View Full Version : DGBE tuning

08-28-2015, 08:21 AM
Is it possible to tune a saprano or concert size uke dgbe? Would I have to buy different strings?
I just got Jumpin' Jim's Lyle Ritz book and I'd like to try that tuning, but I don't own a tenor!

08-28-2015, 08:37 AM
Take a look at the South Coast string guide (http://www.southcoastukes.com/stringuide.htm)

They suggest it's not a good idea, though at the end of the day it's up to you to try it. I've tried tuning a concert down. Going to Bb6 is good but even going down to A6 which is a tone above DGBE doesn't sound good to me.

OTOH tuning a tenor down to DGBE works fine for me - at least with re-entrant tuning.

The only real answer is to try it and see what you think

Down Up Dick
08-28-2015, 10:57 AM
I have a tenor Banjolele tuned to Aquila Hi-D GBD, and the low G is very boomy. I also had another concert Banjolele tuned to Aquila Lo F BbDF and the F was also very boomy, and it's now Lo-G and still boomy. And my Luna concert has been tuned both Lo F and Lo G, and the low notes were also boomy. I'm not gonna tune any more ukuleles, except my Baritone, with low, low strings, and I also read the South Coast string guide (#006, I think). My low tuning days are mostly over; I just don't like the sound.

I guess it's a matter of taste. I know lots of Ukers just love the low G tuning. Well, whatever floats your boat! :old:

chuck in ny
08-28-2015, 11:35 AM
i would be satisfied with getting down one whole step. my concert is tuned to Bb. it isn't everything but it's something.

Jim Hanks
08-28-2015, 03:14 PM
Lyle Ritz is reentrant tuning right? You could get the Southcoast XLU or SXLU set to get a soprano tuned dGBE an octave higher than Lyle's tenor tuning. Worth a shot?

08-28-2015, 09:24 PM
Is it possible to tune a saprano or concert size uke dgbe? Would I have to buy different strings?
I just got Jumpin' Jim's Lyle Ritz book and I'd like to try that tuning, but I don't own a tenor!
I think you'd struggle to get a decent sound out of a soprano or even a concert body, tuned half an octave down, unless you used a pickup and electronics to boost the bass response ... however, if you start with 5th's tuning, GDAE, which effectively extends the range of a soprano or concert up half an octave, arranging a DGBE tuning shouldn't be difficult by juggling a couple of strings, and would put no extra strain on the instrument.

Alternatively, if you just want to "try out" the tuning to see what it sounds/feels like, maybe you could borrow a small-size nylon strung guitar and remove the two bass strings ... that's what I did ... then I bought a baritone and a tenor !! ;)

08-28-2015, 10:55 PM
I'm not familiar with the Lyle Ritz book but I gather the arrangements are written in tab.

If you follow the fingerings given in the tab, you will have the same arrangement but simply sounding a fourth higher if you're tuned GCEA or a minor third higher if you tune down to Bb. The harmonies will be just the same but simply sounding at the higher pitch.

If you really want to tune to DGBE then I think you need to get either a baritone or a tenor - a baritone if you want linear DGBE but either will be fine for re-entrant dGBE.

08-29-2015, 01:49 AM
A good reason dgbe isn't a tuning for small 'ukes is given here: http://www.southcoastukes.com/tunings.htm Our little lute bodies each have a resonant frequency. Notes played below that frequency do not resonate -- they sound dead, flat. Here is a table:

Soprano Ukulele Resonance: c’
Concert Ukulele Resonance: a
Tenor Ukulele Resonance: g
Baritone Ukulele Resonance: d#

The d in dgbe tuning is below resonance in ALL those but it's right at the edge for baritones. If you want dgbe that won't sound sucky you'll need to go up an octave, but you probably won't find usable strings in that range. So, stay in gcea or thereabouts. (CORRECTION: Such sets exist. Sorry.) As mentioned above, if you're following tabs, you can play the same forms but just at a different pitch. Have fun!