View Full Version : 8-string Tahitian Ukulele

11-10-2015, 06:55 PM
I've been playing a normal 4-string ukulele for a few years and recently purchased an 8-string tahitian uke from Rarotonga. Does anyone here know how to play this type, which is very common in the South Pacific islands? I'm looking for chords and strumming patterns. When I was in Tonga I took a few lessons from a local, but need more instruction.

11-11-2015, 12:14 AM
An 8 string uke is played exactly the same as your 4 string, you just press two strings at a time instead of one. See below:


11-11-2015, 04:02 AM
I picked one up the other day. I read that you're supposed to use fishing line between 20 and 30 lbs test. The 20lb test works fine, but it doesn't like the hi C and E being tuned one octave higher than G and A. (Reminds me of a jack in the box. Turn the knob until something jumps/snaps.) I barely got the C string up to tune an octave higher, but the E was not having it. I snapped a few (always fun) and then bought some 30lb line. I got that line up to C and E, an octave higher, but it still doesn't sound like the Tahitian ukes you see online.
I wish I could just buy strings for it.

Does anyone have any more info on how we're supposed to string/tune a Tahitian uke?


11-11-2015, 02:36 PM
Did you click the link above your reply?

11-11-2015, 05:42 PM
Just google your heart out - there is a huge amount of information and footage out there.

I really like those Fullas:



And here is the tuning:


Good luck!

11-12-2015, 04:02 AM
My 8 string Kamaka is gGcCEEAA. An 8 string Tahitian banjo is tuned GGCCEEAA. All sets in unison. They do sound great when strummed fast.

11-12-2015, 04:43 AM
Did you click the link above your reply?

Yes I did.

I was asking for "any more" information, because the only info I found on the Tahitian uku site, about strings is...

"Anything from 10-30kg gauge line will do the damage. Cheaper strings need to be tuned more often and are more likely to break."

I've already dropped $20 on 20lb and 30lb line. So I don't know if I'm using "cheaper strings." But, this is also saying Kg, so am now I looking at 65+lb test?

I guess I was just hoping someone would reply with something like, "Hey Brudda, I've got one. Use spiderwire 30lb and do this..."

11-12-2015, 05:08 AM
You are treading into an area that requires a bit of calculating. I've tried various types of fishing line on 4 string ukuleles and there are a lot of differences between nylon, fluorocarbon, and even the composition between brands. The problem has to do with the amount of tension you are exerting on the neck of the ukulele. You can spend a lot of money just buying line (leaders) and end up with nothing that works.

Probably the first step is to find a string tension calculator and figure out how much tension you are tying to put on the strings. Snapping 30lb test on a ukulele is pretty significant if it is not breaking because of a rough edge.

Here is a calculator that was recommended in another thread.



11-12-2015, 12:15 PM
I had read online that they "only use fishing line," so I went with it. It was the 20 lb test that snapped. The uke is almost 3/4 of an inch thick and it's one solid piece, so it didn't have a problem with the tension. But breaking 20lb test, one turn at a time, was not fun.

I might just call one of the online dealers and ask them to send me some string.