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View Full Version : My concert Uke sounds really low.



Hosh
08-19-2009, 07:16 AM
I bought an Oscar Schmidt concert Ukelele off eBay a little less than a month ago, I also bought some Aquilas and a digital tuner. I'm no stranger to music, but I'm dumb about stringed instruments. When tuning my tuner says everything is right on, but to my ear the instrument sounds low when compared to other concerts I hear online. Or compared to those last night listening to the UU Stickam meetup.

I could be tone deaf though :D

Sorry if this has been discussed, I tried searching for things like "low concert", "low tune" and so on. Not much in this regard.

Thanks!

DaveVisi
08-19-2009, 07:20 AM
"Low" as in playing flat? I'd check to see if your digital tuner has somehow been bumped off it's A440 setting.

Uncle Rod Higuchi
08-19-2009, 07:46 AM
It could also be, and I must relay some caution here, that the uke is being tuned an octave lower than "normal" or "regular" tuning.

If it doesn't sound at all like any of the ukes you've heard, you might try tightening the strings to get a higher pitch. However, that being said, you don't want to over-tighten the strings. Try tuning to A-D-F#- B, the older standard tuning. If it still sounds really LOW, then perhaps getting a higher pitch might work.

Please get a 2nd or 3rd opinion BEFORE overtightening your uke. You don't want to tear the bridge off with excessive string tension.

Is the Oscar Schmidt the Koa model? They do look beautiful and pretty functional for the price.

Lori
08-19-2009, 07:56 AM
The open C string (forth string) should be tuned to middle C, I believe. If you have a keyboard or Piano, middle C is usually in the center of the keyboard, the white key on the left of the 2 black keys.

Hope that helps.

–Lori

sleepsinashoe
08-19-2009, 08:05 AM
Maybe it's not tuned reentrantly? The G string should be up an octave from what would be typical

DaveVisi
08-19-2009, 08:22 AM
Maybe it's not tuned at all? I met a woman at our Uke club who played just fine until she got with the rest of the group. Turned out she was nowhere close to standard Uke tuning. What notes are you tuning to?

russ_buss
08-19-2009, 08:34 AM
try tuning your uke and matching the tones to this:

http://www.get-tuned.com/ukulele_tuner.php

Hosh
08-19-2009, 09:07 AM
I turn to gCEA. I'll have to find a keyboard. Is it possible to be an octave lower and still be playable? I would think that if I went up higher every turn of the peg would have me reciting a Scotty to Kirk monologue.

russ_buss
08-19-2009, 09:16 AM
I turn to gCEA. I'll have to find a keyboard. Is it possible to be an octave lower and still be playable? I would think that if I went up higher every turn of the peg would have me reciting a Scotty to Kirk monologue.

this is one step higher than gCEA tuning but might be a good reference for you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUYFSqdH0O8


again, if you want to match tones, go to this website.

http://www.get-tuned.com/ukulele_tuner.php

Hosh
08-19-2009, 09:17 AM
this is one step higher than gCEA tuning but might be a good reference for you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUYFSqdH0O8


again, if you want to match tones, go to this website.

http://www.get-tuned.com/ukulele_tuner.php

Going to try this when I get home.

EDIT: to say, I watched the video and that *seems* like my problem. However now I want to know why my tuner would say that I'm gCEA?

ukeatan
08-19-2009, 09:18 AM
It might be kind of a pain, but if all else fails you can make a recording of yourself playing your open strings one at a time and upload it somewhere, someone here would be able to tell what (if anything) is wrong right away.

russ_buss
08-19-2009, 09:24 AM
Going to try this when I get home.

EDIT: to say, I watched the video and that *seems* like my problem. However now I want to know why my tuner would say that I'm gCEA?

it is entirely possible to tune your uke one octave too low so that the tuner shows as gCEA. go up one octave and you'll be fine. good luck!

MisoHappy
08-20-2009, 09:36 AM
Try an online tuner?

Hosh
08-20-2009, 05:28 PM
So I wussed out trying to tighten the strings. It freaked me out.

Here is the video!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdyvXm3fuGA

Blrfl
08-20-2009, 05:36 PM
You're a full octave low.

ETA: Don't get freaked out about putting some tension on the strings; just do it gradually. Bring all four up three steps, have a wang at it and then bring it up three more steps. Repeat 'til you've done your octave.

--Mark

Hosh
08-20-2009, 05:59 PM
You're a full octave low.

ETA: Don't get freaked out about putting some tension on the strings; just do it gradually. Bring all four up three steps, have a wang at it and then bring it up three more steps. Repeat 'til you've done your octave.

--Mark

Don't be a noob like me kids! Tune it up tight!!!

veep
08-20-2009, 06:43 PM
Don't be a noob like me kids! Tune it up tight!!!

so it is all in tune now??

kissing
08-21-2009, 04:21 AM
lol, that said - I think someone really ought to manufacture a uke designed to have gCEA a full octave lower.

It will be a nice, low pitched accompanying instrument without being a guitar, or tuned like a guitar.

Uncle Rod Higuchi
08-21-2009, 04:30 AM
I'm glad you found the cause of the concern.

Now with a properly tuned uke, ... you'll have other concerns!

Keep the faith, and keep uke'in',

mikeeG7th
08-22-2009, 04:02 AM
I had a similar problem when I first got my sopranino. I read it somewhere that it's better to tune it higher than GCEA tuning. I felt like it was going to snap out either the strings or the bridge when I started to tighten it past standard so I just did it at increments. When I get to a point that I was getting uncomfortable with the tension, I stopped right there and let it alone for a couple of minutes then came back to add a little more. I guess it allowed the strings to stretch everytime I did it.

Ukuleleblues
08-27-2009, 11:48 AM
It's easy to go 1 octave lower or higher when you take all of the strings off to restring or have them all gross out of tune like when you get a new uke hta thas been shippe dwith loose strings. I've broken bass and guitar strings when I went 1 octave higher. A trick is to get them close by comparing them to other instruments or if you have only 1 uke change 1 string at at time and do relative tuning to get the new string close befor you put the tuner on it.