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~dave~~wave~
09-27-2012, 10:02 AM
I met and jammed with a guy who tunes a dolphin like a mandolin and sounds great.
I just can't get the chords by looking at his fingers.

Seems like a natural for anybody who started on mandolin.
I'm told the violin also uses this tuning. G D A E

Anybody else do this?

A brief video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgoxSVpK0HU

sim4lin
09-27-2012, 10:28 AM
I think George Hinchliffe of UOGB does.

OldePhart
09-27-2012, 11:57 AM
I use mandolin tuning...on my mandolin... :)

Seriously, though, there is no particular reason not to as long as you can find a set of strings that intonate well tuned in fifths. That's fairly unlikely to happen with regular ukulele string sets, you'd probably have to do quite a bit of experimentation. Actually, it's probably pretty unlikely to be able to achieve really good intonation now that I think about it. Most ukes have flat perpendicular bridges and you can get away with it because the range is so narrow, even on a low-G uke. Tuning in fifths is going to result in a much wider range and if you notice most mandolins have bridges that are both compensated and installed at a slight angle (actually, most mando bridges float and you can adjust the angle if needed).

John

peewee
09-27-2012, 12:48 PM
Aquila has a set of strings for this, I think Southcoast does too. My daughter's violin teacher was asking about this..I'm curious to hear the answer.

~dave~~wave~
09-27-2012, 02:25 PM
as long as you can find a set of strings that intonate well tuned in fifths.

Charlie's strings looked like total crap black factory originals, but they sounded fine. Not that they couldn't be better, but it was a beater dolphin and he was having fun.
That's why I put up the video if anybody's interested.

It's only ukes, after all.
Maybe we obsess too much about strings and intonation.

I was in a workshop with Kimo Hussey last year, and when he wanted to borrow a uke to demonstrate something he deliberately picked the cheapest, crummiest, non-setup, high action piece of junk uke he could see off a total n00b and played it like a Stradivarius. :eek:

sim4lin
09-27-2012, 05:00 PM
I was in a workshop with Kimo Hussey last year, and when he wanted to borrow a uke to demonstrate something he deliberately picked the cheapest, crummiest, non-setup, high action piece of junk uke he could see off a total n00b and played it like a Stradivarius. :eek:

Talent will usually trump junk.
One of my favorite musicians has said:

“After years of consideration I’ve come to the conclusion that, within limits, gear is more important as a topic of conversation than as a way of making music. It’s just not that important.” – Chris Smither

But then he plays a custom Collings...

Bill Mc
10-03-2012, 07:06 PM
Aquila has a set of strings for this, I think Southcoast does too. My daughter's violin teacher was asking about this..I'm curious to hear the answer.

I bought the Aquila strings in fifths and attempted to tune my Mainland mango soprano accordingly. The G, D, and A, strings tuned up nicely but the E string broke three times at the point of attachment on the bridge. The E string is very thin so I tried substituting an A string from a standard Aquila set. The string broke in half about 45 minutes after tuning up. Intonation was good but the tension on the A sting very high - to the point that I had doubts about the bridge being able to handle the tension ! It is a fifth higher than the standard A tuning. Has anyone had success with a different string set or combination of strings ? Maybe it is just a bad idea ?

Kem
10-04-2012, 02:05 AM
Have you thought that maybe you should be tuning the instrument less like a mandolin and more like a tenor guitar (still in fifths, but starting on C rather than G)? Here are Southcoast's thoughts on the matter:

http://www.southcoastukes.com/stringuide_files/5ths.htm

Note that the page recommends a tenor or baritone for this little experiment. However, the strings would work on a soprano too; you might even be able to get a higher tuning, though maybe not in G.

buddhuu
10-04-2012, 02:49 AM
I use mandolin tuning all the time... on my mandolin.

Tried it on uke and hated it. Mandolin isn't the best instrument for chords, IMO; I just don't like the voicings. It's great for melody, bluegrass chops and for chords played along with guitar etc to give a different flavour, but for straight chord accompaniment I prefer uke/guitar voicings.

I like to tune instruments to their native tunings. Gives an excuse to buy more instruments.

YMMV.

Bill Mc
10-04-2012, 05:26 AM
I use mandolin tuning all the time... on my mandolin.

Tried it on uke and hated it. Mandolin isn't the best instrument for chords, IMO; I just don't like the voicings. It's great for melody, bluegrass chops and for chords played along with guitar etc to give a different flavour, but for straight chord accompaniment I prefer uke/guitar voicings.

I like to tune instruments to their native tunings. Gives an excuse to buy more instruments.

YMMV.

Your points are well taken Buddhuu. I find chord melody arangements on mandolin difficult to say the least. Also I prefer playing the ukulele and thought perhaps a 5th tuning that worked on ukulele would give me more playing time with the 5ths to learn the intricacies of using that tuning. And excuses for buying more musical instrments ? Who needs excuses ?

Bill Mc
10-04-2012, 05:35 AM
Have you thought that maybe you should be tuning the instrument less like a mandolin and more like a tenor guitar (still in fifths, but starting on C rather than G)? Here are Southcoast's thoughts on the matter:

http://www.southcoastukes.com/stringuide_files/5ths.htm

Note that the page recommends a tenor or baritone for this little experiment. However, the strings would work on a soprano too; you might even be able to get a higher tuning, though maybe not in G.

Thanks Kem. I read through Southcoast's advice. I've got a couple more sets of the Aquila 5th's so I'll try tuning the soprano in "C" tuning. But I suspect the wound "C" string will be too floppy. The Aquilas came with no direction on the best tuning but "G" tuning is a bad idea and cost me a broken string quickly.

puliarf
09-09-2013, 06:54 AM
I have begun to learn to play a family heirloom mandolin so I wanted to tune a uke like a mandolin to avoid learning 2 different instruments and still join a ukulele group. My first attempt was with a concert uke and guitar strings. I ran into the breaking "E" string issue. The tension was just too much on any string I tried to get to the 660Hz E. I then got the Aquila strings for a soprano uke from Elderly.com and a soprano uke. Problem solved. I have had it strung like this for over a month and it is holding tuning well with no strings breaking.

jcarlos
09-09-2013, 08:19 PM
Speaking of mandolins, I put tenor strings on my mandolin, single strings not pairs and it sounds awesome.

cunparis
02-22-2014, 09:02 PM
I bought the Aquila strings in fifths and attempted to tune my Mainland mango soprano accordingly. The G, D, and A, strings tuned up nicely but the E string broke three times at the point of attachment on the bridge. The E string is very thin so I tried substituting an A string from a standard Aquila set. The string broke in half about 45 minutes after tuning up. Intonation was good but the tension on the A sting very high - to the point that I had doubts about the bridge being able to handle the tension ! It is a fifth higher than the standard A tuning. Has anyone had success with a different string set or combination of strings ? Maybe it is just a bad idea ?

I know this is an old post but I thought I'd reply in case it helps someone else. I had the exact same problem, my E string broke twice, both times at the bridge. Luckily I hadn't trimmed the string yet so I was able to retie a knot for the bridge and restring it. The third time I made a triple or quadruple knot at the bridge and it hasn't broken since.

So I recommend not trimming the string until you're sure it's settled in, and making a really big know to better support the pressure at the bridge.

The GDAE tuning is a lot of fun for playing melody, but for chords I prefer the standard uke tuning.

Cheers

Phluffy the Destroyer
02-22-2014, 09:57 PM
I like to tune instruments to their native tunings. Gives an excuse to buy more instruments.



I like the way you think, Sir!

iamesperambient
02-23-2014, 07:36 AM
I met and jammed with a guy who tunes a dolphin like a mandolin and sounds great.
I just can't get the chords by looking at his fingers.

Seems like a natural for anybody who started on mandolin.
I'm told the violin also uses this tuning. G D A E

Anybody else do this?

A brief video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgoxSVpK0HU
I don't really care for the sound of mandolin
but if I ever was to use it's tuning it would be
on a mandolin not another instrument tuned with it's
tuning.