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  1. #1
    Les Paul Forum Member Ed Driscoll's Avatar
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    NGD: Nashville Tuned Taylor GS Mini Acoustic

    Here are a couple of photos I took earlier tonight on my iPhone of the new Taylor with its big brother, a 2007 Gibson Everly Brothers Acoustic, plus a photo from Sweetwater of the Taylor's back:







    Here's the background story on the guitar and its tuning.

    After I built my project studio in 2016, I started playing a lot more acoustic guitar, because of how easy it is to put up a mic and record in the acoustically-treated room. My 2007 Roland VG-99 guitar modeling system has a patch for Nashville Tuning, which is the top six strings of a 12-strung guitar, and I found myself using it fairly often alongside my Gibson acoustic, but it sounded very modeled, like a guitar with an early piezo pickup. So I finally bit the bullet and bought a dedicated acoustic in Nashville tuning to record in the room with a nice high-quality condenser mic.

    Apparently, this tuning was invented by Ray Edenton, one of the Everly Brothers’ backup guitarists, in the early 1960s:
    In the 1960s, it was usual at Nashville recording sessions to have two acoustic guitarists. One of the guitars often played with a capo for complex chord voicings. Then during an Everly Brothers session, Ray Edenton replaced a regular wound G string on his acoustic with a plain string tuned an octave higher. This tuning got the name "High Third" and became quite widespread because it added the sparkle to a standard rhythm guitar without dropping any of the low notes that a capo would take away.

    Later, Edenton went further and strung up a standard acoustic guitar with the high strings from a 12-string set, substituting all wound strings with strings an octave higher. This tuning became identified as "Nashville Tuning," also often called "High Strung," though technically, in pure "High Strung" tuning, the G string isn't tuned up an octave.
    The idea is that you record a conventional acoustic in one channel, the Nashvile-strung acoustic in the other, hard pan them left and right, play the same parts on each guitar and presto! Giant stereo 12-string. (When the Rolling Stones recorded "Wild Horses" in late-1969/early-1970, they employed a 12-string and a Nashville-tuned guitar.) It's also great for adding all sorts of tonal colors when it's not doubling an existing guitar, and it sounds like Lindsey Buckingham may have employed a Nashville-strung guitar as part of the many overdubs he added to Rumours.

    In 2016, Sweetwater released this video of Don Carr showing off a guitar that Sweetwater was customizing in-house, taking a Taylor GS Mini with an ebony fretboard and mahogany top and replacing the strings with D'Addario's Nashville Tuning set and cutting a new nut for the tiny lower strings. (The original nut was in the case, in case I ever want to have a luthier convert the guitar back to regular strings.) As Carr notes, simple first position and barre chords sound completely different in Nashville tuning because the lower strings are now an octave higher, and it's the best of both worlds -- all sorts of newly exotic sounding chords, but unlike learning a new open tuning, using tried and true chord shapes:



    I wouldn't want a Nashville-tuned guitar as my only acoustic, but for layering guitars when recording, it's a pretty nifty tool and for an affordable travel-sized acoustic, the build quality of the Taylor seems quite nice.
    Last edited by Ed Driscoll; 11-01-19 at 01:29 AM.

  2. #2
    Les Paul Forum Member sonar's Avatar
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    Re: NGD: Nashville Tuned Taylor GS Mini Acoustic

    Very cool Ed! I knew about the tuning, but nothing about the history. Thanks.

    Although I'm a Martin guy, I've always admired Bob Taylor for his combination of practical, yet innovative approaches to the flat top.

    If I was serious about acoustic I would rather have your setup over a 12 string for recording. 12's can be a real pain in the a$$ for obvious reasons.

    David Gilmour used to dedicate Ovations to Nashville tuning - a really good idea on a really terrible guitar. This Taylor just looks more refined (and stable) in every way.

    The tone woods are an interesting choice and the scale length makes sense. I'm sure Taylor thought long and hard about these things. I bet in real life it's a joy to play.

  3. #3
    Les Paul Forum Member Ed Driscoll's Avatar
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    Re: NGD: Nashville Tuned Taylor GS Mini Acoustic

    Quote Originally Posted by sonar View Post
    The tone woods are an interesting choice and the scale length makes sense. I'm sure Taylor thought long and hard about these things. I bet in real life it's a joy to play.
    Thanks for the kind words! I'm not sure if the choice of tone woods really make that much a difference with Nashville strings, as it's a pure jangle machine. Sweetwater asked me if I wanted a spruce top, but I asked them to give me mahogany, as that's what Carr had in the above video, plus I thought the striping was more interesting than the solid blonde finished spruce top. I don't think body size matters that much either, as it's designed to be close miked; I don't know how much a guitar that's virtually all treble strings will project in any case.

    But with conventional strings, I do think the GS Mini would make a great travel or parlor-type guitar. (I guess it's slightly larger than a true parlor.) The weight is under four pounds -- and after my Norlin-era Les Paul Custom, it feels near feather-weight.

  4. #4
    Les Paul Forum Member Ed Driscoll's Avatar
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    Re: NGD: Nashville Tuned Taylor GS Mini Acoustic

    I have a lengthy (well, for the Internet at least) history of the tuning and review of the guitar over at my day job. Please click early and often (and thanks).

  5. #5
    Les Paul Forum Member Ed Driscoll's Avatar
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    Re: NGD: Nashville Tuned Taylor GS Mini Acoustic

    Recording last night; it sounds pretty darn good with a Neumann U67 reissue aimed about 18" away at the 12th fret. The iPad at left is for controlling the DAW remotely:

    Last edited by Ed Driscoll; 11-01-19 at 01:24 AM.

  6. #6
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    Re: NGD: Nashville Tuned Taylor GS Mini Acoustic

    I love Nashville tuning I have a beautiful Takmine 00 which just sits in the mix.

  7. #7
    Les Paul Forum Member Ed Driscoll's Avatar
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    Re: NGD: Nashville Tuned Taylor GS Mini Acoustic

    https://soundcloud.com/eddriscollcom/indian-summer-2

    Here's the song I was overdubbing on in the above photo. This was a number I originally wrote in 2018 after acquiring Toontrack’s Superior Drummer 3 software, which has among its many drum sounds a kit called “John” that really nails the sound of Bonham’s kit in the big room at Headley Grange on “When the Levee Breaks” and “Kashmir.” I had used Sony’s Acid loop drums almost exclusively prior to that for my demos, but most of their loops started to sound pretty mushy and unusable below 100 BPM, and I really wanted to explore that slower, heavier, Zeppelin-ish territory. So I wrote this song basically to learn how to program Superior Drummer 3.

    Originally, the track had my 2007 Gibson Everly Brothers acoustic on the right-hand channel, recorded with an AKG C414 large diaphragm condenser, and Roland’s VG-99 guitar modeled version of the Nashville-tuned guitar on the left. Last month, after the Nashville-strung Taylor arrived, I mic’ed with a Neumann U67 reissue large diaphragm tube condenser aimed at the 12th fret. I also used the U67 on my lead vocal. All of the mics went through a Chandler Ltd. Redd.47 tube mic pre, and a little bit of Warm Audio’s WA-2A opto-tube compressor.

    The electric guitar solo is my 2000 Gibson Les Paul Historic R9 via Radial Engineering’s J48 direct box into a Fireface UFX+, run through Overloud’s TH3 amp modeling software, and given just a hint of Eventide H949 Harmonizer plugin as a slight thickening effect.

    When the electric comes in, some additional percussion enters as well. To record these (a couple of different tambourines and a cowbell), I deliberately chose a very echo-y room -- my two car garage, with an AKG 414 close-up, and a Rode NT5 small diaphragm condenser aimed at the opposite corner of the room to record the reflection. By taking these stereo tracks and converting them to two mono tracks, I could place each instrument and its echo exactly where I wanted them in the mix.

    The bass track is a 1983 Fender Precision Bass, recorded into the J48 direct box, and then processed with Eventide H9000’s #1209 Bass Room FX Chain. It reminded me of some of the bass sounds on Guns & Roses’ Use Your Illusion albums. I also added just a little bit of an 1176 compressor plugin in “all buttons in” or “British mode” to add some overdriven harmonics to help it cut through the mix.

    The pad is a Roland VG-88 organ patch, which I ran through the H9000’s SpaceTime algorithm for a slow Leslie organ effect.

    For the last verse, a guitar playing harmonics enters. These were simply open-string 12th fret harmonics on a clean Roland VG-99 electric patch, which I “tuned” into melodic patterns with Melodyne’s pitch-correction software (which can be a great sound mangling tool as well). This part was enhanced with the #1157 Mirrored Raindrops FX chain on the H9000.

    And the massed backup vocals came from my lead vocal heavily processed with TC-Helicon’s VoiceLive 3 unit.

    Let me know what you think!

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