View Full Version : Tiple: What Kind of Music/Playing Style?

10-01-2015, 03:08 AM
I picked up an Ohana tiple a few weeks ago in a spate of UAS. I love it, and I love the clangy steel string sound, but I'm a little stumped as to what style of playing and/or music might best suit it. I'm more of a fingerstyle player than a strummer, but fingerstyle doesn't really seem to suit it. (I can just about manage fingerstyle on a 12-string guitar but the three string courses throw me off a bit on the tiple.)

So my question for other tiple owners is: for what kind of music or playing style do you use your tiple?

Thanks in advance for all suggestions/ideas.


10-01-2015, 03:26 AM
The coordinator of our music club on campus graciously lets me play his vintage Cincinnati made tiple on occasion. I like to do chord melody songs. Christmas carols sound awesome on it.

10-01-2015, 04:33 AM
I've been a fingerpicking guitarist for a long time, on 6- and 12-strings. I'm flatpicking a lot now too since I got into mandolins more recently. My tiple flummoxed me at first because of the jangly imbalance of the top courses -- taking a melody across from the deep eEe to the thin aa just did not work for me.

Then inspiration struck: all other courses are in octaves so the top course should be too! My tiple is now in gG-cCc-eEe-Aa and it is much more smoothly melodic with much less jangle. My folk-blues, folk-jazz, OTM, rabid-retro picking has greater depth than on lesser instruments.

With the top course in unison the tiple is an interesting rhythm instrument for ensembles. In octaves, it's a unique chord+melody vehicle suitable for solo playing. And it works well flatpicked / crosspicked. Like a 12-string guitar, it becomes a portable orchestra. That's my take.

10-01-2015, 05:16 AM
Hmm - what string changes did you make in order to make the switch to all octave courses?


10-01-2015, 05:44 AM
I can't think of tiple without thinking of these guys:


10-01-2015, 06:09 AM
Hawaiian music of course!

Finger AND strum. . .


10-01-2015, 03:54 PM
Hmm - what string changes did you make in order to make the switch to all octave courses? The lower three courses were/are already in octaves, as gG-cCc-eEe. I measured the top aa course as .010" plain. I had an extra wound .020" ball-end guitar string lying around - it works nicely for the Aa octave. I checked those gages against the bottom gG course which were .011 plain and .022 wound; those courses are nearly interchangeable.

You'll notice I have the higher strings on the outside on the top and bottom courses as gG...Aa. If strumming, the order probably doesn't matter, but when finger- or cross-picking, having the lower strings on the outside as Gg...aA seems clumsier and a bit darker. YMMV.

10-02-2015, 10:08 AM
I'd had a tiple for about 20 years before I really started figuring out what it was good for. I've never found mine useful for fingerpicking, for the reason that Kokopelli gave. For the last few years, I've been trying out different songs on it to see what sounds best. "Sail On Sailor" by the Beach Boys sounds really good on it, for some reason. I play mine without a pick.

The Tiple Experiments (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLE950C9D4ABAEA2FD)