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advice sought ukulele tuning

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Big Al Whittle 06 Jul 17 - 08:51 AM
GUEST,matt milton 06 Jul 17 - 10:16 AM
GUEST,Mark Bluemel 06 Jul 17 - 11:13 AM
Donuel 06 Jul 17 - 11:30 AM
GUEST,Mark Bluemel 06 Jul 17 - 11:49 AM
GUEST 06 Jul 17 - 12:03 PM
GUEST,watcher strummer 06 Jul 17 - 01:47 PM
Felipa 06 Jul 17 - 03:45 PM
GUEST,watcher strummer 06 Jul 17 - 04:09 PM
Big Al Whittle 06 Jul 17 - 06:10 PM
Jim Carroll 07 Jul 17 - 04:43 AM
McGrath of Harlow 07 Jul 17 - 08:47 AM
Big Al Whittle 07 Jul 17 - 09:05 AM
McGrath of Harlow 07 Jul 17 - 09:32 PM
Big Al Whittle 08 Jul 17 - 06:57 AM
Big Al Whittle 08 Jul 17 - 06:53 PM
McGrath of Harlow 08 Jul 17 - 10:02 PM
Big Al Whittle 08 Jul 17 - 10:58 PM
The Sandman 09 Jul 17 - 06:26 AM
Jack Campin 09 Jul 17 - 10:58 AM
Big Al Whittle 09 Jul 17 - 02:05 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Jul 17 - 02:49 PM
Long Firm Freddie 09 Jul 17 - 04:52 PM
Big Al Whittle 09 Jul 17 - 06:15 PM
GUEST,matt milton 09 Jul 17 - 06:38 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Jul 17 - 07:07 PM
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Subject: advice sought ukulele tuning
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 Jul 17 - 08:51 AM

i got my first serious uke quite recently deciding to give it both barrels concentration wise.

most tuition books advise you to tune the bottom string to G.

however when i got the George Formby Society dvd it suggested tuning a whole tone up with the bottom string on A.
And sure enough it does deliver a more formbyesque sound. crisper and sweeter than G.

Now heres my question - will the same trick work with the tenor and baritone uke?

I don't want to break strings, ans also i wondered if anyone else was doing this already.


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Subject: RE: advice sought ukulele tuning
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 06 Jul 17 - 10:16 AM

I've retuned my ukulele up and down loads of times. Though, it has to be said, mostly down rather than up.

I would be very surprised if you were risking breaking a string by tuning it up one tone. If you are in any doubt, then see if you can get a lower-gauge string. They're only nylon strings, they're not metal.

I have a Makala MKPN pineapple ukulele. It's cheap, about £40 I think. I actually put higher-tension strings on it (forget which exactly) than the ones it came with, because I found them to be a bit floppy.


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Subject: RE: advice sought ukulele tuning
From: GUEST,Mark Bluemel
Date: 06 Jul 17 - 11:13 AM

As I understand it, the Baritone Uke is tuned just like the top 4 strings of a guitar - DGBE - and is not re-entrant tuned, so the D is tuned below the G.

Tenor uke looks more complicated - see this site. Looks like the tuning is commonly like the soprano or concert uke, but not re-entrant, but there is a re-entrant variant on the baritone tuning.


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Subject: RE: advice sought ukulele tuning
From: Donuel
Date: 06 Jul 17 - 11:30 AM

Going by the book or going with the crowd always has its advantages.
The tuning determines the soul of the instrument.
You have to choose what best suits the instrument and your own soul.
I created a cello uke that is nearly as deep as a guitar and sustains tone with purity in the angelic octaves, Your goal Al is thankfully opposite mine and will thrill others with excited smiles I will never know.
Remember free advice is worth every penny.


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Subject: RE: advice sought ukulele tuning
From: GUEST,Mark Bluemel
Date: 06 Jul 17 - 11:49 AM

There's also people who tune them in 5ths, like mandolins (I think
George Hinchliffe of the Ukelele Orchestra does this). Whether this
preserves the ukelele-ness of the instrument is up to you...


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Subject: RE: advice sought ukulele tuning
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Jul 17 - 12:03 PM

When I was learning I had a baritone uke that I tuned to standard uke tuning and never had a problem..


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Subject: RE: advice sought ukulele tuning
From: GUEST,watcher strummer
Date: 06 Jul 17 - 01:47 PM

with most ukulele strings you could go up or down two semitones from the usual GCEA. Some people with a soprano say it sounds better tuned up to ADFsharpB. Some say a tenor sounds "fuller" tuned down to FBbDG.
Remember though that you will have to work out the new chord shapes instead of just using the standard ones in the songbooks.
The traditionalists say you MUST use re-entrant tuning ( the G high in the same octave as the A string) but many players use a low G for a richer sound and a few more notes for fingerpicking.
A baritone isn't re-entrant, and you could try tuning it to open G or open D. You can buy special sets for the "standard" GCEA.
The traditionalists also say you shouldn't use a strap or a plectrum (I use both!) and a baritone is an abomination, just a shrunken guitar
My view is that it is your instrument, set it up how you like to play it and ignore the old fogeys.


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Subject: RE: advice sought ukulele tuning
From: Felipa
Date: 06 Jul 17 - 03:45 PM

Are there chord charts available for some of the variable tunings or would you have to figure out the chords yourself?


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Subject: RE: advice sought ukulele tuning
From: GUEST,watcher strummer
Date: 06 Jul 17 - 04:09 PM

There are charts for the baritone. If you switch to something like open D/G, drop D etc you will have to work them out yourself.
If you tune a soprano to ADFsharpB you can still use the "normal" chord shapes but remember they will all sound a tone higher, e.g. the F chord shape will play G, and to play F will need the Eflat shape.
Likewise tuning down a tenor means to play a G chord you will have to play what is normally the A chord shape.
It will be no bother if you do it consistently, but you might get confused by books showing the standard GCEA shapes.
If you have a low-G instead of re-entrant high-G there is no difference in the chord shapes, just a deeper sound.


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Subject: RE: advice sought ukulele tuning
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 Jul 17 - 06:10 PM

thanks for all these various thoughts.

right now i'm working on the dvd. i think that will determine what i can bring to the party.


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Subject: RE: advice sought ukulele tuning
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Jul 17 - 04:43 AM

Don't wait till the ship goes down before you tune it
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: advice sought ukulele tuning
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Jul 17 - 08:47 AM

There are charts on line for A tuning, as well as for the E baritone tuning (and of course the G tuning which is more standard). Probably more. And of course you can have the 4th string an octave lower if you prefer.

And mandolin tuning is fine as well.

Uke's are very forgiving instrument when it comes to retuning. Your strings would break before you damaged one tuning high.


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Subject: RE: advice sought ukulele tuning
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 07 Jul 17 - 09:05 AM

i think it will be a year or two before i play well enough to actually entertain anybody. however i intend to practise as though i've got decades in front of me!


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Subject: RE: advice sought ukulele tuning
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Jul 17 - 09:32 PM

Find a ukulele session, there are plenty around. They are very different from traditional sessions, all people strumming away with song books and more chord changes than you need. But fun enough for a change, and you pick up a lot very quickly

Then you can use that to work out how to play more interesting stuff. There's some remarkable clips on YouTube - it's a great instrument..


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Subject: RE: advice sought ukulele tuning
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 08 Jul 17 - 06:57 AM

just broke my first string - a tenor in the G tuning.

perhaps its this hot weather.

in such circumstances - do you tend to change all the strings on the uke, as i would on the guitar?

also the way the strings appear to be tied round the bridge seems a bit fussy to me. why not just tie a big knot and put it on the the side of the neck opposite the neck?

when i put the new string on, i think i will do the F tuning to make it a bit less prone to break.

what do you recommend in the way of strings that settle down quickly and don't break too often?


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Subject: RE: advice sought ukulele tuning
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 08 Jul 17 - 06:53 PM

refresh


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Subject: RE: advice sought ukulele tuning
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Jul 17 - 10:02 PM

I've never broken a uke string yet. Apart from one time I was trying to tune to mandolin tuning without changing to an appropriate first string. (Going up from G to E was just a wee bit far.) But with standard tuning they tend to be a lot less tightly strung than on most guitars.

I've always tended to replace strings I break on any instrument one at a time. Typically they'll break because I'm tuning too high, and it's just that string. Or in a session when changing the lot wouldn't be practical.

Tying a big knot in a uke string to hold it works fine. I suppose in theory it might damage the hole in time - and if it wasn't big enough and got pulled into the hole, and brole with the knot stuck in it p, then it might be tricky getting it out, but I wouldn't worry, that wouldn't happen too often, But fussy way you mention might be worth trying. And look prettier.

Best strings I find are by Worth, and you can get them online.


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Subject: RE: advice sought ukulele tuning
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 08 Jul 17 - 10:58 PM

thankyou!


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Subject: RE: advice sought ukulele tuning
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Jul 17 - 06:26 AM

i would usehigh string tuned to g, i would tune to an open g chord then you will have the same tuning as a 5 string banjo and you have half learned another instrument whilst learnin uke


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Subject: RE: advice sought ukulele tuning
From: Jack Campin
Date: 09 Jul 17 - 10:58 AM

Anybody here play fretless electric bass ukulele?

They seem to be the lightest and most portable bass instrument you can get. You'd need a fair bit of accuracy with the left hand but the scale length is not that much smaller than an oud. Any downsides?


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Subject: RE: advice sought ukulele tuning
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Jul 17 - 02:05 PM

i looked on the strings direct site but i can't see Worth strings.


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Subject: RE: advice sought ukulele tuning
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Jul 17 - 02:49 PM

Worth are American, and google throws up lots of links for buying them and importing them, But Aquila strings are more readily available in England, and they are pretty good..


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Subject: RE: advice sought ukulele tuning
From: Long Firm Freddie
Date: 09 Jul 17 - 04:52 PM

The Southern Ukulele Store have a useful blog on various use strings here .

They sell Worth strings and recommend Fremont as the best single low G string. They say Martin strings hold their tune very quickly.

LFF


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Subject: RE: advice sought ukulele tuning
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Jul 17 - 06:15 PM

thats brilliant thankyou so much!


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Subject: RE: advice sought ukulele tuning
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 09 Jul 17 - 06:38 PM

Looking back through my emails, I see that the last strings I put on my uke (almost, ahem, two years ago! Must play more use!) were Martin Nylon Ukulele Strings - Standard (.0191 - .0216). I like their sound, though I still don't think I've found my Holy Grail of use strings yet. I like medium-to-heavy gauge strings on the guitar and so I always find ukulele strings to be a bit too mellow and soft and bendy by comparison.


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Subject: RE: advice sought ukulele tuning
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Jul 17 - 07:07 PM

If you try A tuning you might find they feel more to your preference matt.


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