8 string suggested tuning?

Discussion of all aspects of multi-string guitars, namely those with 7 or more strings.
BaRaN

8 string suggested tuning?

Post by BaRaN » Wed Oct 05, 2016 9:55 am

Hello guys. So I ordered my ibanez 8 string in june and I am still waiting. But it is going to be in my hands next month. So I started to think about tuning ideas. And I stuck in 3-4 tuning:(low to high)
F#BEADGBE(F#1 to E 4)
EBEADGBE(E1 to E4)
EAEADGBE(E1 to E4)
BEADGBEA(B1 to A4)
I want low E(F#) as much as high A. Actually my dream guitar is 9 string because of that reason :D
Soo what is your opinions on this 4 tuning? Maybe a better tuning idea too?

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HNLim
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Re: 8 string suggested tuning?

Post by HNLim » Wed Oct 05, 2016 12:01 pm

BaRaN wrote:Actually my dream guitar is 9 string because of that reason :D
Sell it and buy a 10-string, just in case you require an additional string.
1980 Yamaha GC30A - BRW/Spruce
1984 Yamaha GC70 - BRW/Spruce
2015 Sen #5 - BRW/Spruce
2017 LHN - BRW/Spruce

BaRaN

Re: 8 string suggested tuning?

Post by BaRaN » Wed Oct 05, 2016 8:18 pm

:D good one. Maybe when I earn my own money.

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mikfik
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Re: 8 string suggested tuning?

Post by mikfik » Wed Oct 19, 2016 10:00 pm

With scale length of 650mm you can forget about a high a (a4) and a Low E (E1). a4 will be too tight and prone to breakage and E1 will be too fat and too loose and will sound crappy. My 8 string is tuned normal with 7th string D2 and 8th string between A1 up to C2 depending on the piece I'm playing.

BaRaN

Re: 8 string suggested tuning?

Post by BaRaN » Fri Oct 28, 2016 12:14 pm

I actually managed to get a good a4 string and not that good d5 string on my not-useful beginner classical guitar (650mm). I am still working on D5 string but A4 is okay with 0.45-0.50 mm thickness.

entschwindet

Re: 8 string suggested tuning?

Post by entschwindet » Sat Jan 21, 2017 7:34 pm

One to consider might be ADGCFADG, ie your fourth option but a step lower. Means you can play Dowland etc in the right key, and that the 1st string is a little less tight. The downside is that there's a lot of fretboard remapping to do...

Dan Seufert
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Location: Columbus, OH, USA

Re: 8 string suggested tuning?

Post by Dan Seufert » Fri Jan 27, 2017 6:48 pm

Are you thinking of the 9-string Brahm's guitar that Jack_Cat has? Or have you not seen the thread on that?

RobMacKillop
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Location: Edinburgh

Re: 8 string suggested tuning?

Post by RobMacKillop » Fri Jan 27, 2017 8:14 pm

entschwindet wrote:Means you can play Dowland etc in the right key.
Sorry, but that's not quite the case. We have no idea of the string length Dowland used for any given piece, and therefore we don't know what the pitch was, and therefore we don't know the key. There was a "nominal" pitch of g for the first string, but in reality it could have been a tone higher, or as low as an Eb for the first string. There is nothing in the tablature to indicate pitch or key.

And then there is temperament...

Best abandon any pretence at doing anything historical when it comes to the modern guitar, eight strings or otherwise.

My 8-string guitar video is in a fairly obscure tuning known in the 17th century as Harp Sharp, but I was playing from the lute tabs for that tuning. I only had the guitar for a week before selling it. Nothing can rival a lute for lute music.

On the other hand, I love the compositions for the ten-string guitar, Yepes' tuning. I'm sure they would sound awful on a lute!

Lockie
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Re: 8 string suggested tuning?

Post by Lockie » Sat Jan 28, 2017 11:40 pm

Suggested 8 string tuning first 6 as normal 7th 060" wrapped nylon tuned to B below E 6th and 8th 070" wrapped nylon tuned to Gb below B 7th. This will give you a three octave range in the first position ( from a classical guitar point of view).

I use this tuning on the first 8 strings of a Cathedral guitar and it sounds good to me, by the way I play with my finger pads!

Regards

Lockie

entschwindet

Re: 8 string suggested tuning?

Post by entschwindet » Thu Feb 02, 2017 7:28 pm

Rob,

That's a fair point. Was thinking more about how in the collected edition it's written out on the staves that way.

A related question: maybe you have a view on why people tend to play baroque music A=415 but most elizabethan lute players appear to tune A=440? is it because there's literally no way of knowing so you might as well play to contemporary pitch standard?

RobMacKillop
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Location: Edinburgh

Re: 8 string suggested tuning?

Post by RobMacKillop » Thu Feb 02, 2017 7:41 pm

Pitch is a very confusing issue as regards early music. The Renaissance lute is often played today in ensembles, and that can often dictate the pitch. Whereas, baroque lutes tend to be used purely as solo instruments. I'm referring to the 11c and 13c instruments, not theorbos and arch lutes, etc.

It's a bit of a minefield, really, especially when you consider gut versus nylon strings as well. I actually like the situation, and don't want it to become standardised.

BaRaN

Re: 8 string suggested tuning?

Post by BaRaN » Mon Feb 06, 2017 4:53 pm

Dan Seufert wrote:Are you thinking of the 9-string Brahm's guitar that Jack_Cat has? Or have you not seen the thread on that?
Yes I have seen that guitar but lost the thread. And yes, I am talking about that type of tuning. But not the guitar. this guitar has unnecessary fanned fret. I managed yo get high A string on 650 mm and it is not tight that much. My dream guitar has 630-670 mm fans.

jack_cat
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Location: Latin America

Re: 8 string suggested tuning?

Post by jack_cat » Fri May 24, 2019 10:04 pm

RobMacKillop wrote:
Fri Jan 27, 2017 8:14 pm
entschwindet wrote:Means you can play Dowland etc in the right key.
Sorry, but that's not quite the case. We have no idea of the string length Dowland used for any given piece, and therefore we don't know what the pitch was, and therefore we don't know the key. There was a "nominal" pitch of g for the first string, but in reality it could have been a tone higher, or as low as an Eb for the first string. There is nothing in the tablature to indicate pitch or key...
It doesn't matter that we don't know what Dowland's pitch was in hz, because the conceptual aspect of tuning
in relationship to the Gamut is a huge part of thinking about harmony and counterpoint, for those who do so,
anyway, and given that we are locked into modern pitch standards (whether A-440 or A-415) means that we
have to make a decision that 16th c. musicians may not have had to. (For those who are just
monkey-see/monkey-do players of fingerboard shapes, don't have anything faintly resembling accurate pitch
recognition, and don't care anything about harmony and counterpoint, this is of course not an issue.)

The relationship between lute and viols in the Lachrimae shows that Dowland had to make some such decision.
Also, the low C2 of his 9c course tuning is the same as the lowest note of keyboards since the 1480s.
IMO, the keyboards drove the fixing of a (well, regionally variable, yes) pitch standard around 1600,
in Dowland's prime when he was not yet 40. Note that the loss of the A4 of the vihuela and the re-entrant
tunings of the Italian chitarrones indicate an adaptation at precisely this time to a _rising_ pitch standard.

The choice of G or A tuning for an extended range guitar is a choice concerning establishing an entire method of
musical thinking, which may either be completely new, or may be firmly built on what one has done for years with a
smaller instrument, and it is double work to try to develop both, or it must be the product of many years of studying
fingerboard chord shapes and doing transpositions so as to develop an impeccable ear regardless of tuning.

*********

In any case, my preferred 8-string tuning is B1-E2-A2-D3-G3-B3-E4-A4 (I also have a low F# on my 9c.)
The high A4, with nylon strings, works very well in my experience at 60c, and the low B1 should be
something MORE than 65c, and that is why the fanned fret concept is so popular for 8-strings.
I think that the OP's proposed dream guitar with 670 for the bass side is certainly good for B1, but
_much_ too short for F#1. For a low F#1, I tried 680 and the results were so unsatisfactory that I
decided on 720 for the guitar I play now, and even this, I feel is short: 750 would be a really nice low F#1,
but I don't want to stretch my hand out that much.
At 680, the F#1 made unacceptable clicking sounds on the frets when playing rapid passages.
Also, IMO, 630mm makes for a very tight, unpleasant and breakage-prone A4 string.

My own reason for using this tuning is to maintain the legacy tuning of the classical guitar as a
subset. If I were a G lute player of many years, I would of course tune it a whole step lower.
However, I tried that for a couple of months, and I was not willing to spend the necessary time
on the learning curve; basically, it means learning a whole new repertory unless it doesn't bother
you or inconvenience you to play everything a whole step lower.

jack

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