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What tuning is this guy in? (Playing Cumberland gap)

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Sep 3, 2019 - 7:47:34 AM
28 posts since 6/22/2019

I know it's not 440hz because I tried. I think I got close , but it seems real odd to me. I couldn't get the bass or the first string right.

I've been messing about in fDGCD and also lowering that a semitone/tone, which is nice, but this guy's doing something different and I love the sound - emailed him - no response!

Sep 3, 2019 - 7:50:25 AM

961 posts since 2/4/2013

It's F# BEAD tuning according to the player but says "relatively, could be flat by a half step or more." He answers that question in the comments.

Edited by - GrahamHawker on 09/03/2019 07:52:46

Sep 3, 2019 - 7:52:35 AM



9214 posts since 1/22/2003

There is this comment and this reply from the YouTube poster on that YouTube site:

"Hi. This is one of the prettiest versions of this song I've ever heard and I love the way you play, but I cannot figure out this tuning. Sounds like it's F#BEAD but doesn't seem to match what you're playing/fingering... What is this wizardy?!


Darin Gentry
1 year ago
Yes it is the F# BEAD tuning relatively, could be flat by a half step or more. Thanks for listening!"

Sep 3, 2019 - 8:17:44 AM
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3317 posts since 1/2/2004

Dwight Diller plays it in f#BE AD on his "Just Banjo '99" CD. In the liner notes, he said BEGIN QUOTE: "This was the tuning that the Hammons family used (but not Lee Hammons) for this tune. As far as I know, this is the only tune in this tuning, thuS 'The Cumberland Gap Tuning'." END QUOTE. Also see:

Sep 3, 2019 - 9:12:58 AM

8913 posts since 2/22/2007

Darin plays really nice. I enjoyed his duets with Dwight on the "Trouble on Spring Creek" CD. I had always heard that clear heads were really bright but he gets a nice mellow tone out of that Cloverlick.

Sep 3, 2019 - 11:33:20 AM

28 posts since 6/22/2019

oh ok thanks guys didn't see that!


Edit : same problem as before, think the tensions too low or my tuners suck, because my banjo just doesn't stay in tune in this tuning. Or I'm strumming too many strings and making dissonant sounds. But seems to be falling slightly out minutes after retuning. I quite like it in fDGCD (lowered) so many just stick to that.

Edited by - DeepRiverRuse on 09/03/2019 11:43:27

Sep 3, 2019 - 3:32:39 PM

2455 posts since 4/19/2008
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Here it is transposed up 5.6 pitches to get in more normal pitch.
tuning is f D G C F

Sep 3, 2019 - 3:58:20 PM

8913 posts since 2/22/2007

Rick, I don't think so, he is starting at f#BEAD and that does not transpose to fDGCF. If he wants more string tension he could go up a half step to gCFA#D# or a whole step to g#C#F#BE which I'll bet will hold tuning much better.

Sep 3, 2019 - 8:28:04 PM

2455 posts since 4/19/2008
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Bill my post should have said:

Here it is transposed up 5.6 pitches to get in more normal pitch.
tuning is a D G C F

Sep 4, 2019 - 8:03:20 PM
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424 posts since 9/9/2006

f#BEAD is also the banjo tuning that Tommy Jarrell used for Cumberland Gap.

Sep 6, 2019 - 7:14:33 AM

6314 posts since 6/27/2009

This is also the tuning discussed in the current TOTW. I’m trying it on a cello banjo where I can actually tune it like the bottom four strings of a guitar. The presenter, carlb, says that by retuning the fifth string more than one key can easily be played.

Sep 8, 2019 - 6:56:05 AM

1 posts since 1/8/2019

This guy also does a great rendition of Fall(s) of Richmond. I really like the swing in his playing...

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