Alto guitar tuning
In a Niibori Guitar Orchestra, the alto is tuned 5 notes up from the prime guitar. This means that the tuning is B E A D F# B
The guitar is notated as if it were tuned conventionally, so that the instruction to play the open first string is written as an instruction to play E. When played, a B comes out, 5 notes higher.
What this means...
The alto guitar reads from the same notation as classical (prime) guitar, and is played with the same technique - nothing is different except that the notes come out higher in pitch than the notation suggests. Once the alto is tuned, the different tuning can be forgotten about.
When the composer/arranger notates the alto part, the alto guitar plays from a score with one less sharp, or one more flat, than the prime guitar.
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Alto guitar strings
Because the alto guitar is not proportionately as small (compared to the prime) as the increase in pitch of its open strings, the alto strings are thinner than the corresponding prime strings. Click for comparison table.
Alto guitars require frequent tuning because of the small diameter of the strings and the higher pitch.
hago have used two sets of alto strings
- Hannabach 836 MT strings - good lifespan and intonation, but we had a spate of broken top strings
- D'Addario J52 strings - a more mellow top string but slightly harder in tension - our current choice