Hey all. I'm currently building my wife a 4 string guitar and I'm trying to figure out what strings from a 6 string set to use and what tuning to use. The guitar is basically a 4 string tenor guitar with 23" scale. She has no experience playing but she would like to get a song book and try to teach herself. But I'm not sure what tuning to use to make that easier on her. I considered tuning like a tenor guitar/banjo (CGDA) because there are a number of books she could use to learn how to play. There also seems to be a lot of baritone uke books (DGBE) available so that is another option. Nice thing about the baritone uke is the tuning is the same as the bottom 4 strings of a guitar.
Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.
Start here Tenor Guitar Tunings
Consider an Open tuning such as Open G (DGBD) which would be the lower four strings from a six string tuned to Open G.
That would mean that a lot of 6-string tabs would be usable (just forget the two bass strings). There are a lot of free tabs for six strings, so your wife should be able to find songs that fit what she wants to play.
How does it sound to play like that, ignoring the 2 bass strings? Do the notes still sound right?
Many songs played in open G totally ignore the top (6th) string anyway. Since you still have a proper Open G tuning, things sound pretty normal to me.
Justin Johnson has a video about 4 string tuning... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmD-KZ5uPbs
After trying many different 4-string tunings I have settled on DGBD/DGBE as my standard setup. This gives you a great open tuning that can be tuned up to DGBE (same as guitar high strings). It also means that you have access to chord charts online for these tunings. I always choose my strings based on recommendations from stringtensionpro.com, which gives you the ability to choose string tension and gives you a size based on your selection. I usually shoot for a tension of between 16-19 lbs. You can order appropriate string gauges from just strings.com.
Thanks. I think that's what I'm going to do.