View Full Version : Low G vs High G

07-18-2009, 02:29 AM
I know, I know... search first. Tried that and came up with zero!
So... what are the benefits of low G vs high G tuning for my new Lanikai Tenor?
I know that people say that high G "sounds more like a uke", but I can't see any other advantages, especially since I already play guitar. I keep looking for a note on that "low" string, only to find it playing an octave higher.

OTOH-- I think Jake Shimabukuru plays with a high G, and it doesn't seem to bother him any. We saw him a coupla weeks ago and were totally blown away.

07-18-2009, 03:22 AM
I switch back and forth between low and high G depending on my mood and the song. For picking, I generally want my low G because I want those extra semitones. If I want a more traditional ukulele sound, I use the high G, although I have to say that a low G still sounds like a uke. No one is going to mistake it for a guitar.

07-18-2009, 06:21 AM
It depends on the song for me as well. I find some songs seem to fit my voice better with low g(like "I Hung My Head" Johnny Cash version), but others sound just right with high g(like a picked version of Sting's "Fields of Gold"). As I'm sure others with tell you, if you can swing it, one uke strung with low g and another with high g will make it easier for you and give you a reason to buy another uke!

Ukulele JJ
07-18-2009, 06:54 AM
Some advantages of high-G:

It's the traditional, "uke-y" way to play it.
Jakes does it, so it must be right!
It confuses guitarists.
You can get some nice, tasty, "closed" chord voicing that are difficult, if not impossible, to play without the re-entrant tuning.
Likewise, when picking individual notes, you can take advantage of that G and A being right next to each other. This makes some lines easier. It also allows you to let those adjacent notes overlap and ring out in a cool way. (See pretty much any of John King's classical ukulele videos for perfect examples of that "Campanella" style.)

Some advantages of low-G:

It adds about a half octave of range, in a nice, useful spot below middle C.
Iz does it, so it must be right!
It confuses banjo players
You can get those nice, tasty, "spread" chord voicings.


07-19-2009, 06:26 AM
Hey Paul! :D

Ukuleles are like whistles and mandolins: you need more than one. One for high G and one for low... and then a few more just because they're there.

I used to like low G for my tenor uke, but I'm really getting into the re-entrant high G thing. It helps you to think like a uke player rather than like a recovering guitarist.

07-19-2009, 06:54 AM
Maybe I'll tune it like a mando and be done with it. :music: