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View Full Version : How To Re-String a Yamaha Guitalele



VegasGeorge
06-10-2016, 06:57 AM
I have a cute little Yamaha Guitalele. It's a Tenor Uke sized nylon strung guitar, i.e. six evenly spaced strings. It has a 17 inch scale.

I want to re-string it to Ukulele specs. No problem simply slapping on a Tenor Uke string set for the bottom four strings. But what should I do with the top two slots? I was thinking that the bottom four should be reentrant, and one of the top two could double the G an octave down. But what should I do with the other top slot? Should I double the C, E, or A? And which string should actually sit at the very top? Ideas?

Booli
06-10-2016, 08:04 AM
Not sure you are going to gain anything by doubling those strings other than making useful chords really difficult on 6 strings...

MANY of us here on UU also have the Yamaha GL-1, especially due to the low price for such an instrument. Mine is great for what it is, and I have installed a Mi-Si in it as well. I just wish that the nut width was 51mm standard instead of 45mm, which is cramped for me on 6 strings....

But VegasGeorge, it seems like you are trying to reinvent the wheel here...

since a standard ~25" scale length guitar is tuned EADGBE, and the 17" scale Yamaha GL-1 is designed to be tuned up a 5th, that means that standard tuning for this instrument is:

ADGCEA linear using a NORMAL set of classical guitar strings.

I have the same instrument, and ANY and ALL of the dozen or so attempts of using other strings to get EADGBE like a standard guitar either failed to have enough tension to intonate any better than +/- 20 cents off, or just sounded completely dead and muddy...

having said that if you've already got a set of tenor strings on there in C6 tuning, you can complete the set by adding 2 singles of classical guitar strings in the proper guages, which would be something like an 0.035"-0.038" WOUND classical string for the low D 5th string, and something like an 0.042"-0.046" WOUND classical string for the low A 6th string.

Also, if you want to try a re-entrant or 'Nashville' style tuning on 6 strings, one easy variant for strings, with the 6,5,4 strings re-entrant, Southcoast has a set called the EFS or 'Eddie Freeman' set.

Fellow UU brother Dr. Bekken has done a whole bunch of videos with this set of strings on his Yamaha GL-1, most of which he has posted to the forum over time, and which also you can find by searching his YouTube Channel:

https://www.youtube.com/user/drbekken/videos

mds725
06-10-2016, 10:05 AM
I thought the convention was that the strings closest to the ground when you're playing are the top strings, not the bottom strings (so named for pitch, not location relative to the player's head).

I bought Cordoba requinto a while back. It has an 18-3/4 inch scale and it's tuned like a guitar capoed at the fifth fret: ADGCEA. What differentiates this instrument in this tuning from a tenor ukulele is the ability to add bass notes (here, on the A and D strings) to chords, which changes the voicing, and to fingerpick bass notes, which is a component of some fingerpicking styles. I haven't had to change the strings yet. My plan was to just bring it to a knowledgeable stringed instrument store (like Gryphon Stringed Instruments in Palo Alto) and ask for advice.

The smaller scale allows me to learn to make guitar chord shapes (albeit in another key; a C shape on a guitar tuned EADGBE is an F on my requinto) without having to deal with the huge expanse of a traditional guitar fretboard. I already play both tenor and baritone uke, so I've become comfortable transposing in my head from C (third string) to G (third string) tuning and back.

Booli
06-10-2016, 01:32 PM
I thought the convention was that the strings closest to the ground when you're playing are the top strings, not the bottom strings (so named for pitch, not location relative to the player's head)

IN my 35+ yrs of playing guitar and bass, and in the 3yrs now playing ukulele, new strings in the package are numbered (mostly) with the fatter strings having a higher number (unless re-entrant).

i.e., GCEA is 4-3-2-1, regardless of pitch, regardless if re-entrant or linear, from your face to the floor, as you hold the instrument in playing position

for guitar EADGBE, 6-5-4-3-2-1, again face to the floor as per above

for some reason with orchestral instruments such as violin and cello, they write the strings in the opposite order, EADG, when in fact E is the HIGHEST pitch, but since the instrument is played with the finger board parallel to the floor and ceiling - when I see EADG, my experience tells me that these are BASS strings, or the 'first four' or 'top' strings of a guitar in the order as per from face to floor....

so there may be more than one way to describe the order or position of strings...

otherwise, I agree with everything else you said about the Requinto, it's tunings and chord shapes. :)

UkerDanno
06-10-2016, 06:35 PM
So, these guitalele's are basically tuned like an ukulele with 2 extra strings? and you play ukulele chord shapes?

Booli
06-10-2016, 06:48 PM
So, these guitalele's are basically tuned like an ukulele with 2 extra strings? and you play ukulele chord shapes?

In my experience you play standard GUITAR chord shapes since they are tuned like if you put a capo on the 5th fret of a full-sized guitar - HOWEVER - because they are tuned ADGCEA, AND all uke chord shapes are as if they were GUITAR chord shapes, but without the 5th and 6th GUITAR strings, you might think of it as uke chords but with 2 extra bass strings, also tuned in 4ths, that can add a harmonic note to chords voicings...

this instrument is usually considered a BRIDGE between a guitar and a uke, since it is both and neither at the same time, and can be 'approached' from either side

does the above make sense?