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ceviche
03-04-2011, 09:59 AM
Anyone own one of those tiples with the four courses of tripled steel strings? I saw David Hidalgo of Los Lobos playing something like a Tiple, but it only had eight steel strings. The sound made me think of a 12-string guitar, but could definitely see him using uke chords.

I've heard of tiples with 12 strings, and I've heard of tiples with 10 strings. Strangely, I think the 10-string Tiple uses poly strings, while the 12-string uses steel strings.

Anyone have one with the steel strings? Who made yours, and what did it cost?

I'd also like to hear from the "plastic" string Tiple owners and your experiences, too.

I think it's super cool that there are other instruments out there that strung, tuned, and played like ukes.

southcoastukes
03-04-2011, 03:57 PM
There are a gazillion Tiples. It is spanish for "Treble". so you can see how it could be applied to a lot of instruments.

In Latin America, the 12 string or Columbian is most widely known. 4 courses of 3 steel strings, tuned d-g-b-e', like a Baritone Ukulele, and about the size of a 3/4 guitar. The ever enterprising US mainland boys, always looking for a new way to cash in on the various waves of "uke craze", adopted the name and applied it to a 10 string instrument the size of a Tenor Ukulele. 10 strings - 4 courses (2-3-3-2), tuned to the original ukulele key of D tuning. In other words, a little Tiple for uke players.

There are lots of problems with intonation on something this short with octave string pairs, but I have one - it's rich, full throated and I like it for strumming old country blues and such (where being a bit out of tune just adds character). If you've got a budget for a fun, ocassional instrument, I recommend them. Never heard of anyone who plays them exclusively.

A word of warning. New ones are pretty much custom and expensive to build. Old ones are much more reasonable, but expect the possibility of a neck reset. A lot of strain from that much metal, and the majority of them break down at some point.

Never heard of anything with plastic strings, although a hundred years or so ago, the Latin Tiples used gut.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
03-04-2011, 04:01 PM
My suggestion is to first play a steel string tiple for a while. If it doesn't make your fingers bleed in 10 minutes, then go shopping for one.
Or maybe it's just me :) They have a wonderful sound.

southcoastukes
03-04-2011, 04:03 PM
Not a bad idea, Chuck. My fingers don't bleed, but then again, I don't have a big repretoire of those country blues numbers either. (Goodnight, Irene - Midnight Special - Southern Can - You are my Sunshine - It Ain't Gonna Rain No' Mo')

Kekani
03-04-2011, 05:16 PM
Got one, made two. Here's the one that's not mine. What a PITA to make - Joe Souza makes em, and plays em. Listen to Sunday Manoa and you'll hear Peter Moon's Tiple.

http://i291.photobucket.com/albums/ll290/kekani427/Ukulele/IMG_0461a.jpg

ceviche
03-05-2011, 07:35 AM
Dirk, Chuck, and Kekani:

Thanks for the great info and feedback. Very nice 10-string Tiple, Kekani! That is a very beautiful instrument. I love the staggered bridge pins. Is that mango wood on the sides? Just stunning!

I recently snooped around eBay and saw some Mexican builder's product available. Paracho Elite? I suppose there might be better made ones to be found. Any intel on these instruments? Seems kind of hard to second guess what's out there.

Plainsong
03-05-2011, 10:30 PM
A local player has a vintage 10 string tiple. I seem to remember it's 10 strings. It's more than 8, it's been ages since I've seen it so it might be a 12 string. It's one of those ukes that gets passed around the most once it comes out of the case. :)

Kekani
03-05-2011, 11:40 PM
I love the staggered bridge pins. Is that mango wood on the sides?

Pin design is more out of necessity than anything else - I copied Joe Souza. Of course, not much you can do with 10 bridge pins and triple strings on two of the courses.

Quilted Maple. This one is bright, but resonant - and not traditionally "twangy", but I didn't expect twangy with the dimensions anyway.

Its a beast - heavy headstock, but no big deal (the owner plays guitar anyway), hard on the fingers, but no big deal (the owner plays guitar anyway). Not something I'd pick as a first instrument, or one to play by itself.

ceviche
03-06-2011, 07:49 AM
A local player has a vintage 10 string tiple. I seem to remember it's 10 strings. It's more than 8, it's been ages since I've seen it so it might be a 12 string. It's one of those ukes that gets passed around the most once it comes out of the case. :)

I can dig the pass around appeal. It's great to have such a different sounding instrument to mess with and not have the hassle of the learning curve. That kind of difference often begs certain songs to be played.

FiL
03-11-2011, 10:58 AM
The 8-string instrument that David Hidalgo plays is a custom made guitar, most closely resembling an 8-sting tenor guitar (4 double courses, tuned DGBE, with the lower pairs in octaves and the upper pairs in in unison). I would love to find an instrument like this. The closest I can get is an Irish bouzouki tuned like a Greek bouzouki, but I prefer the guitar body to either type of 'zouk.

Soares'y Guitars used to sell a variety of 8-string tenor guitars, but from what I heard the factory that made them shut down due to the bad economy.

I've thought about trying my luck with one of those Paracho Elite (formerly Lonestar) 12-string Colombian tiples, but I'm a bit concerned about the quality (and that super-wide neck).

Southcoastukes is right about the intonation on the 10-string tiples. Someone needs to make a compensated bridge for them.

Kekani
03-11-2011, 04:31 PM
Southcoastukes is right about the intonation on the 10-string tiples. Someone needs to make a compensated bridge for them.

Done. See above.

uke4ia
03-18-2011, 10:43 AM
I've got a Yasuma 10-string tiple I bought used in a music store 25 years ago. Sort of a Martin copy. It's got all metal strings. Here's a picture I found online of a tiple like mine. It has a nice sound, but I don't play it much. I find it very hard to isolate the individual strings in the 3-string flights so I can get them all tuned up. And it doesn't fit into my style of playing well. It's best suited for just strumming chords backing someone up.


http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2009-1/1332215/Yasuma%20Tiple.jpg

ceviche
03-18-2011, 01:59 PM
I've heard of those very rare Yasuma Tiples. Apparently, Martin busted them for making copies and demanded destruction of all not sold. That's why no more Yasumas and so very few can be found.

I'm waiting on a 1959 Martin T-15 tiple I recently bought from a board member (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?41171-1959-Martin-tiple-T-15&highlight=Tiple). Apparently, the Martin (and Yasuma) tiples were built around a tenor uke's body. The Colombian 12-string version is about the size of a baratone uke. The size consideration made me favor the smaller lute. I can't wait to jam on my future tiple. I will be using a pick on this one, as my flat-picking style likes to emphasize the melody of the song.

Sanagi
03-19-2011, 03:12 PM
I find this instrument fascinating and I'd love to play around with one but it does seem like overkill to have that many strings.

ceviche
03-20-2011, 06:59 AM
I have an 8-string Kamaka tenor. No overkill, as the sound is what justifies the instrument.

FiL
03-28-2011, 03:47 AM
Colombian tiples are a bit bigger than a bari, with an overall length that is 5-6" longer (mostly due to that huge headstock), a scale length that is 1-2" longer, a lower bout that is about 2.5" wider, and an extra inch in depth.

uke4ia
04-30-2011, 06:51 AM
I can't wait to jam on my future tiple. I will be using a pick on this one, as my flat-picking style likes to emphasize the melody of the song.

I've been playing my tiple the last couple of weeks. I find it hard to use it on melody lines, unless you're going to do the melody entirely on the A strings. Because the A strings are doubled in the same octave, and the other flights of strings have a string an octave lower, it doesn't sound right when you go from the A strings to any of the others.