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mds725
04-07-2010, 11:53 AM
I recently got a chance to play Kala's 8 string tenor ukulele. This is what it looks like:
http://cgi.ebay.com/Brand-New-Kala-KA-8E-Gloss-Mahogany-8-string-Ukulele_W0QQitemZ330420185172QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH _DefaultDomain_0?hash=item4cee93e854
UAS aside, I liked the full sound that comes from 8 strings. So I thought I'd ask people who play 6 or 8 string ukuleles (1) what they like about their 6 or 8 string ukuleles, (2) how playing them is different from playing a four string ukulele, either in playing technique or in the use of 6 or 8 string ukuleles for certain music genres or certain styles (fingerpicking vs. strumming) of playing, and (3) which 6 or 8 string ukulele(s) would you recommend based on your own experience or on things you've heard? Thanks!

Paul December
04-07-2010, 12:20 PM
I had an 8 string, and returned it to get a 6 string.
While I loved the full sound of the 8 ... it just took too much finger strength to make some chords (some were impossible for me).
The 6 string is almost as full sounding, and a lot easier to play. IMO a good compromise.
Note that most 6 strings come with high G, and a low & high C string pair. I didn't like the sound of it, so changed it to two high C's like the 8 string has, and a low G.

SailQwest
04-07-2010, 12:35 PM
We had an 8-string (Kala S8E, I believe), but sold it a few months ago.

1) I loved the full, rich sound
2) I liked it for strumming, but found fingerpicking to be very difficult
3) The Kala Spruce-top we had was very nice and I would recommend it

The main reasons we got rid of ours:
1) It overpowered my vocals (I have a soft voice)
2) It required too much hand strength (it was okay for my husband but very hard for me to play)
3) We just didn't have enough space for it (we live on a sailboat)

mds725
04-07-2010, 06:32 PM
I had an 8 string, and returned it to get a 6 string.
While I loved the full sound of the 8 ... it just took too much finger strength to make some chords (some were impossible for me).
The 6 string is almost as full sounding, and a lot easier to play. IMO a good compromise.
Note that most 6 strings come with high G, and a low & high C string pair. I didn't like the sound of it, so changed it to two high C's like the 8 string has, and a low G.

Thanks for the helpful feeback. What's the 6 string you own?

vehement
04-07-2010, 07:24 PM
I've played both a 6 and 8 string, and i still love the 6 string over the 8. The ukuleles that I used were Kamaka and Koaloha. Although the 8 string sounds wonderful and almost sounds like theres 2-3 more people playing with you, it was just a little too much for me! The 8 string is just the perfect amount of extra voice I needed over a 4.

ceviche
04-07-2010, 08:40 PM
While I loved the full sound of the 8 ... it just took too much finger strength to make some chords (some were impossible for me).


I can tell you never tried learning a mandolin. If you had, you wouldn't be complaining about finger strength. I have a mandolin, and I think that my 8-string tenor Kamaka is much easier to fret and gives me more room on the neck to squeeze in my fingers to make chords. And I have blue-collar fingers!


We had an 8-string (Kala S8E, I believe), but sold it a few months ago.

1) I loved the full, rich sound
2) I liked it for strumming, but found finger picking to be very difficult
3) The Kala Spruce-top we had was very nice and I would recommend it

The main reasons we got rid of ours:
1) It overpowered my vocals (I have a soft voice)
2) It required too much hand strength (it was okay for my husband but very hard for me to play)
3) We just didn't have enough space for it (we live on a sailboat)

Yes, 8-strings are loud, but imagine 8-strings and koa! Now, that's loud enough to challenge my present level of singing--perhaps even challenging what I've been doing for the past 25 years singing with a guitar! Still, I find that only means I have to dig deeper and sing from my diaphragm or tweaking how I sing with the uke. Start doing that, and you will realize better voice control. It's either that or working the uke a lot softer.

Personally, I wouldn't trade the beauty of my 8-string Kamaka's sound for anything. I'd rather rise to the challenge in order to justify my owning it. When I nail it, I'm often surprised with what I ended up discovering.

--Dave E.

Manalishi
04-07-2010, 09:34 PM
I recently got a Lanikai 8 string, because much as I love the ukulele,after one year of
playing,I found that I was 'missing' something.I had previously played guitar for forty
odd years,and my main guitar over a period of time, was a 12 string! So I checked out
8 string ukuleles and found that the Lanikai filled the gap,left by that missing 12 string
guitar.Now I have the best of both worlds, my Soprano,Concert and Tenor Ukuleles for
playing anytime anywhere,and the 8 string for certain songs and as the mood takes me!
I tend to sing and strum rather than fingerpick, so the volume is easily controlled, but to
a novice,if played as hard as a standard four string, I can see how the volume may be a
problem. As to finger strength,even after playing the 12 string guitar for years, there IS
a noticable difference between a 4 string ukulele and an 8 string, but nothing to worry
about,or to put anyone off!

molokinirum
04-08-2010, 10:41 AM
Is it better to go to a 6 string from a 4 string or go to an 8 string? I am leaning towards getting a 6 string.

Kanaka916
04-08-2010, 11:08 AM
That's a hard call to make, I would suggest (if possible) to play each of 'em and which ever one you decide on will be a personal choice. Or you can do what I did . . .

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v486/hawhyen51/IMG_2993.jpg

mds725
04-08-2010, 11:38 AM
Thanks for all the useful responses. I've only played a Kala 8 string so far and would like to try some other 8 strings and some 6 strings before deciding, although finding a lot of them in the Bay Area has been tough. Maybe there'll be a bunch of them at the Wine Country Ukulele Festival in Napa this September....

Coconut Willie
04-09-2010, 04:33 AM
That's a hard call to make, I would suggest (if possible) to play each of 'em and which ever one you decide on will be a personal choice. Or you can do what I did . . .

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v486/hawhyen51/IMG_2993.jpg

That G String is a beauty!!! :drool:
LOL...we seem to think alike, but the mrs ...... well lets say she somehow managed to get a dose of the anti UAS serum. :(

Harold O.
04-09-2010, 06:29 PM
I purchased a Lanikai LU6 today. Mine has high/low C and high/low A. Getting used to the sound will take some time, but folks standing nearby tell me that the fullness is terrific. Playing isn't much different from my other ukes, but I do notice that the low A bothers me when strummed open. Just a sound thing.

Kanaka916
04-09-2010, 06:37 PM
There are a number of folks who just made the A course in unison and added a low G. For me, it sounds better as the low A was quite dominant.

Paul December
04-09-2010, 07:39 PM
There are a number of folks who just made the A course in unison and added a low G. For me, it sounds better as the low A was quite dominant.

I did that.
I ordered an 8 string set to use because I noticed that (the Aquilas at least) have slightly lower guage strings than the standard set.
...possibly to reduce the tension?