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LimuHead
03-13-2017, 01:15 PM
I've seen that several people here on UU have ukulele tuned in 5ths.

Although I play a low G tenor for my professional gigs I have a concert ukulele tuned GDAE that I set up to take the place of my mandolin. I really like how much easier it is to tune (only 4 strings -- not 8!) and the lower tension of the strings. I really like the extra space between strings on the fretboard. The straight-forward nature of 5ths tuning also makes sight-reading, improvisation and transposing a joy!

I mostly play Irish tunes on it at this point and also enjoy playing through the Classical Fakebook.

I'm also studying Scarpology for mandolin.

If you play 5ths tuning please chime in.

I'd like to hear what kind of instrument & tuning you use (GDAE, CGDA, other?), the music you play, if you're a reader or not, and what you like/don't like about 5ths tuning.

I will add that at first chords in 5ths tuning sounded 'too wide' after coming from the close harmonies of ukulele & guitar, but the open sound of 5ths tuning is starting to grow on me.

I'd love to hear from other 5ths players out there!

Aldon

kypfer
03-13-2017, 01:52 PM
I'm sure others will join us :)

I have a pineapple soprano with a set of Aquila 5th's on it tuned GDAE, it subs for my mandolin late of an evening. My baritone is also tuned GDAE, but an octave lower, a substitute for my tenor banjo initially, but now an instrument "in it's own right".

I play mostly folk and traditional tunes on them, more or less whatever takes my fancy. I've got dozens of music books that range from the Medieval to more or less the current day.

I like the 5th's tuning because it gives me a wide range of notes in the first position with just four strings :music:

bratsche
03-13-2017, 02:31 PM
I have only one uke - it's a baritone tuned GDAE. I can't be bothered at this late time in life to learn tunings other than fifths.

Started on violin at 9, professionally at 20, then viola, then mandola and mandolin recreationally in my 40s. The baritone uke was a recent acquisition, actually intended as a stand-in for an octave mandolin until I can get one, but I have quickly grown to love it as an instrument in its own right. As long as it's in fifths. :D

Fifths tunings allow me to learn new stringed instruments with my left hand on auto-pilot, as I learn new things to do with my right hand.

bratsche

JackLuis
03-13-2017, 02:34 PM
How about some recordings of Fifths tuning? and maybe a few chord forms?

plastuku
03-13-2017, 05:31 PM
I doubt that I'd do this, but I'm curious.

(1) Are there chord charts for this tuning?

(2) Are string sets available, or do you have to put singles together? I'm guessing the string gauges would have a wider span of thicknesses. (I'm going to look at Southcoast to see if they offer any.)

plastuku
03-13-2017, 06:22 PM
Thanks, Ubulele. Guess I should have thought to look for mandolin chords (one self-administered dope-slap).

All my ukus are tenor. Will I break those soprano strings?

edit: I just found an Amazon review that said these will break on a tenor ...

Most of the chord forms look pretty easy; just a matter of re-learning, and I'm not so far into this that I can't do that now. As soon as I can find the proper strings I'll put them on my Caramel and see how I like it.

plastuku
03-13-2017, 07:48 PM
Okay, waitaminnit ... is the mandolin tuning linear? I've found a few videos and they're tuning non-linearly: from the low G, they tune UP to the D, but the second string is the A BELOW D ...

... then I just went to a page with a mandolin tuner, and it IS linear, so I'm guessing they're using the peculiar tuning on a uke so they can do it with a uke string set? Is that it? That still doesn't quite make sense. Maybe the first string would be so thin you can't find them (in plastic) ... I think it would have to be substantially thinner than the usual .020-ish range for first strings.

Fishing line?

bratsche
03-13-2017, 08:49 PM
Here is the link to the thread "How to string Baritone Uke in GDAE" (http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/showthread.php?97711-How-to-string-Baritone-Uke-in-GDAE) on the MandolinCafe forum that first sparked my interest a few years back. It's under the Tenor Guitar section. They're tuned CGDA, and there's some overlapping discussion, but it's all about achieving fifths tuning on baritone and tenor ukes in either GDAE or CGDA. Not entirely conclusive, but it helped me when I decided to take the plunge. I'm still experimenting to find my ideal string combo, though. The guitar strings from the cheap D'Addario Pro Arte set do work, but the wound ones are too noisy under the fingers for me. (Thomastiks are next on the audition list, and I'd also like to try a low D Living Water for my 3rd string at some point.)

bratsche

kypfer
03-13-2017, 11:16 PM
Okay, waitaminnit ... is the mandolin tuning linear? I've found a few videos and they're tuning non-linearly: from the low G, they tune UP to the D, but the second string is the A BELOW D ...

... then I just went to a page with a mandolin tuner, and it IS linear, so I'm guessing they're using the peculiar tuning on a uke so they can do it with a uke string set? Is that it? That still doesn't quite make sense. Maybe the first string would be so thin you can't find them (in plastic) ... I think it would have to be substantially thinner than the usual .020-ish range for first strings.

Fishing line?

The Aquila 30U set, GDAE 5th's tuning on a soprano, (violin/mandolin tuning) has an E string of 15 thou diameter, that's 0.015" or approximately 0.38mm ... that's Nylgut remember, not ordinary nylon or fluorocarbon, if that makes any difference.

My baritone tuned GDAE (an octave lower) uses three of the original DGBE strings with a guitar E string as a bass string.

Hope this helps :music:

Mezcalero
03-14-2017, 04:29 AM
I have a Pono Tenor ukulele tuned in 5th's ~ CGDA. I initially had it strung linear and though I loved the warm sound, I felt the low C (A string from classical guitar set) was getting a bit lost in the mix when strummed. Now I have it tuned in re-entrant using a cobbled together set of strings. I am using Fremont Soloist for the G and Savarez singles for the C D and A strings, but you could use any set of low G strings to get this tuning. Switch the Low G and the C strings around so C is 4 G is 3 , then tune your E string down to D ( I bought a Savarez single with slightly higher gauge to keep tension same at D ) and your A string is in normal slot. I think this configuration sounds great. I will send a sound sample later today.

Down Up Dick
03-14-2017, 05:01 AM
My concert banjolele uses an Aquila CGDA set. I couldn't find a low, low C or a high, high E, so I gave up on fifths for my other ukuleles. I don't fingerpick them much anyway, and I don't care for the fifths chords.

I really like fifths on my Irish tenor banjo and mando-banjo though. :old:

plastuku
03-14-2017, 06:10 AM
Thanks, bratsche and kypfer. I'm still in the middle of my research. Odd I can't find much on a general web search yet, and Southcoast didn't seem to have anything about this, but I might send them an email.

daviddecom
03-14-2017, 06:30 AM
Most of my playing time is on a linear C6 tenor and a reentrant C6 concert, but I do have a cheap soprano tuned in 5ths (GDAE) using the Aquila set. I mostly use it to try to play classical violin repertoire and fiddle tunes, since I used to be a violinist years ago, but my right-hand technique isn't really up to fast runs, so it's not quite as satisfying as I had hoped. Maybe as my right-hand technique improves, it will get to be more fun. We'll see.

David

Mezcalero
03-14-2017, 06:43 AM
quick sound bite with re-entrant CGDA tuning on a Pono MTSHC-C Cedar uke.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/bpa0s2clzdilwev/Pono%20CGDA%20Sample.wav?dl=0

plastuku
03-14-2017, 09:24 AM
Okay, I finally found a post elsewhere with a reference to Southcoast and why they gave up on 5ths-tuned string sets for ukes.

Their page on that is here:

http://southcoastukes.com/021.htm

Their main objection seems to be the resonance of small instruments at low frequencies; the secondary problem being the thin first string. I'm perfectly happy with the sound of the low G on all three of my ukes, so, to me, that issue disappears.

I still want to try this; just have to figure out the string gauges needed. The mandolin chord forms look easy in most cases, and solve some problems for me in some, and I like that the symmetrical tuning reduces the number of chord forms and makes them all movable (according to other people here who've done this, including Booli).

Still researching.

SteveZ
03-14-2017, 10:44 AM
Ever since I tried a mandolin a few years ago, fifths has been my favorite. Everything I have is tuned fifths. Doing so has made me better on all instruments since playing any one reinforces the other.

Have not had any sound quality issues on normal CGDA on concert ukes and above. Sopranos just don't handle low-C at all, so re-entrant CGDA is on the Flea for now. Have re-entrant CGDA also on the Martin T1K, but that's only out of the convenience of using the low-G GCEA set that came with the instrument.

Have given up trying to go GDAE on ukes due to the thinness (and breakage) of E strings. The only E I ever found tgat would not snap through normal use was 20-pound test mono fishing line. The sound was okay, but not great at all.

bacchettadavid
03-14-2017, 10:54 AM
I recently acquired a tenor guitar from another UUer and am learning to play in fifths (CGDA) on that. I really like the wider chord voicings that tuning affords.

TheCraftedCow
03-14-2017, 02:42 PM
I have some string sets for 5th stringing...I shall find out what size and string one that way. I am familiar with mandolin and violin so it will be no big deal. It's odd...I never thought of doing it with one of my own until I read your post. Thank you.

SteveZ
03-14-2017, 02:51 PM
I have some string sets for 5th stringing...I shall find out what size and string one that way. I am familiar with mandolin and violin so it will be no big deal. It's odd...I never thought of doing it with one of my own until I read your post. Thank you.

For what its worth, I use the Aquila Concert CGDA string pack on my tenor ukes all the time. They take the tension with no problrm and sound great.

LimuHead
03-14-2017, 06:49 PM
Mahalo for the recording. It (you & the uke) sounds good!

bratsche
03-15-2017, 11:14 AM
Mmmmkay.... Just putting this out there only as a hypothetical question:

If one were to obtain a tenor uke with CGDA (normal viola tuning, that is) in mind, (not that I am actually considering getting one, of course, but if I... err... someone, were interested in such a thing)...

...What would be the most ideal combination of tonewoods to achieve a good balance for the entire range of that (hypothetical) instrument?

Just askin', y'know... for satisfaction of my own curiosity, and all....

bratsche

SteveZ
03-15-2017, 03:37 PM
Mmmmkay.... Just putting this out there only as a hypothetical question:

If one were to obtain a tenor uke with CGDA (normal viola tuning, that is) in mind, (not that I am actually considering getting one, of course, but if I... err... someone, were interested in such a thing)...

...What would be the most ideal combination of tonewoods to achieve a good balance for the entire range of that (hypothetical) instrument?

Just askin', y'know... for satisfaction of my own curiosity, and all....

bratsche

They all sound good. If it sounds fine with GCEA, then CGDA will sound good as well. Everything below is CGDA except the mandolins.

plastuku
03-22-2017, 04:55 PM
Okay, progress report. I made some ball-park guesses and did some thinking and ordered two gauges of Seaguar Blue Label; both arrived today, so I started in on the experiment of putting my tenor Caramel into GDAE tuning.

First, I knew I could leave the fourth string alone (low G), and figured out I could use a normal 1st for the A, which just moves over to second. I had some from assorted partial sets on hand. That left me needing to replace the 3rd and 1st.

I thought I might get away with a C for 3rd, but didn't want the extra tension, so for that one I got 60lb line (.029 dia.), and I got 20lb (.016 dia.) for the new E 1st string.

The 1st that was on the uke was nylon, a replacement from a previous experiment, so I wanted to replace that one, rather than use it for the 2nd.

So. I took off the first three strings and began the replacement. The new Seaguar 3rd tuned up nicely enough; no problems. For the 2nd, I put on a leftover Worth Brown A string; got it close to pitch and went on.

This is where things went sideways. The new 1st wouldn't tune up. I got about as far as G below the target E and it began going dramatically flat. It didn't break; it just wouldn't tune up all the way. On close inspection I noticed that it looked somehow crushed or twisted just above the bridge saddle. I thought it was going to break, so I replaced it. Same thing again. Replaced it again; same result. I replaced it again (this is the fourth time) and was tuning up when it did the same thing once more, only this time I happened to be watching the bridge and noticed what was happening: the knot was unraveling at the tie-bar bridge. So, this string was just too thin to hold a normal knot under the needed pitch tension.

I looked for some other kind of knot that might work, but eventually just ran the string through the tie-bar twice before putting the final four turns in it as normally works.

Four strings on. Time to tune. Fourth was fine; 3rd tuned up fine, no trouble. Then the 2nd, the A string--which was designed for that note--broke. Who knows why; I replaced it with a Worth Clear and that tuned up okay.

Tuning up that 1st now ... watching the knot, waiting for the pitch to drop ... taking my time and tuning with fingers instead of using the peg-winder ... SNAP! I think it got almost to D, and it broke somewhere up near the nut. At least the knot held.

So that's where I left it, and now I'm not sure what to try next. My choices seem to be:

(a) try again with the same line,

(b) buy the next thicker line (25lb; .017 dia.)--which would require yet more tension to tune up to E, or

(c) buy the next thinner line (15lb; .013 dia.)--less tension, but maybe still too much again.

What say ye? I want to get this to work, at least enough to find out if I like it.

Thanks.

bratsche
03-22-2017, 06:52 PM
Why not (d) - go GDAE an octave lower, like this guy? If I had a tenor I wanted tuned GDAE, that's how I'd do it, otherwise it would be like trying to tune a viola as a violin. That would be difficult to achieve, scalewise (and violas even have scales way below 17"). Of course, I already have a baritone tuned GDAE, and I don't own a tenor at present. If I did (or, perhaps, "when I do" - ;)), I'd probably want it tuned CGDA, but if I had two of them, well, then I'd probably do one of each!

bratsche


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bo0UCmGxcMg

plastuku
03-23-2017, 05:14 PM
Why not (d) - go GDAE an octave lower, like this guy? If I had a tenor I wanted tuned GDAE, that's how I'd do it, otherwise it would be like trying to tune a viola as a violin.
bratsche
I'm not sure what you mean ... is that some sort of reentrant tuning? I want linear tuning because I've been gravitating toward arpeggios, and I can use only my thumb to pluck them with (long story).

I tried a cuatro tuning (low reentrant) for a while; loved the deeper low end, but can't do the arpeggios with it.

Besides, I'm pretty certain that I got the spec of 20lb-test fishing leader for the E string from one of your own posts, and you said you didn't have breakage problems with it. I don't recall seeing what size of uke you put it on.

plastuku
03-23-2017, 05:45 PM
Okay, another update.

I tried the 20lb line again this morning, tuned it a few steps short of target and walked away; when I returned, it had broken while I wasn't looking.

I was out and about with some other chores today, so I bought both 25lb and 30lb line.

They all break, and all at about the same tension, and now I'm thinking I'm being stupid in the way I approach this. I'd be delighted if someone here can throw me a solution, but while I wait for that I'll be looking for a mathematical formula.

bratsche
03-23-2017, 06:16 PM
No, I meant linear fifths tuning, an octave below the GDAE you're trying to obtain, I believe. Like the guy in the video is using. I use that tuning on my baritone, but I think that looks like a tenor.

And sorry, but you must be confusing me with someone else, as I never experimented with fishing line nor discussed it.

bratsche

plastuku
03-23-2017, 07:33 PM
No, I meant linear fifths tuning, an octave below the GDAE you're trying to obtain, I believe. Like the guy in the video is using. I use that tuning on my baritone, but I think that looks like a tenor.

And sorry, but you must be confusing me with someone else, as I never experimented with fishing line nor discussed it.

bratsche
Hmm ... well, that would shift my problem from the treble end of the instrument to the bass end. Not sure that would be any easier. Another thing to think about, anyway; thanks.

Sorry about the confusion; that was SteveZ.

kypfer
03-23-2017, 10:03 PM
0.016" seems thin for the "E" on a tenor ... Aquila's soprano "E" string is 0.015"

If it's snapping at the nut are you sure the slot in the nut is not too tight and that there's no sharp edges?

It might be worth while using one of the on-line string-gauge calculators to find a "best guess" for your scale length. Simply check what sort of tensions are generated using a "standard" set of strings in "normal" tuning, then extrapolate for your new tuning.

Good luck :music:

Putter
03-23-2017, 11:52 PM
5th's tuning works really well on a uke, especially for solo playing.
And you're right Limuhead, sight-reading is much easier with this tuning.
I tried a set of Aquila's CGDA strings on an electric Clearwater tenor and this is what it sounds like:

Humoresque (Dvorak) (https://soundcloud.com/rj-putter/humoresque-dvorak)

The Sailor's Jacket (Irish trad) (https://soundcloud.com/rj-putter/the-sailors-jacket-irish-traditional)

plastuku
03-24-2017, 05:34 AM
Kypfer--I'll have to look at the nut slot, but I think one of the .016 strings broke in the middle. No trouble with the slot width: I widened it to accept a low-G gauge string for my experiment with cuatro tuning. It may need polished.

Also, I'm looking at the underlying formulae for calculating string gauge, tension, pitch, etc.; see this:

http://www.liutaiomottola.com/formulae/tension.htm

D'Addario's online calculator doesn't allow all the options I need; it won't show results for anything but nylon, and it won't calculate for sizes outside the range they sell. I'll look for others.

Also, I misused the word 'tension' in the post above; the proper term is 'pitch', and tension was much higher with the thicker strings. The .016 just popped harmlessly, whereas the .017 (25lb) lashed me and put a stinging welt on my thumb. I put gloves on before I tried the 30lb .020.

I'm investigating a different string material: braided fishing line; one brand name is Spider Wire. These are many times stronger per thickness than fluoro, and don't stretch, but they're really expensive. I want to run the numbers before I splurge on anything like that, but I'm having a hard time getting information on its density.

Thanks again, all.

Uke on!

SteveZ
03-24-2017, 06:33 AM
My earlier post that mentioned using 20-pound test mono fishing libe as an E5 string was meant for its use on soprano ujes. That's the only size uke that I ever had anything close to success In tuning GDAE. For tenor ukes, CGDA works well, and one can always capo t higher.

The E5 string on a soprano uke is .40mm diameter. As one can see on the chart below, that comes out to 15-pount test linev- which I never could find , so I went to 20-pound and it workedl Going by comparisons to strings needed for the same note on larger ukes, an E5 for a tenor uke would be .50mm diameter. That equates to 25-pound test.

I've had the best success when tuning mono fishing line over three days. Day one is to get it a note or two low. Day two to bring it to note. Day three is to again bring it to note (compenating for line stabilization).

98778

kypfer
03-24-2017, 09:03 AM
I'm investigating a different string material: braided fishing line; one brand name is Spider Wire. These are many times stronger per thickness than fluoro, and don't stretch, but they're really expensive. I want to run the numbers before I splurge on anything like that, but I'm having a hard time getting information on its density.

Probably not a good idea ... braided line simply does not stretch ... I use it for fishing (funnily enough) and you can feel the line touch a piece of weed at 50 yards, it really is that taught! I'd also expect the braiding to act as a damper, acoustically, so limiting resonance, but I've no experience to back that up :confused:

If you do try it, bring it up to tune very slowly so's not to overdo things!

plastuku
03-24-2017, 09:24 AM
Probably not a good idea ... braided line simply does not stretch ... I use it for fishing (funnily enough) and you can feel the line touch a piece of weed at 50 yards, it really is that taught! I'd also expect the braiding to act as a damper, acoustically, so limiting resonance, but I've no experience to back that up :confused:

If you do try it, bring it up to tune very slowly so's not to overdo things!

What is the texture of that stuff? Is it fairly smooth, or can you feel it? I've read that it actually cuts weeds, so I wonder if it's acting a little like a cable-saw. If so, I wouldn't use it on plastic fingerboards (my best two out of three ukes).

As to it not stretching, isn't that what you want? Besides, they say the same thing (with a lesser emphasis) about fluorocarbon.

plastuku
03-24-2017, 09:40 AM
For tenor ukes, CGDA works well, and one can always capo t higher.
I take it the chord shapes would be the same for both tunings ... are there charts for the CGDA tuning? And, is that C lower or higher than the low G in a common linear uke tuning?


The E5 string on a soprano uke is .40mm diameter. As one can see on the chart below, that comes out to 15-pount test linev- which I never could find , so I went to 20-pound and it workedl Going by comparisons to strings needed for the same note on larger ukes, an E5 for a tenor uke would be .50mm diameter. That equates to 25-pound test.

I've had the best success when tuning mono fishing line over three days. Day one is to get it a note or two low. Day two to bring it to note. Day three is to again bring it to note (compenating for line stabilization).
I suppose I can try that ... I want to examine that nut slot first and polish off any sharp edges I might find. All but one of my experiments failed at the nut.

Something I noticed on the one chord chart set I got for mandolin is that an awful lot of the chords are three-string only (fourth string not played) ... surprising, given the intervals, and moreso when some of the forms are shown a few frets up the board. I'll look into that in more depth, too.

Thanks again.

SteveZ
03-24-2017, 11:33 AM
The C is indeed lower. The C in CGDA is C3, The C in GCEA is C4. CGDA chord charts can be googled without a problem. A C Chord on CGDA is a G Chord on GDAE, and the progression is uniform for the other chords as well.

As far as chord fingering goes, for many fifths chords you can use two, three or four fingering patterns. It is all a matter of what feels comfortable and what the preferred sound is.

plastuku
03-24-2017, 12:23 PM
Well, I polished the nut slot a bit (rounded off the edges at the headstock side) and got a 25lb string on. Tuned it up to A and let it sit. I'll work it up slowly and see how it holds.

kypfer
03-24-2017, 02:34 PM
What is the texture of that stuff? Is it fairly smooth, or can you feel it? I've read that it actually cuts weeds, so I wonder if it's acting a little like a cable-saw. If so, I wouldn't use it on plastic fingerboards (my best two out of three ukes).

As to it not stretching, isn't that what you want? Besides, they say the same thing (with a lesser emphasis) about fluorocarbon.

The texture ... well, it's braided ... that's like plaited ... so, yes, it's not silky-smooth. As to whether it'd actually wear a fretboard under "normal" use, I don't know ... if it does it'll be doing the same to your finger!

As for the stretch (or not), it's probably about as stretchy as steel guitar strings. If you're used to winding up nylon-type strings on your ukulele it'd be very easy to over-tighten a length of braid, which just might put severe excess strain on your instrument ... just something to be aware of ;)

Flourocarbon fishing line is way more stretchy than braid line ... I use fluorocarbon for leaders, 'cos it's less visible in water than nylon ... a similar refractive index to water, apparently !! Not sure I catch more fish with it, but you gotta try these things ;)

plastuku
03-25-2017, 03:38 PM
After trying to bring that .017 up to pitch over two days, by small increments, it broke--at C#, where they all did.

So, I'm done with that, since I don't feel like hunting down a different material formulation. Now I'll try for a CGDA tuning. I just need a low string that will work for the C. Would a ~1.1 mm (~.045") go that low? I think I have something close. It's probably going to have a dull tone; I'll call it 'mellow.' Just hope it has a little sustain available.

Onward, and thanks again.

plastuku
03-26-2017, 09:22 AM
Okay, I've restrung the whole thing. I happened to have a partial Worth clear set with the extra-thick low G--don't know why I ordered those--I put that one on in 4th place and used spares from another set, putting a 4th-labeled string in 3rd, 3rd-labeled in 2nd, and so on. So far, it'll work, but the 4th is really loose and sounds lousy, like a rubber band on a cardboard box. That will do until I decide whether I like this tuning or not; if I do I can get more fluoro leader in greater thickness--this stuff looks about right:

http://seaguar.com/saltwater/fluorocarbon.html

Scroll down to "Big Game Pink Label"; the 150lb is .046" dia.

UkeNukem
07-27-2017, 09:16 AM
I am a new mandolin player and since I already play ukulele I researched the GDAE tuning on soprano uke as a quiet practice and travel mando. I already acquired a selection of Segaur flouro leader as uke strings so I should be able to use those.

I just ordered an inexpensive soprano and I will see what size line I have. I will likely need thinner size for the high E. I will try to let y'all know how it works.

Booli
07-27-2017, 01:25 PM
I'm a bit late to this thread...

First I must offer a shout-out and giant kudos to fellow UU brother SteveZ, who helped me and answered like a million questions when I first became interested in fifths tunings. His support, encouragement, advice and enthusiasm, all helped me a great deal to overcome any of my (mostly self-inflicted) impediments, and without his support and generosity I never would have discovered and come to really love the sound of, and playing and writing music in fifths tunings -

so MAHALO SteveZ!!!! :rock:

I will have more details to contribute in another, later post, but since I heard about fifths tunings as an option on the ukulele, I've become kind of obsessed with it, and have the following currently:



a 13" scale Melokia soprano in GDAE with the Aquila 30U set
a 15" scale Epiphone Les Paul concert in CGDA with the Aquila 31U set
a 17" scale mango Fluke tenor in re-entrant C4-G4-D4-A4 with Martin M620s
a 17" scale Kala KA-T tenor in a different re-entrant C4-G3-D4-A4 with D'Addario EJ99T-LG
a 20" scale Lanikai LU21-B baritone in re-entrant GDAE (octave mando) with Worth Browns (BB) baritone strings
a 22" scale Oscar Schmidt OGHS steel string acoustic guitar, converted from 6 to 4 strings, linear CGDA, with a custom string set made from D'Addario singles
a 25" scale noname dreadnaught steel string acoustic guitar, converted from 6 to 4 strings, linear GDAE (mandocello), with single courses from the D'Addario octave mando set
a 25" scale noname strat-type steel string electric guitar, converted from 6 to 4 strings, linear AEBF, with a custom string set made from D'Addario singles
an 18" scale Zither-heaven tenor banjo uke, linear CGDA, with a custom string set made from D'Addario STEEL string singles
an 18" scale Zither-heaven tenor banjo uke, linear CGDA, with a custom string set made from various classical guitar string singles



and I must say now that I have typed this out in this post, HOLY CRAP, I did not realize that I have 10 instruments tuned in fifths, and I have another 10+ ukes in variations of uke tunings, as well as many guitars, basses, etc...

I don't use them to learn other tunes. I downloaded a mandolin (GDAE) and mandola/tenor-guitar (CGDA) chord chart PDF from somewhere, and printed them out, and have been using these instruments to write my own music.

I found the chord fingerings pretty easy (been playing guitar for over 30 yrs) and on some of the scale lengths easier than others. I love the symmetry of this tuning, and am discovering lots of movable chord shapes by ear, and loving this process and would hate to be subject to the dogmatic approach of some 'method books' because the aural discovery is part of the pleasure for me...

Discovery of the fretboard in fifths tunings compared to the modified-fourths we use on guitar and uke, or perfect-fourths used on bass has literally opened up a whole new landscape for me to explore.

I love the wide span of the pitches that compose chords in 5ths tunings, and a lot of my music is an adaptation of sort of a Flamenco meets Chord-Melody with a salting of Campanella and other fingerstyle nuances.

Some of the music I've written in fifths tunings, when played on an ukuele in standard GCEA just sounds congested and cramped due to the closer voicing of the chords, and some ukulele songs I've written sound too wide open when played on fifths-tuned instrument.

I don't solo or do runs or muted chunking at all, and trad. mando players will likely see these tunes as blasphemy because I'm not playing like Chris Thile or Sara Jarosz or Sierra Hull (btw, I love ALL their music).

All of my music here in fifths tunings is instrumental by design, and specifically so as there is NO REASON for me to sing, as the melody is already integrated into what I am playing.

I am NOT a great singer and I get much more satisfaction in letting the instrument speak/sing FOR ME.

There are no recordings yet to share, but at some point I hope to have about 2-3 albums worth of music that I've written available online through the usual platforms (CDBaby, iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Pandora, etc), but I have to actually record it all first (yes, home studio since 1985 in one form or other).

I've written way more than I though here. I dont have any of the string gauges in memory, but I will have to measure with a digital micrometer and record them, since otherwise I have no way to get replacements if/when a string breaks.

Sorry for my digression and sorry for rambling on so long. I dont even know if I properly answered the topic of this thread and right now feel quite drained, but hopefully this post will offer some insight or inspiration to anyone reading it.

...and thank you for reading all of these words...but now I will depart for a while...:)

Cornfield
07-27-2017, 02:40 PM
I e had a couple of tenor guitars tuned in Chicago DGBE. Last week I got my Martin tenor strung as CGRA . I love it. Playing arpeggios , they sound so much better. I'm getting a Koolau CE1 in a few days and am considering GDAE tuning for it

UkeNukem
07-31-2017, 06:52 AM
What I think is cool is how there are so many iterations withing the construct of a "small 4 string instrument!" As a musician who normally does things abnormally, or non-standard, I applaud other players who have the courage to modifiy an instrument to match their style.

I doubt if I will have more than one ukulele tuned GDAE because the soprano is so close in scale to a mandolin. It's perfect for my application. I am jonesing for a better mandolin however!

My new soprano arrives tomorrow so I am excited to experiment with it but for me any new instrument gets tweaked anyway.

UkeNukem
08-04-2017, 05:54 AM
Not ready quite yet because I ordered another Soprano based on this thread.

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?128502-Enya-EUR-X1-Soprano-Camp-Uke-Looking-for-a-bargain

I finished up sanding the nut/saddle on the Mahalo from GC and am putting a set of GHS black cheapo's I had (the hairbrush type) as a possible uke for my grandson when we visit next month.

The original plan using fishing leader is still on but with the Enya Soprano instead.

Cornfield
08-04-2017, 11:12 AM
I switched my vintage generic tenor banjo from using reentrant fluorocarbon dGBE to light steel CGDA strings his week. I decided not to move any of my ukes to fifth tuning though.

NewKid
08-04-2017, 11:44 AM
I bought the Concert Aquila fifths tuned set and put it on my tenor uke tuned CDGA. Made a great uke even better!

UkeNukem
08-10-2017, 03:12 AM
Update. I put fluorocarbon leader on the Enya soprano I just acquired and it "works" but I will be getting the Aquila 5ths at some point.

The heaviest leader I have is 80# and it is way too loose for the G. Maybe ok for D. if I had 100# for the G it might be about right, but getting that would be as much or more as the proper set. If I go re entrant I could make it work for sure but melody is what I need to practice most.

Otherwise, it's a great little uke.

UkeNukem
08-15-2017, 08:43 AM
Update-

I got the Aquila 30U set and installed it. Took a couple days to tune to pitch and still stretching but it works! Very nice tone, these strings, this is the first time I have used the Nylguts. The strings are smooth and I bet in regular tuning they are not so tight.

Thanks again everyone for your ideas and tips on uke mando tuning!
:shaka:

Booli
08-15-2017, 08:57 AM
Update. I put fluorocarbon leader on the Enya soprano I just acquired and it "works" but I will be getting the Aquila 5ths at some point.

The heaviest leader I have is 80# and it is way too loose for the G. Maybe ok for D. if I had 100# for the G it might be about right, but getting that would be as much or more as the proper set. If I go re entrant I could make it work for sure but melody is what I need to practice most.

Otherwise, it's a great little uke.

I've tried up to 130# fluoro leader, and also 100# leader, and neither worked well for me in tension, tone nor intonation, in trying to build an all-fluoro set in CDGA for tenor or GDAE on baritone.


Update-

I got the Aquila 30U set and installed it. Took a couple days to tune to pitch and still stretching but it works! Very nice tone, these strings, this is the first time I have used the Nylguts. The strings are smooth and I bet in regular tuning they are not so tight.

Thanks again everyone for your ideas and tips on uke mando tuning!

You might find my new posts linked below helpful for string selection:

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?128714-mandola-gt-ukulele-tuning-feasible&p=1988470#post1988470

and

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?128714-mandola-gt-ukulele-tuning-feasible&p=1988859#post1988859

UkeNukem
08-15-2017, 09:56 AM
Thanks Booli, I did see those.

I noticed this morning that the tension must be pulling the neck because the action is higher at the 12th fret. Not that I can see much bend in the neck. So, whenever I change strings I might sand the bottom of the saddle a wee bit.

The high E is very thin, compared to the line I used before, which I think was 20#. Makes it scary tuning it up, but it made it so far.

When I got the uke I did open up and polish the nut slots and polish both sides of the top of the saddle (based on comments I read here).

Dmitriy
12-19-2018, 07:17 AM
Hi. I have a tenor ukulele and want to string it in fifths like a violin GDAE. And I was going to order a 25lb Seaguar line for the E string. And just found your post. Very sad it is not working. There are other fishing line called Seaguar Fluoro Premier. They have smaller diameter for the same pound test value compared to Blue Label. Maybe they will work better for the E. What do you think?

SteveZ
12-19-2018, 12:31 PM
Hi. I have a tenor ukulele and want to string it in fifths like a violin GDAE. And I was going to order a 25lb Seaguar line for the E string. And just found your post. Very sad it is not working. There are other fishing line called Seaguar Fluoro Premier. They have smaller diameter for the same pound test value compared to Blue Label. Maybe they will work better for the E. What do you think?

I think you're going to have a tough time keeping any E5 on a tenor from snapping. If GDAE on a tenor is the goal, you may have more success to go CGDA or DAEB and capo for it.

Lapyang
12-19-2018, 04:57 PM
Hi. I have a tenor ukulele and want to string it in fifths like a violin GDAE. And I was going to order a 25lb Seaguar line for the E string. And just found your post. Very sad it is not working. There are other fishing line called Seaguar Fluoro Premier. They have smaller diameter for the same pound test value compared to Blue Label. Maybe they will work better for the E. What do you think?

I use Aquila 31u on my Tenor, tuning it to CGDA like a cello just an octave higher. Works great. All the music and fingerings for GDAE will work.

Down Up Dick
12-20-2018, 03:02 AM
I have a concert banjolele, a concert uke and a tenor guitar all tuned in CGDA fifths. My tenor banjo and my mando banjo are tuned in GDAE fifths. I might change my DGBD baritone uke too, but I kinda like the way it is.

Though I usually prefer the lower tones, I like the CGDA sound better. Fifths tuning is fun to play I highly recommend it.

I just received two books of Bach’s Cello Suites. One in GDAE and one in CGDA. I’m banging away at the first Prelude now. It seems doable. The books are written in regular music and tabs, so I can play them on a flute too, if I choose to.

Most of the pieces have no chords or only a few easy ones. That suits me just fine. Chords are not my forte’. :old:

merlin666
12-20-2018, 03:59 AM
Very interesting thread. I come from a guitar background so linear uke came natural and I now also enjoy re-entrant. I have a second concert sized uke coming, and am contemplating a supplemental use for it. The 5ths tuning has potential, becuase I have many friends with mandolins and I am getting intrigued by that instrument but far from willing to buy and learn this, and I am also thinking about having my grandfather's old violin (he died 45 years ago) restored and figuring out how to use that. So a 5ths uke would be a baby step toward this. There are many string options discussed here already, but is someone able to sum this up for what might work for a concert?

Wukulele
12-27-2018, 09:45 AM
New 4 stringed Mandolin (Magic Fluke concert Flea uke w/ mando tailpiece, hardwood fretboard)
https://www.magicfluke.com/Mandolin-p/flea_mandolin.htm

'Same look and feel of the Flea ukuleles, but set up as a four string mandolin. 14" scale, GDAE tuning,
D'Addario phosphor bronze steel strings, arched top with floating rosewood bridge, 19 fret hardwood fretboard,
Peghed tuners, side sound-port. Optional solid spruce top (pictured).
Choose laminate hoop pine or walnut top for maximum durability; or Adirondack red spruce for big, bright, traditional mandolin sound.
price: $395.00

114313

Joe King
12-27-2018, 11:53 AM
New 4 stringed Mandolin (Magic Fluke concert Flea uke w/ mando tailpiece, hardwood fretboard)
https://www.magicfluke.com/Mandolin-p/flea_mandolin.htm

'Same look and feel of the Flea ukuleles, but set up as a four string mandolin. 14" scale, GDAE tuning,
D'Addario phosphor bronze steel strings, arched top with floating rosewood bridge, 19 fret hardwood fretboard,
Peghed tuners, side sound-port. Optional solid spruce top (pictured).
Choose laminate hoop pine or walnut top for maximum durability; or Adirondack red spruce for big, bright, traditional mandolin sound.
price: $395.00

114313

Good eye! I saw that last week myself.

I should point out the fact that this instrument has steel strings, which is a whole other world from the Aquila 30U GDAE or 31U CGDA string sets.

Because of the steel strings, this is going to be a very different experience for those that have only ever played on a nylon-type string instrument (3x more string tension, way brighter and louder sound, and cutting into the fingertips until heavy calluses form).

Down Up Dick
12-27-2018, 11:59 AM
New 4 stringed Mandolin (Magic Fluke concert Flea uke w/ mando tailpiece, hardwood fretboard)
https://www.magicfluke.com/Mandolin-p/flea_mandolin.htm

'Same look and feel of the Flea ukuleles, but set up as a four string mandolin. 14" scale, GDAE tuning,
D'Addario phosphor bronze steel strings, arched top with floating rosewood bridge, 19 fret hardwood fretboard,
Peghed tuners, side sound-port. Optional solid spruce top (pictured).
Choose laminate hoop pine or walnut top for maximum durability; or Adirondack red spruce for big, bright, traditional mandolin sound.
price: $395.00

114313

How is it a mandolin with only four strings? Well, maybe a steel string flea ukulele tunned in 5ths — I dunno . . . :old:

Wukulele
12-27-2018, 03:03 PM
Good eye! I saw that last week myself.

I should point out the fact that this instrument has steel strings, which is a whole other world from the Aquila 30U GDAE or 31U CGDA string sets.

Because of the steel strings, this is going to be a very different experience for those that have only ever played on a nylon-type string instrument (3x more string tension, way brighter and louder sound, and cutting into the fingertips until heavy calluses form).

edit take 3
Should be as easy as light steel-stringed guitar? A tiny bit tougher than a fiddle/violin? Bit more tough than nylon/fluoro-stringed ukes & way the hell easier than an actual mandolin? (is there such a thing as an easy on the fingers mandolin?)



How is it a mandolin with only four strings? Well, maybe a steel string flea ukulele tunned in 5ths ó I dunno . . . :old:

Personally I'm grateful it "only" has 4 strings...

SteveZ
12-28-2018, 02:25 AM
I have a concert banjolele, a concert uke and a tenor guitar all tuned in CGDA fifths. My tenor banjo and my mando banjo are tuned in GDAE fifths. I might change my DGBD baritone uke too, but I kinda like the way it is.

Though I usually prefer the lower tones, I like the CGDA sound better. Fifths tuning is fun to play I highly recommend it.

I just received two books of Bach’s Cello Suites. One in GDAE and one in CGDA. I’m banging away at the first Prelude now. It seems doable. The books are written in regular music and tabs, so I can play them on a flute too, if I choose to.

Most of the pieces have no chords or only a few easy ones. That suits me just fine. Chords are not my forte’. :old:

Started using "reentrant C CGDA" a while ago on the banjo-ukes as an experiment, mainly because I can use low-G GCEA uke strings (available everywhere). Found I liked the sound on a banjo-uke and it works well even for picking. Not as pleased with it on the acoustic ukes, but that happens.

Down Up Dick
12-28-2018, 03:41 AM
Started using "reentrant C CGDA" a while ago on the banjo-ukes as an experiment, mainly because I can use low-G GCEA uke strings (available everywhere). Found I liked the sound on a banjo-uke and it works well even for picking. Not as pleased with it on the acoustic ukes, but that happens.

Iím not much of a strummer, though some of my ukes have reentrant tuning. I also donít seem to use the G-C (#4) string much, but itís really irritating to try to use when itís strung high. I mostly fingerpick. Iím a melody person.

I planned to strum and sing when I started, but it just didnít happen. I got tangled up in all those darned chords. The same thing, more or less, happened with my keyboard. I only learned the basic chords, and then gave up and started ďfinger pickingĒ it. My musical experience has been with different wind instruments for many years. One note at a time and no chords. Chords are anathema.

I really enjoy 5ths tuning, and Iím making good progress with it. My Bach books donít have many chords, and I think they are doable. My Irish and Italian music books are completely without chords, so the only chords I play are the few in my American 2 finger banjo music.

I am almost chordless ó ahhh . . . :old:

Down Up Dick
12-28-2018, 05:32 AM
I was thinking of tuning my eighter with two packs of concert 5th strings and make it a mandolin-uke. But it’s a tenor, and I don’t want to bother putting all those concert strings on a tenor.

So I’m saving my eighter, as is, to play/sing from my book of Hawaiian songs. Someday I’ll put on my grass skirt and my woven palm leaf hat and my hibiscus lei and get down wid my bad hula self!
:old:

Wiggy
02-11-2019, 02:37 PM
I wish I had learned 5ths tuning 60 years ago, before I got my first guitar. It took 40 years of getting nowhere befor I finally ditched guitar. It took another 4 to try 5ths. Like you, trying to tune all those strings on a cheap mandolin just added to the frustration. Enter the Ukulele... you know the rest! ;)

I just strung a Luna Soprano Pineapple Tattoo in 5ths, so I can use mandolin chords and picking. Wow! 5ths makes so much more sense (to me anyway). I love the high E string, it really sings, and it's a long way down to the low G.

I tried the Aquila 30U set, but felt the tension was too high. Here's what I ended up with: G .028w - D .0318 - A .024 - E .016 (All D'Addario's). YMMV.

-Wiggy

merlin666
02-11-2019, 05:38 PM
I am getting a luthier built concert and this thread inspired me to ask him to put the Aquila 5ths set on. It's supposed to be done in the next few weeks. I have no idea what can be played with it and how it will sound. So would appreciate a few links to resources with tabs or songs with chord charts that sound good. Celtic, classical, or pop I'm pretty open minded.

SteveZ
02-12-2019, 02:16 AM
I was thinking of tuning my eighter with two packs of concert 5th strings and make it a mandolin-uke. But it’s a tenor, and I don’t want to bother putting all those concert strings on a tenor.

So I’m saving my eighter, as is, to play/sing from my book of Hawaiian songs. Someday I’ll put on my grass skirt and my woven palm leaf hat and my hibiscus lei and get down wid my bad hula self!
:old:

Have my 8-string at cC-gG-DD-AA. Did have it at CC-GG-DD-AA (mandola tuning), but wanted to vary the sound a bit. Will probably go back to mandola tuning at the next string change.

merlin666
02-12-2019, 03:47 AM
The world if fifth tuning is huge. The learning resources are huge. Its a world where you need to at least have an inkling of where you want to go to avoid being frustrated and confused. The first learning resource to track down is some music you like to hear played in fifths. You can pick any mandolin or fiddle or violin player and follow them. When you have no idea, listen to a spread of music from the most famous violin pieces to the most famous bluegrass and folk pieces. Just type "10 most famous ....... pieces" into google and you will get some lists. Once you hear something you like, track down the composer and player. Now you have a starting point for playing music tuned in fifths. From the starting point, you can work through the learning stages and you will find a path way you enjoy. It may not be anything like the starting point.

I regularly play with fiddlers and some mandolin players and I have a book full of tunes, but I really don't like translating from sheet music notation to fretboard and guess about "best" fingering, so prefer tabs. Maybe I should check out some mandolin sites for songs with chords. I am more chord oriented and most likely will tend toward fingerpicking arrangements to give the thumb some bass line opportunities.

John boy
02-14-2019, 06:38 PM
Just joined the forum and find this thread right on point. I have a Kala tenor that is tuned CGDA (as I am used to that tuning from tenor banjo and tenor guitar). I am now trying to figure out fifths tuning for my new Kala bari. It came with the usual DGBE tuning. Kala advises me not to tune it up to CGDA as the high A tuning might damage the neck. So I am thinking of either doing CGDA an octave lower (using the Guadalupe custom bari GCEA strings which are an octave lower than tenor uke, meaning that high A won't put too much pressure on the neck) or else trying GDAE. Thanks for a very interesting thread.

SteveZ
02-15-2019, 03:54 AM
Just joined the forum and find this thread right on point. I have a Kala tenor that is tuned CGDA (as I am used to that tuning from tenor banjo and tenor guitar). I am now trying to figure out fifths tuning for my new Kala bari. It came with the usual DGBE tuning. Kala advises me not to tune it up to CGDA as the high A tuning might damage the neck. So I am thinking of either doing CGDA an octave lower (using the Guadalupe custom bari GCEA strings which are an octave lower than tenor uke, meaning that high A won't put too much pressure on the neck) or else trying GDAE. Thanks for a very interesting thread.

All of this has me thinking of getting a baritone (haven't had one for years) and tune it CGDA. It would match nicely with the steel-string tenor guitars already in the stable.

Strings are always an issue. I use mainly Aquila NylGut. I like the "juststrings.com" website because it gives the string diameters and applied tension in each package's "description" section. That allows me to mix-and-match easier by computing the needs with string diameter and tension.

The goal for CGDA is C3-G3-D4-A4. It looks like one can get the C3-G3 with the two wound strings (D3-G3) from juststrings.com with the Aquila ABGT package and the other two (D4-A4) from the E4-A4 strings in the Aquila ABUK package. The tensions should be good, with each string in the 3.6-4.6 kg range.

John boy
02-15-2019, 04:37 AM
Thanks Steve. Great info about the Aquila ABUK package. I will definitely grab a set and go from there. Since my tenor banjo and tenor guitar are in CGDA, it will make things easier on my poor little brain to have the bari uke tuned the same way.

SteveZ
02-16-2019, 03:15 AM
Thanks Steve. Great info about the Aquila ABUK package. I will definitely grab a set and go from there. Since my tenor banjo and tenor guitar are in CGDA, it will make things easier on my poor little brain to have the bari uke tuned the same way.

i'm the same. Everything 4-string-based is in 5ths. What kind of TG and TB do you have? Have to admit loving the TG for its versatility.

Cornfield
02-16-2019, 03:59 AM
I've switched my uke back to GCEA tuning. I still have 3 tenor guitars and two mandolins in fifths but some TG's may change soon.

rox
02-16-2019, 04:33 AM
I played viola for many years growing up, so when I discovered fifths tuning for ukulele was possible about a year ago, I quicky bought a second uke so I could keep one standard, and try out CGDA on another.

So I have a concert in fifths, and I don't play it very often, but when I do it's mostly just to play through some of my old viola music for fun. It's also much easier for me to figure out melodies by ear on it, because my brain is still wired to think in fifths. I'd like to eventually do more fingerstyle stuff on it, but I've been lazy about actually searching out new music to try.

John boy
02-16-2019, 08:52 AM
i'm the same. Everything 4-string-based is in 5ths. What kind of TG and TB do you have? Have to admit loving the TG for its versatility.

My tenor guitar is the Kala acoustic, KA-GTR. It really sings, a very sweet sound to my ear. I've got two tenor banjos -- one is a GoldTone archtop 19-fret, I believe the model is AT-250 if I recall correctly, and the other is an old Washburn Style C (circa 1927) that was given to me by my great-uncle about 50 years ago. All of them are in CGDA, so that tuning is drilled into me.

And to follow up on your earlier post, I've ordered a set of those Aquila ABUK strings so I can use the high E and A from that set, and put them on my baritone uke as the high D and A strings just as you suggested, to get the CGDA tuning. After I receive them and install them, I'll report back on how it goes. Thanks for the advice.

SteveZ
02-16-2019, 02:07 PM
My tenor guitar is the Kala acoustic, KA-GTR. It really sings, a very sweet sound to my ear. I've got two tenor banjos -- one is a GoldTone archtop 19-fret, I believe the model is AT-250 if I recall correctly, and the other is an old Washburn Style C (circa 1927) that was given to me by my great-uncle about 50 years ago. All of them are in CGDA, so that tuning is drilled into me.

And to follow up on your earlier post, I've ordered a set of those Aquila ABUK strings so I can use the high E and A from that set, and put them on my baritone uke as the high D and A strings just as you suggested, to get the CGDA tuning. After I receive them and install them, I'll report back on how it goes. Thanks for the advice.

Hope it works well. I've done a lot of string-experimentation thanks to the info available at Juststrings.com. Without it I'd be lost.

John boy
02-24-2019, 05:11 AM
To close the loop on this, I had CGDA tuning on my baritone for a few days. Thanks to SteveZ for pointing me towards some strings (the Aquila ABUK) that I could use for the high D and A strings. They worked as suggested. However, as it turned out, I wasn't crazy about the sound. The A seemed too thin, especially higher up the fretboard -- it lost the baritone-ness of the sound; it seemed like a baritone on the low end and a concert on the high end. So after a few days I returned it to DGBE tuning. Perhaps in the future I'll try the GDAE tuning for fifths. Experimenting with tunings is one of the most interesting things about stringed instruments, eh?

merlin666
04-30-2019, 05:42 AM
I finally received my luthier built concert with the Aquila 31U set installed. The uke is vintage Martin inspired, so the body is narrower than on many other concert sized ukes. My impressions so far are mixed. I like the challenge of learning an almost "new" instrument and exploring its potential. But I don't care much for wound strings and I feel that they are too slack to sound good. Strumming is quite unbalanced and I don't think that the C and G strings can get enough volume with the small body. I have found some tabs but they are mainly melodic solos and not the fingerstyle with bass line type tabs I prefer. So it seems I will focus on learning chords for the left hand and let the right hand do it's own thing and I will see where this gets me for accompanying my singing. I think I will give it a few months until the wound strings are worn out and then decide if I re-string re-entrant or if keep on going with the fifth intervals.

If anyone has some suitable tabs please share. Also, I wonder if a capo might help?

John boy
05-01-2019, 07:10 AM
I don't have any tabs to share, but there are a few tenor banjo books out there, which would use the same tuning and same fingering patterns. Also, I don't know whether you're into classical music on ukes, but there is a fantastic musician, Rob McKillop, who has published a book of the Bach cello suites for tenor banjo (CGDA tuning). You could use any of those, but not sure it's the type of music you're looking for.

Down Up Dick
05-01-2019, 12:42 PM
I don't have any tabs to share, but there are a few tenor banjo books out there, which would use the same tuning and same fingering patterns. Also, I don't know whether you're into classical music on ukes, but there is a fantastic musician, Rob McKillop, who has published a book of the Bach cello suites for tenor banjo (CGDA tuning). You could use any of those, but not sure it's the type of music you're looking for.

I’m working on the first suite with my Cello Banjo. It’s comin’ along — slowly. My memory’s so bad that it takes a while for me to digest it. I’m havin’ a good with it though.

Incidentally, I have the Kala KA-GTR too, and I’m really enjoying it. It’s a lot of fun to play. :old:

John boy
05-01-2019, 03:05 PM
Indeed it is, a great little guitar. And good luck with the suites. They are beautiful on tenor-tuned instruments.

merlin666
05-03-2019, 05:07 AM
It seems my vigorous strumming approach that I use on the gcea ukes is not working well on the cgda concert. I found a lot of resources for learning the cgda chords so focus on the left hand. But now I also wonder about suitable right-hand techniques to make the 5th concert sing. Do you have any suggestions?

John boy
05-03-2019, 05:30 AM
That is a good question. I use my uke in fifths tuning for playing chord-melody stuff, which doesn't involve any vigorous strumming (mostly jazz standards). I can see where strumming might sound unbalanced with such a wide range of notes being covered. I think some of the tenor banjo books out there cover the right hand, but that's for a banjo and I don't know if it's even applicable to a ukulele. Are you using your fingers to strum, or a pick?

merlin666
05-03-2019, 06:05 AM
That is a good question. I use my uke in fifths tuning for playing chord-melody stuff, which doesn't involve any vigorous strumming (mostly jazz standards). I can see where strumming might sound unbalanced with such a wide range of notes being covered. I think some of the tenor banjo books out there cover the right hand, but that's for a banjo and I don't know if it's even applicable to a ukulele. Are you using your fingers to strum, or a pick?

I use picks for my steel string guitars, but really enjoy using fingers on the ukes and I tend to mix picking and strumming (which oddly I seem to do mainly with the middle finger). Do you have examples how you play chord-melody?

John boy
05-03-2019, 06:35 AM
Well, I don't have any recordings (I actually don't have any recording equipment, except I suppose I could use my cell phone). But to try to describe it, in a typical song that I would play, I use my fingers, no picks or fingerpicks. I play chords often on beat 1 of each measure or phrase, and here and there within phrases, so it's a pattern of single notes being punctuated or anchored here and there by chords.

When I play a chord, I don't strum it. I finger-pluck each string at the same time (or sometimes one by one in "arpeggio" style), so it's a softer sound than a strum. An advantage of finger-picking the chords instead of strumming is that if you want to emphasize the bass note more than the other notes in the chord, or emphasize the top note more than the other notes, you can do it, simply by plucking that particular string harder and plucking the other three strings a bit softer. So it gives you more flexibility. Sorry if that's complicated to follow. It's easier to show than to write.

merlin666
05-03-2019, 06:51 AM
Sorry if that's complicated to follow. It's easier to show than to write.

Thanks your description is very encouraging, as it sounds like what I lean toward too. Part of the learning curve is that with CGDA in addition to basic chords many of the shapes are also easily movable, so it takes a bit of planning and trial and error to find a good fit position to match chord to melody.

John boy
05-03-2019, 07:31 AM
Right, that is one of the challenges and also advantages of fifths tuning. You can play a three-string chord on the top three strings on frets 1 through 3, or play the exact same chord shape on the bottom three strings on frets 8 through 10, so you need to shift around and experiment to find what works best. Finding the right location is the challenge. The advantage is the fingering patterns, or shapes, stay the same up and down the fingerboard, regardless of which strings you're on. Good brain exercise, as well as good ear training. Good luck with it.

bunnyf
05-03-2019, 08:28 AM
I love the symmetry of fifths tuning on my mando but also love the close harmonies of my regularly tuned ukes/guitars. They each do different things better and each has their challenges.

John boy
05-03-2019, 10:40 AM
Agreed, bunnyf. There's no best way -- just options to choose from.

Wiggy
06-28-2019, 11:21 PM
This combination on a soprano "mandolin tuning" has a comfortable feel, and has reasonable tension.
The Aquila 30U set was way too tight!

G .028w D'addario D .0318 D'addario A .024 D'addario E .016 D'addario (or Savarez .0157)

I've had the .016 on 2 sopranos since mid-february. After considerable abuse, the .016 has proven to be very durable. I haven't broken one yet.

Initial testing of Savarez .0157 is also good. All are available from JustStrings.com or Stringsbymail.com

-Wiggy

bunnyf
06-29-2019, 02:04 AM
I play chord melody much like John boy does. I finger pick the melody and intersperse with chords or usually partial chords where appropriate (first beat or long held notes). I do just strum the chords tho, generally and make sure that the chords inversion I use puts the melody note on top. I’m pretty much playing it just like my mandolin.