View Full Version : What tuning for soprano uke do you prefer?

12-11-2010, 06:40 AM
I've started off learning all my songs in 'C' tuning, but recently bought some strings that were for 'D' tuning. To my ears, it sounds kind of odd. So I was wondering what tuning you all preferred for you soprano ukuleles?

And I thought I'd make a poll just to see if I could :)

12-11-2010, 07:02 AM
I don't have much experience with soprano ukes, but my friend has a cheap souvenir that had been sitting in a corner for years; I discovered it a few weeks ago. I put Aquila nylgut strings and it sounded dead. Tuned the gCEA strings up to aDF#B and it sounded so much better. I've never played strings intended for D tuning, so I don't know how they would compare to gCEA strings tuned up to D.

12-11-2010, 07:11 AM
It depends on the instrument; my 1948 Martin SO sounds good in any tuning. But I prefer a D tuning for my Sopranino, and for my Ohana SK35, and the Kiwaya. Just sounds more like a soprano to my ears.

And also--I don't know of specialty strings for D tuning. I have Aquilas and just tune them to D. What strings did you buy?

mm stan
12-11-2010, 07:44 AM
Aloha J_Tay81,
I like mine dropped....F#-30/-40, B_30/-40, D#-40, G#-40/-50..
Matches my voice better, better playability, and slow down and resonates better.....Good Luck! MM Stan...

12-12-2010, 05:42 AM
I voted for C since most of my sopranos are tuned that way and I prefer it since I mostly play Hawaiian mele, but I do have my old Harmony tuned in D and really like it for the old vaudville tunes.

12-12-2010, 06:06 AM
I tuned my Applause to 'D' tuning because it doesn't have as big of a voice as my other ukuleles. I think the higher tuning suits it, especially for the old vaudeville songs (Five Foot Two, etc.). If I recall correctly, 'D' tuning was pretty standard in the 1920's, and for whatever reason 'C' tuning became more popular (I could be totally wrong here so if any uke historians wish to correct me, feel free!)

12-12-2010, 06:26 AM
Ukes with short scales (less than a 13.5") seem to sound better in D tuning, to me. Regular sopranos sound fine in C.
Had a Manini that only sounded good in D. Strings were too loose on the short scale in C.

12-12-2010, 07:25 AM
I have five ukes, all sopranos. Two are tuned in C, two are tuned in D and one is tuned in Eflat. I find that a variety of tunings suits me best, and even though I can play in different keys in the same tuning, hammer ons and offs and split strokes require open strings to get the right sound, so being able to shift between tunings is a huge help. Honestly, Eflat is my favorite tuning of the three, but D is a close second.

12-12-2010, 08:17 AM
Hi John:

Love your list of ukes. Can you tell us about the 1947 Martin OO-17 and the
20's Ludwig Wendell Hall Professional? Is the Martin a guitar?


12-12-2010, 09:40 AM
When all I played was my sopranos, I had them tuned to 'C' and was perfectly happy. Since shifting the majority of my playing to the concert scale (which I always keep in 'C' tuning) I have tuned my little Kala Travel Soprano to 'D' tuning and love the way it sounds now. If it was my only uke I would probably switch it back to 'C', but having the option of a higher tuned uke is a lot of fun. And maybe it's the shallow body mixed with the spruce top, but when you tune that Kala to 'D' it is insanely bright sounding.