6 may not need widening if you just use a low E string again in that slot. Of course, you could use a higher tension one, which would be wider, and thus it may need widening there too.

For what it's worth, I played a tune using strings 6-2 on the Guitalele (with string 3 detuned to B, so ADGBE), just skipping the bass E when it came up, and it does actually sound right and good! Pretty strange, eh? So, having just acquired a GL-1, I wonder if I will keep it A-to-a or do this conversion. For now, I'll keep it A-to-a. Has a sweet, early music sound to it that way. I'd like to find out if others who did the conversion kept it that way, or went back.

BTW, going back to my 650/52 after an afternoon with this 432/48 GL-1, my full size CG felt absurdly large!

gilles T
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Re: best strings for E tuning on guitalele?

Postby gilles T » Sun Apr 12, 2015 5:12 pm

Dear CarlWestman,

I apologize for answering so late to your kind messages. Of course I was aware of the solution you advise (regular string set from A to B tuned a fourth higher plus an extra hard tension low-E) but I don't feel at ease with four wound strings under the fingers.

I somehow solved the problem in a more radical way since I bought a baritone guitarlele with a 52 cms scale, a very good instrument for a modest price that sounds far better than a simple 1/2 sized guitar while offering the playability and the fun of a guitalele.
On this instrument, every hard/very hard tension set sounds great at standard pitch (and even better in F). I also purchased a set of Savarez " Prodige 38" specially designed for fractionnal guitars, and I'm just about to try them on my Gretsch guitalele, the one with a real short scale (43 cms). I shall let you know.
Regards,

GT

gilles T
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Re: best strings for E tuning on guitalele?

Postby gilles T » Wed Apr 15, 2015 9:20 pm

Hi everybody,

Victory!
The Savarez Prodige 38 (540 CXS) prove to be the ultimate strings to tune a guitarlele in standard tuning. I now have this low and lush sound with a serious tension, and the strings set in tune in less than 4 hours... Two minor things that may be a problem : the treebles are rectified nylon, this may not suit everyone's tastes. And the G string, rather thick, may produce a slight intonation issue at the 12th fret with saddles not compensated.
Otherwise, they seem to be an ideal choice for very short scale guitars.

Cheers,

GT

Elizabeth Moreta
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Location: Berlin, Germany

Re: best strings for E tuning on guitalele?

Postby Elizabeth Moreta » Thu May 07, 2015 10:36 pm

Glad you found a solution. I had a Guitalele for a while and I used 1/4 childrens set. That was still a bit lose to play in standard tuning (important for practicing anything with voice while traveling) so I changed the saddle which raised the action. It was also helpful to have a strap button put on the end so I could play with the neck at a proper angle. It was great! So great that I stopped playing my real guitars and then promptly sold it because that was ridiculous. (:

It was nice as a carry on....

gilles T
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Re: best strings for E tuning on guitalele?

Postby gilles T » Fri May 08, 2015 10:32 pm

Thanks Elizabeth for your kind feedback. I'm also victim of what we may call the addictive side of Guitalele, and I'm not playing very much on my regular CG. I switch back and forth between the Gretsch and the baritone guitalele, venturing sometimes on my beautiful german guiatr lute, which has a rather short scale as well.
And whenver I try to play on my archlute, it feels as thought I'm trying to dance tango with an elephant. Weird.

Regards,

Gilles

Elizabeth Moreta
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Re: best strings for E tuning on guitalele?

Postby Elizabeth Moreta » Wed May 13, 2015 12:06 pm

Oh, I'm sure the Gretsch one is nicer than the Yamaha I had. It became a problem when my hands got so used to the frets being closer together and then when I went to play a normal size CG, it was fret buzz all over. I was playing the guitalele way too much. ! I was taking it to the park, on trips, etc. So I got a cheap student CG from Carl Hellweg, who makes some very decent kid's guitars, and now have a beater though it is way more stressful on the airplane. The guitarlele fit so nicely under the seat....

gilles T
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Location: Paris, France

Re: best strings for E tuning on guitalele?

Postby gilles T » Sat Aug 01, 2015 9:57 pm

Hello,

The continuing story of standard tuning on a guitalele is about to become a case closed. I tried today what seems to be the best solution : a set of normal tension savarez (red card, I presume), from E to B tuned to A, D, G, B, E plus a Hannabach silver special high tension C-8 string tuned to low E. Well, it works beyond my expectations ! It seems as thought the guitalele was really made to sound at this pitch : a rich and full sound, perfectly balanced, without the "ping"-like accent in the treeble that you get with a guitalele tuned in A or even in G. Far, far better than any set for fractionnal guitars (Savarez Prodige 38 for instance), with the G string often too thick, resulting in intonation issues.
Every guitalele player should try this.
At last, the quest is over !

Cheers,
Gilles

space12

Re: best strings for E tuning on guitalele?

Postby space12 » Wed Aug 05, 2015 1:02 pm

Gilles, thank you for your excellent research and posts - I've been working on the same question of tuning a Yamaha Guitalele down to standard guitar tuning and even the extra hard tension guitar sets flop around too much - your info is much, much appreciated!!! I'd like to order the strings you recommend in your most recent post - are these the right ones?

Hannabach low C?
https://www.stringsbymail.com/hannabach ... -3480.html

Savarez red card?
https://www.stringsbymail.com/savarez-5 ... t-956.html

Thank you again!
Space12

gilles T
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Location: Paris, France

Re: best strings for E tuning on guitalele?

Postby gilles T » Wed Aug 12, 2015 2:56 pm

Hello Space 12,

Thank you very much for your kind words.
Yes, you are perfectly right; the strings you have found are the ones I used for this "standard tuning guitalele". The wounded wire of the low C is a little loose at the end of the string, this allows the string to fit in any hole at the saddle. It's quite easy to install but if you feel not safe you can ask a luthier to do it for you.
I'd really like to read your feedback about this.

Regards,

Gilles

space12

Re: best strings for E tuning on guitalele?

Postby space12 » Sun Aug 16, 2015 7:17 pm

Gilles, thank you for your confirmation! I'll be ordering these soon and will post my feedback.

space12

Re: best strings for E tuning on guitalele?

Postby space12 » Wed Sep 02, 2015 3:48 am

Ok, I finally got the strings! The instrument plays wonderfully now in standard guitar tuning. I will have to file the nut slots for the 6th, 5th and especially the 2nd string, but that's to be expected with the thicker strings. Gilles, thank you again, this has really sealed it for me!


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