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View Full Version : Solid bodies, amplification, tuning, strings, and picks



superbond2
10-17-2010, 10:55 AM
I've been playing guitar for a while now, and i recently bought a starter soprano ukulele. It's fun to play around with, but I feel limited by my inability to amplify it, as well as its tuning. so, I have a few questions:

1. I've been looking into getting a solid body ukulele, as opposed to an electric/acoustic ( http://www.eleukeusa.com/item/cutaway-jazz-rosewood-electric-eleuke.html specifically) and I am unsure of what to do. I like the idea of the solid body, but it seems to lose the ukulele quality and sounds more like a guitar. Is there a way to assure that a solidbody will sound more ukulele-ish, or should i look into buying an electric/ acoustic?

2. I would be more comfortable playing my uke if it had a DGBE tuning, instead of GCEA, but i still want to have the re entered tuning (That is, the D not being the lowest in pitch). Could I retune an electric tenor that way and have it still sound okay? Also, would it work on my starter soprano?

3. Would I need to buy special strings to do #2?

4. Are there any strings that I could use a guitar pick on without worrying about breaking them?

5. Will a standard guitar amplifier work fine for the solid body, or would it sound better if I bought something more specific?

Thanks in advance!

raecarter
10-17-2010, 11:21 AM
Hi there right I'll get on with answering 1 it's really upto you. Eleuke make lovely solids but some would say it loses it's "ukeness" slightly so that's a tough call i have a mainland tenor with pickup and it is fine for me coming from a guitar background. 2 on my tenor the lowest i can tune down before its unplayable is 4 halfs I make that D# as the 4th string. 3 that was using normal aquila tenor strings 4 i think it's ok to use a pick but I think it's more about using your fingers. You can get felt plectrums i'm in the uk I got them from Bonsai guitars. 5 i'm currently using a bass amp lol but am well aware I need a acoustic smp. Sorry for my bluntness i'm writing on my phone. My signature has my youtube on there i believe eye of the tiger and the Alicia Keys cover are tuned really low for an idea for you. Take care rae

superbond2
10-17-2010, 11:40 AM
Thanks! I think I'll go ahead and get the eleuke, if I can. Do you know if there are any strings that would be easier to tune down to DGBE? I'll also probably buy a pack of felt picks, I'm just more used to using a pick that not. And if a guitar amp works, Then I'll be all set!

raecarter
10-17-2010, 11:44 AM
Yeah any amp will work. It more the looseness creating buzzing etc that would affect any strings. I started like that and now use my fingers when strumming my guitar! Eleuke are cool definitely. Glad you're enjoying it now you can worry what size uke to go for

ichadwick
10-17-2010, 11:47 AM
Any solid-body uke sounds like an electric guitar because the sound comes from the amp, rather than the instrument. Even more so with steel strings. But if you want baritone tuning, buy a baritone (see Jupiter Creek Music). Eleuke and Jupiter Creek both reviewed on my web site.

mm stan
10-17-2010, 11:54 AM
I've been playing guitar for a while now, and i recently bought a starter soprano ukulele. It's fun to play around with, but I feel limited by my inability to amplify it, as well as its tuning. so, I have a few questions:

1. I've been looking into getting a solid body ukulele, as opposed to an electric/acoustic ( http://www.eleukeusa.com/item/cutaway-jazz-rosewood-electric-eleuke.html specifically) and I am unsure of what to do. I like the idea of the solid body, but it seems to lose the ukulele quality and sounds more like a guitar. Is there a way to assure that a solidbody will sound more ukulele-ish, or should i look into buying an electric/ acoustic?

2. I would be more comfortable playing my uke if it had a DGBE tuning, instead of GCEA, but i still want to have the re entered tuning (That is, the D not being the lowest in pitch). Could I retune an electric tenor that way and have it still sound okay? Also, would it work on my starter soprano?

3. Would I need to buy special strings to do #2?

4. Are there any strings that I could use a guitar pick on without worrying about breaking them?

5. Will a standard guitar amplifier work fine for the solid body, or would it sound better if I bought something more specific?

Thanks in advance!

Aloha Superbond,
Welcome to the UU and the forums...to answer your questions, I would say if you play guitar and like it, maybe a baritone would be an excellent crossover ukulele for you, as it is most
likely in DGBE tuning..same as the bottom 4 strings of the guitar....If you're not worried about asthetics and want a real good baritone ukulele sound, I'd check out Musician Friend or their
sister company Music 123...they have their own exclusive Line of Rogue ukuleles sold there. They're really cheap but has some awesome sounds, and beat's out ukulele's sounding
20 times their price to me....I prefer to play my rogue baritone rather than my Kamaka....I always grab it first and has a ddeper rich sound...guess what??It's only $29.99 plus shipping!!
Well for that price, well worth trying...and I'm sure you'll be pleased.....Good Luck!!! MM Stan..

superbond2
10-17-2010, 01:03 PM
Aloha Superbond,
Welcome to the UU and the forums...to answer your questions, I would say if you play guitar and like it, maybe a baritone would be an excellent crossover ukulele for you, as it is most
likely in DGBE tuning..same as the bottom 4 strings of the guitar....If you're not worried about asthetics and want a real good baritone ukulele sound, I'd check out Musician Friend or their
sister company Music 123...they have their own exclusive Line of Rogue ukuleles sold there. They're really cheap but has some awesome sounds, and beat's out ukulele's sounding
20 times their price to me....I prefer to play my rogue baritone rather than my Kamaka....I always grab it first and has a ddeper rich sound...guess what??It's only $29.99 plus shipping!!
Well for that price, well worth trying...and I'm sure you'll be pleased.....Good Luck!!! MM Stan..

That sounds great! What about an acoustic/electric baritone? Or installing some sort of a pickup onto one?

kissing
10-17-2010, 01:17 PM
Here are my answers (as an Electric uke lover, who also happens to use DGBE tuning) to the questions.

1.If you want to sound more ukulele-ish, I guess it's sticking to nylon strings that would do it.
Eleuke tenor would be a good choice. Other brands are Risa (who also have steel-string electrics, which I have tuned to DGBE), Stagg and there are numerous others.
For your purposes, Eleuke seems to fit the bill best, given the Tenor size availability, nylon strings and capability of accepting baritone strings (DGBE).

That said, even a steel-string electric uke with magnetic pickups (same as electric guitar) still has uke qualities due to the short scale and strings. Compared to the longer scale electric guitar, I feel it has a crisper, faster 'attack' to the sound. Also to have DGBE tuning with a short scale, you have to use heavier gauge strings and tune it higher (I use the EADG strings from a 9 D'addario set, and tune it up to DGBE), which also gives it a unique tone.

2. This tuning is practical for Tenor and Baritone ukuleles. I once tried to tune a Concert eleuke to DGBE, but the strings felt a bit too floppy.
Aquila specifically have a re-entrant DGBE string set for Tenor ukuleles. I once bought a set from Musicguymic. If you don't see it listed, I suggest messaging him to make it available. I used re-entrant DGBE on an acoustic-electric tenor here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDEOs_hpqVg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDEOs_hpqVg

3. Yes, Aquilas have a set for Tenor.

4. All ukulele strings, as far as I know, can be used with a pick without worrying too much. Nylon and Nylgut is rather tough and some people do use picks on them.

5. Guitar amp is fine.

ichadwick
10-18-2010, 12:59 AM
4. Are there any strings that I could use a guitar pick on without worrying about breaking them?

Any standard pick will work with any standard strings. You won't break them. I play with a pick all the time, especially on my steel-stringed ukes. Most ukesters don't use picks, but there's no reason not to if that's your style.