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View Full Version : Am I loving low G?



lambchop
07-12-2010, 03:15 AM
Strung one of my tenors with a Low G a few weeks ago but started playing it seriously over the weekend. Spending some time with it not only am I used to it, but find I can do some really cool stuff I had not been able to do before, like some bass runs followed by a higher tri-tone (ala Jaco Pastorious). Anyone else get turned on to low G like this? Mike

Manalishi
07-12-2010, 04:14 AM
I was a guitarist once,and when I tried Low G the first thing I
found,was that I could replicate a lot of my old guitar 'runs'
on the low G 'bass' string that had been lacking on re-entrant
tuning! So I keep one with Low G and one with High G now!

Raygf
07-12-2010, 04:21 AM
I tried several times in the past (without success) to string a tenor low g. I tried different instruments and different strings, but just never liked the sound. About 2 weeks ago I tried again and am loving it this time. I have plenty of low g arrangements and am starting to work on them.
Regards,
Ray

kenikas
07-12-2010, 05:48 AM
I have one of my tenors and one of my baritones strung low g, and love it for some things. There are songs it works better for, and songs the high G works better for so I have a tenor in each. Tried it on one of my concerts and didn't really care for it on that uke, but on the Bari it has a very nice sound.

allanr
07-12-2010, 06:45 AM
I have one of my tenors strung low-G and the other high-g, the sopranos always high-g and my banjolele strung with a low-G. I prefer the high-g for strums and the low-G for picking.

I'm still relatively new at this, but when I pick a melody or a blues lick, I feel like I am running out of notes at the low end with my re-entrant strung ukes. On the other hand, when strumming, I find that the ukes strung with low-G seem to lose some of that classic sound that makes the ukulele so special.

bryanperk
07-12-2010, 07:04 AM
I have one of my tenors strung low-G and the other high-g, the sopranos always high-g and my banjolele strung with a low-G. I prefer the high-g for strums and the low-G for picking.

I'm still relatively new at this, but when I pick a melody or a blues lick, I feel like I am running out of notes at the low end with my re-entrant strung ukes. On the other hand, when strumming, I find that the ukes strung with low-G seem to lose some of that classic sound that makes the ukulele so special.

Thanks for this Allan, it really helped me decide between the low G and re-entrant stringing for the new koa tenor that i'm finishing up. I've never had a low G but I understand completely what you're talking about feeling like there's something missing on the bass end with re-entrant stringing while picking, so I'm going to put a set of low G's on my new one.
I do like to strum too though, so I may need to start building another one for a set of high G's haha :):)

wickedwahine11
07-12-2010, 09:20 AM
I tried low g a few times and it never really appealed to me. All I could hear was the booming g string, and the other three seemed to get lost in the shuffle. I also succumbed to the thought process that it lacked the sound that made the ukulele unique and it was a wannabe guitar.

I have now fully turned 180 degrees and I now playing 99% low g. I found a set of strings that matched my uke well (Fremont Flourocabon Blackline non-wound on my Kamaka tenor) and now I adore it. Now high g sounds less rich and full to me (though I still keep my other two ukes high g for when I want that traditional sound). And now I'm less militant on what tuning is preferable: I've come to realize it is whatever you like the best. So yep, I'm fully over to the dark side now.

SailingUke
07-12-2010, 10:13 AM
I agree high "G" gives that classic ukulele sound.
Low "G" gives you a few notes below middle "C" for melodies.
I play both, gives me a reason for more than one tenor.
One of the things I like about ukulele is the portability.
I am a guitar player as well and carrying a ukulele is just so easy.
The only issue now is when I pack up for jam, I want to carry 3 or 4 ukuleles.

lambchop
07-12-2010, 04:05 PM
I tried low g a few times and it never really appealed to me. All I could hear was the booming g string, and the other three seemed to get lost in the shuffle. I also succumbed to the thought process that it lacked the sound that made the ukulele unique and it was a wannabe guitar.

I have now fully turned 180 degrees and I now playing 99% low g. I found a set of strings that matched my uke well (Fremont Flourocabon Blackline non-wound on my Kamaka tenor) and now I adore it. Now high g sounds less rich and full to me (though I still keep my other two ukes high g for when I want that traditional sound). And now I'm less militant on what tuning is preferable: I've come to realize it is whatever you like the best. So yep, I'm fully over to the dark side now.

Yes, that droning, seemingly never ending G note bothered me, too, but now it can accent stuff when I solo higher up and I got used to it. I used an Aquila Nylgut Low G set and can't wait to try something else - thanks for the tip on the Fremont - wonder if they are like the Worhts - both flourocarbon. Thanks, Mike

Gillian
07-12-2010, 04:29 PM
I have Aquilas on my tenor. I tried the Aquila metal wound low-G, but it sounded, well, metallic! I put a Worth Clear low G on my Nalu tenor and now it sounds great. I keep my soprano and concert strung with high-g. I like having the additional low notes that some songs require.

As has been mentioned, some songs just sound better low-g, some high-g.

maclay
07-12-2010, 05:57 PM
i started out playing guitar, so i love the low G.......but having the option for Re-entrant and low G tuning is a great excuse to own 2 ukes.

Jake Maclay
http://www.hiveukuleles.com/

fromthee2me
07-12-2010, 06:18 PM
I am keen to try the low G as well, but studying the options available, I see one can buy either a single low string in G, or a set with low G in it (referring to Fremont Blackline here). To expand on this already good thread, what experiences can be related to those two options?

Chris Tarman
07-12-2010, 07:11 PM
I have a soprano with a set of Fremont Blacklines with an unwound low G. I don't play it much. I haven't figured out how to really use the low G to its best advantage. I mostly play soprano, but I would like to get another tenor to string with a low G (even just a cheapie one). I would prefer an unwound, I think, just because it seems like a wound string would have totally different tonal characteristics than the other 3 strings. Kind of funny that I can't figure out what to do with the low G, since I frequently play a 5-string bass!

SweetWaterBlue
07-12-2010, 08:14 PM
Like many others on this thread, I tend to use the low G as a bass-line string. In other words, I don't just strum all the strings, but rather pick the bass string and or the next lowest string, before I strum the rest. When I do strum, I often times favor the top three strings, rather than the low-G. This is a lot like guitar players who develop the bass line with the lower 2 or 3 strings then strum the higher strings. I usually do not like the cacophony of sound coming from guitar players who simply strum all the strings all the time (many as hard as they can). Most good guitar music (to my ears) is a combination of finger picking (or flat picking) a few strings and strumming a few.

I also use the low-G when I am playing solos, since it gives me a larger range of notes.

Raygf
07-13-2010, 01:02 AM
I am keen to try the low G as well, but studying the options available, I see one can buy either a single low string in G, or a set with low G in it (referring to Fremont Blackline here). To expand on this already good thread, what experiences can be related to those two options?

Buying one string makes it less expensive to try low G. I tend to just install sets. I have tried several sets of low G (all non-wound) and am currently very pleased with the Fremont Black Line set that I put on my Kala spruce top thin line tenor. I have a set of Aquila soprano Low G (wound) strings that I need to try. I'm playing mostly concert and tenor these days.

Regards,
Ray

Raygf
07-13-2010, 01:30 AM
I have a soprano with a set of Fremont Blacklines with an unwound low G. I don't play it much. I haven't figured out how to really use the low G to its best advantage. I mostly play soprano, but I would like to get another tenor to string with a low G (even just a cheapie one). I would prefer an unwound, I think, just because it seems like a wound string would have totally different tonal characteristics than the other 3 strings. Kind of funny that I can't figure out what to do with the low G, since I frequently play a 5-string bass!

One of my favorite players, Ohta-San, often uses low g as a melody string. I imagine you have seen posts of him on youtube. If not, check him out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wC8anjhExE

I bought a Pono mahogany tenor that came with wound low g and c strings. I hated them and took them off immediately, but I had a student with an older Lanikai tenor with a wound c and it sounded fantastic. Like you, I prefer the non-wound low g, but I will try the Aquila wound low g soprano set soon. I guess it's time to get out the sopranos and make a decision.
Regards,
Ray

SweetWaterBlue
07-13-2010, 01:56 AM
Wow! That playing by Ohta San makes me think maybe I should put a low G on my soprano, because I almost never play it, since I put the low G string on my tenor. I like this one too


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqwo6yGswOk&feature=related

I also find that as a new player, the high G can be quite confusing when trying to figure out solos. I know it is possible to do so (and some even swear it enhances their ability to finger pick some melodies), but it almost seems like it is an advanced technique. I usually just ignore that string when playing solos on a high G uke, except for the strums. The low G just makes more sense to a noob because everything is in line from high to low.

Ohta San also looks like he is staying off the low G (or just lightly striking it) a lot on the strums, just like a guitar player using it mostly to give that beautiful bass in the melody.

Raygf
07-13-2010, 03:06 AM
Ohta San also looks like he is staying off the low G (o just lightly striking it) a lot on the strums, just like a guitar player using it mostly to give that beautiful bass in the melody.

You are correct. The melody of the Hawaiian Wedding Song (Ke Kali Nei Au) only goes below middle C a few times, so his use of the low G in this tune is primarily as a bass string.

His playing is such an inspiration to me. "Aloha Oe" in front of the Queen Liliuokalani statue touches me every time I watch him play it.

I love reentrant tuning and all of my ukes but one (soon to be two) are tuned that way. I have finally come to a place where low G has struck my fancy.

Regards,
Ray

luvdat
07-17-2010, 08:13 PM
Great great vid posts and talk here on low g!!! Thanks! Count me in as someone who really loves a wound low g (or even a wound C for high g). Yeah you "go through the training" of maintaining balance (not using aluminum wound for a start). But I'm really loving it. A good number of high g players would benefit from not always playing all the strings.