View Full Version : Low d tuning

03-06-2018, 07:18 PM
Has anyone else tried D tuning with a low A string on their uke? I tried it on my tenor and I love it. To me it’s a richer more resonant sound than standard C tuning with a low G. Any opinions?

03-06-2018, 11:01 PM
Do you mean D6 tuning, as in A-D-F#-B?

Only thing I would say is normal tenor strings will have about 10lbs more tension as a set on your tenor going up 2 semitones like this.

If the tension is too high, or you have too little sustain, you can safely use CONCERT uke strings in this tuning to compensate.

Traditionally, in the olden times, this tuning was used on a soprano, in order to get a brighter and punchier tone at this scale as well as have a bit more tension, since most C6 soprano string sets usually only have about 23-25 lbs of total string tension and as such the C string on C4 can sound tubby and boomy and have intonation issues due to having too low tension. Tuning up 2 semitones can fix the tubby and other issues.

Just check your bridge for excessive bellying and dishing, and if you see this happening with the bridge rotating forwards, you may be putting too much tension on it in this tuning, and if so, the bridge can eventually be pulled right off, most of the time also tearing out some wood from the top with it.

One needs to be MORE aware of the effects of string tension if using alternate tunings, since you may be exceeding the design limits for the build of that instrument.

FYI, in standard tunings most:

- soprano string sets are at about 23-25 lbs total tension
- concert string sets are at about 30-32 lbs total tension
- tenor string sets are at 35-43 lbs total tension
- baritone string sets 48-54 lbs total tension

Jim Hanks
03-07-2018, 01:34 AM
I bought some Southcoast LL-NW strings with that intention but they wouldn't work on the banjo uke I had intended to put them on, and then I traded that uke so still haven't tried it.

Ukulele Eddie
03-07-2018, 04:43 AM
Rick, a lot of tenors to my ear sound better tuned slightly different than C. Dirk at Soutcoast Strings has some excellent information on this, but in short, it's because many tenor bodies have a natural resonance that is right around C and so if tuned there, some tone gets "lost." Tuning up or down a half step or two solves this.

As I like slightly lower tension, I tuned down a bit to see if it sounded better on each of my tenors. And most do sound better to me tuned Bb (F-Bb-D-G). I do have a couple tuned B and only one tuned C at the moment.

This includes both linear and re-entrant tuned ukes.

I would be careful going up because of the extra tension, especially if you are already using higher tension strings. Easily solved by going to a lower tension string.

03-07-2018, 10:40 AM
This is what I do for my tenor in linear D; I use a set of fluorocarbon concert strings with a Thomastik-Infeld CF27 wound guitar string (g) for the 4th course. This keeps the tension moderate and comfortable, though it affects the tone in a different way than if I up-tuned tenor strings to a higher tension. I prefer the lower tension tone and feel, and worry less about the impact the tension might be having on my uke.

I do similar things on various ukes, although I typically use the CF-27 for a wound C, and the CF-30 if I want a wound low-G. I've not tried the CF-27 for a low-G, and will keep that in mind for next time.

All of my ukes smaller than baritone are re-entrant (no low-g right now, rarely play low-g), including those tuned in fifths. I've grown very fond of re-entrant tuning and my songwriting and playing technique has adapted to take good advantage of re-entrant tuning.

For linear tunings, I have a handful of other instruments to use when needed.

03-07-2018, 07:09 PM
I researched gauges and I’m using 40,32,28,22 instead of standards string so no additional tension

03-07-2018, 08:26 PM
I researched gauges and I’m using 40,32,28,22 instead of standards string so no additional tension

In linear D6 tuning, i.e., A3-D4-F#4-B4 and on tenor 17" scale...according to my calculations:

If those gauges are fluorocarbon, you are going to be running about 48 lbs of total string tension for the set.


If those gauges are standard clear nylon, you are going to be running about 33 lbs of total string tension for the set.

For the fluoro, just watch your bridge rotation and for excessive bellying and dishing, as not all ukes will hold together unless built for that high of a tension.

03-07-2018, 08:37 PM
I never use Fluro only nylon or wound nylon strings I find fluro sound to tinny and toyish. I ptefer warmer sound of nylon.