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  #16  
Old 06-15-2022, 06:34 AM
The Watchman The Watchman is offline
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Isn't this what a ukulele is for? Its like a 4 string guitar and standard tuning is like a guitar at the fifth fret. A tenor or larger doesnt sound like a toy.
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  #17  
Old 06-15-2022, 09:14 AM
Rick Jones Rick Jones is offline
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Originally Posted by Tahitijack View Post
You still might need an amp but some modern day keyboards are pretty light weight especially when you get down to 60 or so keys.
Hmm, thank you, we do have a decent Yamaha keyboard at home as my kids all play it, but for gigs I'm keen to keep it 'acoustic', even though I realise it isn't as soon as pickups and a PA are involved. My venues still book and advertise me me as an acoustic act, and it has to look that way at least.

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Originally Posted by Driftless View Post
Mandocello, a large variety of banjo types, bajo sexto, large array mbira, oud, fretless guitar
I have a 5 string banjo, but I would like some more bottom end. Thank you for the other suggestions, off to look them up!

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Originally Posted by schoolie View Post
Chromatic dulcimer
Interesting, thank you!

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Originally Posted by Bob Womack View Post
The harmonium has been edging in with the folk crowd. They are a great accompaniment instrument.

Or you could try cow bell.

Bob
Thanks Bob. I have seen Irish groups Ye Vagabonds and Lankum using them at various sizes. The lad from Vagabonds even plays a drone with his heel whilst singing and playing bouzouki, and it sounds great. I am reading up on those. Never can get enough cow bell!

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Originally Posted by PineMarten View Post
I use a 10 string cittern a fair bit - much the same as the Irish bouzouki, but mine is a little larger than most, 650mm scale and I tune it CGDAD in unison pairs. It's great for accompanying folk songs, and kind of forces me out of imitating too closely other people's guitar arrangements!
Now THAT looks cool! Thank you, I am definitely looking into that!
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  #18  
Old 06-15-2022, 09:35 AM
Rick Jones Rick Jones is offline
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Originally Posted by Silly Moustache View Post
Guitars are bur one of a large family of musical instruments called "chordophones".

Actually keyboard instruments are chordophones and many guitarists will take a break and use pianos during their act.

Hope that helps.
Much appreciated! I can't carry a piano (as big as I am), but I do like the idea of a cittern or similar.

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Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
Octave mandolin comes to mind, but not before a regular mandolin. Why? Play mandolin, show up at a jam and be unique because you can fill a frequency space different from the six guitars that showed up. Then there are all the fiddle tunes you can play. You'll get more chances to play. Not like stand up bass though.

Then all the chords can port over to octave mandolin if you like. One mandolin caveat, bring money.
Cheers Brick. My Dad was a tremendous mandolin player (as well as fiddle and banjo) and I've inherited his instrument. It's a nameless wonder that he bought at a second hand shop in Hay-on-Wye in the 1960's and I think it's probably Japanese. I'm 'sort of' adept at it but I have massive hands and my paid gigs are all solo. I used to take my mandolin to sessions even though I was invited there for guitar and fiddle, but I was competing with people much more capable so it barely ever came out of the case. Nowadays I live on a tiny Island where there's no sessions to attend, and it's in the attic somewhere.

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Originally Posted by Steve DeRosa View Post
Are you playing solo or with an ensemble, instrumental only or with vocals, and what genre[s] - big difference in terms of the sonic space you need to fill, and the type of instrument[s] you'd find most effective...
Yes, I should have been clearer, sorry. All of my paid gigs are solo, and I do about 50/50 originals and covers that range from trad to modern country to folk (Richard Thompson and John Martyn type stuff) and chart songs. I play percussively a lot and switch between fingerstyle and flatpicking and I sing in a baritone although I use my head voice an awful lot too.

That's why I was asking for 'full range', rather than mandolin type register. I do sometimes break out a mandolin (although not in recent years) for something like copperhead road, but I always end up feeling like I can't 'go up' dynamically by bringing the bass in, in say verse two, and I always feel like I should have just used the guitar after I finish!

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Originally Posted by Mandobart View Post
Picking up mandolin really boosted my value as a musician to local bands. I went from being one of a few thousand mediocre guitar players to being one of a few dozen mediocre mandolin players.....and I was willing to play genres besides just bluegrass.
Where I used to live, there were loads of mandolin players, although less than there were guitarists, and I could never get in sideways on a session because they knew I played fiddle and always asked me to do that instead.

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Originally Posted by The Watchman View Post
Isn't this what a ukulele is for? Its like a 4 string guitar and standard tuning is like a guitar at the fifth fret. A tenor or larger doesnt sound like a toy.
Hmm, not really. I already own and play madolin and banjo, and those don't give me any low end to 'hide' my vocals in in the mix. I always feel quite exposed and wish I'd used the guitar. My daughter had a nice handmade uke, and it's a fine sound, but not what I'm after really, hence the 'full range' part of my question. Tenor 'guitars' are likewise not really what I'm looking for, although Seth Lakeman makes them sound great solo. My voice is heaps lower than his... and I don't have his talent!
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  #19  
Old 06-15-2022, 09:46 AM
Rick Jones Rick Jones is offline
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Just as a visual for anyone suggesting mandolin or similar, this is the hand size I'm dealing with. I have a 9" wrist circumference and can pinch grip smooth marble slabs of 50lbs or more together and carry them where my workmates couldn't budge them singly off the floor and would need the suction tool. I feel like fiddles, mandolins and such are too delicate, although I worked hard enough at playing them in my youth that I can get by on them.

Picture is webcam snap of me with my Avalon L32 analogous in dimensions to a Lowden O model):

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  #20  
Old 06-15-2022, 10:39 AM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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Originally Posted by Snorse View Post
Much appreciated! I can't carry a piano (as big as I am), but I do like the idea of a cittern or similar.



Cheers Brick. My Dad was a tremendous mandolin player (as well as fiddle and banjo) and I've inherited his instrument. It's a nameless wonder that he bought at a second hand shop in Hay-on-Wye in the 1960's and I think it's probably Japanese. I'm 'sort of' adept at it but I have massive hands and my paid gigs are all solo. I used to take my mandolin to sessions even though I was invited there for guitar and fiddle, but I was competing with people much more capable so it barely ever came out of the case. Nowadays I live on a tiny Island where there's no sessions to attend, and it's in the attic somewhere.



Yes, I should have been clearer, sorry. All of my paid gigs are solo, and I do about 50/50 originals and covers that range from trad to modern country to folk (Richard Thompson and John Martyn type stuff) and chart songs. I play percussively a lot and switch between fingerstyle and flatpicking and I sing in a baritone although I use my head voice an awful lot too.

That's why I was asking for 'full range', rather than mandolin type register. I do sometimes break out a mandolin (although not in recent years) for something like copperhead road, but I always end up feeling like I can't 'go up' dynamically by bringing the bass in, in say verse two, and I always feel like I should have just used the guitar after I finish!



Where I used to live, there were loads of mandolin players, although less than there were guitarists, and I could never get in sideways on a session because they knew I played fiddle and always asked me to do that instead.



Hmm, not really. I already own and play madolin and banjo, and those don't give me any low end to 'hide' my vocals in in the mix. I always feel quite exposed and wish I'd used the guitar. My daughter had a nice handmade uke, and it's a fine sound, but not what I'm after really, hence the 'full range' part of my question. Tenor 'guitars' are likewise not really what I'm looking for, although Seth Lakeman makes them sound great solo. My voice is heaps lower than his... and I don't have his talent!
It won't visually say "now here's a different instrument" but what you seem to be asking about sonically says baritone guitar to me. I built a baritone (I tuned it Bb to Bb) electric, but didn't use it as much as I thought I would. I do use my Fender Squier electric Bass VI (tuned E to E, one octave down from standard guitar) a fair amount, but mostly for single note/double stops, not full chords. I know there are a few fairly affordable baritone acoustic guitars out there.

I don't have a low-range voice, but another sonic variation would be a low tuned 12-string (ala folks from Leadbelly to Leo Kottke). Some have extended scale lengths, others just up their string gauges and tune down. Jumbo body sizes often seem to match this style well. I often tune my Guild JF30-12 D to D, but I'll drop lower than that--particularly back when I was exploring pieces where I didn't sing and could explore that register with impunity.

Have a dislike for the octave string sound of a regular 12-string? I keep an old laminated 12-string tuned D to D in "Steve Tibbetts tuning" which pairs more courses with unison string pairs instead of octave strings.

Example of how it sounds: Prolog to the Canterbury Tales
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  #21  
Old 06-15-2022, 11:09 AM
Rick Jones Rick Jones is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankHudson View Post
It won't visually say "now here's a different instrument" but what you seem to be asking about sonically says baritone guitar to me. I built a baritone (I tuned it Bb to Bb) electric, but didn't use it as much as I thought I would. I do use my Fender Squier electric Bass VI (tuned E to E, one octave down from standard guitar) a fair amount, but mostly for single note/double stops, not full chords. I know there are a few fairly affordable baritone acoustic guitars out there.

I don't have a low-range voice, but another sonic variation would be a low tuned 12-string (ala folks from Leadbelly to Leo Kottke). Some have extended scale lengths, others just up their string gauges and tune down. Jumbo body sizes often seem to match this style well. I often tune my Guild JF30-12 D to D, but I'll drop lower than that--particularly back when I was exploring pieces where I didn't sing and could explore that register with impunity.

Have a dislike for the octave string sound of a regular 12-string? I keep an old laminated 12-string tuned D to D in "Steve Tibbetts tuning" which pairs more courses with unison string pairs instead of octave strings.

Example of how it sounds: Prolog to the Canterbury Tales

Thank you for such a thoughtful and helpful post. I think you're right about the baritone guitar, although my sole experience of working with one was briefly owning a budget Alvarez that never ever intonated properly regardless of tuning pitch or string gauge.

The twelve string actually sounds like the answer now you've said it... tuned down and maybe minus the octave G (which was always the thing I disliked about 12's) if I can figure it out. It's less of a learning curve before I can get out and use it, too.

I really do like the sound of that recording, and nice to hear that poem in a new way too.

Much appreciated.
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  #22  
Old 06-15-2022, 11:20 AM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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Originally Posted by Snorse View Post
Thank you for such a thoughtful and helpful post. I think you're right about the baritone guitar, although my sole experience of working with one was briefly owning a budget Alvarez that never ever intonated properly regardless of tuning pitch or string gauge.

The twelve string actually sounds like the answer now you've said it... tuned down and maybe minus the octave G (which was always the thing I disliked about 12's) if I can figure it out. It's less of a learning curve before I can get out and use it, too.

I really do like the sound of that recording, and nice to hear that poem in a new way too.

Much appreciated.
Tibbetts sometimes varies which octaves he replaces with unisons. On that piece above, it's the "D" and "G" strings (and of course* the "B" and high "E" that are unisons.)

Picture of the cheap 12-string strung like that:

Parlando Project post presenting the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales


*pun intended.
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  #23  
Old 06-15-2022, 11:40 AM
Rick Jones Rick Jones is offline
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Originally Posted by FrankHudson View Post
Tibbetts sometimes varies which octaves he replaces with unisons. On that piece above, it's the "D" and "G" strings (and of course* the "B" and high "E" that are unisons.)

Picture of the cheap 12-string strung like that:

Parlando Project post presenting the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales


*pun intended.
That's a great idea, and I suppose the benefit of using a cheaper 12'r (that looks like an Ekko in the pic, those are actually really tough instruments) is that the extra tension isn't such a worry. Through the PA via magnetics I can probably get a decent sound to get started.
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  #24  
Old 06-15-2022, 04:11 PM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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Originally Posted by Snorse View Post
Is there another reasonably full-range stringed (not accordions or pipes) instrument that's as portable as a guitar? I count resonators as guitars, btw.

The only thing I can come up with is the Irish bouzouki, but I am sure there are others out there.

I'd like to be able to break up a set with some different sounds, or just be out there doing something different.

Is anyone from the forum playing something unusual out there?
Since I build and play open back banjo I'd add that to your list of possibilities. Clawhammer and two or three finger thumb lead are great techniques and can be used for a lot of different music.

I'd throw out good word for octave mando, too. Here's one I made from an old Kay body I carried around with me for 40 years. I bought a take off neck from a Taylor GS Mini off Reverb and used it for the conversion. I veneered the original head stock and added two extra GS Mini tuners.

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Old 06-15-2022, 04:17 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snorse View Post
...All of my paid gigs are solo, and I do about 50/50 originals and covers that range from trad to modern country to folk (Richard Thompson and John Martyn type stuff) and chart songs...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snorse View Post
Just as a visual for anyone suggesting mandolin or similar, this is the hand size I'm dealing with. I have a 9" wrist circumference and can pinch grip smooth marble slabs of 50lbs or more together and carry them where my workmates couldn't budge them singly off the floor and would need the suction tool...

I suspect you don't get too many people screaming, "Play 'Freebird' " at your gigs...

Seriously, I'd suggest a baritone 12-string tuned A - A, with the second course strung with a wound fundamental (for tuning stability and elimination of occasionally dissonant overtones) and a plain octave - this should give you the depth you're after, while the octave second string (which tunes to first-string E in standard guitar tuning) adds sparkle and keeps things from getting muddy; as a rule they're few and far between though, and when you're lucky enough to find one they tend to be expensive, so it'd have to be something that'll see regular if not exclusive use...
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  #26  
Old 06-15-2022, 05:26 PM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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Originally Posted by Snorse View Post
That's a great idea, and I suppose the benefit of using a cheaper 12'r (that looks like an Ekko in the pic, those are actually really tough instruments) is that the extra tension isn't such a worry. Through the PA via magnetics I can probably get a decent sound to get started.
The down-tuning helps a bit with the tension, and the main reason for experimenting with this guitar is that it has a zero-fret, so I can do the unison stringing thing easily.
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  #27  
Old 06-16-2022, 08:06 AM
Rick Jones Rick Jones is offline
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Originally Posted by Steve DeRosa View Post
I suspect you don't get too many people screaming, "Play 'Freebird' " at your gigs...

Seriously, I'd suggest a baritone 12-string tuned A - A, with the second course strung with a wound fundamental (for tuning stability and elimination of occasionally dissonant overtones) and a plain octave - this should give you the depth you're after, while the octave second string (which tunes to first-string E in standard guitar tuning) adds sparkle and keeps things from getting muddy; as a rule they're few and far between though, and when you're lucky enough to find one they tend to be expensive, so it'd have to be something that'll see regular if not exclusive use...
I think that if it's different enough to give me a unique sound, at this stage I have to save up, sell/trade up and get one. I really want to sound like more than just me, and different than others, and I love the idea of this as it is truly a full-range sound possibility.

I might see how much Avalon or similar would charge to build one for me.

Much appreciated! Oh, and the Freebird thing isn't so common on this side of the pond (I have lived and played on both), instead the same type of person asks for 'Wonderwall' by Oasis, which is equally eye-rolling. I do get heckled, but usually from a distance
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  #28  
Old 06-16-2022, 08:07 AM
Rick Jones Rick Jones is offline
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Originally Posted by FrankHudson View Post
The down-tuning helps a bit with the tension, and the main reason for experimenting with this guitar is that it has a zero-fret, so I can do the unison stringing thing easily.
Ah, that's interesting. There's been quite a few of those Italian plywood guitars for sale locally in the last few years. Might pick the next one up and give this a try, thank you!
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  #29  
Old 06-17-2022, 09:47 AM
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Guitars44me Guitars44me is offline
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Smile Slide?

If anyone above suggested slide I missed it. I find it really sounds different enough to add a nice variety to my sets.
And, as for portability, once you get used to retuning (at home!) you can use the same axe. Have a joke or story ready for the slack time….
I usually retune to or from open D about half way through a set. It is easier to tune strings up than down, and usually takes less fussing.
I used to bring two but many of my gigs in Senior and healthcare places do not have a safe place for the second axe.
Open D is nice and fat sounding and works great for my vocal range. Open D minor is fun too.
Lap slide is another option and can be done on a standard axe, but takes a light touch to avoid fret bonk! A good reason to have the hard Jescar or SS frets.

Even just moving from plectrum to fingers and different tunings can add spice to your sets. Some folks do a lot in DADGAD….

Capos and partial capos are our friends, too.

Try a harmonica in a good rack…

Bless you for trying to avoid boredom at the gig!
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  #30  
Old 06-17-2022, 01:30 PM
catndahats catndahats is offline
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Snorse, immediately thought mandolin or variant, banjo maybe?
Not portable easily but you are a big fella...double bass or cello is a new instrument for me...fun and different, but BIG!

YouTube "Cello Brothers"

Last edited by catndahats; 06-19-2022 at 06:13 AM.
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