Alternate mandolin tuning - GDAD

Alternate mandolin tuning - GDAD

Does anyone tune their mandolin to GDAD like an Irish octave mandolin as an alternate to the normal mandolin tuning when accompanying melody players at a session?

Re: Alternate mandolin tuning - GDAD

Why would you want to ?
GDAE is infinitely more flexible. Have you heard Ry Cooder play blues mandolin on his early recordings ? Bet he’s not in GDAD.

Re: Alternate mandolin tuning - GDAD

buddy of mine tried different tunings
GDAD, ADAD and such
GDAD is good for backing, for tunes GDAE is better
as you’ve high b within a easy reach on 7th fret.

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Re: Alternate mandolin tuning - GDAD

My reason for asking is quite simple. Currently, I play back up as I am still learning tunes and see where many Irish bouzouki players use the GDAD tuning.

I wondered if anyone uses that tuning for back up mandolin playing. If so,why. Or if not, why not.

Re: Alternate mandolin tuning - GDAD

I sometimes used to tune up the bottom string to give ADAE. Sounds ok and makes chord easier in some keys. Don’t do it anymore though. Got out of the habit.

Re: Alternate mandolin tuning - GDAD

Chords

Re: Alternate mandolin tuning - GDAD

I’ve tried this and found it works quite well and opens up some interesting possibilities. I don’t think the stretch on a mandolin is too much of an issue personally (although it is on my bouzouki).

I’m not sure how it works with backup, but if you know the tune inside out I could see how it might work well with a bouzouki backing a tune, providing the backing was sparse. As for played chords, best left alone on a mandolin in ITM in my opinion - cross picking all the way.

I believe Johnny Moynihan used to tune his mandolin GDAD so that alone would indicate there’s some worth in trying it out.

Re: Alternate mandolin tuning - GDAD

Andy Irvine uses GDAD on his mandolins doesn’t he?

And I believe some of Ry Cooder’s blues recordings may have tuned down a step like his influence Yank Rachell so that playing in A chord formation gives G intonation.

However I don’t see any problem with GDAE for accompaniment.
Mandolin isn’t the most suitable accompaniment because it is in the same high register as most melody instruments, so if you must, you’re best sticking to the lower strings anyway. There’s no law, be it mandolin or guitar, that says you must play every string on every strum. Sparse is better.

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Re: Alternate mandolin tuning - GDAD

I knew a guy who used this tuning when he took up mandolin via bouzouki (GDAD) after decades of rock guitar.

He didn’t have any issues with the extra stretch, but then he mainly played guitar and zouk.

It isn’t a tuning that would suit my own style of playing, but if it works for you then there is no reason not to use it.

- Chris

Re: Alternate mandolin tuning - GDAD

If you do you’ll be the only full time rhythm mandolin payer in the world.