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View Full Version : Questions about GDAE tuning, string tensions, and alternatives to Aquila Nylgut



morryll
03-17-2012, 11:59 AM
I'm interested in getting a uke to tune in GDAE tuning (since I play fiddle and a little mando). I've done my homework on this, googled around for the best way to do it, and the conventional wisdom seems to be this:

1) get a soprano uke (since bigger ukes will pose a problem with the high E string),
2) use the Aquila Nylgut GDAE set.

So far so good. I have some issues with the above, though, and thought I would ask the experts before I go out and buy stuff.

Problem #1: The Aquila GDAE set has gotten some negative reviews on forums like this-- players say that they break easily, or else they just don't like them, etc.

Problem #2: I'd kind of like to use at least a concert size rather than a soprano. I know tuning the high E on a concert is supposed to be a problem... but I wonder about that.

What do people think about using a classical-guitar "high E" in say a .30 gauge and trying to use that as the high E, either in a 13" scale ukelele or a 15" scale? I mean, it's tuned to the same note anyway on a 25" scale instrument, so it should be easy to tune it up to pitch when you're just using 15" of it...

And if I do this, is there a preferred type of classical high E to use? (I would imagine you want a super-high-tension string, since you'd be lowering the tension a lot to compensate for the shortened length). Does anyone know how many kg of string tension a ukelele neck is designed for?

Thanks in advance for any help...

southcoastukes
03-17-2012, 07:14 PM
You are correct to be concerned. A tuning in 5ths is a very tricky proposition with classical strings - simply because the range of notes is so wide. Steel strings make it a fairly simple proposition. With classicals, it is a balancing act between a 1st string that is so thin it breaks, and a 4th string that is so thick it is unpleasant to play.

We have what we call our "Linear String Set in 5ths". We think it hits the mark - low string to high string - as well as it can be done. We don't recommend it for either soprano or concert, however. If you're thinking along the lines of "little instrument - high tuning", you're not taking into account the difference between steel strings and classicals.

We recommend nothing smaller than a Tenor, and even then, you don't use our set for Mandolin Tuning, but Tenor Guitar tuning: c - g - d' - a'. We use this set for Octave Mandolin tuning on our 4-string classical guitars.

To sum up - to move from a high pitched steel string tuning to classical strings, you need to think lower tuning - bigger body.

benjoeuke
03-17-2012, 08:34 PM
What do people think about using a classical-guitar "high E" in say a .30 gauge and trying to use that as the high E, either in a 13" scale ukelele or a 15" scale? I mean, it's tuned to the same note anyway on a 25" scale instrument, so it should be easy to tune it up to pitch when you're just using 15"...
a mandolin or fiddle high E string is a full octave higher than a guitar high E

morryll
03-18-2012, 09:49 AM
@ benjoeuke: Wow, you're right. Thanks. (Still wonder if the classical high E would work, but I see the problem now). Thanks to all who replied.