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Tuning a Guitar to a Cello

Lloyd Earle (844)

Guitar Theory Forum · 10/3/2008 12:10 PM
I would be grateful if someone would confirm for me the following.

If I wanted to play along with a cello then I would need to tune my guitar up by hald a step.
Correct?

Thanks
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Re: Tuning a Guitar to a Cello

10/3/2008 5:03 PM

Nick Scratch (438) wrote:

No. There's no reason to re-tune.



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Re: Tuning a Guitar to a Cello

10/3/2008 5:58 PM

Lloyd Earle (844) wrote:

Someone must be wrong. I have started to play guitar with a choir and the cellist suggests that I need to re-tune!



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Re: Tuning a Guitar to a Cello

10/4/2008 1:14 AM

Randy Hano (12149) wrote:

Check what clef the Cello is in. If I remember correctly, the Cello is read on C Clef while the Guitar is traditionally Treble Clef.



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Re: Tuning a Guitar to a Cello

10/4/2008 7:04 AM

Jon Riley (9697) wrote:

Maybe you're just out of tune! (Experienced orchestral players can sometimes be a bit sniffy about guitarists, and will be very alert to bad tuning. Cellists have no frets, so generally have better-trained ears than us fretted folk.)

It's also the case that choirs and non-fretted instruments can tune to what's known as "pure" intonation: they may shift pitches a tiny amount this way or that to blend more smoothly with each other than you can on a fretted instrument (or a piano).
If this is the case, they really shouldn't ask you to tune to them. They should treat you as a pianist (who can't change his pitches) and tune to you, if necessary.
But do make sure you are absolutely in tune (to tuner or piano) to begin with.

For background info:
The cello open strings are C-G-D-A - in 5ths
C = 2 whole steps lower than your bottom E
G = 3rd fret guitar 6th string
D = open guitar 4th string
A = 2nd fret guitar 3rd string

Cello music is in concert (what it calls "C" is what the rest of us call "C", unlike horn players).
It generally reads bass clef, but sometime uses tenor clef for high notes. You're not trying to read from cello music are you? ;-)



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Re: Tuning a Guitar to a Cello

10/4/2008 7:08 AM

Jon Riley (9697) wrote:

It's just occurred to me. Some rock/blues guitarists habitually tune down a half-step (to Eb Ab Db Gb Bb Eb). If you're one of these, then yes, you will have to tune up to standard EADGBE - or put a capo on fret 1, as Ken says.



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Re: Tuning a Guitar to a Cello

10/6/2008 1:52 AM

Nick Scratch (438) wrote:

Unless you have provided me with inaccurate or incomplete
information, I am correct. You do not need to retune if you are in
standard tuning.

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Re: Tuning a Guitar to a Cello

10/3/2008 8:33 PM

Ken Richardson (9051) wrote:

Instead of retune.. try a capo !

could be easier that way

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Re: Tuning a Guitar to a Cello

10/6/2008 11:47 AM

Lloyd Earle (844) wrote:

Well, thanks everyone. Back to the chior tonight so I shall ask.

I probably forgot to mention that the choir is Spanish (I live here) and my Spanish is not that good yet - I may have misunderstood!

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Re: Tuning a Guitar to a Cello

10/8/2008 4:32 PM

Kyle Neufeld (803) wrote:

You might also be tuned a few cents up or down. Some tuners have the ability to change what frequency you're tuning to, so your A might be 445 hz instead of the standard 440 hz. Just use a tuner, make sure it reads "440hz" somewhere on the screen, and tune up your guitar. Then you ought to be fine.