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View Full Version : When is a Ukulele not an Ukulele anymore?



Sir
08-12-2011, 10:57 AM
I mean, when I pick any of my Ukes up, I expect four strings. They each sound a bit different (especially the low G), but 5 strings? 6 strings? (that's a guitar surely?) 8 strings? And now Pippin shows us 10 string.

When did the Ukulele stop being a four string re-entrant instrument?

joejeweler
08-12-2011, 11:03 AM
"When is a Ukulele not an Ukulele anymore? "


I mean, when I pick any of my Ukes up, I expect four strings. They each sound a bit different (especially the low G), but 5 strings? 6 strings? (that's a guitar surely?) 8 strings? And now Pippin shows us 10 string.

When did the Ukulele stop being a four string re-entrant instrument?


....when it's in the hands of Jake Shimabukuro,........

.....then i don't know what the hell it is,........but it ain't like no 4 string ukulele i ever heard! :D

Pippin
08-12-2011, 11:04 AM
I mean, when I pick any of my Ukes up, I expect four strings. They each sound a bit different (especially the low G), but 5 strings? 6 strings? (that's a guitar surely?) 8 strings? And now Pippin shows us 10 string.

When did the Ukulele stop being a four string re-entrant instrument?

The Tiple is not a ukulele at all, it is a Latin-American instrument by origin. Martin made them in the 1920s-40s. Ohana has made this reproduction of a Martin Tiple. I will be making a chord chart for it.

kissing
08-12-2011, 11:22 AM
In a 6 or 8 string ukulele, it's still played as though it's a 4 string ukulele to some extent.

The strings are double coursed (ie: close together), so you can fret them both as though they were 1 string.

http://elderly.com/images/vintage/180U/180U-874_front-detail-2.jpg

See how in that picture, the strings are paired?



It is still very much a ukulele.
Same way a 12-string guitar is still a guitar.

delray48209
08-12-2011, 11:25 AM
Excellent topic! This thread should lead to some interesting reading.

zac987
08-12-2011, 11:39 AM
It is just a different form of the same instrument for a different sound. The electric guitar is still considered a guitar, right? It works in the same way. There are still just four courses tuned gCEA, aDF#B, or even DGBE. It is still a uke.

kissing
08-12-2011, 11:40 AM
gCEA wasn't even the original tuning of the ukulele, so you can't really complain about alternative tunings..

bdukes
08-12-2011, 11:45 AM
Note to self:

Say nothing about trees, race or generic drugs.

Ted4
08-12-2011, 11:51 AM
Four courses of double strings = mandolin. End of story. Next?

joejeweler
08-12-2011, 12:08 PM
Note to self:

Say nothing about trees, race or generic drugs.

What he said! :rotfl::uhoh::rotfl:

Ukuleleblues
08-12-2011, 12:13 PM
When it falls into the campfire?

Who knows what the difference between a Baritone and Soprano is?

zac987
08-12-2011, 12:18 PM
Four courses of double strings = mandolin. End of story. Next?

I guess a 12 string guitar is a Columbian Tiple, then....

Mouthy1
08-12-2011, 12:20 PM
I have enough trouble with four strings, I can't imagine adding more into the mix. Oh, by the way, I have played a lot of 6 strings and 8 strings and realized that I suck...

Ted4
08-12-2011, 12:22 PM
Nay, thrice nay! It has SIX courses of double strings therefore it is a variation ( although a somewhat unplayable ) of the guitar. Next?

Brad Bordessa
08-12-2011, 12:24 PM
Some of the most traditional Hawaiian artists use 8 and 6 strings (and have for a long time). If Auntie Genoa Keawe played a 6 string, it's Haaaaawaiian.

There are 12 string guitars and baritone guitars. Nobody questions whether or not they are "guitars".

Dan Uke
08-12-2011, 12:40 PM
Some of the most traditional Hawaiian artists use 8 and 6 strings (and have for a long time). If Auntie Genoa Keawe played a 6 string, it's Haaaaawaiian.

There are 12 string guitars and baritone guitars. Nobody questions whether or not they are "guitars".

It's because the guitar players are busy playing while we are busy reading threads and trying to act like we are experts in the instrument!! I've played the uke for only 4 months and give a lot of advice on this thread!! Self deprication is ok HAHA

Ted4
08-12-2011, 12:45 PM
Hmmm... To me it is simply a question of using the correct, or at least universally accepted terminology. If I pour tomato sauce out of a glass recepticle that is supplied with a twist top- that is usually refered to around the world as a 'bottle'. If I have to saw off the top of a small metal container to get a similar product-that is usually refered to around the world as a 'can'. ergo 4 strings = ukulele. 6 strings =guitar. 8 strings = mandolin.
Resistance is futlie!!!

greenway
08-12-2011, 12:48 PM
Ok, so my basses are now ukuleles, and so are violins, cellos, double basses,... :p

Ted4
08-12-2011, 12:54 PM
Correct!
Resistance is futile.

greenway
08-12-2011, 12:56 PM
I guess I've been playing the ukulele for quite a bit longer than I thought.

chindog
08-12-2011, 01:04 PM
When it's a jar?


(Sorry, that was left over from a previous joke).

PhilUSAFRet
08-12-2011, 02:37 PM
Four courses of double strings = mandolin. End of story. Next?

How about a Taropatch...some say it preceeded the 4 string instrument we all know and love!

ksiegel
08-12-2011, 02:55 PM
When it falls into the campfire?

Who knows what the difference between a Baritone and Soprano is?

The Baritone burns longer, of course.

And I must add, resistance is NOT futile! Resistance is simply measured in Ohms.

Or friction loss, if you're talking fire service hydraulics.

... -Kurt

syrynx
08-12-2011, 03:49 PM
Why does it matter what it's called?

kissing
08-12-2011, 05:06 PM
But isn't the ukulele just a small guitar with 4 strings? I'm confused :(

UncleElvis
08-12-2011, 05:10 PM
Isn't a mandolin tuned differently?

And... if 4 strings = ukulele, I'll let my bass playing friends know that.
And the violinists I know that have expressed an interest in playing the uke? I'll let them know they already play one.
Oh, and my new friend who plays the cuatro... I'll tell her it's really a ukulele.

Sorry.. that's a ridiculous premise.

zac987
08-12-2011, 05:54 PM
Lmao, THANK YOU! Exactly what I was trying to say.

1014
08-12-2011, 06:25 PM
i ka manawa kou i poina ia ka `okina. when you forget the `okina.

Brad Bordessa
08-12-2011, 07:07 PM
i ka manawa kou i poina ia ka `okina. when you forget the `okina.

Ditto! We know it's a can of worms! But ditto!

Kanaka916
08-13-2011, 01:45 AM
Oh yea . . . I foget da `okina too many times, just gotta remind myself wen I go spell 'um. Like Brad said . . . can o worms.

3nails4holes
08-13-2011, 03:32 AM
what about this one?

http://www.koaloha.com/products/tenor/dvi/

are you going to be the one to call up papa koaloha and gently inform him that he's not making ukuleles? ask any uke luthier about the string issue and they will tell you it's a non-issue.

Sir
08-13-2011, 11:16 AM
i ka manawa kou i poina ia ka `okina. when you forget the `okina.

Please excuse my ignorance, can you give me a translation of that before I decide to open the said can any further?

Sir
08-13-2011, 11:25 AM
what about this one?

http://www.koaloha.com/products/tenor/dvi/

are you going to be the one to call up papa koaloha and gently inform him that he's not making ukuleles? ask any uke luthier about the string issue and they will tell you it's a non-issue.

I wouldn't presume, and Papa Koaloha wouldn't give a rat's backside anyway. But I'm not sure he's made a Ukulele there. No-one so far has been able to convince me how anything other than a 4 string re-entrant instrument should be called an Ukulele (Being devil's advocate is fun!)

sir

Ted4
08-13-2011, 11:28 AM
Stop, look, listen, learn!! I've told you how it is , stop arguing!

zac987
08-13-2011, 11:34 AM
I wouldn't presume, and Papa Koaloha wouldn't give a rat's backside anyway. But I'm not sure he's made a Ukulele there. No-one so far has been able to convince me how anything other than a 4 string re-entrant instrument should be called an Ukulele (Being devil's advocate is fun!)

sir

Why can't you accept the idea that you can just call it an "8-string ukulele" or whatever it is, and call it a day? It's not that complex. Don't be a ukulele elitist, that's kind of hilarious as it is.

UncleElvis
08-13-2011, 11:35 AM
I wouldn't presume, and Papa Koaloha wouldn't give a rat's backside anyway. But I'm not sure he's made a Ukulele there. No-one so far has been able to convince me how anything other than a 4 string re-entrant instrument should be called an Ukulele (Being devil's advocate is fun!)

sir

Easy.

Because it is.

As Ted4 is fond of saying, "End of story".

mr moonlight
08-13-2011, 07:50 PM
I've been playing a six string long neck baritone ukulele for most of my life.

Ted4
08-14-2011, 08:34 AM
That sir, is a banjo!!!!

PoiDog
08-14-2011, 08:54 AM
I wouldn't presume, and Papa Koaloha wouldn't give a rat's backside anyway. But I'm not sure he's made a Ukulele there. No-one so far has been able to convince me how anything other than a 4 string re-entrant instrument should be called an Ukulele (Being devil's advocate is fun!)

sir

This statement makes it seem that you are completely convinced that your opinion is the truth, and that you're not entirely open to the possibility that alternate ideas may be at least as valid (if not more valid) than your own.

Alas, the appearance is that you didn't actually ask a question with the intent of accepting new ideas, but rather as a means of hoping to convert others by pointing out the fallacy in their views, and converting them to yours.

As for me, I believe that the 'ukulele universe is far greater than a 15" scale, figure-8, re-entrant tuned, koa wood instrument.

Sir
08-14-2011, 11:26 AM
Ha ha, PoiDog, nothing could be further from the truth, as will become obvious when I post my new Uke review.
My original question was posed semi tongue in cheek as I'd been chatting with a friend. We had been trying to think of another instrument with as many "spin offs" but still keeping the name.

even Dallas gave it's spin offs different names!!

PoiDog
08-14-2011, 11:36 AM
Ha ha, PoiDog, nothing could be further from the truth, as will become obvious when I post my new Uke review.
My original question was posed semi tongue in cheek as I'd been chatting with a friend. We had been trying to think of another instrument with as many "spin offs" but still keeping the name.

even Dallas gave it's spin offs different names!!

Gotcha. I was hesitant to jump into this thread, but that last quote seemed a bit odd.

I'll take my leave now.

blender
08-14-2011, 03:25 PM
To paraphrase a (somewhat) famous quote: I might not be able to define what Ukulele is, but I know it when I see it.

Steve
Madison, WI

southcoastukes
08-14-2011, 04:14 PM
... ask any uke luthier about the string issue and they will tell you it's a non-issue.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of ukulele luthiers who will indeed say just that. A lot of people have used guitar comparisons (why must a ukulele always be compared to a guitar?) to show how an immense variety of set-ups and configurations can still have the same name.

Nothing wrong with that. We can have "classical" ukuleles, "acoustic ukuleles", "electric ukuleles" or whatever - again, be just like little guitars.

To say that strings don't figure into that equation, however, is a bit naive. After all, it is called "stringed instrument design", and the strings are an integral part of the instrument.

Ukulele Etc.
08-14-2011, 04:36 PM
Aren't ukuleles supposed to make people happy? Although reading this thread has proved to be quite entertaining, I think we should get off our computers and play our... Whatever Ted4 told us to call said instruments ;)

Pippin
08-14-2011, 09:38 PM
You guys are all taking this WAY TO SERIOUSLY.