Tenor guitar tuning

Tenor guitar tuning

I have a nylon strung tenor guitar, strung at C, G, D, A. Its scale length is 58cm.
I would like to tune it to G,D,A,E, still using nylon strings.
I wonder if anyone has advice on how I might do that? Are standard classical guitar strings usable?
My instrument is a Thomann. https://www.thomann.de/gb/thomann_tenor_guitar_standard.htm

Many thanks,
K

Re: Tenor guitar tuning

You can buy single strings to suit the tuning. Looks like normal classical guitar strings in the photo There’s a wide variety here:
https://www.juststrings.com/classicallabellaguitarsinglestrings.html
For your low G string an A might be ok(perhaps a heavy gauge A?), tuned down a tone, D is of course a normal D string. The A could be a G string tuned up a tone, or a B tuned down a tone, and E is a normal E string.

Re: Tenor guitar tuning

Just to add to my post you would only be able to use nylon strings, not steel or bronze.

Re: Tenor guitar tuning

Thanks Tony, that’s very helpful. I’ll give it a try.

Re: Tenor guitar tuning

Nylon is what I have in mind. It’s a nice instrument and gentle with the nylon strings, but the upper A string sounds a bit weak & I’m
more familiar with the GDAE tuning too.
Thanks again

Re: Tenor guitar tuning

How tight do the strings currently feel? You might get away with shifting your C G and D strings across one place and tuning them up a step to D A and E - then you’ll only need one more string. If that doesn’t work (or feels like it might break the strings), then measure each string with a micrometer and get the next thinnest available gauge.

By my calculation, reducing the scale length from 650mm (roughly that of a classical guitar) to 580mm, whilst keeping the same string gauge and tension, would raise the pitch by approximately one tone. That would give you F#, B E A c# f# - so a classical guitar set would not be all that useful to you. Classical guitar strings are usually graded as light, normal, hard and extra hard tension - a light tension low E string could probably serve as your G string and perhaps an extra hard tension D string as your D string, a normal tension G string for your A string and an extra hard tension E string for your E string, if that makes sense.

Based on the gauges of D’Addario Pro-Arte Nylon sets, that would give you:

G, 0.042"/1.07mm wound (light tension low E)
D 0.030"/0.76mm wound (extra hard tension D)
A 0.0403"/1.02mm plain (normal tension G)
e 0.0290"/0.74mm plain (extra hard tension high E)

There are other factors that come into play - strings on a shorter-scale instrument will feel tighter because there is less play in them, even though the actual tension may be the same. Also, the desired tension per string will not necessarily be exactly the same as on a classical guitar becasue of i. the number of strings and ii. the overall build of the instrument. But those gauges, or something close to them, ought to work as a starting point.

Re: Tenor guitar tuning

You already have G,D, and A. How’s the tension? If it’s good, shift them all down and find an E string correspondingly lighter than the A, and you’re in business. A very light gauge classical E should do the trick.

Re: Tenor guitar tuning

@justjim: That would be very convenient - except that the G, D and A are an octave higher than what is required, so you’d end up with a soprano guitar instead of a tenor (and an impractically thin or tight E string).

Re: Tenor guitar tuning

Hi,
Thanks for all the advice.
I tried Tony’s suggestion of using guitar strings and that seems to have been successful. The instrument is still coming out of anaesthetic after the operation and is a bit wobbly on its feet, but it sounds like it’ll be fine once it settles down. I may experiment with heavier gauges later, but in the meantime all is good.
Thanks again,
Keith

Re: Tenor guitar tuning

OK. Perhaps I was overthinking things.

Re: Tenor guitar tuning

If you’re in the States, call "All Strings Nylon.". They’re a company that specializes in nylon and gut strings for all kinds of fretted instruments. They may have what you’re looking for already made up.

Here’s their link: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://allstringsnylon.com/fretted-instrument-strings&ved=2ahUKEwjx-YGI67XqAhUJbc0KHXyiAPYQFjABegQIBBAB&usg=AOvVaw3qkXRQWi4Blc3sodGNwVW3&cshid=1593942879309