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Guitar open strings

HoYin Cheung

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Dear all,

I am happy to share I am learning guitar as my second instrument! My friend donated a Classical (Nylon) Guitar to me yesterday and I had some fun with the guitar.

However as a violinist, I am rather frustrated with the widened fingerings and inter-string distance. Is there any way I can cope with this?

Also, is there any reason the open strings of a guitar is not separated by a fixed interval?

How come E-A-D-G and B-E are perfect 4th, but G-B is a 3rd? This makes fingering a bit weird (Imagine a guitar with all open strings being stacked perfect 4th, which unifies the fingering with the same interval; Also, notice that perfect 5th is the common stacking interval for other string instruments)

Thank you.




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  • 3 weeks later...

The combination of fourths (and the one 3rd) facilitates a very nice and playable instrument. You can play an octave and a half scale without changing the position of your left hand. (If it were tuned in 5ths, given the distance between frets, you'd be hopping all over the place.) You can play 1st, 2nd and 3rd inversion chords easily. In third inversion (with the help of frets) you can play a single chord with one finger! That's why the third. This makes the guitar good for melodies AND accompaniments, AND you can do them both at the same time. Throw in adding a bass line to it and Voila! One man band. (see Joe Pass). The radius of the fingerboard helps here too.

Your post is a little strange because I'm hearing someone complain about an instrument he has no familiarity with. Good luck with your studies. You'll see.

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@Ken320 oops, I may be a bit arrogant and ignorant right there. (Was lazy adapting to new finger patterns) I was figuring out the reason of such tuning system. Sometimes it could relate to resonance and range of the instruments...and you explained it well! Anyways, I am glad to hear that:) 

I am now practising the scales and double stops since I feel like it is a better way for me to understand and memorize the 3/4-note chord patterns. lol Not sure if that's an efficient way to practise, though.

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  • 4 months later...

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