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9777Re: [HurdyGurdyForum] What tuning for E minor?

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  • Neil Brook
    Nov 17, 2015
      Tuning in unison is a challenge that's well worth taking on, it gives a much sweeter sound than a single string. 
      You just need to get things right. The tangents are the last thing to look at after you have ensured that 
      1. The bridge is in the right place -  over time, the bridge will tend to distort and lean in to the wheel. Measure from the octave key to the front edge of the bridge, the standard open string length is 345mm so that distance should be 172.5mm. 
       Re tie the restraining wire or adjust the screwed restraint if you have one.
      2. Ensure the wheel rim is perfectly flat using a straight edge and scraper if needed. Add rosin and polish to a high gloss. 
      3.  Set the strings so they are just sounding on the wheel without cotton. The strings must be identical so best to buy a double length and cut .
      4. Add a tiny layer of cotton. This is the single most common reason for bad intonation. It is essential that the same amount and placement of cotton is used because it has a strong affect on intonation. 
      5. Set the nuts so the octave tangent are set square when playing the octave note with normal finger pressure. 
      6. Tune the open string and octaves using your guitar tuner then put the tuner away as it is in equal temperament and your instrument is not. There is a table of offsets on my site which gives the deviation from eq but ears are better .
      7. Engage a drone the same pitch as the chanter and use your ears to get a sweet interval with the drone. 
      8. Once you are happy with the scale on one string, engage the second and repeat but this time, match the pitch of the second chanter to the first. Play a note on two strings, while keeping the same key pressure, assuming you hear "beats", use a spare digit to push the second string on to the tangent from the nut side . This will sharpen its pitch . If this reduces the beats, tweak the tangent towards the wheel. If it increases them, tweak towards the nut. 
      These last operations are not generally needed on the lower notes which have a greater tolerance of error. The highest notes are the trickiest and the beginner should not obsess about getting these perfect, rather just resolve never to play them until they are ! 

      Reading back, that all sounds a bit daunting but once you have worked through the process, you'll wonder what all the fuss was about. 


      On 16 Nov 2015, at 23:33, Dave Holland dave@... [HurdyGurdyForum] <HurdyGurdyForum@...> wrote:


      If you had a capo on the D trompette you could bring it up to E which would work well. The alternative is to detune it down to B, but that may be too quiet or the tuning may not be stable.

      On my G/C gurdy I find dropping the C trompette to a B is usually stable. And I keep the mouche tuned to E, for use in E minor/A minor.

      Tuning two strings in unison is a pig to get sounding good - all those tangents - there's more to hide behind with octave tuning, said the pragmatist :-)



      On 15 November 2015 at 16:29, davesawdon@... [HurdyGurdyForum] <HurdyGurdyForum@...> wrote:

      A newbie question:

      What tuning do people suggest for something in E minor? 

      I tend to play in G or D so have the Gurdy tuned with unison D chanters, trompette, and tenor drone, and the mouche in either G or A. I went for unison chanters to try to improve the melody balance against the drones, but it seems like many people choose octave tuning - why is that?


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