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NewKid
06-06-2015, 04:27 AM
I was watching a video by the late, great Bob Brozman and he mentioned that before the late 90's, the standard soprano tuning was in D or A D F# B.

So I just tried this on my vintage Martin and an already great sounding instrument just came to life. What a difference in the brightness of tone and punch!

I'm still using all the same chord shapes from C tuning and having a blast. Anyone else using D tuning on their sopranos?

k0k0peli
06-06-2015, 05:33 AM
I tried three small ukes in D 'English' tuning yesterday: Kala soprano and concert, and electrified Lanakai soprano. (Sorry, I didn't record the model numbers.) The Lanakai soprano and the concert were heavier instruments and sounded superbly bright in D. The Kala soprano sounded almost tinny and brash. I conclude (based on this minimal experience) that a uke with more depth is best suited for the higher tuning. Or maybe it's just my old ears not caring for high notes. :confused:

CeeJay
06-06-2015, 06:10 AM
I was watching a video by the late, great Bob Brozman and he mentioned that before the late 90's, the standard soprano tuning was in D or A D F# B.

So I just tried this on my vintage Martin and an already great sounding instrument just came to life. What a difference in the brightness of tone and punch!

I'm still using all the same chord shapes from C tuning and having a blast. Anyone else using D tuning on their sopranos?


Yes. It was the thing to regularly change between C D and Eb as well....Eb is brilliant ...literally really .....

But I keep my Lazy Palm sop and my Omega Zedro in D...and one Banjo uke .

George Formby had several ukes in the different tunings for different songs and just picked them as needed.

Tootler
06-06-2015, 06:39 AM
I keep my Bruko Cherrywood Soprano in D tuning. Sounds great.

OK to use the same shapes as C tuning but remember they are a whole tone higher so a C-shape is actually D and a G shape is A and so on.

I think playing in D on a D tuned soprano (C-tuning C, G, F & Am shapes) often sounds better than the regular D shapes on C tuned soprano.

jimavery
06-06-2015, 08:17 AM
I first started learning ukulele back in the '80s from a book, probably written 40 years or so previous, that taught 'D' tuning, so for me it just seems 'right'. Having said that I stopped playing for some years and on return to the ukulele 18 months or so ago I learned the 'C' tuning as that's what everyone else was doing and what all the books and tutorials said.

In the last few months I've been weaning myself back off C and to D tuning for most of the songs I play, partly because it sounds brighter than C tuning, but also often either the chords just sound better, or sometimes they are easier to play. It's a bit of a mental workout trying to switch between one tuning and the other, so I've taken to writing up all of the songs I play using chord diagrams in much the same way as a lot of popular sheet music was marked up back in the '20s, '30s and '40s.

Down Up Dick
06-06-2015, 08:42 AM
I have a soprano tuned to D and a concert tuned to Bb. They both sound great to me. The D sounds really good in the key of D, and I really like the sound of the Lo F BbDG. It sounds deeper, bigger. I'm still experimenting, but I'm pretty satisfied with them. I also have two others in C, but one's a "regular" concert, and one's an 8-string tenor.

I don't think there's much sense in havin' a bunch of instruments all tuned to the same key. :old:

mailman
06-06-2015, 11:27 AM
I've been experimenting with this for the past hour, or so, on my soprano. I fear my head may explode! :D I like it, but I need to decide whether it sounds enough different to me to be worth the hassle....

coolkayaker1
06-06-2015, 11:43 AM
I've been experimenting with this for the past hour, or so, on my soprano. I fear my head may explode! :D I like it, but I need to decide whether it sounds enough different to me to be worth the hassle....

That's what happened when I have tried it in the past, too, Mailman. Not that much different, and sort of a high-tension, frenetic sound. Not sure I like the higher string tension for playing--or on my vintage ukes (which weren't yet vintage back when they used that tuning). I may try it again in the spirit of this thread though; fun to be part of group-think, even if I do get a broken A string in the face.

Must say, I do keep a couple sopranos always in the opposite tuning: F# B D# G# (did I do that right?) and it definitely does sound different to my ear than today's standard tuning. Any lower than that an my strings get sort of flabby.

Don is my UU friend so let me get down a soprano with a good solid bridge and try it again while we wait for someone to post a dry science lesson here about the minimal change in string tension and the different turnings being better for some particular instruments than others based on wood resonance. lol.

mkatz
06-06-2015, 03:03 PM
I use D tuning on my Black Bear sopranino and love it. Of course, it's a shorter scale.

Mitch

k0k0peli
06-06-2015, 03:47 PM
I don't think there's much sense in havin' a bunch of instruments all tuned to the same key. :old: Quite. I only have 3 sopranos now; the banjo-uke is gCEA, one Kohala is gCEg, and the other is strung for GDAE. More instruments = more tunings. Fun fun fun.

CeeJay
06-06-2015, 03:54 PM
Quite. I only have 3 sopranos now; the banjo-uke is gCEA, one Kohala is gCEg, and the other is strung for GDAE. More instruments = more tunings. Fun fun fun.

Just remember which one you pick up.....or else....

Ukulele Eddie
06-06-2015, 05:35 PM
I haven't tried it yet, but will. Dumb question: if I tune to D for a week or so and decide I don't like it, can I de-tune back to C with the same strings?

k0k0peli
06-06-2015, 07:27 PM
Just remember which one you pick up.....or else.... As it happens, I have a small sticker on each uke and mando headstock reminding me of its tuning. I do that with my more strangely tuned guitars, too. Quite necessary.


I haven't tried it yet, but will. Dumb question: if I tune to D for a week or so and decide I don't like it, can I de-tune back to C with the same strings? Yes. Strings are pretty resilient. Those I've used are, at least.

CeeJay
06-07-2015, 01:41 AM
I haven't tried it yet, but will. Dumb question: if I tune to D for a week or so and decide I don't like it, can I de-tune back to C with the same strings?Yes ...but you will observe the phenomen of instead of strings that go out of tune downwards ......G to F# and lower for example....your strings may appear to try and go back up in tune !!! This will settle down as the instrument releases it's own tension ...

Which is also why it's better to have different tuned instruments .Let them settle in to that tuning if different string tensions are involved.