View Full Version : Low G Blues

Uncle Leroy
12-26-2010, 11:36 AM
Well yesterday I put a low g set on my Fluke Tenor............ugh......yuck. Should I give it a couple of days or go with my initial reaction? It completely mellowed out that uke, way too much. Am I confused?

12-26-2010, 12:47 PM
In my experience it takes a while for the strings to stretch out enough to get the true sound out of them. And it's going to sound more like a guitar.
Which for me was a good excuse to buy a second tenor. One is low 4th and one is re-entrant. My koa Kanile'a sounds really nice to me low 4th but only with Worth Clears. My mahogany tenor is great re-entrant with Worth Browns. That was another problem even in tenor size getting an unwound low 4th that sounded decent. Except for the extra reach, involved I probably should have just stuck with a baritone in low 4th C tuning for the songs with a low G.

12-26-2010, 01:05 PM
I think the Fluke best suits a high-g. It doesn't have the same woody resonance of other styles and the higher, brighter tones helps it.

12-26-2010, 01:39 PM
It completely mellowed out that uke, way too much.
If you're primarily a strummer, you probably like the more "ukey" sound of a high G. That's just part of its charm.

But as someone who's primarily a fingerpicker, I really like the extended range it gives me. Like Teek said, it's a good excuse to have two tenors so you get the best of both worlds. :)

12-26-2010, 01:49 PM
I agree with itsme. The first time I put a low G on my tenor, I was a pretty new uker and pretty much just a strummer. I didn't like it that much. I also only one uke at the time, so if I wanted the high bark of a strummed soprano with a high G I could not get it that way. Eventually, I started trying to be more of a finger picker and wanted to lay down a minimal bass line on some ballads - that made me love the low G. I tried a low G on my soprano for awhile, but now it stays high G. It just depends on what sound you are looking for at the time. Its good to have more than one choice.

Harold O.
12-26-2010, 01:59 PM
Trust your ears. Switching back is no big deal. And keep in mind that you'll be ukin' for a long time to come. You'll surprise yourself the next time you try a low-g setup on a different uke.

12-26-2010, 02:03 PM
The first time I tried low g, I hated it. I did it because when I was in Hawaii, almost all the people I spoke with in uke shops and at factories said it was the way to go. But it didn't appeal to me, so I took it off. A few months later I tried it again, and it still didn't sound "right" to me. So I took it off again and went back to re-entrant tuning.

But then a few months later, I wanted to try my hand at "Europa" by Herb Ohta Jr. It was tabbed out for low g, so I tried it again. Turns out that was the charm. I now have crossed over to the "dark side" and there is no going back. I play the low g exclusively now. I still have two of my other ukes tuned re-entrant for strumming purposes, and I still think that older music ("Five Foot Two," etc.) sounds better with high g tuning. But 99.9% of the time, I'm playing the low g tuned tenor now. It is more range for fingerpicking music, and I think that rock and blues style music actually sound better with a low g tuned uke.

So give it some time. If it sounds foreign to your ears right now, that is because it is not the "uke" sound you probably are accustomed to. I think it is worth the effort of leaving it on for a few weeks to see if it grows on you. My first couple attempts I never left it on longer than a day or two. It turns out it took longer for me to get used to it, but now I wouldn't go back.

12-27-2010, 01:08 AM
I play both, and I play baritone, too. There is a place for it, no doubt. One of my three KoAloha Ukes is tuned low-G and the other two are re-entrant. When I record, I love the Super-Concert in low-G with the Pineapple Sunday in re-entrant tuning. Together, that is a blend of sound that is superb.