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View Full Version : Low G- Chords and Intonation



guitar2adam
07-16-2008, 12:02 PM
I'm thinking about buying a uke that is strung with low G.

1. If I wanted to change the string to normal high G, would the intonation be bad?

2. I assume the chords will be different for low G tuning since the bass string has change from C to G, but I don't see any chord charts for low G tuning. Help please?
Thanks guys.

UkuCouS
07-16-2008, 12:07 PM
I'm thinking about buying a uke that is strung with low G.

1. If I wanted to change the string to normal high G, would the intonation be bad?

2. I assume the chords will be different for low G tuning since the bass string has change from C to G, but I don't see any chord charts for low G tuning. Help please?
Thanks guys.


Why would your uke sound bad with a Low G sting ?
A lot of great uke players plays with Low G.

The bass string doesn't change from C to G !!! Just your C string will be an octave down ... you'll keep your 3 first strings as normal only the 4th changes.

russ_buss
07-16-2008, 12:17 PM
either way you go, it's still tuned GCEA. no change in intonation. just the G string is going to be high (for re-entrant) or one octave lower (for low G). all else remains the same.

guitar2adam
07-16-2008, 12:40 PM
So even with the G string down an octave, the C string is the lowest note? If G string become the lowest note then the chords are all in different inversion, and it seems chords would have to be different.

russ_buss
07-16-2008, 12:50 PM
So even with the G string down an octave, the C string is the lowest note? If G string become the lowest note then the chords are all in different inversion, and it seems chords would have to be different.

the G would then be the lowest note. slap a capo on the fifth fret of your guitar, ignore the E and A strings, and you have yourself a test drive of a low G uke.

uke142464
07-16-2008, 03:29 PM
the G would then be the lowest note. slap a capo on the fifth fret of your guitar, ignore the E and A strings, and you have yourself a test drive of a low G uke.

thats a good way to put it:D:rock:

ichadwick
07-16-2008, 04:41 PM
slap a capo on the fifth fret of your guitar, ignore the E and A strings, and you have yourself a test drive of a low G uke.

Don't forget to restring with nylon... my steel string guitar doesn't sound like a uke at any capo location.

Plainsong
07-16-2008, 05:18 PM
So even with the G string down an octave, the C string is the lowest note? If G string become the lowest note then the chords are all in different inversion, and it seems chords would have to be different.

That's my million dollar question too. I mean I know the ear will know it's a C chord, but inversions are inversions.

I once read on another forum that chord shapes change, but I've never found a chord chart for that.

I had a low G'd tenor and I liked it. Of course I was all inverted, but maybe that's ok in the uke world.

Boozelele
07-16-2008, 10:13 PM
Yes the chord structure changes...but the chord doesn't, it just means a different note in the chord is the lowest. Look at your standard C chord (with one finger on the third fret of the A string) This chord has the root of the chord (C) as the lowest, and the highest note. BUT lets look at the standard G chord..The D note (which is the 5th of the chord) is actually the lowest note and the B (which is the 3rd of the chord) is the highest note. So now if you string your uke with low G tuning, this standard G chord has the root of the chord G as the lowest note. I'm sure this makes absolutely no sense what so ever. I guess the point is with a four-string re-entrant instrument it's all goofy anyway. Changing the G string down one octave will NOT change any chords. A C will still be a C, an Ebm7 will still be an Ebm7, etc.....the lowest note will just be a different note of the chord.

Plainsong
07-16-2008, 11:13 PM
I know what an inverted chord is. :p Usually in music you use them in specific ways and notated as such. I know chords can also be naturally inverted in gCEA, I guess it's like you say, the uke world is just cool like that and rolls with it.

Boozelele
07-17-2008, 12:09 AM
I know what an inverted chord is. :p Usually in music you use them in specific ways and notated as such. I know chords can also be naturally inverted in gCEA, I guess it's like you say, the uke world is just cool like that and rolls with it.

Oh, sorry Plainsong, I was trying to respond to guitar2adam's comment. I guess I should have used quotes (like I did for this post) :p But yeah, I think with only four strings we gotta just goooooo with it. :)

Plainsong
07-17-2008, 01:54 AM
It's just those blanket statements made by internet experts that confuse things. Someone drops into a forum and says "Yes, some chord shapes are different in low G." ... and?? We don't expect to see all chords listed, but could you elaborate kind sir? ;)

In other words, someone just talking out of their behind. Probably a guitar player. :rofl:

freedive135
07-17-2008, 05:19 AM
While I don't know about any of this here fancy music stuff....

I sat down and played a Low G tenor lastnight thinking about getting one, I played it like I would my Soprano and it sounded like I thought it would "Lower" on the G string.

At first the sound was strange compared to my High G tenor then I played them one after another and I was the same just different!!!!

Tomdini
07-17-2008, 11:35 PM
Yeah... low G just means the top string, your G string, will be tuned down an octave. So no more re-entrant tuning, and that open G string still plays a "G." The G string will be the lowest string on your uke, rather than the C string. This tuning is, in fact, the bottom four strings of a guitar, only shifted up a perfect fourth (five frets). Chords are played exactly the same, except all notes on the G string will be an octave lower than they were on standard high G re-entrant tuning.

The voicing of the chords will change slightly, but as Boozelele put it, a C will be still be a C, and an Ebm7 will still be an Ebm7. You play them exactly the same, nothing changes. Same chords, performed identically. But whatever's being played on the G string will be an octave lower than it normally is.

Also, in response to the OP's concerns regarding intonation, I put a low G on my tenor just to try it out, didn't much fancy it after the strings had settled (not the best brand of strings for this uke, I suspect), and swapped it out for a high G at once, and have no intonation problems to date. As far as I know, while a tenor uke might come strung with low G, I think they're all made for high G re-entrant tuning. I could be dead wrong, though... point is, if you buy a uke in low G and re-string for high G, you should be fine.

-Tom