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View Full Version : lowering baritone tuning to GCEA



enzymerich
09-09-2011, 09:04 AM
I have a question about changing strings to experiment with making the baritone sound lower.

Instead of the normal baritone uke tuning DGBE which can use strings 4 to 1 (low to high) of a classical guitar can you instead use the strings 5 thru 2 (low to high) of a classical guitar which would be strings ADGB and tune each one down 2 semitones to GCEA?

Do you think this would cause too much stress or any other problems with the uke?

Do know anyone who has done this?

Thanks!
Rich

allanr
09-09-2011, 09:24 AM
So would that actually make the baritone into an "octave ukulele"? Sounds like a cool idea.

bdukes
09-09-2011, 09:37 AM
I wouldn't think stress on the uke would be a problem with those strings. Although you may encounter buzzing from too loose a tension or improper fit at the nut. Someone recently on the forum has advocated and tried much lower tunings on their bari. Hopefully they'll chime in.

ralphk
09-09-2011, 10:07 AM
There was a thread on this, using Guadalupe strings.

OldePhart
09-09-2011, 10:39 AM
I don't think you have to worry about damaging the uke. You might end up having a bit of problem with intonation - but then again maybe not. You'd just have to try it. Intonation up the neck is a function of string diameter (and density), tension, and scale length. Vary too far from the design norm for tension on a particular type of string and you're looking at intonation issues. You also might have to widen the nut slots a bit for the thicker strings - otherwise your action at the nut could be too high and that would give you really bad intonation at the first couple of frets.

John

mds725
09-09-2011, 01:01 PM
Guadalupe Custom Strings (http://www.guadalupecustomstrings.com/)makes baritone GCEA strings that are an octave lower. I have a set but haven't put them on my baritone yet. Here's the thread about these strings: http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?50244-Never-been-so-EXCITED-over-a-new-set-of-strings-before-YOU-GOTTA-TRY-THIS!-D&highlight=Guadalupe+strings

kissing
09-09-2011, 02:14 PM
Yes, as mds725 has said, you gotta use the custom strings for that tuning.

I have my Baritone uke tuned like that. Last night I was playing it plugged into an amp and played for my church's prayer meeting along with piano and guitar.
It played the role of a bass instrument. Finger picking and arpeggio's work well with the GCEA low octave tuning :)

dezer
09-09-2011, 04:39 PM
Hey kissing what does straight strumming sound like with Guadalupe strings?

Jake Wildwood
09-09-2011, 06:24 PM
Hm, for an "octave uke" I think the best bet would be a longer scale and slightly larger body. I would imagine the bass on that low G note would be pretty muddy, unless you're thinking of truly an "octave uke" with a re-entrant G, which would put that tuning in the realm of a regular bari range.

kissing
09-09-2011, 07:05 PM
Hm, for an "octave uke" I think the best bet would be a longer scale and slightly larger body. I would imagine the bass on that low G note would be pretty muddy, unless you're thinking of truly an "octave uke" with a re-entrant G, which would put that tuning in the realm of a regular bari range.

Or plug it into an amp ;)

enzymerich
09-10-2011, 11:47 AM
"you gotta use the custom strings for that tuning."

I saw the thread about the custom strings and learned a lot, thanks for posting that.
But, I'm not so sure you "gotta" use them as if it's the only choice.
I was looking for feedback about the idea of using guitar strings 5-2 (ADGB) and tune each one down 2 semitones to GCEA. Those strings are a lot easier to get if you live in a place like Costa Rica which I do.
Thanks for the reply.
Rich

southcoastukes
09-10-2011, 03:08 PM
"you gotta use the custom strings for that tuning."

... I'm not so sure you "gotta" use them as if it's the only choice.
I was looking for feedback about the idea of using guitar strings 5-2 (ADGB) and tune each one down 2 semitones to GCEA...
Rich

Pura Vida Rich -

I'll only briefly mention that I think this is a bad idea to begin with. The key of G is already too low for optimal sound on a Baritone body. If you want key of C, you'll get a lot better sound by going up - not down. Somebody, I've heard, (not sure who) makes strings for just that purpose.

Nonetheless, it's always fun to fool around and try different voices on your ukuleles. Unfortunately, the other members are correct on this one. The guitar strings won't work.

You started off with a bad assumption at the beginning - that guitar and Baritone Uke strings are the same. They're not. Your Baritone scale is 6" shorter than a guitar scale. Even if you wanted a standard Baritone set-up, you couldn't just use guitar strings without having a very bad loss of tension. To tune them down again would make them not just slack, poor performers, but render them unplayable.

If you really want to do this - take guitar strings (light gauges would be best) 3-6 and tune up. Also expect to re-work your nut and saddle, and watch to see how your intrument takes the extra tension - not from tuning up - that will put those strings about where they should be in terms of tension - but from using four strings that heavy, and the somewhat naturally higher tension they need to perform well.