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View Full Version : I'm a Low G fan now. Don't know if I'd go back.



ukuleleleluku
07-23-2012, 05:25 PM
I have two tenors that I primarily play. One an Oscar Schmidt has a bright tone while the Lanikai has a more mellow sound. For a long time I looked into the Low G tuning, read all the debates on High G vs. Low G, read up on the new Aquila red series that have now made it out on the market comparing the initial reviews to the new unwound string fans to the wound string fans and then of course procrastinated for awhile because I didn't really want to leave the traditional re-entrant uke tuning for fear of not liking the Low G.

Finally I knew the only way to know was to do it. In late June I was able to snag some red series tenor strings and strung up my Lanikai in Low G and left the OS alone. A funny thing happened... I was picking up the Lanikai more often and eventually ignoring the Oscar. Everytime I played the Oscar I'd always put it back in the case and go back to the other. I realized the low G sound had clicked with me.

For a time I refused to string the OS in low G but then everytime I played it a disliked the sound. I new I was hooked and so finally today I put a Low G string on the Oscar as well. I'm now happy. Should have don't it sooner.

I still have a couple sopranos that remain traditional but the tenors are my primary players. I really like the new sound of the low G tuning. Now I'm not so sure I would want to go back.

I even feel the low G sounds more Hawaiian at least the tuning really makes the sound more enjoyable to me. The reds make them sound great but then I'm not native Hawaiian so what do I know about the true Hawaiian sound. I just know most songs I play sound better to me.

Jim

1300cc
07-23-2012, 06:55 PM
are you playing songs that are meant to be high g? strumming and finger pickingif yes how does it sound?

TheCraftedCow
07-23-2012, 09:53 PM
The first song beamed from Hawaii to the mainland was in 1939. That's 73 years ago.It was a Hawaiian's musical interpretation of a Rainbird sprinkler. It is played with a low G. Not everything old and Hawaiian was/is reentrant. I like them both.

PhilUSAFRet
07-24-2012, 12:41 AM
While some folks like them....low g tends not to work as well with smaller ukes. That being said, I'm still going to try them for myself on one of my concerts, perhaps even my longneck soprano. I've been wondering about those Aquila reds.

hibiscus
07-24-2012, 06:29 AM
I wanted a low G uke, and I had to make one of my Sopranos a low G due to problems with arthritis. I put Worth Clears on my Ohana Port Orford/Mrytle, and it sounds great! I did tune it up a whole note. I'm really enjoying Daniel Ho's solos from Polani and several other pieces. I recommend the strings, the uke & the music book, which has a CD to go with it and can be purchased from the Daniel Ho site.

PoiDog
07-24-2012, 06:35 AM
Well, the nice thing is that if you ever have a change of heart, going back is nice and easy ...

Trinimon
07-24-2012, 08:40 AM
Welcome to the low G group. :)

This is why uke players need more than just 1 uke! One for reentrant and the other for low G. And then different sizes for different songs. haha

coolkayaker1
07-24-2012, 08:51 AM
I think low G is for people who beat their dogs.

ukuleleleluku
07-24-2012, 08:56 AM
Well, the nice thing is that if you ever have a change of heart, going back is nice and easy ...


Welcome to the low G group. :)

This is why uke players need more than just 1 uke! One for reentrant and the other for low G. And then different sizes for different songs. haha


That’s true!

Although I’ve been playing the Ukulele for about 2 years I would consider myself a novice. I’m not a bad player but there’s plenty of room for improvement and I certainly would not stand up on stage and entertain for money. The Ukulele is a fun activity for me to enjoy but it’s not my life’s blood.

Knowing which songs would be played in High G or not is something that has never concerned me. I don’t know really. I play what strikes my fancy. I mainly strum but I do have this kind of picking / strum style I do where I like to pluck the A and G strings simultaneously creating a chiming effect. I guess this sounds better in low G. It sounds good playing Aloha ‘Oe. I suppose I gravitate towards Tin Pan and the old standards with a few contemporary songs mixed in. While most Hawaiian songs I play are the ones in English which means they are the ones possibly for mainland consumption like Tiny bubbles and the Hawaiian war chant… stuff like that.

I noticed playing chord changes from say as an example C (barred) to B to B flat while using low G gives the uke a nice 40s style rhythm sound that I like so, playing songs like “You must have been a Beautiful Baby”, “You make me feel so young”, Sway and “Memories are made of this” sound better. Another song like “Tonight you belong to me”, a song I wanted to play but did not sound good in High G now sounds far better and I enjoy playing it now. In a nut shell I guess low G supports the songs I like to play

The red series low G strings do not overpower the other strings, they blend in. I found the change in sound to be very apparent but not to the point that the change is something you have to get used to. It sounds natural from the beginning. They are very stretchy. Stretch the string as much as you can before putting it on. Pull the string as taut as you can once attached to the bridge and through the hole in the tuning peg. As your winding the string around the peg keep the excess string from the peg taut. You don’t need any slack on these strings otherwise you’ll end up with a whole lot of string wrapped around your tuning peg, especially while the string sets. They’re that stretchy.

Jim

uke42
07-24-2012, 09:00 AM
I think low G is for people who beat their dogs.

All my ukes are low G except for my Ohana which I may switch to low G. My uke instructor plays low G so all the music we learn are for low G.

I have three chihuahuas and would never ever ever think of beating them.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
07-24-2012, 09:11 AM
From a builder's stand point my personal preference is also for the low G. IMO stringing an ukulele with a high G robs it of it's full potential, ignoring it's full tonal range.

Trinimon
07-24-2012, 09:12 AM
I think low G is for people who beat their dogs.

LOL, good thing I got a cat instead.

Dan Uke
07-24-2012, 09:14 AM
From a builder's stand point my personal preference is also for the low G. IMO stringing an ukulele with a high G robs it of it's full potential, ignoring it's full tonal range.

Chuck don't say that too loud...you gonna get the localz mad at ya!!

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
07-24-2012, 09:17 AM
Chuck don't say that too loud...you gonna get the localz mad at ya!!

The locals here all play low G. At least the ones under 70.

ukuleleleluku
07-24-2012, 09:28 AM
I think low G is for people who beat their dogs.

My dog saw this!

40697

SweetWaterBlue
07-24-2012, 09:43 AM
The locals here all play low G. At least the ones under 70.

That's pretty much what I always read. Hawaiins don't seem as hung up on what a Hawaiin sound is - they just want to make nice music. From time to time, I put a high G on one of my tenors, but I always come back to low G.

PoiDog
07-24-2012, 09:47 AM
From a builder's stand point my personal preference is also for the low G. IMO stringing an ukulele with a high G robs it of it's full potential, ignoring it's full tonal range.


I think low G is for people who beat their dogs.

So ... Chuck beats dogs? How could someone who makes such lovely instruments abuse such great animals? Something don't add up here ...

The Big Kahuna
07-24-2012, 10:20 AM
My dogs asked me to pass on a message:

The last thing we want to do is hurt you...but it's still on the list.

40698

pulelehua
07-24-2012, 11:47 AM
For me (bracing for a good flaming), low-G is just a step too close to being a guitar.

What's a ukulele?

"Take a guitar. Capo the 5th fret. Chop off the two lowest strings. Raise the lowest string an octave."

For whatever reason, "raise the lowest string an octave" is really crucial for my own sense of ukulele-ness.

itsme
07-24-2012, 11:58 AM
I like low G a lot for the extended range it gives in fingerpicking. But there are a lot of fingerpicking arrangements that take advantage of the campanella style in re-entrant that don't work so well in low G.

Of my 7 ukes, 2 are in low G (both tenors).

mikelz777
07-24-2012, 12:07 PM
I think low G is for people who beat their dogs.

Your statement is more indicative of someone who wasn't thinking.

SweetWaterBlue
07-24-2012, 12:17 PM
For me (bracing for a good flaming), low-G is just a step too close to being a guitar.

What's a ukulele?

"Take a guitar. Capo the 5th fret. Chop off the two lowest strings. Raise the lowest string an octave."

For whatever reason, "raise the lowest string an octave" is really crucial for my own sense of ukulele-ness.

To be honest, if I could play the guitar without a ton of practice, I probably would. But the little guitar missing two strings is just easier for me to play, so I do. For me its mostly about accompanying my singing, so I take the lazy way out lol.

mikelz777
07-24-2012, 12:29 PM
I'd be curious to try a low G on my uke some time. Is there any need to be concerned over added stress on the bridge or doesn't it really make that much difference? I'm assuming they don't construct a uke any differently if the uke is intended for a high G or low G, it's just a matter of how you choose to string it up? Is getting a low G just a matter of buying a low G set of strings rather than a high G set of strings?

The Big Kahuna
07-24-2012, 12:32 PM
I'd imagine there's less tension with a low G than high to be honest.

mikelz777
07-24-2012, 12:39 PM
I'd imagine there's less tension with a low G than high to be honest.

Now that you say it, that makes more sense. :o I was thinking that maybe a wound string might create more tension than a nylon one would.

ukemunga
07-24-2012, 01:25 PM
Now that you say it, that makes more sense. :o I was thinking that maybe a wound string might create more tension than a nylon one would.

You know, a low g does not have to be wound. I've got low g Worth Browns on my concert. Don't think I'd like the wound version.

PoiDog
07-24-2012, 04:30 PM
You know, a low g does not have to be wound. I've got low g Worth Browns on my concert. Don't think I'd like the wound version.

One doesn't even actually *need* a low G string. Just shuffle the strings from an existing set like so:
Use the A as it's supposed to be
Use the original re-entrant G as the E string
Use the E as the C
Use the C as the G

I think I got that right.

frets alot
07-24-2012, 04:50 PM
I currently have 1 tenor, but plan to purchase a 2nd tenor, which I will string with a low G. I've been a fingerstyle guitar player for 40 years and think the low G might be right down my alley. Hey, at least it gives me an excuse to buy my 2nd uke. I need another instrument like I need a hole in the head, but what the heck. Should be fun and interesting...that's what it's all about, right?

SweetWaterBlue
07-24-2012, 04:50 PM
One doesn't even actually *need* a low G string. Just shuffle the strings from an existing set like so:
Use the A as it's supposed to be
Use the original re-entrant G as the E string
Use the E as the C
Use the C as the G

I think I got that right.

Yep. That's the way Iz did it.

mikelz777
07-24-2012, 05:33 PM
One doesn't even actually *need* a low G string. Just shuffle the strings from an existing set like so:
Use the A as it's supposed to be
Use the original re-entrant G as the E string
Use the E as the C
Use the C as the G

I think I got that right.

Now this is very helpful to know, that you can successfully have a low G tuning using either high or low G strings!

Would it work to shuffle the strings from an existing high G setup to a low G setup or will it only work if you do it from the start when you change to a new set of strings? (The existing strings have been on the uke for several months and played regularly.)

costaricadave
07-24-2012, 05:41 PM
Chuck you will be glad to hear that I ordered a set of Low G. Going to give them a try next go around!

PoiDog
07-24-2012, 06:24 PM
Yep. That's the way Iz did it.

Well, if it's good enough for Bruddah Iz, it's better than enough for me!


Now this is very helpful to know, that you can successfully have a low G tuning using either high or low G strings!

Would it work to shuffle the strings from an existing high G setup to a low G setup or will it only work if you do it from the start when you change to a new set of strings? (The existing strings have been on the uke for several months and played regularly.)

I think you can use a current set of strings, so long as you have enough string to re-do it, and they still have some pop in them. I would think perhaps flipping them over may be a good idea, as well (i.e. bridge side to tuner side).

ukulelelearner
07-24-2012, 06:31 PM
That's awesome. what OS do you have? I have an OU3, I've been meaning to throw a low g on it for so long. Do you perfer unwound or wound? Keep strummin'!

SweetWaterBlue
07-24-2012, 06:37 PM
Well, if it's good enough for Bruddah Iz, it's better than enough for me!
.

I've got a tenor strung like that now, because I did not have a dedicated low G set or single string and wanted to get it set up in hurry. UkeRepublic was closed so I just restrung a high G set. I can't really tell the difference in sound between that and a decicated set, although I think the tension may feel a bit better on the dedicated sets.

mangorockfish
07-24-2012, 07:32 PM
With a low G set of strings it is large to small, ceiling to floor, right? Would chord shapes be different? Could someone just explain this low G compared to high G/re-entrant thing to me briefly?

SweetWaterBlue
07-24-2012, 07:48 PM
With a low G set of strings it is large to small, ceiling to floor, right? Would chord shapes be different? Could someone just explain this low G compared to high G/re-entrant thing to me briefly?

Chord shapes are all the same. The chords you finger still have the same notes, except the note on the low G string is one octave lower (but still the same note). This gives a deeper more bassey sound. With a low G you can pluck the low string for a bass line, but you lose the ability to use that string as a high drone note, such as you use in clawhammer style. If you like to finger pick melodies, the low G gives you 5 more low notes to play, which comes in really handy. Some like the sound of low G, others do not.

mangorockfish
07-24-2012, 08:05 PM
Chord shapes are all the same. The chords you finger still have the same notes, except the note on the low G string is one octave lower (but still the same note). This gives a deeper more bassey sound. With a low G you can pluck the low string for a bass line, but you lose the ability to use that string as a high drone note, such as you use in clawhammer style. If you like to finger pick melodies, the low G gives you 5 more low notes to play, which comes in really handy. Some like the sound of low G, others do not.

Thanks for that, but are the strings in order large to small like on a guitar when you use the low G?

SweetWaterBlue
07-24-2012, 08:09 PM
Thanks for that, but are the strings in order large to small like on a guitar when you use the low G?

Yes, unless you have a wound low G, which is sometimes smaller than the C string. Having given up wound strings, all my low G ukes now have strings in order of size from larger to smaller looking down from the top when playing it.

mangorockfish
07-24-2012, 08:14 PM
Thank you for explaining that. I have a new set of regular tenor Kala Reds, so may give it a go. Thanks again.

ukuleleleluku
07-24-2012, 11:00 PM
That's awesome. what OS do you have? I have an OU3, I've been meaning to throw a low g on it for so long. Do you perfer unwound or wound? Keep strummin'!

I have an OU7T, one of those Spalted Mango OS ukes. The mango wood is laminate. I had to rework the nut out of the box as the egdes were very sharp and high, snagging the index finger when playing. The sound is bright but suffers somewhat due the the laminate wood. It could resonate more if it were a solid wood uke. However I think it has been sounding better as it ages. At least for me the low G helped the sound and brings out more potential in the uke.

After reading comments about how wound strings tend to over power the other strings, string noise when sliding fingers up and down the frets (i.e. the classical guitar problem) and how Uke players tend to have to replace wound strings fairly often due to wear and fraying over the frets, I chose to wait for the Aquila Red Series unwound strings to hit the market and went with those for my first attempt at low G. I have no experience with wound strings on ukuleles at present and at this point I find the red series strings to be satifactory. I don't go out checking out ukes and hanging around music shops playing all the different instruments for the heck of it, that's not my style or my scene but one of these days should I ever encounter a uke strung with a wound string I will definately want to play it and see how it is. Of course there is always the "Buy another ukulele" solution to that situation....Hmmm... Yeah! ;)

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
07-25-2012, 09:55 AM
From a builder's stand point my personal preference is also for the low G. IMO stringing an ukulele with a high G robs it of it's full potential, ignoring it's full tonal range.

Chuck- so the majority of your Tenors are low G (Strung with South Coast's low G?) and you dont use a slanted saddle for this???

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
07-25-2012, 11:34 AM
I use a variety of wound low Gs. No slanted saddle required. The only string I will occasionally have issue with is the C string and that may be individually compensated at the saddle. A plain, unwound Low G would likely require the saddle to be slanted; I don't know, I don't use them. String brand, composition and quality will affect compensation requirements.