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Message started by Tom on Jan 21st, 2005 at 10:55am

Title: Low G tuning
Post by Tom on Jan 21st, 2005 at 10:55am
What percentage of people use low G tuning on tenor ukuleles?
What about on concert or soprano ukuleles?
I'm new to the uke and I might as well start with the most popular tuning.


Title: Re: Low G tuning
Post by Dale Schroeder on Jan 26th, 2005 at 4:09am

Well there are many different tunings for the uke, but I think the most common these days is "C" Tuning for tenor, concert and soprano.  Assuming you are talking about a 4 string uke:

On the baritone, that tuning is the same as the top four strings on a guitar, from low to high that is d,g,b,e.  each note higher than the proceeding one.

On the others the c tuning is g,c,e,a.  When you say low G tuning I think you are asking about the g string,  The traditional "my dog has fleas" sound  is with a g string where the g between e and a on the scale .  So with that arrangement the c (third string open) is actually  your lowest note.  You see lot of  ukes these days strung with the g an octave lower so it becomes the lowest note that makes the relationship between strings the same as the baritone if it were barred on the 5th fret.

It really depends on your personal preference, I've gone back and forth a couple of times, I like the traditional sound better, but then there are some songs I've transferred over from my guitar playing days that work much better with the low g.  Best thing is..get two ukes then you can have both  :)

If you go with the low G arrangement you need to buy a set of strings labled low G.


Title: Re: Low G tuning
Post by Bob Uke-er on Jan 26th, 2005 at 12:01pm
Hi Tom,
    I wouldn't have any idea what the percentage of ukes made these days with the low G tuning but I toiled for a long time on whether to go with the traditional hi-G or the low-G. I based my decision simply on what I liked when listening to world-class players. I like the low-G tuned songs as played by Daniel Ho, Herb Ohta, JR, and the immortal Israel Kamakawiwi'ole. While I can't play any of those tunes at all like those guys, I figure that following their paths, I can't go wrong. Dale is right tho, just build two, one with each tuning and appropriate compensation so you'll be all set either way.  Thoughts anyone?

Title: Re: Low G tuning
Post by hapakid on Feb 9th, 2005 at 9:42am
I think your playing style should decide the tuning. If you pick a lot, go low G because it gives you more range. If you strum a lot, go high G because it sounds more traditional, at least for Hawaiian music.
After hearing Herb Ohta Jr. and David Kamakahi play at a workshop, I'm a convert to low G.  If you pick, especially Hawaiian/slack key style, there isn't that high G string to trip you when when playing scales.
My two cents,
Jesse Tinsley

Title: Re: Low G tuning
Post by ukeman on Feb 9th, 2005 at 10:24am
Aloha all!

The tuning conundrum eh!  Officially they are named Re entrant and non Re entrant tunings..Re entrant refering to the traditional high G tuning (my dog has fleas). The Low G adherents are the non-reentrant tuning users and they tune their G string one octave lower.

Ergo the High G guys are in a C major 6 open chord  the Low G guys in a D major 6 open chord.

Both tunings have their advantages and disadvantages.

The Low G   ..no doubt more range..
The High G .. specific sound and picking voicings.

I personally started with the Low G tuning with tab sheets via Roy Sakuma, and have played Low G ever since! For music with High G voicings I adapt the note positions to the Low G uke. Sometimes works sometimes a bit trippy in fingerings!

Recentl, i purchased John King's Classical method book when he performed at the 'Ukulele Guild's Third Annual Exhibition and Conference and I liked his song selections. After buying the book I found out immediately on the "Celebrated ChopSticks" number, the voicings were made for High G tunings. For a low G guy who feels the 4th string is a bass string, I had a bit of a time gettin used to playing an arpeggio or mini scale run alteranting with the top and bottom strings not to mention the middle two!

Solution:  Made a High G and now all is right with the universe. I got through Chopsticks, Greensleeves and now A Prelude in J.S. Bach's Well Tempered Clavier. I m playing these on me giraffe..a tenor sized pineapple cutaway witha 596 cm scale...yup about 23  and 1/4 inches or so. Body joint on the 18th fret and playable to 24 frets! Two octaves. The first position fingerings are a bit of a stretch even tho a guitar is much wider and a tad longer at 650 cm the norm for classicals the stretch feels loooooong on the giraffe.By the way, my playing ability doesnt get me into the second octave area but who knows, mayhaps someday can play around between the 2oth and 24th frets.

Conclusion: Still love the Low G tyuning but now I am happy i can also play a High G as well for a few songs. In other words have two ukes on hand period!

Ha! Jes another excuse to make more ukes!  
Laters, Ukeman

Title: Re: Low G tuning for baritone
Post by msrvfx on Mar 28th, 2005 at 12:50pm
Hi Folks -

I got an interesting email a while back from a baritone player that has strung up his bari with a special set of Aquila strings designed for baritones but with a High G set of strings!
Here's what he wrote:

"Tune your Baritone Uke to the Key of C (My Dog Has Fleas) G
C E A, like the smaller ukuleles. These strings are lighter gauge
so will not damage your baritone ukulele when tuned to the
higher pitch.

    * #abrkc Aquila NYLGUT Baritone Uke,-- Regular Uke
      1 or 2 Sets $6.90/set
      3 or more Sets $5.90/set"

I am tuned to the regular soprano tuning- the only problem
I've had is that the old tuners don't hold too well and I
need to get some replacements.
You need to look under Aquila strings, then baritone uke
sets. They have two- a "regular" set, which is tune to the
first 4 strings of a guitar, and the high strings.  
My string scale is 18.5 inches, which I think is about standard
for a baritone."

I think this might be a pretty interesting set up for those not interested in learning a new set of chords, but still want some of the benefit of the baritones sound.
would be really interesting if they had a Low G version.

Mark in Portland

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