View Full Version : How to lower the tension of a guitalele

03-01-2017, 06:49 PM
Guitalele is a hybrid of ukulele and guitar. It has 6 strings and the tuning is ADGCEA, which bottom 4 strings are same as GCEA ukulele. In terms of tuning, guitalele is more ukulele friendly than baritone ukulele. I use soprano and guitalele. My guitalele has steel strings and the tension is not so low. Lately I get used to the low tension of soprano and I do not play guitalele much. Hence I decided to lower its tension. It was not too difficult.

I removed the 6th string of my guitalele and shift 1st to 5th strings to bass side (figure below).

https://s19.postimg.org/ib5nv8jyb/guitalele_tuning02.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/6m1o79szj/)picture host (https://postimage.org/)

I added extra light string of electric guitar as the 1st string. This shift is same as perfect 4th interval, because the tuning is perfect 4th between the lines. Hence the effect may be similar to the shift from tenor (highest tension in C tuning) to soprano (lowest tension).

The result is very good so far. Lower tension brings me better playability and sound is still quite good. I can switch between soprano and guitalele very smoothly.

03-02-2017, 02:42 AM
If you want to lower the tension you can drop the tuning 2 steps and use a capo on the second fret. You lose 2 frets, but the fret spacing becomes smaller and the string tension is less also. I used to do this with my 12 string guitar to lessen the strain on the instrument. Less tension does have negatives regarding tone, so my advice would really be to get used to the higher tension. My Tiple is steel strung with a tenor scale length and very playable. You don't have to strangle the neck to get a clear tone. Finger placement is the key.