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Thread: Transpose or Tune Down?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
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    Default Transpose or Tune Down?

    I mostly am a Bb singer. I do, however, sing some songs in C, depending on how they lie within the scale.
    Playing in C is so easy, though, that I wonder if I should just tune down a whole, or even a half step to accomodate my singing or just bite the bullet and learn to play in Bb?

    Thanks,
    Matt

  2. #2
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    To me I would rather stay on normal tuning

    You are only talking about a whole tone down.

    I took voice lessons and increased my range over 6 months.
    So I would imagine you could train your voice to go up a tone.

    An alternative is to transpose. In fact you might find with practice that you can transpose on sight.

    Lastly chordie.com has a great library of songs and you can change to ukulele and transpose then print a nice songsheet

    Also on the iPhone an app called amazing Amazing slowdowner can not only transpose your songs from iTunes but also slow down and even loop.
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  3. #3
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ash13brook View Post
    I mostly am a Bb singer. I do, however, sing some songs in C, depending on how they lie within the scale.
    Playing in C is so easy, though, that I wonder if I should just tune down a whole, or even a half step to accomodate my singing or just bite the bullet and learn to play in Bb?

    Thanks,
    Matt
    If your instrument will tune down sufficiently and still sound OK with the strings that are fitted, that's probably the simplest choice. There's no real benefit, apart from a modicum of self-satisfaction if you succeed, in learning to play in an "awkward" key if you don't have to.

    Having tuned down, of course, you'll either need to re-tune or use a capo should you find yourself in a play-along scenario with other ukuleles.

    Alternatively, you could try capo'ing up two frets and playing in "A" shapes ... just a thought

    There are those who will wax lyrical about the ability to play a double shuffle with a split fan and a tight G-string ...
    it just makes me walk funny!

  4. #4
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    Tenor was made for Bb tuning.
    Ok, that's not entirely true but it's still my favorite tenor tuning.
    Current Stable:
    -Ohana TKS-15E Tenor - Eb cuatro
    -Iriguchi Keystone Tenor "Weeble" - Bb, SC SMU
    -Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE, steel string
    -KPK pineapple SLN - GCEA
    -Cocobolo 16" SC#1 - gCEA, SC SLMU
    -Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    -Imua iET - Bb, M600
    -Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    -Rogue bari
    Once upon a time:
    -RISA Concert Stick
    -Bruko sop. custom #6
    -Lanikai lam hog bari
    -Kala SLNG
    -Bruko bari
    -Gold Tone BUT


    Jim's Blog

  5. #5
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    I have a tenor Fluke in A6 tuning, i.e., a minor-3rd down from GCEA for anything I do vocally.

    Specifically E4-A3-C#4-F#4.

    I am using the Martin M620 strings, and if this tuning is your target, with a brand NEW set of M620s, you NEVER tune beyond, otherwise the strings will be stretched too far and sound like rubber bands if first settled and stretched to C6 or Bb tuning...

    I dont care to transpose and play the C6 chord shapes. I never sing in group settings, and if I am going to record myself and play other instruments in multi-tracking, for some things I might transpose, like for playing bass which is pretty easy, or otherwise use a software pitch-shifting plugin in my DAW program.

    If I am playing in a group setting, I will use one of my other ukes that is tuned GCEA so I dont have to worry about it.

    Yes, I am lazy. I want to make music, not endlessly gyrate the Circle of Fifths.

    I've studied music my whole life since I am 7 yrs old (48 now), both in school and on my own, and really I am much more an auditory learner and player, and have only small reasons for bothering with documentation, and prefer to rely on my memory and keep my brain sharp by using it instead of a transposing slide-rule...

    Also, if I want to use my Fluke in A6 tuning with a group, I can always just put a capo on the 3rd fret and !viola! C6 tuning

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hanks View Post
    Tenor was made for Bb tuning.
    Ok, that's not entirely true but it's still my favorite tenor tuning.
    Why is Bb thy favorite, pray tell?

    Do you use a capo when playing with a group? Or.....?

    Is your Bb uke's #4 low g or hi?

    ++++++++++++++

    11th commandment: try to B#, always B natural, NEVER Bb !!
    Last edited by bellgamin; 08-07-2017 at 11:44 PM. Reason: typo

  7. #7
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    I made myself learn Bb, as some songs work best for me in that key. You can get some very nice voicing that way, at least on soprano which is what I play. For Eb I almost always use 3336 rather than 3331, and Ebm sounds very good fingered 3326 if you need an Eb/Ebm change.

    One of the good things is that almost all the chords you use are closed shapes (no open strings), which makes damping using finger pressure alone a cinch (literally).

    So I'd persevere. If your action is high at the nut get that sorted though, otherwise playing in Bb is a misery.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellgamin View Post
    Why is Bb thy favorite, pray tell?
    Do you use a capo when playing with a group? Or.....?
    Is your Bb uke's #4 low g or hi?
    ++++++++++++++
    11th commandment: try to B#, always B natural, NEVER Bb !!
    My tenors are tuned reentrant (high f). I like the lower tension and the softer tone. I do not play in a group but if I did I would probably take a C tuned uke - unless it was a jazz group in which case I'd take the Bb uke and read off trumpet charts. But I have also used a capo on occasion for projects that needed it.
    Current Stable:
    -Ohana TKS-15E Tenor - Eb cuatro
    -Iriguchi Keystone Tenor "Weeble" - Bb, SC SMU
    -Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE, steel string
    -KPK pineapple SLN - GCEA
    -Cocobolo 16" SC#1 - gCEA, SC SLMU
    -Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    -Imua iET - Bb, M600
    -Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    -Rogue bari
    Once upon a time:
    -RISA Concert Stick
    -Bruko sop. custom #6
    -Lanikai lam hog bari
    -Kala SLNG
    -Bruko bari
    -Gold Tone BUT


    Jim's Blog

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Twin Cities Area, Minnesota
    Posts
    1,091

    Default

    It is your ukulele--do what you want. I play with others and spend most of my time on a GCEA fretboard and alternative tunings would require more thinking in group settings than I want to commit to. I want to focus on the printed melody--to sing--rather than thinking about what C looks like on a ukulele tuned to a different key.
    Playing ukulele since January 2016.

    Have you participated in the thread, "How the Ukulele Found You?" If not, please consider adding your story--they are just fun to read.

    http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/...lele-found-you

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Franklin, TN
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    289

    Default

    (grinning)
    The best part is that you'll have to purchase another 'ukulele and tune it specifically for this song.
    Next you'll have to find some songs in other keys so you have justification for purchasing another 'ukulele.
    I can't believe this solution hasn't been suggested yet.

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