How to tune a tenor guitar and what strings to use

This is something I get asked often. How should I tune a tenor guitar and what strings should I use? So, I made a short video that shows you two ways to tune a tenor guitar and what string gauges I use.

Tuning a tenor guitar and tenor guitar strings

Traditional tuning – CGDA

C 0.035 or 0.036″ phosphor bronze

G 0.024″ phosphor bronze

D 0.016 plain steel

A 0.010 plain steel.

This is for a 22″ scale guitar. If your guitar is 21″, go up a gauge heavier. If the guitar is around 23″ scale, drop down to 9s.

GDAE tuning and long scale

I highly recommend, if following the second part of the video, that you start off using a conventional set of strings for GDAE – ie:

G 0.040″ phosphor bronze

D 0.030″ phosphor bronze

A 0.016″ plain steel or even a 0.015″

E 0.011″ plain steel See how your guitar reacts – if the action doesn’t jump up, you could work towards the heavier sets I use for my guitars. Keep in mind, your guitar may not be robust enough to use the heavy strings I use, so be careful.

On my long scale tenor guitars tuned GDAE I use these gauges:

G 0.045″ phosphor bronze

D 0.035″ phosphor bronze

A 0.017″ nickel wound plain steel

E 0.012″ plain steel

There you go….