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Newbie Weissenborn Tuning ?

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Aug 10, 2022 - 5:33:15 PM
2 posts since 8/10/2022

Long time guitar player (started Mandolin about 6 months ago). I have ordered a used Gold Tone Weissenborn SM. Not the best but the best I can do right now. I know these are touchy about tension so I will mainly use the "D" and "G" recommendation from Gold Tone. That said I have a question on tuning. So, if a normal guitar is E4, B3, G3, D3, A2, E2 how does that translate to the (D)D, A F#, D, A, D or (G) D, B, G, D, A, D tunings? D2....etc?

Thanks all!

Aug 10, 2022 - 6:43:46 PM

RezBluez

Canada

229 posts since 1/24/2015

Not sure if it’s suppose to relate. Standard guitar is a closed tuning and D is an open tuning on a weissenborn. Most lap style tunings are open cause it’s played with a bar not fretted. ???

Aug 10, 2022 - 10:11:26 PM

4114 posts since 7/27/2008

quote:
Originally posted by RezBluez

Not sure if it’s suppose to relate. Standard guitar is a closed tuning and D is an open tuning on a weissenborn. Most lap style tunings are open cause it’s played with a bar not fretted. ???


Sam (I assume that's the correct first name) is referring to what is known as the "specific octave" of each note in standard guitar tuning.  In other words, the E note for example is found in different locations on the guitar, and in different octaves. 

I have been playing lap style in major open tunings for a long time, and when it comes to specific octaves for dobro or weissie I honestly have never given it much thought, because I always purchase string sets that are designed for specific tunings, and if one needs to change a note or two occasionally  for an alternate tuning it's usually doable. Linked below is a John Pearse set that does double duty for both Open D, and low bass (as opposed to dobro "high bass") Open G. I suppose it wouldn't take a whole lot of work to figure out the specific octaves, but it has never been something that I felt the need to know. 

A little like my work career which was spent mostly in the horticulture/nursery industry. In botany class in college you have to learn the scientific  formula for photosynthesis and it indeed would come up as a test question - but in my day-to-day work it never came up even one time...in like 40 years! 

https://m.juststrings.com/jps-3160l.html

Aug 11, 2022 - 4:07:16 AM
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456 posts since 11/28/2012

This site has octave tunings / pitches for various alternate tunings, and a sound clip so you can verify that your own pitch settings are correct.

guitar.ch/en-us/guitar/tuning/...drop.html

Low to High:

D2 A2 D3 F#3 A3 D4 (open D)

D2 G2 D3 G3 B3 D4 (low bass G)

Mostly these are minor tweaks (as in, half step or full step changes), so as Mark said, practical use would seem to be limited. But here they are none-the-less.

And yes, buy yourself a set of Weissenborn strings so the string gauges are correct for the pitches. Pearse is a good option (Mark’s link).

Aug 11, 2022 - 6:28:40 AM

2 posts since 8/10/2022

Thanks all. I assume that the John Pearse strings will be the correct tension? That is my concern on getting strings for the Weissenborn.

Aug 11, 2022 - 6:56:10 AM

badger

USA

613 posts since 8/10/2008

Pearse sets are correct tension, but pay attention - they offer different sets for different tunings. 3160 for D tuning, which is probably where you want to start.

Aug 11, 2022 - 8:34:11 AM

171 posts since 11/9/2018

I would also recommend the John Pearse Weissenborn sets but 3160 may be a bit heavy. I use the lighter 3170 set on my Gold Tone:

3160: 015, 018, 027, 038, 048, 060

3170: 015, 017, 026, 036, 046, 056

Aug 11, 2022 - 9:53:49 AM

4114 posts since 7/27/2008

A couple  things I checked out on the Gold Tone site re their weissie:

They ship the guitars with a 14-56 string set.

The scale length is 24 3/4" which in comparison to a typical modern resonator guitar is a quarter inch shorter. A quarter inch doesn't sound like much, but it no doubt gives  a little bit of a "slack" feel when tuned to pitch as opposed to a 25" scale guitar. 

Gold Tone advises no more than 165 total pounds of tension.  Maybe someone here has the energy (not me - need more coffee  wink) to calculate the Pearse set with the slightly heavier gauges tuned to D on a 24.75 scale length guitar. 

Edited by - MarkinSonoma on 08/11/2022 09:56:27

Aug 11, 2022 - 11:50:59 AM
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683 posts since 1/18/2012

I play an Iseman weissenborn with 25” scale and they come with and recommend Pearse Weissy string sets,
FWIW.

open D

Edited by - Lounge Primate on 08/11/2022 11:54:03

Aug 11, 2022 - 12:10:52 PM
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683 posts since 1/18/2012

…and I should mention they are the Pearse 15–56 sets

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Aug 11, 2022 - 12:52:16 PM

4114 posts since 7/27/2008

In looking at the gauges of the two Pearse sets as posted by Jamie, the one that would seem to be an obvious problem right off is the 6th string 60. Except when you tune a dobro 6th down to D from G that gauge is kind of floppy. I have heard of some players using an even slightly beefier string than 60 for their 6th string D note. 
 

Though I'm a little freaked out by the 4th string .038w in the heavier set tuned to D. That seems like it might be pushing the envelope a bit. 

Aug 11, 2022 - 2:42:14 PM

171 posts since 11/9/2018

Don't call me jamie or surely!

Aug 11, 2022 - 4:44:38 PM

4114 posts since 7/27/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Iceman6937

Don't call me jamie or surely!


Whoops - sorry. Had your post mixed up with Jamie's where he wrote about the specific octaves 

Aug 11, 2022 - 5:17:39 PM

badger

USA

613 posts since 8/10/2008

3170 set is nice for original Weissies or anything else that is lightly built, but the .056 is floppy when tuned to D. Try dropping the 6th string to D in a high-G dobro tuning and you'll have a sense.

Aug 12, 2022 - 10:11:41 AM

171 posts since 11/9/2018

IMO, the entire 3170 string set is too floppy but was closest to Gold Tone string recommendations that I could find.

Although the main concern seems to be the hollow neck (GTs are very lightly built), I also heard of bridges lifting with too much string tension.

Aug 12, 2022 - 2:49:26 PM

456 posts since 11/28/2012

Some players (myself included) don’t mind a .056w sixth string dropped to D. You just learn to not apply as much bar pressure, so as to not drive it sharp. I got tired of customizing sets for Open D…

It’s no biggie.

YMMV.

Edited by - JC Dobro on 08/12/2022 14:50:50

Aug 13, 2022 - 9:28:56 AM
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4114 posts since 7/27/2008

quote:
Originally posted by JC Dobro

Some players (myself included) don’t mind a .056w sixth string dropped to D. You just learn to not apply as much bar pressure, so as to not drive it sharp. I got tired of customizing sets for Open D…

It’s no biggie.

YMMV.


No biggie for me either. And that puts us in the same club as Jerry Douglas. He has stayed in a couple of interviews that it doesn't bother him 

Aug 13, 2022 - 12:06:12 PM

MikeS

USA

273 posts since 5/1/2012

Man! After reading this thread and with as much trouble as I have just with the GBDGBD tuning on the dobro, I'm really glad I never followed up on my desire to learn this thing......

Aug 13, 2022 - 1:53:33 PM

1716 posts since 4/27/2009

I took up dobro in my early 50's and after playing fiddle, guitar and mandolin I really didn't have much trouble learning the tuning. Now I am in my early 70's and I'm just now fooling with DADF#AD and C6 and it is not coming easy. I think at this age I just don't learn like I did when I was younger. I'm learning but I find it's constant repetition and I can't put it down for very long or it all goes out the window and I basically have to start all over again.
It's odd. I can't find my keys or my wallet but I can remember lyrics from when I was 18 yrs old. Go figure
Quite frustrating really.

Aug 15, 2022 - 10:03:40 AM
Players Union Member

daver

USA

736 posts since 9/2/2008

If you don't want to do math (who does, really?) there are multiple string calculators on line; none of them perfectly set up. Using a D'Addario EJ42 or equivalent .016 - .056 set, 24.75" scale, DADF#AD tuning, the calculators range from just over 165 lbs. to 180 lbs. I use this set and tuning on a 1926 Style 2 Weissenborn with no issues. YMMV.

If you do like math, here is more information than you need to know:

daddario.com/globalassets/pdfs...13934.pdf

Aug 15, 2022 - 5:29:23 PM

171 posts since 11/9/2018

quote:
Originally posted by Terry Harris

I took up dobro in my early 50's and after playing fiddle, guitar and mandolin I really didn't have much trouble learning the tuning. Now I am in my early 70's and I'm just now fooling with DADF#AD and C6 and it is not coming easy. I think at this age I just don't learn like I did when I was younger. I'm learning but I find it's constant repetition and I can't put it down for very long or it all goes out the window and I basically have to start all over again.
It's odd. I can't find my keys or my wallet but I can remember lyrics from when I was 18 yrs old. Go figure
Quite frustrating really.

Terry, I have a similar experience with C6..  Maybe try an A6  tuning.   (C6 string gauges work fine with A6 btw).  The treble strings have the same intervals as the open G.   Dobro licks work there and you get the 6th on the 4th string when you want it.  To me it is more dobro friendly.   Hang in there!


Aug 18, 2022 - 9:13:55 AM

1716 posts since 4/27/2009

Thanks for the encouragement Michael! I'll give it a try!

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