View Full Version : Questions about linear tuning

12-03-2017, 10:40 AM
Hello, I just wonder: have heard about linear tuning and that it is more suitable for tenors or bigger ukuleles. I am considering applying it to my concert ukulele. How about that?
Is it completely unadvisable for a soprano, please?
If yes, why?

Kind regards Henning

12-03-2017, 10:47 AM
Linear tuning will work on any uke but is better on some than others. Currently I have a concert (low G) and a baritone (low D) in linear tuning.

A very useful (and clear) guide to what will work best and the theory behind is to be found on the Southcoast strings website http://www.southcoastukes.com/tips.htm

12-03-2017, 10:47 AM
Linear tuning has been used on soprano and concert many, many, many times. But personally I like it best on tenor and baritone sized instruments

12-03-2017, 11:48 AM
Good points above. Something I can add...

There is much of a religious debate on linear vs re-entrant tuning here on UU.

However, some facts my help to side-step the feverish fervor that usually occurs when this topic is discussed:

1. Some music, as written, calls for notes below middle-C, or C4 to be played. GCEA Linear tuning provides for this. Such music that is written and expecting notes below C4 down to G3 MAY sound off, or require some fretboard gymnastics to play those notes an octave higher in the GCEA re-entrant tuning.

2. Physics of sound wave transmission is a consideration. Larger bodied ukes, by virtue of having a larger air volume INSIDE the sound-box of the body, are "usually" better able to resonate effectively in order to produce lower frequencies at an even volume to the higher frequencies. This is because the sound-box and top or face of the ukulele is able to be more "efficient' at projecting the sound forwards into the air. It does not mean that you can't string a concert or soprano with a low-G, but depending upon the specific ukulele in question, the volume and tone of notes between C4 and G3 may be significantly LOWER than other notes, and thus the sound "may" seem imbalanced.

2a. There are MANY variables in build-quality, sound-box design, bracing patterns as well as also the strings you use (gauges and tensions) as well as the technique of the player that can mitigate these problems. A good player will be actively listening and adapting their technique to compensate for any lack and to play in such a way that creates an even and balanced sound, despite the expected deficits that one might expect according to the science of it all.

The main thing is based upon the style of music you want to play, and the sounds that you want to create, please do not be afraid to try it either way in order to see what works for YOU.

Hope this helps. :)

12-03-2017, 03:37 PM
Here’s the rule: do what you want. Do be aware that linear tuning may require a larger nut slot. Also try to buy strings that are made for the application (yes, you can find linear Soprano strings). You can also tune up or down depending on what you want to do...again, try to find string sets for this.

12-03-2017, 07:54 PM
There are string compensations which may affect opposite direction in low G.

A: In our ukulele, thick strings are located in centre in high G. See Eric Clapton and his stratcaster in the figure below. He bends first string which is longest string of the six (yellow line). This compensation in the head stock (above the nut), allows him lower tension than sorter string (green line), because strings move through nut. This compensation works in our ukulele very well and gives thicker strings low tension. This tension is only count when bent or pushing strings. In other word, this tension is not physical tension which we usually talk.

B: Same compensation works between the angle of nut (see the figure below).

C: Some ukulele have saddle angle compensations on bridge, which gives angle and effect when push strings or bend. Green line has more angle and more tension when push the string or bend.

D: Many ukulele has high G compensation (green line). This compensation is given for thin string. Hence low G string may affect bad intonation on such compensation.

https://s17.postimg.org/6fdwliipr/image.png (https://postimg.org/image/m0v85gunv/)

These compensations may affect much more in small instruments than large instruments. But it does't matter in general.

https://s17.postimg.org/qcjtuu49b/jimi-hendrix-little-wing-300x198.jpg (https://postimages.org/)

12-03-2017, 08:05 PM
I'd say it depends on the uke. My go-to low G uke is a longneck soprano - so, essentially concert scale, but with a smaller body, breaking all of the rules and totally defying all of the nay-sayers who say it's for tenor only. But I've tried low G on regular sopranos and didn't care for it, and I've tried it on regular concerts with mixed results - works well on some, while others just sound better reentrant.

Asking this here will get you all kinds of opinions, none of them 100% right or wrong. The best test, IMO, is to buy a single low G string and give it a try.

Croaky Keith
12-03-2017, 10:16 PM
All but a couple of my ukes have Low G or Low D, I like playing tunes/melodies, & they often go below a re entrant's middle C.
You do get a slightly different sound when strumming, compared to re entrant.
Those that aren't in linear tuning, I use occasionally for strumming, when I want something to sound different.
I like linear tuning. :)

12-04-2017, 12:52 AM
My advice would be to have at least 2 ukes, one with linear, one with reentrant. Both have their pluses and minuses. Not that I'm trying to encourage people to buy more ukes...:p

12-04-2017, 01:05 AM
I have linear tuning in both soprano and concert. It works fine. Try it and see for yourself. Romero creations XS soprano's default factory tuning is Low G. It sounds great.