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Author Topic: Ukulele tuning  (Read 4936 times)
broKen
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« on: January 15, 2016, 04:20:59 AM »

      
I was introduced to a baritone uke recently. I learned that they are tuned the same as the guitar, the four high strings. It sounded much like a guitar and playing it would be nothing new, well maybe little adjustments. Anyway, I think if I were to try one, I'd prefer one that didn't sound so much like guitar, but I don't want to go through learning a new instrument. So,,,what if I got a tenor or a concert size and altered it to play like a guitar, like a baritone. All that would be necessary would be cutting a new nut and finding appropriate strings that would be the tension it is designed for. Is that doable?
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futboljim
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« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2016, 10:58:38 AM »

Hi - the reason they sound different than a guitar is he tuning. I have been learning on a tenor, and use a low G string on the bottom. The notes are the same as a guitar with a capo at fret five.

The shapes you learn are transferable to the guitar's top four strings. The stuff I am working on, I hope, will help me learn to play more chords up the neck of the guitar - and I get to learn some cool stuff on a different sounding instrument, too!

Just my two cents, but I'd suggest giving it a try on a tenor or concert, with low G tuning. Good luck!
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« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2016, 12:08:45 PM »

I play a tenor with a standard high G. Initially I was concerned I'd get confused with guitar chords, as the shapes are the same. However, much to my amazement it only took about a couple of weeks to adjust. Once I pick up my uke and want to play, for instance, a G chord, I instinctively make the shape that would be a D on the guitar. It's worth giving it a go - you might be pleasantly surprised like me. For guitarists wanting to try another instrument, it's not such a big step in tuning terms like a mandolin or fiddle, for example.

The high G sounds a bit strange at first, but you soon realise that is also part of the unique sound of this instrument. I also use country blues style fingerpicking on my ukulele and just treat that G as a bass string, so using thumb for strings 3 and 4 and fingers for 1 and 2.

Also, when I first got a uke, I had to quickly think of a mnemonic to remind me of the tuning and (despite being British) the first thing I thought of was:

General Custer Eats Arrows    (!!)

Let us know if you get a ukulele and how you get on with it.

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skyline
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« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2016, 02:08:15 PM »

So,,,what if I got a tenor or a concert size and altered it to play like a guitar, like a baritone. All that would be necessary would be cutting a new nut and finding appropriate strings that would be the tension it is designed for. Is that doable?

Absolutely. Depending on how "well" the nut was cut in the first place, you may not even need to work on it.

I've switched back and forth from high-g to low-g tunings on concert and tenor ukes - I never had to work on them at all. At first I used to re-use my old classical D strings, now I use the Aguila Low G sets with the "un-wound" low G.
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