View Full Version : Do you prefer tunings in 4ths or 5ths (like a mando)?

10-13-2009, 09:14 AM
Hi, I know 99% of the folks here play their ukes tuned to 4ths. But I am a mando player too.

I was wondering if any mando/violin/uke players prefer tunings in 5ths rather than 4ths and what the rational to keep it tuned to 4ths.

Does that make any since?

10-13-2009, 10:18 AM
I'm a mando player as well. I like to have one uke tuned to fifths. It allows me to practice and play mando parts with a smaller instrument and softer strings.

But I love the sound of gCEA. It's very warm and friendly, and alternate fingerings are a lot easier to find.

10-13-2009, 10:40 AM
I used to play mandolin and violin, and I thought it was a waste of range to go with chordal tuning.

Many years later I'm thinking differently. I think the chords are nicer with uke/guitar, and I'm used to the uneven intervals.

If I was just playing melodies I might feel differently but I strum a lot too.

Having said that, I was thinking about trying violin strings on a uke, and tuning it like a violin/mandolin. You can get real gut strings for violin - might be a neat sound. Although I seem to remember the high E is steel. Maybe that E is too high for nylon or gut strings to handle. Maybe you could substitute it for a very light flourocarbon string - check the fishing line thread from a while back.

One tuning I have now on my mandolin is a hybrid - 3 pairs only, and the bottom is C, middle is G, and top is C. So the bottom two are 7 half-steps apart and the top two are five. I guess it's C minor tuning - it certainly sounds very minor, even though there's no third in the open string setup. I use it for tremolo melodies and it's pretty instinctive.

10-13-2009, 12:14 PM
Very interesting. Thanks for the feedback.