View Full Version : Does lowering the tuning affect or ruin the wood?

02-14-2019, 04:12 PM
I like the lower tension on the strings of my tenor uke, as I find it to be easier and more fun to slide and tremolo.

I have my uke tuned to (low) d#, g#, c, f. Not sure if the tensions of the strings affect how the uke was constructed; wood tensions, bridge tension, etc.

Anyone know if this is alright for the uke? Read in places to keep it tuned, and now the definition of tuned has changed!

02-14-2019, 04:28 PM
Selection of the frequency that is a specific note ex: middle C was done to allow multiple instruments to play together, beyond that it just a number

The combination of a uke and a set of strings will not necessarily perform the best at the standard tuning. Most instruments will change personality with different tuning and string tension..

As long as you do not put a lot more tension (higher tuning) than what the instrument was made for, it should be fine..

Summary: do what you like, most of it are made up conventions to allow for things that do not apply to everyone.. don’t over tighten and have fun..

i personally keep standard tuning since I am hoping against hope that my ears will train to identify pitch correctly.. (pitch perfect hearing)

02-14-2019, 05:00 PM
Thanks for your input! I agree with the personality change. Earlier I retuned it back to the standard tuning and noticed that the strings sounded brighter. I use Kamaka strings BTW. While increasing the tension I could feel the string get tighter. My playing was less spontaneous and certain cool sounds went missing. I just changed it back to the relaxed tuning and this reinforces how awesome it is for me.

For knowing what notes I am, still figuring it out, but the conventional C is slightly higher than midway up the neck. That is why I am also looking for a cutaway tenor (in marketplace).

Good luck with the pitch training!!

Bill Sheehan
02-14-2019, 05:26 PM
Valde, I agree with Kerneltime that you shouldn't have anything to worry about if you're tuning the uke lower (for that more relaxed feel). There may be differences of opinion regarding how someone would like the feel and the voice of the instrument in that lower tuning, but we'll always have that I guess!

02-14-2019, 05:39 PM
I can tell you what I personally do (and I don't think it ruins anything). For whatever string-set I am using I tune it down to where I like the tension. For example, for my baritone I am tuned to DGBE, the standard tuning. With my Kamaka, I am tuned to d# G# C F, and my custom uke I have tuned to E A C# F#. Even though all their respective pitches are a bit different, all the chord shapes and the finger picking still works as if I were playing GCEA. As long as you down-tune all the strings, everything is still in the same relationship. For instance, I have been studying the key of E and I always play the key of E when I play. However, even though it sounds good, when I use my EAC#F# ukulele, I am not actually playing in E. I am, I think, playing in C (but don't quote me on that). But it doesn't matter. All the strings are still work together and it sounds good. The only liability of doing this is that I cannot play with other people (which I don't do anyway). If someone were to say, let's play in C, I would play the shapes and notes that I think are in C, but they'd actually be in A.