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Viator tuning, string suggestions?

Posted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 9:29 pm
by maxr
Hi all - I just found an apparently unplayed Vintage Viator in a pawn shop, which made it about twice the astonishing value it is in guitar shops - it looks like a toy but sounds and feels great (unless you must have bass...). This is the dark greyish brown one with the pickups and USB socket. Bit of a puzzle here - it appears to be a 21.5" scale 6 string slothead Viator, but the headstock has a Viaten sticker on it. Maybe they ran out of Viator ones...

I'm picking up guitar again after a 20 year break, so having such an easy one to play is great. I want to learn to play some of the 00's of Scottish/English/Irish/French fiddle tunes I know (on fiddle) on this guitar by ear, pick up new tunes quickly by ear, and relearn how to busk chordal accompaniments. What tuning would make that combination easiest - how about fourths? I've tried putting it into various tunings, including standard but raised a minor third (which the standard strings coped with fine). Standard tuning and most of the higher pitched ones sound fine, but lower tunings seem a bit loose with the standard strings. The Low E string appears to sound better tuned higher, so maybe I should change it for another gauge?

Thanks, Max

Re: Viator tuning, string suggestions?

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:32 pm
by BRC
Hi Max,

That certainly is a little bit of a puzzle as the ‘Viaten’ denotes the tenor model - a 4 string version of the Viator. That model did not have built in pickup, so can only agree with you that something has gone a little awry at JHS, or in China where it is manufactured.

No matter what, back to your question of strings to use. I put Elixir light (not custom light) on mine and did experiment with some medium gauge to give a little more in the lower range. Either will be suitable though suspect as returning to a guitar after 20 years the light strings would be a tad kinder to your fingertips.

If you are wishing to be a little more price conscious then try the equivalent D’Adarrio strings they are very good strings though Elixir’s do give a much longer life before restrings.

Best of luck and, if you solve the naming mystery, let us know what has happened.

Kind regards

Re: Viator tuning, string suggestions?

Posted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:33 pm
by maxr
Thanks Brad - Elixir Lights are 12-53, I suspect it's currently strung with something like 11-48 D'Addarios. The upper strings will bend a full tone (even with soft fingers as you guessed), and the low E sounds kind of dead - I suspect I need to up the gauge for more tension as you suggest.