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View Full Version : Tell us about your 8 stringers!



bsfloyd
01-07-2018, 03:39 AM
Hello everyone! In light of always wanting to try new things, I am wanting to get myself into an 8 string (4 course) tenor. What would be different is that I would like to tune it like a mandola - CGDA. I believe the mandola and tenor ukulele have similar scale lengths, correct? Lately I have been listening to a lot of mandola videos and with my years of viola playing in the past, I really love the fifths tuning. Surely I could just purchase a mandola, but I much prefer the sound and (most importantly) the feel of nylon strings under the fingers. I'm thinking about stringing it up with Nylgut strings.

I would love to hear what instruments you all found in your 8 string journeys and what you might recommend that doesn't break the bank. Surely this is an experimental phase on my part and don't want to spend a lot to find I don't like it. I guess I could always revert to standard ukulele tuning if it doesn't work as I wished. Thanks!

Choirguy
01-07-2018, 07:29 AM
I was able to buy a Baton Rouge 8 String Tenor thanks to Stones Music (Mark Pugh) in the UK. As a ukulele, there is a Low G and High G, Low C and High C, two E’s (same pitch), and two A’s.

I know that Kala, Oscar Schmidt, and Luna offer 8 string options as well. I was interested in the Baton Rogue as Barry Maz gave it a very favorable review. It was also pretty affordable—Mark set it up with his own fluorocarbon Jumping Cow Strings (I don’t like wound strings).

UkerDanno
01-07-2018, 08:02 AM
Not sure what you mean by break the bank, but, you can get this from Mim or Ukerepublic for under $300...
https://ohana-music.com/product/tk-70-8-solid-spruce-solid-mahogany-8-string-tenor-ukulele/

For less, Lanikai makes them too, for less $$'s.

bratsche
01-07-2018, 11:08 AM
Hi! I'm a violist who got bit by the mandola bug almost 20 years ago. The uke didn't bite until last year, but when I got my tenor, I naturally tuned it to CGDA. I had to experiment a bit to find just the sound I wanted, and am happy with a flatwound Thomastik C string (the 5th from a classical guitar set) and a piece of fluorocarbon Seaguar Premier fishing leader in 100lb test for the G string. Trebles are much less picky, but mine are fluorocarbons from a regular uke set - Oasis, I think.

I haven't come full circle to try an 8-string uke yet, but feel like I probably will some day. Right now I'm more drawn to the idea of a baritone in GDAE tuning, though. ;-) I have a 4-string baritone already, but wonder what the lower pairs of an 8-stringer would sound like in octaves.... too much fun!

bratsche

Picker Jon
01-07-2018, 12:33 PM
My Kala solid acacia. A beautifully appointed instrument, the inlays and binding all exotic wood. I put low tension Worth browns on and it plays very nicely but isn't very loud. The original tuning with 2 courses in octaves and 2 in unison sounded amazing for strumming but I hardly ever strum. I got it for playing fingerstyle folk which sounded a bit strange with high, and even higher G, so I strung it all unison. It still sounds prety good but not as good as with the original tuning.


http://i64.tinypic.com/2h4hj0y.jpg

http://i67.tinypic.com/px6jl.jpg

http://i68.tinypic.com/bi2bg2.jpg

http://i67.tinypic.com/2dkzj2u.jpg

Choirguy
01-07-2018, 04:36 PM
Not sure what you mean by break the bank, but, you can get this from Mim or Ukerepublic for under $300...
https://ohana-music.com/product/tk-70-8-solid-spruce-solid-mahogany-8-string-tenor-ukulele/

For less, Lanikai makes them too, for less $$'s.

I forgot about Ohana’s 8 string model. Does Lanikai still make an 8 string? I have not seen their 2017 models anywhere...and 2018 is here.

Kamaka also makes an 8 string. That’s in the $1500 Range.

Does anyone make an 8 string concert ukulele?

UkerDanno
01-07-2018, 05:31 PM
Does anyone make an 8 string concert ukulele?

https://ohana-music.com/product/ohana-ukuleles-ck-35-8-all-solid-mahogany-8-string-taro-patch-concert/

Also, just under $300...

plunker
01-07-2018, 11:50 PM
I picked up an Oscar Schmidt for under $100.00. The OS28T got good reviews. For me definitely a st rummer.

gilles T
01-08-2018, 02:13 AM
Hello,

I have a Baton Rouge strunged as a renaissance guitar with Savarez Alliance KF. The instrument proved to be fairly good for its price range, it is perfectly set-up and stays in tune. That said, the laminate soundboard doesn't allow much nuances and the dynamic range is quite poor. So I got gradually rid of it and I am now considering a real renaissance guitar copy — with a slightly longer neck. But for someone who plays the average uke repertoire and just wants a bigger sound with a chiming sound, the Baton Rouge remains a very good value.
hope this helps,
Gilles

bsfloyd
01-08-2018, 03:28 AM
Thanks for the replies everyone!! Very helpful information here. By breaking the bank, I was hoping under $300 so most likely would be in the all laminate park. I'd be ok with that for a little while to see how it goes. Yes, I did see Baz's review on the Baton Rouge and thought it might be a great contender. Though I did just start looking, I haven't found one yet in the US. I will surely look into the others mentioned above.

bratsche - I think I might have replies to a thread of yours on the Mandolin Café forums regarding your 8 string baritone quest :)

choirguy - I was on the Lanikai website and seen they still show a couple of 8 string models. I also believe I seen some concert and soprano sized 8 stringers on Uke Republic's site:

http://ukerepublic.bigcartel.com/product/pono-act-solid-acacia-taropatch-concert-ukulele
http://ukerepublic.bigcartel.com/product/ohana-ck-358-solid-mahogany-taropatch-concert-ukulele

gilles T - Very interesting on the renaissance guitar! I'm a huge fan of early music. Did you use the GCEA renaissance tuning? Unison or octaves? I've seen a few different renaissance guitar tuning options.

Spicysteve
01-08-2018, 05:24 AM
I was quite intrigued by Barry’s review of the Baton Rouge. I have struggled to get an 8 string in my hand to try here in the Pacific Northwest. Especially a BatonRouge.

gilles T
01-08-2018, 05:56 AM
Dear bsfloyd,

Thanks for your kind words. While there are four possible stringing options for the baroque guitar (depending of which time period and composers), the stringing of the renaissance guitar is rather straightforward, that is, from low to high : highG/lowG, unison C/C, unison E/E, and a single A for the chanterelle or 1st String. Just as a matter of taste, and to get more bottom in the overall sound, I tune my Baton Rouge one whole step down, that is f/F, Bb/Bb, D/D, G/G. Very few pieces ask for "templo viejo" which means that the lowest course must be tuned one step lower (f/F for a regular uke tuning).

Regards,
Gilles

strumsilly
01-08-2018, 06:36 AM
I’Ve had many 8 stringers, and one of my favorites was a very inexpensive Lanikai LU8. (Laminate) I currently have a Kamaka white label 8, and it also is a winner but I paid about 10 times what the Lanikai cost.

uketanzon
01-08-2018, 06:40 AM
Pono makes an excellent 8 string for about 400 bucks. Had the Lanaika...8....sounded dull and lifeless to me anyway..sold it...hear many good things about the Ohana spruce top 8 , but have not personally tried it. I want a mango pono 8, just waiting for one to show up in the classifeds.

bratsche
01-08-2018, 08:32 AM
bratsche - I think I might have replies to a thread of yours on the Mandolin Café forums regarding your 8 string baritone quest :)

Aha, yes! Such a small world, that of the MC/UU double agents. :D

bratsche

UkerDanno
01-08-2018, 08:59 AM
Thanks for the replies everyone!! Very helpful information here. By breaking the bank, I was hoping under $300 so most likely would be in the all laminate park.

The Ohana TK-70-8 is all Solid Spruce & Solid Mahogany...pretty sure. :shaka:

bsfloyd
01-08-2018, 10:29 AM
My Kala solid acacia. A beautifully appointed instrument, the inlays and binding all exotic wood. I put low tension Worth browns on and it plays very nicely but isn't very loud. The original tuning with 2 courses in octaves and 2 in unison sounded amazing for strumming but I hardly ever strum. I got it for playing fingerstyle folk which sounded a bit strange with high, and even higher G, so I strung it all unison. It still sounds prety good but not as good as with the original tuning.


http://i64.tinypic.com/2h4hj0y.jpg

http://i67.tinypic.com/px6jl.jpg

http://i68.tinypic.com/bi2bg2.jpg

http://i67.tinypic.com/2dkzj2u.jpg


Very lovely instrument, Picker Jon - thanks for sharing!!

bsfloyd
01-08-2018, 10:40 AM
Dear bsfloyd,

Thanks for your kind words. While there are four possible stringing options for the baroque guitar (depending of which time period and composers), the stringing of the renaissance guitar is rather straightforward, that is, from low to high : highG/lowG, unison C/C, unison E/E, and a single A for the chanterelle or 1st String. Just as a matter of taste, and to get more bottom in the overall sound, I tune my Baton Rouge one whole step down, that is f/F, Bb/Bb, D/D, G/G. Very few pieces ask for "templo viejo" which means that the lowest course must be tuned one step lower (f/F for a regular uke tuning).

Regards,
Gilles

Thanks for the added information, Gilles! I may very well be confusing the tunings and courses with that of the baroque guitar. However, I thought I read something about Neapolitan tuning for the renaissance guitar as an alternative, no?

I also stumbled upon this showing a renaissance guitar in five courses (perhaps it was just as the early baroque era was beginning to form):
http://www.lutesandguitars.co.uk/htm/cat11.htm

Very fascinating to me!

bsfloyd
01-08-2018, 10:45 AM
The Ohana TK-70-8 is all Solid Spruce & Solid Mahogany...pretty sure. :shaka:

Ah, so it is! I just may have to splurge a bit :)

bsfloyd
01-08-2018, 10:47 AM
Thanks to everyone for sharing your experiences and the recommendations - it helps greatly!!

UkerDanno
01-09-2018, 03:37 AM
Ah, so it is! I just may have to splurge a bit :)

I know several people with the Tk-70-8, they're pretty nice!

Nickie
01-09-2018, 11:58 AM
I picked up an Oscar Schmidt for under $100.00. The OS28T got good reviews. For me definitely a st rummer.

Ditto, one of our band members got an OS 8 string, with a pickup in it. It's loud, even unplugged. I have to keep telling her to stop whaling on it!
Uncle Elvis plays an 8 string, built by Moku, and he loves it. I'm sure it wasn't cheap.
My spouse plays a Kamaka 8 string, with a set of worth clears. It's loud!

bratsche
01-09-2018, 12:30 PM
I know several people with the Tk-70-8, they're pretty nice!

This guy makes it sound pretty special:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbXqoyT3avU

bratsche