View Full Version : Tom Pocket Uke CFAD Tuning...Wow!

Papa Tom
02-07-2015, 02:21 AM
I'd been playing with my new Tom Pocket Uke tuned to GCEA for a few days and I was liking it, but not loving it. The strings were mushy and there wasn't a whole lot of resonance or happiness coming out of it. Someone suggested that I try some alternate tunings and I ultimately ended up with CFAD. Now I am addicted to this little bugger, like I was when I got my first soprano a few years back.

If anybody has bought one of these and is playing it at GCEA, I urge you to try CFAD tuning. At first, you will feel like the strings are going to break or the neck is going to snap right off, but I can assure you that mine has survived and is holding up very well. I have no idea what chords I am playing now, but when I apply the same fingering as I did with GCEA tuning, the instrument just sings out like an amusement park carousel.

My conclusion is that the pocket uke is not designed to be just a smaller version of the uke you play at home. It's a unique instrument by itself, and it's a happier, more childlike sound than other uke models. I was trying to fight that, but I gave in and now I am smiling from my toes every time I pick it up.

Try it, pocket ukers!

02-07-2015, 03:29 AM
I'm starting to get tempted with the idea of a pocket uke

02-07-2015, 03:48 AM
It's good that you're tuning the pocket uke higher, but CFAD is a bit of a.. well.. utterly useless tuning, unless you play everything in F and want to learn a whole transposed set of chords for a completely obscure tuning.

If you take it up one notch to DGBE, bam, you have a baritone ukulele tuning (or guitar tuning) which is an octave higher.

If you learn the chord shapes to this tuning, then technically you can also play baritone ukulele and guitar.
As I explained in the other topic, you misunderstood what I meant by DGBE. Make CFAD tuning one note HIGHER to DGBE.

Papa Tom
02-07-2015, 04:29 AM
Do you think higher DGBE would be pushing this instrument to the snapping point?

02-07-2015, 04:42 AM
I think it is the ideal tuning for this instrument.

GCEA sounds dead and floppy.
CFAD is an unusual tuning rarely used
DGBE sounds great and is a highly versatile tuning.

To make this tiny terror an even more versatile instrument, I have installed a pickup!

(Tom mini ukulele on left)



Papa Tom
02-07-2015, 04:58 AM
OK, I tried DGBE, up high, the way you suggested. This brought back memories of playing my brother's guitar when I was a kid, but I don't like the result as much as I like CFAD. To me, CFAD is the sweet spot and DGBE starts to choke the instrument again. Plus, at CFAD tuning, my Tom sounds a bit like a mandolin, which is a sound I've always wanted to achieve without having to tear up my fingers on those sharp metal strings.

I'm only in this for fun, so being able to transfer my skills to a guitar or even a baritone uke is not important. I will always have my three other GCEA ukes when I want them, but for just plain goofing around, I think I'll keep the CFAD tuning on my Tom Pocket and not bother trying to transpose.

02-07-2015, 06:39 AM
Hey PT,

kissing makes some good points about the usefulness of G tuning, but for what you want to do, finding your sweet spot seems most important.

However, before eliminating the G tuning option altogether, consider your stringing. We make a couple of Extra Light Gauge sets, for example, that might work out a bit better. You mentioned that G tuning starts to "choke" up the sound, and that's often an indication of too much tension.

Also, you didn't mention whether you use a Reentrant of Linear tuning. We have sets for both, and also the option to turn the Linear tuning into an open tuning (we call this the Machete set), like the original Ukulele tuning.

At any rate, "sounds" like you're having a nice time with the little guy! Good luck.

02-07-2015, 06:43 AM
Dirk has some great light strings! In fact, I'm goint to restring my Mango with the set that plays much higher & linear today.