I have read of three common tenor guitar tunings:

  1. "standard" CGDA
  2. "Irish" GDAE
  3. "Chicago" DGBE

"Chicago" tuning is just like the top four strings of a regular 6-string guitar.

My question is about "standard" vs "Irish" tunings - which is tuned to a higher pitch?

And extending the question a bit... how do the highest and lowest pitches of "standard" and "Irish" compare to "Chicago"?

CGDA is the same notes as a Mandolin - is it down an octave? Is the C a whole step below the D of "Chicago" (4th string of regular guitar) and the A on top pitched higher than top E of regular guitar?

Would that make "Irish" the lower pitched tuning, with the bottom G matching 3rd fret of low E string on regular guitar, and top E matching top E?

  • Ah, I see from @Aaron's answer that I got mandolin tuning wrong... it's actually "Irish" tenor that is like a mandolin, just down an octave. But yes, "Standard" is higher pitched.
    – blueskiwi
    May 3, 2022 at 16:10

1 Answer 1

  1. Standard 6-string tuning = E2–A2–D3–G3–B3–E4
  2. "Standard" tuning = C3−G3−D4−A4
  3. "Irish violin" tuning = G2−D3−A3−E4
  4. "Chicago" tuning = D3−G3−B3−E4
  5. Mandolin tuning = G3–D4–A4–E5

Thus, the lowest string of "Irish" is tuned a fourth lower than in "Standard", and "Chicago" is one step higher.


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