View Full Version : Baritone tuning on tenor scale

02-27-2018, 09:50 AM
Anyone know if its possible to get high tension strings with baritone tuning on a tenor scale? I know Chee does a set with a high D but would like a set with the standard low DGBE tuning with wound D and G.?
Apologies if this has come up alot.
I live in the UK and Don't get on with Aquila..preferably fluorocarbons for the trebles..

Thanks Ukers


Brad Bordessa
02-27-2018, 11:48 AM
Or check out the Southcoast Strings website/email Dirk. Lots and lots of knowledge he's shared there and would probably be happy to expand upon if you emailed him. But check the FAQs first and take a look around. He's written about a lot of this kind of stuff already. http://www.southcoastukes.com/string%20sets.htm

02-27-2018, 02:06 PM
Yup, as ubulele said, any classical guitar set's middle 4 strings (ADGB) should tune up to DGBE on a tenor ukulele.

The scale length and body size of the tenor may not accomodate this tuning very well though

Jim Hanks
02-27-2018, 03:44 PM
You won't have much luck with Southcoast or Living Water for low D on tenor scale. SC barely recommends G tuning for baritone and the LW low D barely works for baritone.

I don't know about high tension, but note that 17" guilele tuning is ADGCEA, so the middle 4 are quite close to target. That might be a good place to start.

Jim Hanks
02-27-2018, 03:57 PM
What ubulele said - plus isn't that E tuning set for the Mini, which is 20" scale?

There's this one for 17" but that's an octave higher: https://aquilacorde.com/modern-instrument-sets/modern-instrument-products/7837/guileleguitalele-high-e-tuning-same-as-guitar-1-octave-higher/?lang=en

This one's definitely for 20" - https://www.amazon.com/Cordoba-Mini-Strings-Set-Tuning/dp/B012I5BCRO

02-28-2018, 03:49 PM
Um, no, I got confused and was talking about baritone scale, not DGBE on tenor scale, so I've deleted my post. If my rough calculations are correct, I wouldn't recommend using the middle four guitar strings on a tenor if you want higher tension in G tuning. Consider that a tenor is roughly a third of a guitar's scale: a tenor nut comes in a bit above the guitar's 7th fret. So using the same tension, the strings at that length would produce pitches over a fifth above the guitar's: low to high, B E A D F# B (but a little sharper). Comparing your target pitches (D G B E) to the middle four pitches, you'd have to lower the tension, like down-tuning by over a whole step, the very opposite of what you intend.

I couldn't speak to whether using high-tension or extra-high tension guitar sets would adequately compensate to give the result you desire (and whether using extra-high-tension sets would be safe). Added to which, not all "normal" guitar strings are designed for the same tensions. When Booli ran figures for a couple of tunings, it turned out that with different brands of guitar sets you'd want to use different string re-mappings, sometimes shifting over, sometimes not. Sadly, the simplest solution is to get out charts of string tensions for various guitar sets, then start crunching figures. In other threads on similar topics, Booli several times linked to a handy string tension calculator on the D'Addario website, so rummage about there.

As kissing said, most tenor bodies are really too small to adquately resonate well down to low D, so although I do like linear C tuning on tenors (which go as low as reentrant G ones) and even keep a tenor in linear Bb tuning, I myself wouldn't bother with linear G tuning on a tenor. (I do have a concert in viola fifths tuning, which goes down to low C [!] but not without a clear sacrifice in tone.)

There's no need to fear using the middle 4 strings of a classical set on a tenor.
Middle 4 strings work for DGBE strings for a baritone.
Using the same strings on a shorter scale like tenor results in an even lower tension.

I've done this many times for years. The tension does not feel any tighter than regular tenor strings. In fact, it's probably a bit less.

02-28-2018, 06:12 PM
...as I pointed out. But OP is specifically seeking higher tension, and there's the rub.

Classical guitar strings come in different tensions.
Just get a High tension set, easy

02-28-2018, 08:07 PM
Anyone know if its possible to get high tension strings with baritone tuning on a tenor scale? I know Chee does a set with a high D but would like a set with the standard low DGBE tuning with wound D and G.?
Apologies if this has come up alot.
I live in the UK and Don't get on with Aquila..preferably fluorocarbons for the trebles..

Thanks Ukers


Since you live in the UK I would definately check with living waters. Ken is based out of the UK and he makes custom fluorocarbons which sound great ar very well balanced...plus high tension. I ordered a dGBE set for my tenor which I love. I believe he makes a DGBE set, though not really listed on his site. You have to send him an email, which he promptly responds to... 😃

02-28-2018, 11:36 PM
ubulele, there's no need to delete your post any time someone disagrees or has a different opinion.. gee :/

03-01-2018, 06:58 AM
Thanks for all the input. First port of call is Mr Middleton and I'll go from there!

03-01-2018, 09:08 PM
Fremont makes a Black lines set for dGBE on a tenor, If you want low D, use a Fremont Soloist for the D. Works fine but a bit expensive. As do Worth Brown Fats for Tenor. The Aquilla Bari Tenor set had more tension than the floro's and the Chee and Manzel set had higher tension as well, in my tests of Bari-tenor strings, last year. I compared I think seven sets on three different tenor Ukes.

I'm playing Fremont Black line on my favorite Tenor Uke. The strings a little soft and that suits me.

I found detuning my spruce topped Concert to A tuning, 3 steps lower, and it doesn't "Boom" the third string. It gains some authority and I kind of like it now. It's very shrill in C tuning, but lower it more mellow in A.

03-02-2018, 03:22 AM
I'm currently using Worth Clear fats on my dGBE tuned tenor. It's tuned high D as I have a baritone in low G. I previously had my tenor fluke in dGBE using Worth Fats. I tried the Aquila tenor dGBE set on my Fluke. It came with a red G. They were OK but I liked the Worth better.

I reorganised some of my ukes so my Fluke is now in linear GCEA so I now just have the Brueko tenor tuned dGBE. When the tenor needs new strings I will try a Living Water dGBE set.

I'm mostly standardising on Living Water strings but find Worth are a good alternative.

03-03-2018, 08:39 AM
I've had success using the ADGB strings from classical guitar sets (nylon trebles) , and I have also put together a custom set using Thomastik Infeld CF35/CF30 for basses and Savarez 543R/542R (fluorocarbon) for tebles. These last 4 can all be purchased as singles from Strings by Mail.

03-07-2018, 05:21 AM
I think Gordon Mark plays a DGBE tenor in this video.
Sounds pretty good.