View Full Version : Plectrum tuning

02-15-2017, 07:07 AM
Does this tuning lend itself as far as sounding better on a baritone vs a tenor or there's no real difference? Also does it sound as guitar sounding as they say? I'm thinking of trying it as a more guitar like sound to accompany vocals.

02-15-2017, 07:21 AM
I can't claim to have ever tried plectrum tuning but I remember that Southcoast did a whole write-up of it. If you haven't seen it you can find it here (http://www.southcoastukes.com/015.htm). Maybe it will prove helpful :)

02-15-2017, 10:05 AM
Does this tuning lend itself as far as sounding better on a baritone vs a tenor or there's no real difference? Also does it sound as guitar sounding as they say? I'm thinking of trying it as a more guitar like sound to accompany vocals.

Hi Rick, I've been learning the Plectrum Banjo recently and enjoy the sound very much. I'm not sure it it's more guitar like, but certainly does give a different feel to a standard GCEA tuning. There's a link in the video description to Sandy Weltman's website, he has transcribed some wonderful arrangements using Plectrum Banjo tuning for baritone and tenor ukulele.


02-15-2017, 10:28 AM
I admire people that can play alternate tunings.

My fingers go stupid if I change from tenor to concert in standard tuning.

02-15-2017, 11:12 AM
I think we can play in any tuning as long as we are not playing with other people. However, I usually end up going back to the regular GCEA tuning or regular Guitar E tuning when I play six strings. For me, its easier to stick with the original arrangement. I am just not musically creative enough to modify the tuning.

02-16-2017, 02:51 PM
I think you need to do your own research on how things sound because they will sound different to different people.
Yesterday I set up a uke with CGBd which is what the South Coast site talks about for "Plectrum Tuning". Also there is another thread about open tunings, including DGBd, which is almost the same as CGBd.
When you tune the uke to this tuning you push its voice higher and sweeter. .

Bill, with all due respect, I have no idea what you're talking about, and I doubt anyone else can figure it out either. Seems like you may have the octaves wrong, but who knows with the way you've written the notes. Do you know standard notation? Or scientific notation? Can you give us a clue?

Jim Hanks
02-16-2017, 03:44 PM
I actually followed most of what Bill said, but it does ramble a bit. Doesn't sound like I would like CGBd tuning though.

02-16-2017, 05:07 PM
Yes, after reading Bill's post I don't think I like the tuning anymore either.

02-16-2017, 06:24 PM
Sorry I did not specify an octave for my post ... South Coast website uses dgbd' - machette or cgbd' - plectrum to notate the tunings...

Bill, the octave is important if you're going to say things like

...you push its voice higher and sweeter. Maybe if it was electrified it would sound like playing up the neck on an electric guitar, but to me is has more of a mandolin sound than a guitar sound....

I've never understood the logic behind ABC notation. Seems like someone just took standard notation in the 90's, moved it down a couple of octaves, and claimed it was some sort of innovation. It gets some people confused, and this is an example. You've misquoted what was on the website as well. Machete tuning in standard notation is d' g' b' d", an octave higher, and was used on an instrument a bit smaller than a Soprano. All I can guess is that you've tuned your "Ukulele" (what size?) an octave higher than Plectrum tuning as well. At least, if as you say, you ended up with a higher voice. Standard Plectrum tuning is c g b d' in standard notation.

Rick's original question was does this tuning give a more guitar-like sound. In pitch, at least, c g b d' is a lot lower than a one line octave linear C (g c' e' a'). It's actually lower than we recommed on an Ukulele. Check back on our Plectrum page for recommendations for Tenor & Baritone Ukulele pitch. Or just listen to Cam who is playing one of them. And my remarks on "guitar-like sound" have as much to do with the lowered bass note and how that lends itself to a "guitar-like" contrast to the trebles as it does to relative pitch.

You do a great job contributing to the forum, my friend. You were just a little hasty in looking at this.

02-17-2017, 02:50 AM
What is Plectrum Tuning and why is it called Plectrum? I thought that a plectrum was a pretentious name for a pick? Should I assume that there is a special tuning for using a pick, or is that too much of a jump?

02-17-2017, 10:15 AM
Plectrum tuning is commonly used on banjos, and yes, it's generally played using a pick on the banjo. It does open up some interesting possibilities for the ukulele and adds yet another layer of sound to the existing mix.