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View Full Version : Lusting for a tenor guitar...or low g monster?



cml
06-15-2017, 09:21 PM
I played a tenor guitar about a year ago and loved the sound, tuned to gCEA. I've been trying to get a good sounding low g uke since, but not entirely happy with what I've got.

The Pono UL line is too expensive, they look ideal otherwise. Another option is a tenor guitar, they can be had under 200$. But I'm worried the nut width is too small...I'm used to 1.5".

Any input?

Croaky Keith
06-15-2017, 10:27 PM
Maybe a baritone with a string change, solid mahogany. :)

(There is a set of low low G strings available, or just low G on a bari might do it for you.)

DownUpDave
06-15-2017, 11:23 PM
Maybe a baritone with a string change, solid mahogany. :)

(There is a set of low low G strings available, or just low G on a bari might do it for you.)

I agree with Keith. I have had a few of my baritones tuned low G and the larger body and longer scale length give a nice full sound. Its a super-super tenor of sorts.

You have a few string options depending on the tension you like. If you don't mind a little higher tension (than a normal tenor) just throw on your favorite set of low G strings. If you want lower tension under finger (about the same as normal tenor) use a concert set with a wound low G, like a Fremont soloist or the low G string from a set of Oasis. The D'Addario NYL030 is a good inexpensive wound string you can use for low G. It is a classical guitar string.

SteveZ
06-16-2017, 01:36 AM
I played a tenor guitar about a year ago and loved the sound, tuned to gCEA. I've been trying to get a good sounding low g uke since, but not entirely happy with what I've got.

The Pono UL line is too expensive, they look ideal otherwise. Another option is a tenor guitar, they can be had under 200$. But I'm worried the nut width is too small...I'm used to 1.5".

Any input?

Don't worry about the nut width. You just adapt to it. I go from tenor guitar clear down to mandolin (doesn't get tighter!) and you just adjust to the instrument.

As far as sound goes, the steel-string sound is indeed different than nylon.

cml
06-16-2017, 07:23 AM
Thanks for your input fellas. I like the baritone idea, I might try that. Maybe get one on the cheap to see if I like the sound, string tension etc. I have a concert set and a thomastik infeld string lying about that could work perhaps?

Ukulelerick9255
06-16-2017, 11:18 AM
I have a blueridge tenor guitar which I love, the BR-40TCE which has a pickup built in, I tuned like a baritone DGBE, a tenor guitar just doesn't sound right in gcea to me.

DownUpDave
06-16-2017, 11:56 AM
I have a blueridge tenor guitar which I love, the BR-40TCE which has a pickup built in, I tuned like a baritone DGBE, a tenor guitar just doesn't sound right in gcea to me.

That is the same tenor guitar I have, tuned the same as well. It is a fabulous instrument, it does have a narrow neck (1-1/4") but as SteveZ said you do adapt fairly quickly.

Ukulele Eddie
06-16-2017, 06:28 PM
I bought a BlueRidge tenor guitar that was gorgeous and wonderful tone. I could not adjust to the banjo-style neck so retuned it with the generous return window. I'm admittedly a slow learner on the music bus, so perhaps as @DownUpDave and others have said you'll adapt more readily.

Maybe be another option would be a parkour guitar? Alvarez makes some really great values from what I've read.

cml
06-17-2017, 03:12 AM
I changed strings on my latest build, which I had as a high g before. It sounds great in low g, but still not the really really deep sound I want. This'll keep me happy for a few weeks while pondering what to do.

DownUpDave
06-17-2017, 03:20 AM
I changed strings on my latest build, which I had as a high g before. It sounds great in low g, but still not the really really deep sound I want. This'll keep me happy for a few weeks while pondering what to do.

A couple thoughts......tune your tenor down to B or Bb it really does make it sound deeper with more resonance. For that sound you seem to really, really want there is no substitute for a baritone tuned DGBE.

Croaky Keith
06-17-2017, 04:04 AM
Yep, the DGBE of a baritone is a lot lower, plus it has a bigger body, which gives more depth & sustain to the sound.
I've had low G tenors which sounded good, but the bari is that much deeper in tone. :)

JackLuis
06-17-2017, 06:21 AM
Depending upon the instrument, tuning a Tenor to dGBE give you a much deeper tone than GCEA. Some Tenors, ( most I suspect) will work this way. Detuning standard Hi G strings, like D'A EJ99T or Fremont Black lines work well so it's not much problem. If you don't like the feel or sound, just tune up to A, or Bb.
I like the slacker tension of the strings and playing Baritone chord forms is reasonable easy to adapt too.

PhilUSAFRet
06-17-2017, 04:02 PM
Kala tenor guitars are slightly wider at the nut than most at 1 1/4" and the solid topped model a pretty good instrument for that kind of money.

igorthebarbarian
06-17-2017, 05:31 PM
Have played a Blueridge BR-40 and the super narrow neck is noticeably narrower and hard to get used to. That more so than steel strings surprisingly

olphart
06-18-2017, 04:30 AM
Maybe a baritone with a string change, solid mahogany. :)

(There is a set of low low G strings available, or just low G on a bari might do it for you.)

I tried a set of C linear tuning on my bari and it sounded so much like my two tenors i switched back to the original G tuning that it came with. No point having 3 ukes all with the same sound. Gonna put a low G string on one of my tenors.

cml
06-18-2017, 07:00 AM
So you fellas with baritones, do you have them in low D? Or just regular D? I thinking I could keep playing a D-tuned bari as if it was in C (like in Jim's blog post).

Croaky Keith
06-18-2017, 07:38 AM
I usually use the lowest strings on my ukes as I play melodies more than strum/sing.
I have both DGBE on my Kala cedar top, & dGBE on a 'cheap' Lani spruce top, I can live with both, but will change the spruce to DGBE when it needs new strings. :)
(Nearly ever other uke I have is low G.)

Edit: As for playing, you use the same chord shapes - they just sound lower because it's a G tuned instrument & not a C tuned one, (they are also called by different names).

JackLuis
06-18-2017, 09:03 AM
I have my bari tuned DGBE now but like it better as dGBE, ( Hi d). I need a sting change and still deciding what to put on it. The re-entrant sounds like a ukulele not a tenor guitar. I also like nylon/Flurocarbon better that the finger eating steel strings.

I started using 'C tuning chord forms' when I got my baritone, but in two to three months had made the brain change to call them out right. I find a lot of songs that were in the key of C to be easier to play on the bari in key of G, same chord forms lower pitch. My voice is too low to sing with my C tuned ukes.