I was also at Chants de Vielles and heard Dominique Forge's opinion on unison G chantrelles. Even with my obsolete schoolboy French I could tell that he was adamently against the idea, saying that trying to keep the strings in unison was next-to-impossible.
So I tried octave stringing, and as Barbara said, the result was wonderful! It gave me a much fuller, richer sound, and stopped the tendency for screeching at the upper end. Also; when I was jamming the other night, I disengaged the high G and was able to burble happily in the background without annoying the heck out of everyone else :-)
Choosing the low G string was hit-and-miss ( it was an experiment anyway). I dug around in my tool/junk box and ended up using the following combination:
High G - 0.031in / 0.77mm gut Low G - 0.037in / 0.86mm gut
I used to keep my three chanterelles as G g g. Over time I experimented and found I much prefer G g d'. The octave + fifth combination creates a very rich sound full of high harmonics.
But overall I think the octave vs. unison tuning bit is a matter of taste. Unison chanters do sound richer than a single chanter and, for some situations, are more appropriate than octave chanters. The difficulty is in getting them in tune with each other, but I should note that chorus tuning relies on *very* slight deviations of tuning (< .5 Hz variation) to give more life and volume to the sound. If you could get two strings absolutely perfectly in tune you would find that they sound relatively dead. So the trick is keeping the variation below a certain maximum threshold. By the time you are hitting more than 1 Hz difference between pitches you are in trouble. (Incidentally, experiments I read about many years ago showed that piano tuning relies on these tiny, tiny variations. Pianos carefully tuned to completely eliminate even that tiny variation do not sound right to listeners.)
One other use of unison chanters is if you systematically remove tangents from certain notes to allow for (limited) polyphonic playing, a technique I know Simon Wascher has used and that I have played around with and quite like in some contexts. That you cannot do with octave chanters, so, as with most things, there are times and places for different tunings and absolute statements tend not to serve anyone over well.
While I do like the rich full sound of octave chanterelles, I must say that part of the charm of a double unison chanterelle, in my opinion, is its slight imperfection with regards to tuning. The same goes for hammered dulcimers, and Kanuns, Oud's, bouzoukis. Perhaps with the only exception being the Renaissance and Baroque lute, I find myself obsessed with tuning my lute strings to play in perfect unison.
On Wed, Nov 2, 2011 at 2:46 PM, David Gillett <geedav...@gmail.com> wrote: > I was also at Chants de Vielles and heard Dominique Forge's opinion on > unison G chantrelles. Even with my obsolete schoolboy French I could tell > that he was adamently against the idea, saying that trying to keep the > strings in unison was next-to-impossible.
> So I tried octave stringing, and as Barbara said, the result was > wonderful! It gave me a much fuller, richer sound, and stopped the tendency > for screeching at the upper end. Also; when I was jamming the other night, > I disengaged the high G and was able to burble happily in the background > without annoying the heck out of everyone else :-)
> Choosing the low G string was hit-and-miss ( it was an experiment anyway). > I dug around in my tool/junk box and ended up using the following > combination:
> High G - 0.031in / 0.77mm gut > Low G - 0.037in / 0.86mm gut
> Try it, you'll like it!
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I've had unison Gs on my Hubbert for nearly 20 years now (no, not the same strings, I have put new ones on now and then!) and have little trouble keeping them in tune. I do have issues with some of the higher tangents but I'm not sure it's the fault of the strings as it's not consistent but seems to have more to do with humidity and such.
If I had a second gurdy I'd be very interested in trying the octave Gs, though.*