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View Full Version : TUNING ~ ~ ~ LOW G questions



UKEON TERRITORY
12-06-2011, 10:12 AM
Any maestro sorts out there got any input on the advantages and or disadvantages of a low G 4th string tuning on a concert Uke ? Or any other Uke for that matter .

It's just something I've been considering doing and really don't even know why ? lol


RAGZDADDY

dnewton2
12-06-2011, 10:17 AM
No maestro, but the low g will add 5 notes to your note aresnal when fingerpicking. Also it just gives the uke an overall slightly more gutiarish sound when strumming. Some songs sound better with low g some high g. Some people like it others don't. Ultimatly you need two ukes to have one in each tuning.

Kanaka916
12-06-2011, 10:18 AM
From from Live Ukulele's article on Strings (http://liveukulele.com/gear/strings/);


The Low G vs. High-g String:

Low G strings seem to be a mystery to many (mostly beginning) ‘ukulele players. While many artists still opt for using the reentrant tuning (high-g), it seems that the low G string is becoming a popular option.

A low G string give the ‘ukulele a more rounded, even sound. Some claim that it makes the ‘ukulele sound more like a guitar. I don’t think it makes the uke sound like a guitar, but it does give you 5 extra notes.
A high-g string is best for the more treble-oriented traditional Hawaiian rhythm sound. It also keeps the note spectrum tighter and usually doubles two notes of a chord in unison.

A low G string replaces a high G. You put a low G string on your ‘ukulele just like any other string, though sometimes you just might use only one wrap in the “tuning knot”. The only reason for this is because a low G string has a larger diameter than the other strings, and you might not be able to pull off the standard double wrap because of its thickness. A low G is tuned one octave below the high G – the 5th fret of the G will be the same as the open C string. (How to put strings on an ‘ukulele)

The only tuner you might have trouble with is an ‘ukulele pitch pipe, because it will be tuning the high-g instead of the low G. You should be able to hear the note as an octave and tune to that. If you can’t hear the octave, just tune the rest of the strings to the pitch pipe and use the 5th fret on the G to tune to the C string.

Low G strings come in two types: wound and unwound. Wound strings are just like they sound: they are made with a nylon or metal strand in the middle and metal is wound around on the outside. Wound low Gs have a different tone than the rest, which might throw your overall sound off. They are a lot richer sounding than the unwound – you instantly know when someone is playing on a wound G. They also squeak when you slide you finger on them. Sometimes, if you are sliding a long ways, your finger will get caught and you will end up stranded in the middle of a slide. Worth makes the only unwound low G I know of. Unwound low G strings have to be a bit bigger in diameter than wound low Gs to have the same tension. To hear the difference in wound/unwound low G strings, listen to Herb Ohta Jr.’s “‘Ukulele Breeze” album which he uses a wound low G on, and then “‘Ukulele Journey” where he goes the unwound low G route.

Drew Bear
12-06-2011, 10:42 AM
Random thoughts from a non-maestro.

I like the low-G "sound" from various sound samples and video I've heard, so will also install a low-G set of strings at some point. But my first uke came with a high-G set of strings and I've been learning basic picking patterns with it. That will change with a low G string, so I've decided to hold off on changing the tuning.

If you're anywhere close to getting a 2nd uke (maybe a tenor?), then you might want to consider putting the low-G set of strings on that one.

janeray1940
12-06-2011, 11:23 AM
Definitely not a maestro here but... to me, the "pro" for going low G is the aforementioned five extra notes, and the "con" is the aforementioned guitar-ish sound. This is why I went with two identical ukes, one string low G and one reentrant - I wouldn't be happy with the low-G sound as my only player, but sometimes it's just the right thing.

PoiDog
12-06-2011, 11:43 AM
Definitely not a maestro here but... to me, the "pro" for going low G is the aforementioned five extra notes, and the "con" is the aforementioned guitar-ish sound. This is why I went with two identical ukes, one string low G and one reentrant - I wouldn't be happy with the low-G sound as my only player, but sometimes it's just the right thing.

Yup. Same with me. Got one slung high and one slung low. No need for anything more than that.

Lori
12-06-2011, 11:48 AM
If you ever do melody fingerpicking, and find yourself running out of notes on the low end, a low G tuning will help. Some ukulele arrangements awkwardly jump octaves in the middle, in order to fit the instrument. Some songs are transposed to try and fix the limitation, but it can be a problem.

Some concert ukes do fine with low g, but you will get more consistent success on a tenor or super concert size. The length of the string verses the thickness influences tone. If the string is too thick for it's length, it can sound dull and rubberband-like. A wound string will give more sustain, and can help (but that introduces the squeak mentioned above). Sometimes you have to change the strength of your attack on a low g string, because it can be too dominant if you are used to re-enterant tuning. It takes just a little bit of practice to lighten your touch on that string, and if you switch back and forth between tunings, it will become second nature.

–Lori

ukuhippo
12-06-2011, 12:00 PM
Yup. Same with me. Got one slung high and one slung low. No need for anything more than that.

Same here.

HoldinCoffee
12-06-2011, 10:37 PM
My opinion is that if you're new to the uke and mainly learning off the internet, go reentrant. Its happy. Its the tuning that most tutorials are in. And really, its traditional uke.

Later on, if you want a different sound, or if your going slack key, or jazz, or as stated, need five extra notes, go low g.

(damn that was a lot of commas)

Drew Bear
12-07-2011, 08:56 PM
My opinion is that if you're new to the uke and mainly learning off the internet, go reentrant. Its happy. Its the tuning that most tutorials are in.

I agree. Although there are some low G tabs, by far the huge majority of tabs are for re-entrant tuning. Video tutorials are even more heavily weighted towards high G.

mr moonlight
12-07-2011, 09:45 PM
I've only ever played low g. I tried re entrant but it just didn't fit my style. It's definitely a personal preference sort of thing and there's pleanty of tutorials and learning resources for both turnings. Try low g for a bit and if you don't like it, just switch back. There are benefits to both.

ukuhippo
12-07-2011, 10:28 PM
I agree. Although there are some low G tabs, by far the huge majority of tabs are for re-entrant tuning. Video tutorials are even more heavily weighted towards high G.

That depends on what you want, chord strumming is the same for both tunings, fingerpicking is different. I started with the high g, tried the low g and now have two ukes, one for each tuning, I like them both.

808boy
12-07-2011, 10:56 PM
Recently got a solid Mango and a solid Koa Concert ukuleles. With both uke with the same strings and tuned re-entrant, the Mango sounded warmer so I switch out the strings to low g with 3rd and 4th strings wound. Boy does it sound sweet and compliments my voice better than the Koa. I also drop tuned it to fit my voice range. Also learned picking patterns rather than just strumming the chords. Sounds much better. The low g carries the bass line where the re-entrant doesn't sound good at all. Just my observation.....................BO................ .

mandrew
12-08-2011, 12:42 AM
I play a Kanilea Islander concert with a wound low G. I really like it. If I were just strumming, I would have the high G. But, I like to finger pick and thumb pick melodies, and the low G adds richness and extra notes. I will end up with one of each eventually.