Basics of bouzouki tuning

Basics of bouzouki tuning

Long-time but sporadic guitar player is contemplating buying a bouzouki; initially I’d like to just explore the instrument and teach myself some basic chords, etc.
Question is: From what I’ve read, GDAD tuning would be a good place to start, but I want to be sure I’ve tuned to the corret G, D, A, and D. Can anyone tell me how each of those open string tunings correspond to the same notes on my guitar in regular EADGBE?

Re: Basics of bouzouki tuning

Hi,
bouzouki standard tuning is GDAE, compared to a guitar EADGBe, with the
bouzouki E and guitar e the same,
bouzouki A same as guitar B string 2nd fret A,
bouzouki D same as guitar D string,
bouzouki G same as guitar E string 3rd fret G.

In GDAd, the high d is the same as the guitar B string 3rd fret D.

If you have octave strung bass 2 strings on the bouzouki, then it is the lower string that is refered to above - the higher is tuned an octave above.

I tune my bouzouki in standard, as I find it more versatile for both chords and melody, and coming from guitar, I found it easier to do the whole "bass 4 strings upside down = which chord again?" thing… Each to their own :)

Rob

Re: Basics of bouzouki tuning

Guitar = EADGBE
Bouz = x xGDAD ……OK?

Bouzouki has same relative tuning as a fiddle, except the high E pair is dropped to D.

Jim

Re: Basics of bouzouki tuning

Thanks, Rob. That’s the answer was looking for—I figured it’s easier to tune from something I know already. As far as "octave bass 2 strings", is it common to string the two lowest courses this way (like a 12-string guitar, right?); or just the lowest (G) course?

I’d read a couple places that the GDAD tuning might be easier to for fingering chords, but if GDAE is more versatile, it makes sense to start that way instead of having to re-learn later (so the "bass 4 strings upside down" method is just reversing the guitar fingerings for chords on the zouk? Hmmm, if only I were dyslexic….)

Jim, thanks for the tip about the fiddle…my just recently picked up a new violin, so I guess I could short cut by tuning in with her!

Re: Basics of bouzouki tuning

I think the Irish bouzouki has had a long history of arguements of orgin, name, and tuning. I think GDad is generally prefered by chord players and GDae is generally prefered by melody players. But the are many other tuning I have seen. ADad also seems to be popular with chord players. There are alot of chord charts here for many different tunings, hope it helps.
http://home.hccnet.nl/h.speek/bouzouki/
Donal Lunny, and Andy Irvine both use GDad tuning but with very didferent styles of playing.
Good luck

ks
http://www.chinatogalway.com/

Posted by .

Re: Basics of bouzouki tuning

When you go to Han Speek’s site, mentioned by KS, click on ADAD tuning and then on Eoin O’Neill for a little review of his playing in that tuning. GDAD is a more versatile tuning but ADAD sounds great and is pretty easy.

Steve

Re: Basics of bouzouki tuning

The first thing that Donal Lunny did with the bouzouki that Andy Irvine gave him was to take off the octave strings and replace them with unison strings.More volume,less tuning problems.

Re: Basics of bouzouki tuning

Hi Steve,

If you read the chart from left to right, ie

Guitar = EADGBE
Bouz = x xGDAD ……OK?

.. then the top line is supposed to represent the strings of the guitar from low to high, ie 6-5-4-3-2-1, which is E-A-D-G-B-E.

..and the bottom line is supposed to represent the strings of the zouk from low to high (pairs), ie x-x-G-D-A-D.

Depends how you interpret it. Pity we couldn’t draw little pictures - it would explain it so much better. And yes, true points about differing tuning preferences. Each to his own.

Jim

Re: Basics of bouzouki tuning

Unison V Octaves has also been one of those long boring arguements. To be very honest each can sound very nice depending on the tune you are playing ( and of course the instrument to ) and also who is listening.

Funnily enough I had the exact opossite experience as Steve, Archtop in unison and Octavious in octaves and really enjoy them. Both are great instruments, It really is all down to the ears listening I guess.

ks
http://www.chinatogalway.com/

Posted by .

Re: Basics of bouzouki tuning

Hard choice the tuning for your instrument.

You can find a lot of tuning. But if you want use capo a lot, take the GDAD orADAD. GDGD sound good too. If you want a standard tuning try GDAE.( easy)

It depend your fingers ( big or small) and your scale fingerboard.

i have a Freshwater Octave mandolin, but it’s really a schort scale bouzouki. GDAE sound great ( G its the 3rd Fret from guitar) and you can use this tuning for irish music, jazz, rock… There is a lot of tune in Irish Tenor Banjo or Mandolin you can translate in the bouzouki
GDAD sound "modal" and mysterious. Not very good in rock pop (except Manus Lunny in Capercaillie who are amazing with this tuning, but only in rythmic)

First time i think it was better to use the GDAD tuning but after the CD ROM of Gerry Mc Kee( madfortrad.com) and his performance, the performance of a friend of mine who use the GDAE tuning only for rythmic, i choice the GDAE tuning

Try here http://www.folkofthewood.com/PDF/octavechordchart.pdf

Re: Basics of bouzouki tuning

So, I have a Fylde arch top with octave strings and I’m thinking of changing to unison. How do I deal with the beautifully cut grooves on the nut? When I did this on my old bouzouki (an ozark), I, ahem, took a sharp knife to the nut to widen the slot for the thicker strings. I’m less keen to do that with the Fylde, particularly since the slots have been cut to different depths as well - and the narrower guages are cut deeper.

Any advice?