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Down Up Dick
04-29-2015, 08:53 AM
I read some where that open tuning (slack key tuning) was the original tuning for ukuleles, and I'm wondering why they ever changed it.

I've been using it on my Banjoleles for Clawhammer and playing scales and chords with it. Picking is no more difficult than with "regular" tuning, and many of the chords are much easier to fret. Some of the "hard" chords are a piece of cake with open tuning. So far, I haven't found one thing about OT that I don't like. I don't know much about slack key playing, but I do know that it's very popular to use on Ukes and guitars in Hawaii.

Does anyone else on the forum use open tuning? Any criticisms? :old:

RichM
04-29-2015, 08:58 AM
Tuning on any stringed instrument is "commonly accepted," not "right" or "wrong." C tuning is popular in the US, but D tuning is common in the UK and Canada. And, of course, you can tune to pretty much any notes you like, limited only by floppy strings on one end and snapped strings on the other!

The only real negative to unusual tunings is limits on using things like tablature, since it tends to be written for standard tunings. And, of course, if you change tunings often, you'll have to have a good memory for where the notes and chords are, as they will change based on the tuning. But otherwise, I think messing with your tuning makes you a better musician, and you might as well do what makes you enjoy the music the most.

Inksplosive AL
04-29-2015, 10:02 AM
The old sheet music Ive purchased from the 30's shows the old tuning for ukulele was D tuning or English tuning which is a whole step up from modern tuning. My old 20's era ukulele with a very thin top has quite the ukulele bark to it. More modern ukuleles tend to be built to ring out more or chime than bark. Things change over time for whatever reasons.

I used to think open tuning was cheating but now see it as just another way of doing things. The ukulele string tuning in relation to a guitar is the four top strings. To ease playing power chords on my Risa stick I have it tuned F# B E A so these strings are now more suited to 5th and/or power chords. Am I cheating sure am! But to whom does it matter?

I'm subbed to Uncle Raggys channel on YouTube and hes great for teaching you to make things easy on yourself. If it works use is there will always be someone to complain about it as there will be one to share praise. Its just easier for most to complain than praise for some damn reason.

Look see here: http://www.ukuleletricks.com/ukulele-tuning-how-to-tune-your-ukulele/ I have never heard about Canadian tuning as described on this page.

Oh from my reads I believe the old tenor tuning followed the baritone also.

~peace~

fowl
04-29-2015, 12:30 PM
Is there a chord chart for slack key tuning?

Down Up Dick
04-29-2015, 01:16 PM
Is there a chord chart for slack key tuning?

HI fowl, here it is: jonthysell.com/2013/06/20/fre...baritone-DGBD/ There's two charts: One for baritone and one for hi-G CEA--enjoy!

I dunno why my post got some negative sounding comments. I think it's great so far. :old:

RichM
04-29-2015, 01:23 PM
HI fowl, here it is: jonthysell.com/2013/06/20/fre...baritone-DGBD/ There's two charts: One for baritone and one for hi-G CEA--enjoy!

I dunno why my post got some negative sounding comments. I think it's great so far. :old:

Huh? Who was negative?

Inksplosive AL
04-29-2015, 01:27 PM
Huh? Who was negative?

I was wondering the same thing. Quite possibly someone deleted their reply.

Down Up Dick
04-29-2015, 01:28 PM
I said negative SOUNDING. They sounded a bit negative to me, but it's really okay. I just didn't understand it. :old:

Down Up Dick
04-29-2015, 01:31 PM
Well, RichM and Inksposive Al, maybe I was mistaken--my bad--sorry. :old:

Inksplosive AL
04-29-2015, 03:59 PM
Well, RichM and Inksposive Al, maybe I was mistaken--my bad--sorry. :old:

Inksposive? Oh you didn't... yes you did. le sigh

Inksposive is a misspelling of Inksplosive as in Inksplosive Tattoo and Piercing. AT&T was nice enough to misspell my name in the yellowpages so "every" internet wannabie made a second account for my misspelled business. I have been fighting it for years now and finally gave up. I just throw the inksposive mail in the garbage.

k0k0peli
04-29-2015, 05:59 PM
Back to open tunings: An infinite variety exist. The simplest (and cheapest) for 'uke would be four stands of fishline tuned in unison. :D Next would be some dulcimer-style arrangement. David Heaukulani's book UKULELE SLACK KEY lists a couple dozen tunings. I have come nowhere near exploring all those. But the year is young, even if I ain't. So many tunings, so few years left...

southcoastukes
05-01-2015, 12:15 PM
Hey, Down Up!

We love the Open form tuning you’re talking about. For those not sure on this, you “slack” your 1st string down a note (usually from a linear form), so instead of g c’ e’ a’ for example, you’d have g c’ e’ g’. The same holds true with any other Key you may be tuning to – just drop the first string one step.

It’s true you’ve gone away from a 4th progression, so all your fingerings change, but as downup mentioned, chords are often much easier to play and it’s not only an option for playing any standard sort of chording or picking, but really becomes useful for a wealth of specific styles like Hawaiian Slack Key, Clawhammer, Slide and a lot of beautiful Latin music is written for this form as well.

While you can simply “slack” a 1st string to get a feel for this set-up, on our site we sell slightly heavier gauge 1st strings for all our Linear sets for those who want a full-time set-up with balanced tension on the slacked 1st string. We’ve also got a discussion on the Tips page (#011) full of handy references to tutorials. Finally, on both the Open Strings page and the Tips page, we’ve set up downloads of “The Original Method”, the only work ever published for the Ukulele using the original tuning.

Yes, you’re right on that, this Open form is what the Ukulele started with. In the book, there is a reference to a future songbook with nine popular melodies that the authors, A.A. Santos and Angeline Nunes (yes, from that Nunes family), were planning to write. Alas, it never happened. The key to why they never continued and why the tuning dies may come from another reference in that book:

Anyone who can sing will be satisfied with the strumming, but those who cannot sing and who do not intend playing in an orchestra (as in Ukulele Orchestra) will want to take advantage of this method, and before they realize it will be able to play simple but beautiful “Aloha Oe” (included in the book) to the difficult and famous Stars and Stripes Forever (march).

To me that suggests that Santos & Nunes considered the Open form to be better suited for lead and instrumental playing in general, and the Rajao based Reentrant form to be the choice for strumming, vocal accompaniment and “Ukulele Orchestra” play. One of the examples on our site shows the Machete and Rajao being used precisely this way (Portuguese players), with the Open tuned Machete playing lead and the (double) reentrant Rajao playing rhythm. But Since the Hawaiians have always been great singers and during the first Mainland craze the Ukulele was used for vocal accompaniment as well, there was little demand for a form for lead melody and instrumental playing.

Of course now the pendulum is starting to swing the other way. I would say it’s only a matter of time before this form makes a comeback and becomes a strong alternative to the beautiful Ukulele reentrant form. Keep fooling around with this type of playing, “Down Up”, and you’ll have to change your forum name!

Down Up Dick
05-03-2015, 07:04 AM
Well, Dirk, thanks for your very informative and helpful post. Now I've found that one uses open tuning when playing with a slide. So, next I'm gonna buy a slide. It looks like fun, and its users sound great on YouTube.

I've been working on blues as well as "Old Timey" music, and I think a slide (or beer bottle neck) will fit right in. Of course, I'll need an empty bottle. I guess next I'll hafta get a National Steel. I already have a cool hat.

Open tuning has really added a lot to my ukulele experience. I'm enjoying it a lot more now. :old:

Jim Yates
05-03-2015, 11:23 AM
Another open tuning that works well with a slide is GBDG, open G.

Icelander53
05-03-2015, 11:24 AM
Well, RichM and Inksposive Al, maybe I was mistaken--my bad--sorry. :old:

You can help being a grump. It's probably genetic so don't blame yourself.

RatherBeInCabo
05-03-2015, 11:49 AM
I am currently working on open tuning finger picking using this book: http://www.amazon.com/Ukulele-Fingerpicking-music-background-required/dp/1496140303 and it has been a lot of fun.

Down Up Dick
05-03-2015, 04:20 PM
Another open tuning that works well with a slide is GBDG, open G.

Yeah, I know about it, but I haven't tried it yet. There's one in F too, and I've heard of a lot of others. :old:

Down Up Dick
05-03-2015, 04:32 PM
I am currently working on open tuning finger picking using this book: http://www.amazon.com/Ukulele-Fingerpicking-music-background-required/dp/1496140303 and it has been a lot of fun.

Yeah, I read a little of it on Amazon, and it was quite interesting. I'm gonna go back and read it some more when I have time. It looks like a pretty thorough book for open tuning fingerpicking.

Thanks for your helpful post.:old: