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Keef
12-12-2012, 11:03 AM
HERE IS A QUESTION FOR MY UKULELE FRIENDS: What is it about a ukulele that makes it a Ukulele? I have seen ukes with 1 string 4 strings 5 strings 6 strings 8 strings and 12 strings made from wood plastic metal carbon fiber in different sizes from mini sapranio concert tenor baratone so what makes a uke a uke and not a little guitar???

BlueLatitude
12-12-2012, 11:43 AM
How do you know a guitar isn't just a big 6 string ukulele??

bbycrts
12-12-2012, 11:51 AM
My general impression would be this:

4 strings or courses of strings (more than 4 strings need to be in courses so there are still just 4 notes represented, though they can be different octaves).

Tuned GCEA or transposed in any way that the notes stay relative to each other - can't think of how to describe that.

Otherwise - the sky is the limit. I would also suggest that to call something just by the name ukulele it would also be reentrant tuning - people always seem to clarify when they string ukes low-G...

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
12-12-2012, 11:53 AM
Love makes a uke a uke, obviously.

Keef
12-12-2012, 12:23 PM
so love and its tunning? is that your final answer? LOL

veejayblox
12-12-2012, 01:48 PM
like bbycrts said the sky's the limit. correct me if i'm wrong, but i believe there isn't anything that comes near the perfection that is embodied in your standard GCEA re-entrant tuning ukulele. peace out.

Lalz
12-12-2012, 03:05 PM
Re-entrant tuning is indeed very ukulele-y, although if a uke is tuned differently it doesn't make it less of a uke. Friction tuners are also very typical. There's also the nylon strings (or variations of it - i.e. not steel), the shape of the fretboard and spacing between the frets, etc. And the size, obviously :) Even a baritone is much smaller than your smallest guitar.
Cuatros, cavaquinhos or braguinhas are much closer to the ukulele than the guitar is. I don't know why out of all the string instruments in the world, people always seem to refer to the guitar as if it was the ultimate one. It just happens to be a very popular one since a few decades back, but that fad won't last.

Wicked
12-12-2012, 03:15 PM
What makes a uke?

Well, when a mommy and daddy love each other very much, they give each other special kisses.....

OldePhart
12-12-2012, 03:21 PM
What makes a uke?

Well, when a mommy and daddy love each other very much, they give each other special kisses.....

ROFL!

As for the original question...does it matter? :)

John

Pondoro
12-12-2012, 03:21 PM
I really irritated a guy on this forum, he wanted to tune his 8-string ukulele in fifths. I opined that it would no longer be a ukulele, it would at that point be a mandolin with an odd shape. I didn't object to his plan, I just think it would have made the uke into a mandolin. You can only go so far. Like if I added 200 gallons of onion soup to a glass of apple cider. At some point it stops being apple cider.

Matimeo
12-13-2012, 01:57 AM
I've had this come up a few times especially with my banjo ukulele. "Isn't just a banjo? There are 4 string tenor banjos" My very uninformed answer has always been along the lines of size, tuning and string types. I'm sure some people use metal strings on their ukes but all the ones I've seen have nylon or mostly nylon strings. I also mention the manor in which it is generally played. Although many people do use banjo style playing on their ukes, most banjo ukulele players I've seen use it as a strumming instrument. So, I think the playing style makes a difference. I mean what's the difference between a fiddle and a violin?

Plainsong
12-13-2012, 02:27 AM
I've had this come up a few times especially with my banjo ukulele. "Isn't just a banjo? There are 4 string tenor banjos" My very uninformed answer has always been along the lines of size, tuning and string types. I'm sure some people use metal strings on their ukes but all the ones I've seen have nylon or mostly nylon strings. I also mention the manor in which it is generally played. Although many people do use banjo style playing on their ukes, most banjo ukulele players I've seen use it as a strumming instrument. So, I think the playing style makes a difference. I mean what's the difference between a fiddle and a violin?

I asked someone who played violin and fiddle, and apparently the bridge is a lot different.

To answer the question about uke, we can't say tuning because there are different tunings, although the re-entrant sound is very uke. I think the style of build has something to do with it. For example, my understanding of guitars is that they don't have to be built so light. Yet the school of thought for ukes is they gotta be light. That and bracing differences and all that.

OldePhart
12-13-2012, 12:33 PM
I asked someone who played violin and fiddle, and apparently the bridge is a lot different.

To answer the question about uke, we can't say tuning because there are different tunings, although the re-entrant sound is very uke. I think the style of build has something to do with it. For example, my understanding of guitars is that they don't have to be built so light. Yet the school of thought for ukes is they gotta be light. That and bracing differences and all that.

:agree: We don't stop calling a guitar a guitar because somebody decides to tune it to an open tuning and I don't think I'd start calling a uke a mandolin just because it is tuned like one. Mandolins typically have carved maple tops (pressed maple on the inexpensive ones), floating bridges, and different body shapes (which affect the sound, not just the looks).

I don't think I'd get upset if I did that and somebody insisted on calling it a mandolin, but I would think that they maybe don't have a very good grasp of how the two instruments are built.

John

PhilUSAFRet
12-13-2012, 01:28 PM
Same thing that makes a guitar a guitar, a mandolin a mandolin, etc. etc. Most stringed instruments, if not all, have many alternate tunings. In general though, a given instrument fits a specific set of dimensions, give or take very little. A uke is based on both it's size and scale, including scale length, and the number of strings.
i.e. A tiple is often the exact same size as a concert or tenor uke, but it has 10 strings....it is not a 10 string uke. Ukes in general have 4, 5, 6, and 8 strings within the framework of a ukulele scale. Taropatch ukes are generally concert size as opposed to the general term "8 string uke" for tenors, banjo ukes are banjos with a ukulele scale and tuned like a uke. A U-Bass is a ukulele sized bass, as it has a bass scale, if not the length of a standard bass and is not ukulele. Etc. etc. etc. Just when you think you have it, someone makes a variant, then you have to ask is it a ??????????? or a ???????????