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View Full Version : C vs D and that thing with the G!?...



rock_and_roll_camera
10-08-2010, 08:17 AM
Rightio guys, who feels like helping a fellow uker out today? Basically, as you may or may not know, I recently bought a banjo-uke. Well I always knew about "D" (ADF#B) tuning and how most banjo-uke players prefer that tuning as it's bolder and pluckier and such.

Well at first I just tuned it to "C" (GCEA)as that's what I know, and I didn't fancy learning all the new chords. But today I decided to try something different and my word "D" sounds amazing. So much louder and brighter!

My question though is this, what is the difference between the two tunings? I play guitar and everything but I don't really know anything about music theory, just what sounds good and goes together etc, so please explain it as simply as possible.

I notice that the two tunings use the same chord shapes, but obviously they're different chords. How do these relate to each other, obviously there is a pattern to it?

Also, whilst I have used this new tuning, and got used to some of the chords, I have mostly been playing the chord shapes I would usually play for "C" tuning (basically playing the smae chords on a different tuning, if y'know what I mean?) and this sounds just as good as playing the chords in the new shapes? So I wanna know if this is do-able, if this is something that most people do?

When I'm playing songs in the new tuning, should I play the same chords but in the the new shapes, or do I have to re-arrange the song for the new scale?

And finally, can somebody explain the whole high "G", low "G" thing to me? What is the difference? I'm not even sure what I use but how do I try the other one? I mean how can I tune from one "G" to another? Surely the string would end up too slack or too tight? What difference does it even make?

Well I think I've wittled on enough? If any one could help that'd be great, but please don't confuse me! I'm sorry if I sound like a right idiot, I've just never really though about all this stuff before...

Cheers guys!...

raecarter
10-08-2010, 08:48 AM
Basically if you play a g chord in c tuning you play a f chord in d tuning they'll sound the same if that makes sense try tabtransposer.Com and shift it up two half notes? Sorry if i'm confusing. Check out that site though it will explain all

SailingUke
10-08-2010, 09:49 AM
Once again the complete lack of ANY music theory bites you in the A!!.
Everyone should know the musical alphabet. Playing music without knowing the alphabet is like trying to read without knowing the abc's(alphabet).

rock_and_roll_camera
10-08-2010, 09:59 AM
Once again the complete lack of ANY music theory bites you in the A!!.
Everyone should know the musical alphabet. Playing music without knowing the alphabet is like trying to read without knowing the abc's(alphabet).

So point me in the right direction... I need to be shown the light...

bobby b
10-08-2010, 10:26 AM
RE: The "shapes" of the chords between tunings. A chord in gcea tuning say Gmaj is simply one sep up the scale when played in adf#b tuning making that chord ( same shape ) now an Amaj.
Similarly if you play Cmaj in one tuning that same shape in the higher tuning now is a Dmaj.

RE: The low G string. It is actually 2 different strings. You chose which one to use. A high G string is a smaller string , the Low G string is fatter. High G is tuned one octave above Low G.
All the chords are the same when using high or low G, the musical effect is different.

Hope this helps

spookefoote
10-08-2010, 10:51 AM
OK Chum - Chord shapes, you're tuned to A D F# B
Asume the the first chord is the shape you would play on a C tuned uke and the second what it would be on a D tuned one

C = D, C# = D#/Eb, D = E in other words the chord shape you play on a C tuned is a tone higher on a D. Simples.

Sailing does have a point in as much as you should be aware that notes rise in a scale from C through to C via C#/Db, D, D#/Eb, E, F, F#/Gb, G, G#/Ab, A, A#/Bb, B then here comes C again. You should be able to work out your chords from that. If you're still not sure then give me a yell.

Chris Tarman
10-08-2010, 12:35 PM
RE the low G vs high g question: Most likely, the ukulele you have now, and basically every one you have ever played, had a high g string. A lot of tenors use a low g, but not ALL of them. High g is pretty much the standard, that gives the open strings that famous "My Dog Has Fleas" thing. Low G would be more for playing a lot of melodic lines and solos, or for filling out the low end in a group of ukuleles. Sort of the uke orchestra equivalent of a bass guitar. I have one of my sopranos set up with a low G, but I rarely play it, because it seems too guitar-ish to me.

Hippie Dribble
10-08-2010, 01:39 PM
Once again the complete lack of ANY music theory bites you in the A!!.
Everyone should know the musical alphabet. Playing music without knowing the alphabet is like trying to read without knowing the abc's(alphabet).

so aside from bagging him, can you offer him any help at all...or just quote some platitudes? Everything is easy when you already know the answer. You might just be helping many people, not just one...

clayton56
10-08-2010, 10:33 PM
The D tuning is just as if your neck were two frets shorter. It's really no different than that. Whatever you used to play up the neck, you now play two frets down. Your D chord used to be found at 2225, now it's at 0003. Same configuration, just moved down two frets.

It can get confusing but repetition will help as it helps with all transposing. You could decide to change your sheet music instead of learning two systems (this is how woodwind players do it). So you would adjust your sheet music so when it called for a D, you'd write in C, and play the "C" as you do on your other uke, only the note coming out would be D.

spookefoote
10-08-2010, 11:21 PM
The D tuning is just as if your neck were two frets shorter. It's really no different than that. Whatever you used to play up the neck, you now play two frets down. Your D chord used to be found at 2225, now it's at 0003. Same configuration, just moved down two frets.

It can get confusing but repetition will help as it helps with all transposing. You could decide to change your sheet music instead of learning two systems (this is how woodwind players do it). So you would adjust your sheet music so when it called for a D, you'd write in C, and play the "C" as you do on your other uke, only the note coming out would be D.

Nice way of putting it

rock_and_roll_camera
10-09-2010, 01:08 AM
Thanks guys, lots of good advice and tips here, appreciate it. Still not really got my entire head around it but it's a little clearer perhaps. I'm in search of some good web-sites or lessons. Keep up the advice guys, the more the better... and as Eugene said, you may not just be helping this idiot out, but many other ukers who are perhaps struggling with th concept!?


The D tuning is just as if your neck were two frets shorter. It's really no different than that. Whatever you used to play up the neck, you now play two frets down. Your D chord used to be found at 2225, now it's at 0003. Same configuration, just moved down two frets.

It can get confusing but repetition will help as it helps with all transposing. You could decide to change your sheet music instead of learning two systems (this is how woodwind players do it). So you would adjust your sheet music so when it called for a D, you'd write in C, and play the "C" as you do on your other uke, only the note coming out would be D.

Thanks Clayton, that is sort of what I've been doing, but I can't help feeling that I'm somehow cheating myself. It's a good middle ground for the time being, but I really want to properly understand it.

Spookefoote, thanks for your contact and ideas... I will get this! Thanks to everyone and keep it coming!

GreatGazukes
10-09-2010, 01:47 AM
You're not cheating yourself, you are simply playing the song 2 semitones higher.

If you wish to keep the uke in D tuning and not play in a higher register, then you need to learn the changed chord positions. The question is whether you are up to tormenting (exercising???) your brain into reading a second chord fingering yet?

ukejack82
10-09-2010, 07:33 AM
For a discussion on good music theory books please see this thread (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?36492). I can highly recommend both the Ukulele Fretboard Roadmaps and Understanding Ukulele Chords. Based on the recommendation of fellow UU'sters, I purchased these two books this past week. I have made it through a few chapters in both books and I am amazed out how my understanding has improved.

- Jack

rock_and_roll_camera
10-09-2010, 08:49 AM
For a discussion on good music theory books please see this thread (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?36492). I can highly recommend both the Ukulele Fretboard Roadmaps and Understanding Ukulele Chords. Based on the recommendation of fellow UU'sters, I purchased these two books this past week. I have made it through a few chapters in both books and I am amazed out how my understanding has improved.

- Jack


I may just give that a look! Thanks for the heads up!...

SailingUke
10-09-2010, 09:31 AM
"Ukulele Fretboard Roadmap's is a great place to start with some basic theory.
Everyone really should know the notes, what I refer to as the musical alphabet.
A, A#/Bb, B, C, C#/Db, D, D#/Eb, E, F, F#/Gb, G, G#/Ab
There are 12 semitones, notice no Cb or Fb.
A half step is one semitone (one fret on the fretboard) a whole step is two.
Once you understand this you can find just about any chord.
ie, on a GCEA uke an F is 2010 (the chord of the year), the root note (F) is on the "E" string first fret.
Play the same shape on ADF#B tuned uke and the root is now a "G" note, so the chord is now a G, up one full step from F.
It may seem daunting, but if you spend just a little time on learning the alphabet and understand what is going on, I promise a lightbuld will light up and you will make a quantum leap in you playing.

A word of caution, once you learn some music theory it can be addicting.
I have been playing 50+ years, only the last 5 or so I have I learned theory.
Not only is my playing better, I now have more fum experimenting.
It got me off that beginner plateau so many of us get stuck on.

rock_and_roll_camera
10-10-2010, 05:22 AM
"It may seem daunting, but if you spend just a little time on learning the alphabet and understand what is going on, I promise a lightbuld will light up and you will make a quantum leap in you playing.

I look forward to it!...

southcoastukes
10-10-2010, 07:28 PM
It's not as complicated as it seems. If you're not playing with anyone (or anything) else just tune to whatever feels good on your instrument - keep the relationship between the strings the same, and disregard what notes you are playing. The same fingering patterns work in any key (or anywhere in between), they would just have different names. In other words, just because you change your tuning, you don't have to change the way you play the song. Play as you always do.

If you play in a group, or need to know the chord names for some other reason, our "Guide to Tunings and Strings" gives a quick overview (pay special attention to the "Tunings" page). Also there is a link to the "Ukulele Handbook", a simple chord book, but one that supplies names to the fingering patterns in 6 keys.

http://www.southcoastukes.com/stringuide.htm

clayton56
10-11-2010, 08:11 AM
A word of caution, once you learn some music theory it can be addicting.
I have been playing 50+ years, only the last 5 or so I have I learned theory.
Not only is my playing better, I now have more fum experimenting.
It got me off that beginner plateau so many of us get stuck on.

That's what happened to me. About 10 years ago I started a website with play-along soundfiles (www.musicstudents.com) intended mostly for woodwind players. They need their music transposed. What I do that is unique is provide different versions of the music, for each category of instrument.

Even though the software does it for me, I still have to double-check it, so that way I've gotten to know my way around transposing. Eventually it's gotten to the point where it's easier for me to transpose my Eb clarinet than it is to print out a transposed sheet. That's a minor third, it used to be nearly impossible.

Uncle Rod Higuchi
10-11-2010, 08:33 AM
I was going to say the same thing as SouthCoastUkes re: playing alone, etc.

As an example, I have a gig at a restaurant and I play/sing alone. I have a lower vocal register so I tune my uke a
half-step lower than GCEA to F#BD#G# which works better for me.

The song sheets I use will still have the GCEA chord names but I will be making sounds a half-step lower. I'll use the
same fingering as for GCEA but it will sound a bit lower. The audience will probably not notice it. However, ...

If someone wants to play with me, either they will need to retune their instrument or I will retune to 'match' them.

When a uke is 'tuned to itself' (vs tuned to a tuner) the chord shapes don't have to change, but you may not be making
'true' sounds according to the normal name for the chord fingering you're using.

Bottom line, playing alone, you make the rules and use the fingerings you like.

Playing with others, the tuner makes the rules and everyone adjusts to the tuner. Baritones have their tuning and their chord names. Banjo ukes in 'D' have their tuning and their chord names. And probably most players will be tuned to GCEA and have
'their' tuning and chord names.

When every one strums 'their' C chord, they should all be in sync (consonant vs dissonant). However, if everyone strums 0003, they will be dissonant because that chord formation is actually a different chord name for each instrument. Clear as
mud?

Keep uke'in',

rock_and_roll_camera
10-11-2010, 09:05 AM
I was going to say the same thing as SouthCoastUkes re: playing alone, etc.

As an example, I have a gig at a restaurant and I play/sing alone. I have a lower vocal register so I tune my uke a
half-step lower than GCEA to F#BD#G# which works better for me.

The song sheets I use will still have the GCEA chord names but I will be making sounds a half-step lower. I'll use the
same fingering as for GCEA but it will sound a bit lower. The audience will probably not notice it. However, ...

If someone wants to play with me, either they will need to retune their instrument or I will retune to 'match' them.

When a uke is 'tuned to itself' (vs tuned to a tuner) the chord shapes don't have to change, but you may not be making
'true' sounds according to the normal name for the chord fingering you're using.

Bottom line, playing alone, you make the rules and use the fingerings you like.

Playing with others, the tuner makes the rules and everyone adjusts to the tuner. Baritones have their tuning and their chord names. Banjo ukes in 'D' have their tuning and their chord names. And probably most players will be tuned to GCEA and have
'their' tuning and chord names.

When every one strums 'their' C chord, they should all be in sync (consonant vs dissonant). However, if everyone strums 0003, they will be dissonant because that chord formation is actually a different chord name for each instrument. Clear as
mud?

Keep uke'in',

Very wisely put sir! Thank you!...

southcoastukes
10-11-2010, 07:20 PM
Clear as mud?,

Even clearer!