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Frankieabbott 12-31-2018 11:38 AM

Tuning your archtop to DADGAD
Is it modernisation......or a heinous act of vandalism?

mr. beaumont 12-31-2018 11:47 AM

Go for it.

That said, I can't be moving the notes around and still play the way I want.

Livingston 12-31-2018 01:29 PM

Agree with Mr. Beaumont...Sure! Why not?

I am not familiar with archtop players who have used alternative tunings with the exception of Johnny Smith and Mundell Lowe who used drop D tuning.

But, why not go for it?

Would be very interested to hear the output, if you decide to record some tunes in DADGAD on your archtop.

MC5C 12-31-2018 01:54 PM

I think that if people realized an archtop is just a guitar, it might get more love. Tune it how you want! Every one of my archtop guitars benefits from the lower tuning, enhances bass response a lot, and the lower tension opens up the sound. I can't imagine why, if you like DAD tuning, you wouldn't like it on an archtop!

Steve DeRosa 12-31-2018 04:37 PM


Originally Posted by Livingston (Post 5934434)
...I am not familiar with archtop players who have used alternative tunings with the exception of Johnny Smith and Mundell Lowe who used drop D tuning...

From Wikipedia:


Like many early jazz guitarists, [Carl] Kress played on the banjo before switching to guitar. The tenor banjo tunes its consecutive strings in intervals of fifths,

and Kress adapted this all-fifths tuning for his guitar

although he down-tuned the A-string an octave.

Before switching to fifths tuning, Kress had used other tunings on the banjo and tenor guitar. His fifths-tuning gave Kress's playing "fuller chords and basslines", according to Lieberson
(1996, p. 42). When Kress's duets with Dick McDonough were published, they were transposed from his fifths tuning to standard tuning.

Mandobart 12-31-2018 06:11 PM

I tuned an old Applause 6 string flattop fixed bridge to all 5ths F-C-G-D-A-E. I don't recall the string gages used, but since I have a 26" mandocello tuned C-G-D-A-E I relied mostly on those sizes. The low F is tough, I think I used a .074 or something huge. Still is too floppy. But the C-G-D-A-E all sound good. Its great for slack key. The symmetry of 5ths tuning makes creating and transposing chords very easy.

When making a change like this you need to change the string gage, putting together a custom set. You'll likely need to re-slot the nut and possibly bridge, as well as adjust bridge position/angle to make this work on an archtop. Also if you're going to go low the holes on your tuner posts may not accomodate strings thicker than around .066.

shufflebeat 01-01-2019 10:41 AM

I'm playing with DADGAD on my Framus archtop, partly to differentiate it from the dreadnought which is in Drop D and partly because I need one of them for tunes and riff based backing (Irish trad) and the other for more chords based songs.

Sounds great, specially with the lower tension which requires a lighter touch.

coldshot 01-01-2019 01:27 PM

I play some slide guitar on all my archtops, L48 is always tuned to an open tunning, usually open G.

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