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View Full Version : Can I use 'C' tuning on strings that are labeled as B F# DA?



J_Tay81
12-09-2010, 07:16 PM
I have an Applause soprano that I wanted to switch the strings on. I bought some D'Addario J65 standard nylon strings. The packing for the strings says that the strings are tuned B F# D A, but I play in gCEA.

Does it make a difference if I tune the strings to C tuning? Or do I need to get some that are specifically made for C tuning? The strings are brand new as of yesterday, so I'm still stretching them and retuning them as needed.

I just don't want to snap a string or damage the uke.

Chris Tarman
12-09-2010, 07:36 PM
Those will work for C tuning, but remember that you listed them in reverse order. You want to match them aDF#B to the gCEA. I hope that makes sense. C tuning is just a whole step lower than those strings, which are labelled for D tuning. So the A string will be tuned to high g, the D to C, the F# to E and the B to A in order to make them C tuning. I just put the exact same strings on a uke a couple of days ago. You won't hurt anything, since C tuning will have LESS tension.

J_Tay81
12-10-2010, 12:45 PM
Thanks for the reply. Do you know how long it takes to get the strings properly stretched out so they stay in tune? Are there any tricks to speeding up this process?

clayton56
12-10-2010, 10:29 PM
to stretch them faster, tune them up momentarily and then back down.

You should have no trouble, but they will be rather slack, and quieter and maybe boingier than you might like.

I had a set of GHS that were lableled like that and they were very very light. Didn't go for it. They did sound good in D though.

J_Tay81
12-11-2010, 05:39 AM
They are staying in tune longer than normal now, but I have noticed that 'boingy' quality you pointed out. It almost sounds banjo-ey if you can believe it.

I've done some internet searching and found that if I tune to the 'D' tuning, my chord shapes will change but the note names will now be different. Does this mean that I will have to relearn the few songs I have memorized?

Finally, what are some good strings that are specifically for a 'C' tuning? It seems that the Martins and D'Addarios I have access to locally are all for 'D' tuning.

JimmyRoberts
12-11-2010, 06:02 AM
The C-Maj shape will now be a be a D-Maj. All notes/chords will be raised 1 whole-step:

C to D
D - E
E - F#
F - G
G - A
A - B
B - C#

You can still play your songs using the same chord shapes, but they will be in a different key.

J_Tay81
12-11-2010, 06:24 AM
The C-Maj shape will now be a be a D-Maj. All notes/chords will be raised 1 whole-step:

C to D
D - E
E - F#
F - G
G - A
A - B
B - C#

You can still play your songs using the same chord shapes, but they will be in a different key.


Thanks Mr. Roberts! I didn't want to have to buy new strings so soon!

JimmyRoberts
12-11-2010, 06:42 AM
You're welcome. I see you have a few other ukes as well. Cool! If I had a couple of sopranos, I'd definitely have one in D tuning. In fact, a lot of people prefer the higher tuning for soprano ukuleles. The "higher voice" may suit the smaller body better.

I should add, if you plan on playing that uke with others who are tuned to C, you'd need to use the different chord shapes.

ETA: Some prefer tuning gCEA strings to aDF#B (D-tuning) to get a brighter, punchier sound.

Here's a thread on that topic:
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?28084