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View Full Version : Who plays ukes with more than 4-strings?



mailman
06-29-2010, 06:50 AM
While at UWC2010 earlier this month I saw a wide variety of ukuleles. I saw every size represented; soparanino, soprano, concert, tenor and baritone. I saw every tone wood I'm familiar with; mahogany, cedar, mango, spruce and others. I saw acoustics and electrics, as well as acoustic/electrics.

What I did not see was anything other than four-string instruments. No six strings or eight strings. I'm sure it's possible that there were some there that I missed, but certainly there weren't many.

Is there really that small of a following for these ukes? Or could it be that folks opted to travel light and picked a standard four string as their only carry on?

I'm really intrigued with the possibilities of a 6 string (I love the sound of a 12 string guitar, for example), and had hoped to be able to hear or maybe try one. No such luck....

kenikas
06-29-2010, 07:08 AM
I'm also drawn to the 6 & 8 string ukes, especially the Lanikai Spruce tops. But as you said I've never seen one in person much less had the chance to play one, and since I've picked up 4 ukes in the last few months my UAS should be in remission! But I do find myself looking at them quite often.

Paul December
06-29-2010, 07:09 AM
I had an 8 string Lanikai which sounded amazing, but that many strings was just too difficult for me to play. Too much pressure required for some chords.
I got rid of it, and now have a 6 string Lanikai which is much easier to play and sounds almost as good. Really a great uke, and find myself playing it a lot.
I strung mine like an 8 string: Low G and doubled-up the A's (usually the A's are an octave apart on a 6 string).
I've got the Koa lam with cutaway and electronics. It sounds great plugged-in too.
The laminate on it is as thin as the stuff used on my Kiwaya, and is quite loud.

Manalishi
06-29-2010, 07:14 AM
I have the Lanikai LU-8 8 String Tenor,and love it.Mind,I was a 12 string guitar player for
thirty years,so it's not surprising I love the 'jingle jangle' sound,as Roger McGuinn Once
put it!

leftovermagic84
06-29-2010, 07:15 AM
I've got a Lanikai 6 string as well, and I love the sound. It's completely different from a 4 string, and a lot of fun to play. However, that being said, they're a little more specialized than a standard 4 string, and so people might not have taken them to UWC because they aren't as versatile, especially when it comes to finger picking. I got my Lanikai for well under 200, and at that price, it's not too hard to swallow. I really can't recommend the Lanikai 0-6 high enough.

ukeeku
06-29-2010, 07:19 AM
I have one of these that Oscar Schmidt sent me to review
http://www.elderly.com/new_instruments/items/OU26.htm
It is called a lilli'u I think. it is weird that it is a concert. Most 6 strings are tenor.
I like it for most strumming songs.
I had it with me at the UWC2010, sorry you did not see it.
I can bring it with me to the Bluestone Open mic on July 9th if you are there.

Paul December
06-29-2010, 07:19 AM
I forgot to mention ... IMO my 8 string sounded similar to a 12 string guitar, while the 6 sounds like 6 string guitar. Fuller than a regular uke, but not that really cool ringing sound of an 12 string. If you have the finger strength, definitely go with the 8. Unfortunately I couldn't even make some chords on it :(
OTOH I have no problems finger-picking on the 6, which was very difficult on the 8.

mailman
06-29-2010, 07:40 AM
I'm learning lots, here....thanks! I thought Lanikai was the only option, but now I see that Kala and Oscar Schmidt have 6 srtings, too. I was very surprized to see that the OS OU6 is a concert size (which is my current preference), and only $75 at Elderly! I also thought (mistakenly) that all the 6 strings were spruce tops. I have a spruce top Kala already, and I'm not really wanting another.

Wish I could really try a 6 and an 8 string first to actually hear the difference, and to feel how much hand strength the 8 string requires. Alas, I live in a ukulele-deprived area. Maybe someday....

Paul December
06-29-2010, 07:43 AM
I'm learning lots, here....thanks! I thought Lanikai was the only option, but now I see that Kala and Oscar Schmidt have 6 srtings, too. I was very surprized to see that the OS OU6 is a concert size (which is my current preference), and only $75 at Elderly! I also thought (mistakenly) that all the 6 strings were spruce tops. I have a spruce top Kala already, and I'm not really wanting another.

Wish I could really try a 6 and an 8 string first to actually hear the difference, and to feel how much hand strength the 8 string requires. Alas, I live in a ukulele-deprived area. Maybe someday....

The Kala and the Lanikai are made in the same factory... possibly the Oscar Schmidt too :)

RevWill
06-29-2010, 07:45 AM
You might even consider a Charango. I have one. It's a 10-string (five courses of two). It's tuned like a uke with an extra high E string.

wearymicrobe
06-29-2010, 07:58 AM
I play a 8 string quite a bit. though its hard on my fingers.

http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2005-12/1117199/FrontSpruce.jpg

Skitzic
06-29-2010, 08:01 AM
There are a handful of 8 string Lanikai's on youtube. I have decided I am buying the O-8E in August. If you haven't bought one by September I can do a sound sample for you.

SailingUke
06-29-2010, 08:46 AM
You might even consider a Charango. I have one. It's a 10-string (five courses of two). It's tuned like a uke with an extra high E string.

The extra high "E" is a pain for chords. My Mom brought a charango from Equador a few years ago. It is real armadillo, looks & sounds cool.
It is tuned GCEAE.
I have played many 6 & 8 string ukes, as long as they are set-up properly they don't (to me anyway) play any harder than a 4 string.
Sometimes the neck is a little wider and thicker (for strength) which will feel different than a 4 string too.

FromTheWayside
06-29-2010, 09:28 AM
I had a Mele 6-String for a while, and it was an interesting experience. I really loved the sound, but I sold it because it wasn't getting the play time it deserved. In my experience, the 6 was great for strumming, but not so much for lead work. I'd love to try an eight string, but that won't be in the cards for a while. I'd be curious to see if they were "extended range" ukuleles (i.e. 5 + strings, but not doubled) like there are 7 or 8 string guitars. Anyone heard of those?

haole
06-29-2010, 09:30 AM
I recently blew more money than I even have on a Maui Music Lili'u.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v34/brushfirefairytale/IMG_1514.jpg

The 6-string sound is incredible. I love playing melodies up and down the A string because they're doubled an octave lower. Not sure why most folks think 6-string ukes are just a niche instrument for strumming; they sound great fingerpicked too.

Skitzic
06-29-2010, 09:34 AM
I recently blew more money than I even have on a Maui Music Lili'u.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v34/brushfirefairytale/IMG_1514.jpg

The 6-string sound is incredible. I love playing melodies up and down the A string because they're doubled an octave lower. Not sure why most folks think 6-string ukes are just a niche instrument for strumming; they sound great fingerpicked too.

...yeah but I wonder how many of them were playing a Maui Music...

mailman
06-29-2010, 10:03 AM
I have no immediate plans to buy one, as much as I'd like to. I'd love to hear sound samples, though! I guess one of the reasons I'm so interested is that I'm strictly a strummer; I don't do any fingerpicking. What is the "standard" tuning for the paired strings on 6's and 8's? Are they doubled (exact same note) or octaved (same notes an octave apart)?

Paul December
06-29-2010, 11:00 AM
I have no immediate plans to buy one, as much as I'd like to. I'd love to hear sound samples, though! I guess one of the reasons I'm so interested is that I'm strictly a strummer; I don't do any fingerpicking. What is the "standard" tuning for the paired strings on 6's and 8's? Are they doubled (exact same note) or octaved (same notes an octave apart)?

Usually:
8 String Gg, Cc, ee, aa
6 String g, Cc, e, Aa
...I didn't like the sound of the Aa, so buy 8 string sets for my 6 string and
G, Cc, e, aa
BTW - on Aguilas at least, all the strings are of a lighter gage, probably to reduce overall string tension.

Kanaka916
06-29-2010, 12:17 PM
Just my $.02 . . . Lili'u is defined as scorching, burning, smarting or the name of a crown flower, pua kalaunu. I'm guessing on this one, it could just be an abbreviated name for Hawaii's last reigning monarch. I don't know if Lili'u is a designation for a 6 string ukulele. Sam Kamaka designed and named their HF-36 The Lili'u after Queen Liliuokalani. Kamaka's HF-38 is also known as The Lili'u VIII.

arashi_nero
06-29-2010, 06:29 PM
I play a 8 string quite a bit. though its hard on my fingers.

http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2005-12/1117199/FrontSpruce.jpg

wow that's a beautiful uke. uas setting in again. dag nabit, and it just subsided from my eleuke purchase. i have always known i'd buy an 8-string tenor. a friend has an 8-string kamaka and it is BEAUTIFUL! i actually enjoy playing the 8-string. i would love to play a 6-string and a 5-string, too.