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View Full Version : My Uke Came ALIVE!



strat4me
10-31-2017, 07:30 AM
I own a stunningly beautiful Pono RTSH-PC-S (TENOR). I didn't love the tone. Very quiet Renntrant. Mostly fingerstyle. Currently strung with Fremont Blacklines and a Soloist 4th. Tried Worths and others before.

Dropped tuning down two semitones to FA#DG (Bb tuning) and I have an entirely different uke: Loud, sustains forever, superior tremolo, and ALIVE!. Not being in a band it conflicts with no one. Just play chords and TAB identically as before.

My wife was astounded at the difference hearing it from another room.

Southcoast talks about the importance of different string tensions. I think that is it but THIS uke LOVES the lower tuning. I've seen this phenomena on other ukes.

IF you're at all underwhelmed with your uke's tone, you might try moving the tuning up or down a semitone or two. YMMV but I absolutely LOVE this uke now!!! Simply blown away.

Ukecaster
10-31-2017, 08:18 AM
Cool! Maybe it's a Halloween paranormal phenomenon ;)

But seriously, I'll be sure to try that on a tenor that underwhelms me.

I saw this online...the Ukulantern

104055

MopMan
10-31-2017, 08:29 AM
Glad you were able to improve your experience! I will keep this in mind if I ever find I am underwhelmed by a new instrument.

EDW
10-31-2017, 08:35 AM
Tenor often sounds great in Bb. That is why some folks like having unique tunings for each size.

WCBarnes
10-31-2017, 09:00 AM
Tenor often sounds great in Bb. That is why some folks like having unique tunings for each size.

:agree:

I am glad you found the sweet spot for your tenor. In my experience, most tenors I have played sound better in Bb tuning.

JackLuis
10-31-2017, 11:50 AM
I kept a tenor in A tuning for months but shifted it down to G tuning (dGBE) so I could play with my neighbor's Bari. The Fremont Bari-Tenor strings work well in DGBE with a Soloist as a low D fourth on a tenor too.

Ukulele Eddie
10-31-2017, 12:01 PM
Fantastic you have something you're much happier with. Now all you need to do is find which strings you like best at that tuning.

All of my tenors are tuned Bb, except my Farallon which sounds better in B.

Croaky Keith
10-31-2017, 12:39 PM
I think tenors are strung too tight normally, that's why I use concert strings on mine, for GCEA, plus I also like them tuned to DGBE. Glad to hear you've made friends with yours. :)

Farp
10-31-2017, 01:46 PM
Strat4--Good thread. I've experienced the same thing this week. As some on here know, I couldn't find a baritone ukulele under $600 that played well. So I did what any red-blooded kid would do--I built one (with a LOT of help from the good people at Crow River Guitars in Paynesville, MN). I've had my own ukulele for just over a year, and I've dinged with the setup here and there. Then this week, I got some Martin strings I had ordered from Sweetwater (DGBE linear tuning) and WOW!!!!!! I can't put the instrument down!!!

I had always liked the baritone I had built, but today, it, too, has come alive. Great thread--

gilles T
10-31-2017, 02:02 PM
hello,

I always tune all my ukes one whole tone lower but I recently found out that when the strings begin to wear out and loose their brightness and intonation, I have to raise up the tuning to normal pitch to avoid intonation issues...

mm stan
10-31-2017, 04:07 PM
Yes the lower tension makes the strings resonate more, never use high tension strings

f2fanatic
11-01-2017, 01:46 AM
I have a tenor that always felt muted and dull. Slides or hammer-ons were hard to hear. After reading this thread, tuned it down then BOOM! My ears almost hurt in my small room, a completely different instrument for free!!
Thanks for the tip.

strat4me
11-01-2017, 04:38 AM
I'm so happy for you. Seems like such a simple idea that can literally alter one's view and experience with ukes. I'm now trying to tune each one to its sweet spot - seems to usually be one or two semitones lower than standard.

I thought I was having fun before. Like going from black and white to color!

Teek
11-01-2017, 09:41 AM
I like some of my tenors tuned down a half step or more, and my baris up a step, depending on strings. My Collings tenor sounds best a full step down, it's way more resonant. Same thing with some guitars. The one I put in DADGAD really found it's calling there!

Ukecaster
11-01-2017, 12:04 PM
Is this only for re-entrant, or low G also?

strat4me
11-01-2017, 06:26 PM
I like some of my tenors tuned down a half step or more, and my baris up a step, depending on strings. My Collings tenor sounds best a full step down, it's way more resonant. Same thing with some guitars. The one I put in DADGAD really found it's calling there!

You caught me. I have guitars kept in five different tunings. So expressive.

strat4me
11-01-2017, 06:27 PM
Is this only for re-entrant, or low G also?

Definitely BOTH. Both baris are down a semitone as well as another tenor I normally play in low G.

actadh
11-02-2017, 05:15 AM
I just did this on my soprano maple Brueko, and it sounds awesome. Thanks for the suggestion.

hollisdwyer
11-02-2017, 06:24 AM
Very interesting to hear that B flat tuning sounds so good on a tenor's 17 inch scale length. I have a Hoffmann Bari with a 20.25 inch scale length that I keep tuned to B flat and love it. When I play with friends who use GCEA tuning I just capo on the 2nd fret (being inherently lazy and not wanting to learn new chord shapes).

DaveY
11-02-2017, 08:50 AM
Is this only for re-entrant, or low G also?

Inspired by this thread, I just tuned my laminate tenor (Islander) down to Bb. I had just switched it from low G to high g, and never liked a low G tenor tuned down (which was on solid body tenors) – they sounded thuddy, droney, something. But the high g tuning on this tenor works for me, adding depth. Maybe it being a laminate is a factor, too.

Ukecaster
11-02-2017, 01:39 PM
Yeah, thanks for that tip. I tried it today on a low G tenor, and it did indeed sound better, to my ear. Started at B flat, also tried B, both seemed a bit sweeter. Big bonus was for vocals. I have a few tunes that are just at the top of my vocal range. With the lower tuning...problem solved, I don't need to sing an octave lower! Can't wait to try on my other tenor, in high G. So now I need 2 new tenors for these tunings, ha ha :D

Bill Sheehan
11-02-2017, 02:52 PM
Hello friends, here's a variation on the original question, and I'd really appreciate your thoughts:
I'm wondering if a CONCERT-scale uke would sound nice in the lower "f Bb D G" tuning. I tend to use Martin strings (M-600's for soprano/concert), and I'm thinking that if a set of M-620's (normally intended for tenor scale) were used in this application (i.e. on a concert-scale uke tuned down to "f Bb D G"), the potential for "too much tension" from the slightly heavier set would be offset by the fact that it's been down-tuned. Does that make sense?

Doc_J
11-02-2017, 03:53 PM
Tenor often sounds great in Bb. That is why some folks like having unique tunings for each size.

+1 on that

strat4me
11-02-2017, 05:09 PM
we tried Bb on a concert Brucko today and a Kala concert. Improved tone and playability - richness of both.
Just try it. Down a semitone. Play. Go down another semitone. Play. Decide what YOU like. So easy. "Tune to the instrument." my motto from now on.
BTW, this worked for us on nylon, nylgut and flourocarbon strings.

Ukecaster
11-02-2017, 07:06 PM
Good thread on alternate tunings, esp Bb on tenors

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?70343-Rentrant-Bb-tuning-on-tenor-uke

I get the feeling that a lower tuning can really be a game changer on tenor uke. I was very surprised how good it sounded, compared to standard reentrant C.

Just curious: do any of the top pro ukers (most of whom seem to play tenor) prefer and use the lower tunings, like Bb in their solo gigs?

Ukecaster
11-06-2017, 10:21 AM
Tried tuning my mahogany tenor down to B flat, it seemed to sound a bit to low for me. Bumped it up to B, and it sounds great, really nice. I have Martin 620 strings on there, with a wound classical guitar string on the low string. Next time I change strings, I was thinking of trying some heavy tension strings, since I'm already lower than standard C tuning. Anyone try high tensions in B tuning, and how was it? What string sets would you recommend? I'm liking Worths lately, and want to try reentrant again, but also order a heavy tension 4th, to swap back to low G if wanted.