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Strange ukulele tuning that works well

McGrath of Harlow 30 Nov 13 - 08:05 PM
GUEST,Stim 01 Dec 13 - 01:05 AM
GUEST,Grishka 01 Dec 13 - 04:21 AM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Dec 13 - 09:37 AM
The Sandman 01 Dec 13 - 10:02 AM
GUEST,Grishka 01 Dec 13 - 12:13 PM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Dec 13 - 01:08 PM
GUEST,Grishka 01 Dec 13 - 02:38 PM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Dec 13 - 04:15 PM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Dec 13 - 05:40 PM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Dec 13 - 05:45 PM
GUEST 01 Dec 13 - 07:40 PM
GUEST,Grishka 02 Dec 13 - 04:56 AM
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Subject: Strange ukulele tuning that works well
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Nov 13 - 08:05 PM

Playing around with a ukulele I've come up with a strange one that actually works pretty well.

I've strung one with old guitar strings to give me a fiddle/mandolin type tuning, GDAE, but I was never really satisfied with the sound, though it's fun to play. The high E never sounded right, because it really needed a thinner string.

But then I tried retuning a uke with standard strings, GCEA. Fourth strings stays the same but of course an octave high), third goes up to D, second goes up to A, which it didn't seem to mind. But putting the first up to E was a bit much - so I tried tuning down instead. Which doesn't sound as if it would sound good at all, but it did.

Try it, and see if you agree, especially playing in G.

The low first string gives it a feeling I really like. I've never cone across anyone using that - though I believe that traditionally the cuatro used to be tuned using a low first string.

I think it counts as a reentrant tuning. Or in this case a double reentrant tuning, since the fourth string on a uke already involves one.


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Subject: RE: Strange ukulele tuning that works well
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 01:05 AM

What is it about this tuning that you like better than the standard tuning?


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Subject: RE: Strange ukulele tuning that works well
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 04:21 AM

With McGrath's idea, people who are used to strumming chords on instruments tuned in fifths, e.g. tenor banjos, can reuse their chord fingering - transposed as needed. (The standard uke tuning serves the same purpose for guitarists.) On another thread I mentioned the problem that chord strumming on mandolins results in too wide voicings - this problem is in fact reduced by the "reentrant" changes of octave.

The drawback of reentrant tuning is that strumming does not yield the true "arpeggio" order of notes, so it must be done very quickly.

Choosing the optimal strings may take some more experimenting. If the existing uke strings are to be used, you may try to swap strings 1 and 2.


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Subject: RE: Strange ukulele tuning that works well
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 09:37 AM

Strumming's not the only way to play a ukulele any more than a guitar. With reentrant tuning the mixture of high and low pitches for notes can give effects that I find rather pleasing in arpeggios and other picking patterns.

Why use different tunings at all? Because it can be fun, and helps you appreciate the potentials of an instrument. And that can enrich how you play in standard tunings as well.


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Subject: RE: Strange ukulele tuning that works well
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 10:02 AM

what gauge strings do you use, fourth string g?


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Subject: RE: Strange ukulele tuning that works well
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 12:13 PM

Because it can be fun
So can being whipped by a lady in a rubber dress. To each his own.


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Subject: RE: Strange ukulele tuning that works well
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 01:08 PM

If that's what you enjoy, Grishka, whichever one wears the rubber dress... All part of the tradition.

What gauge fourth string? The standard one you get with a ukulele using the high reentrant tuning for the fourth string. The whole thing is a retuning without changing strings.


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Subject: RE: Strange ukulele tuning that works well
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 02:38 PM

whichever one wears the rubber dress
Indeed, I don't know. I think the dress code for gentlemen is a G-string, but what gauge?


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Subject: RE: Strange ukulele tuning that works well
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 04:15 PM

Nylon is a lot wiser than metal wound, I'd guess.


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Subject: RE: Strange ukulele tuning that works well
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 05:40 PM

Here's the kind of thing I meant when I said that strumming isn't the only way to play a ukulele. It's a piece of lute music by John Dowland, played by Jamie Holding who has arranged it for ukulele Very impressive indeed.


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Subject: RE: Strange ukulele tuning that works well
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 05:45 PM

A mistake there - while the arrangement is by Jamie Holding, it's not him playing it.


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Subject: RE: Strange ukulele tuning that works well
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 07:40 PM

Rubber strings: perfect solution. Many thanks for the suggestion, I heartily concur.


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Subject: RE: Strange ukulele tuning that works well
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 04:56 AM

Guest, what about this model? Of course, high tension is required for a cracking sound and full satisfaction. Strum them as strung and hung! Tighter! Harder! More! Yeaaaaah!

You may need a new ukulele afterwards.


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