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View Full Version : Guitar to Uke? What do with the high G - Uke-specific technique?



westcoast
01-25-2013, 10:38 PM
I'm probably always going to be a guitar player first, but I got a tenor ukulele to mess around with. I'm really liking it for the size: I can take it anywhere! Also like the ability to do simple chord melody stuff. It's a lot simpler when you only focus on 4 strings instead of 6!

I kept the uke in its original tuning because I like the sound. However, I don't really understand how to use the highest G string, so effectively I'm just pretending I'm playing a guitar capo'd at the 5th fret when I strum. But for single note stuff, I kind of just ignore the highest pitched string.

For example, if my strings are: GCEA - 4321, should I be playing scales starting on the 3rd string -> 2nd -> 1, and wrapping around to the 4th string (because it's the highest in pitch)?

What are the ukulele-specific techniques I'm missing out on here? I'm sure there's a lot.

Thanks!

anthonyg
01-26-2013, 12:33 AM
If your doing scale then just use strings 3,2,1. Leave out the fourth. I'm not really into reentrant tuning myself. Most of my ukulele's have a low bass string (linear tuning). My view is that most people who dig reentrant tuning are into Hawaiian style ukulele playing where it makes sense.

I'm a picker and I have one original song where reentrant tuning works but mostly I prefer linear.

Anthony

frets alot
01-26-2013, 01:31 AM
I got a second tenor and put a low G on it. I am like you...first and foremost a guitar player, but enjoy the uke. I'm a fingerstyle player, so it's fun for that. I use the high G tenor primarily for workshops where I do more strumming.

Markr1
01-26-2013, 02:39 AM
I'll 3rd that being a guitar player myself. Get yourself a low G and then you'll get a better feel for it.

Wicked
01-26-2013, 03:45 AM
Embrace the reentrant!

The high G can actually be very convenient when playing chord solos. Yes, you are pretty much down to three strings for any single note runs and solos, but the unique sound of the close harmonies is well worth the sacrifice.

A second uke with low G is always an option, if you really want those extra five notes on the low end.

Only my Kamoa electric has low G... all my others are reentrant.

sukie
01-26-2013, 04:17 AM
Reentrant is awesome for fingerpicking.

But I'm not a guitar player.

Lori
01-26-2013, 05:30 AM
I like to use the high G to simplify fingering for the left hand. That open note shows up a lot, and it can be handy in the higher positions too. It gives you more options anyway. I like it, and I have a guitar background (with a bit of banjo). I have several ukes in low G tuning, so I like both but for different songs.

–Lori

katysax
01-26-2013, 05:39 AM
I used to feel as you describe. If you find some tabs for reentrant and start playing them, eventually it will feel natural.

blue_knight_usa
01-26-2013, 05:42 AM
High G can be very effective for Celtic and Bluegrass styles of playing, however there are great players like Ken Middleton who only play in high G tuning and makes a point that you should bring a high G to many of his workshops, especially when he teaches those styles especially to get that Campanella sound (little bells) that just does not work with low G. As to scales, many can start on the C string, but if you try to use the high G string at the 5th fret it sounds strange (compared to a low G on the 5th fret) and is not the lower note you expect to hear before going to D on the 3rd string.

In the end, I think having both are great, but it's like everything else you do in music. It's a personal preference and what gives you the most enjoyment is what you should do. Some of the top pro's only play low G and others play high G. Each have their own style, their own sound, so I think using high G effectively is what works best for you. In my case, low G works best so all my ukes except one right now are low G. Wicked posted, he is the exact opposite of me, so there are your two extremes ;-)

Welcome to the uke family!

Cheers!


I'm probably always going to be a guitar player first, but I got a tenor ukulele to mess around with. I'm really liking it for the size: I can take it anywhere! Also like the ability to do simple chord melody stuff. It's a lot simpler when you only focus on 4 strings instead of 6!

I kept the uke in its original tuning because I like the sound. However, I don't really understand how to use the highest G string, so effectively I'm just pretending I'm playing a guitar capo'd at the 5th fret when I strum. But for single note stuff, I kind of just ignore the highest pitched string.

For example, if my strings are: GCEA - 4321, should I be playing scales starting on the 3rd string -> 2nd -> 1, and wrapping around to the 4th string (because it's the highest in pitch)?

What are the ukulele-specific techniques I'm missing out on here? I'm sure there's a lot.

Thanks!

westcoast
01-26-2013, 07:52 AM
High G can be very effective for Celtic and Bluegrass styles of playing, however there are great players like Ken Middleton who only play in high G tuning and makes a point that you should bring a high G to many of his workshops, especially when he teaches those styles especially to get that Campanella sound (little bells) that just does not work with low G.

Cheers!

Thanks to everyone for all the responses!

I looked up campanella style playing here: http://ukulelehunt.com/2010/03/31/campanella-ukulele/ so that's pretty cool and a vote for the high G.

Like a lot of people I really got into the uke via Jake Shimabukuro, and I've read he plays with re-entrant tuning, which is one reason I've stuck with it as I'd love to learn some of his tunes.

Being a guitar player, though, I really liked Jason Arimoto's various blues covers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnUMZgPP6Wo&list=UUbIieKHkn2nzZWLpI5VHkig&index=11 (and of course, his cover of Gravity: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICMT0w-A7Us&list=UUbIieKHkn2nzZWLpI5VHkig). I'm guessing this is a low G since it's more a guitar song?

PhilUSAFRet
01-26-2013, 10:47 AM
Check this out...available from many sources. "Ukulele for guitar Players"

http://www.curtsheller.com/books/UKEGTR/

itsme
01-26-2013, 11:57 AM
For example, if my strings are: GCEA - 4321, should I be playing scales starting on the 3rd string -> 2nd -> 1, and wrapping around to the 4th string (because it's the highest in pitch)?
A member here recently posted a free PDF of uke scales in the campanella style, making use of the re-entrant string. :)

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?73251-Campanella-Scales-in-all-Twelve-Keys!

coolkayaker1
01-26-2013, 12:35 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLIWRfY66A0

West coast, I agree with Wicked. Embrace the re- entrant tuning, don't try to recreate the guitar by going linear.

Here's Ukulele recording artist Gerald Ross touching on the essence of your question, west coast, at 2:00 min in this video. Enjoy!!

PeteyHoudini
01-26-2013, 12:38 PM
Embrace the reentrant!

The high G can actually be very convenient when playing chord solos. Yes, you are pretty much down to three strings for any single note runs and solos, but the unique sound of the close harmonies is well worth the sacrifice.
A second uke with low G is always an option, if you really want those extra five notes on the low end.

Totally agree with you. Well said!

However, I find it's annoying to play often classical pieces without a low G. You need that bottom end though I think John King's book used re-entrant tuning.

HAL LEONARD makes a great ukulele scale finder book that looks complicated, but you will get used to it. They have many starting points (root notes) for all scales all over the different strings of the fretboard. Very useful andunder $10. A gem.

Petey

PeteyHoudini
01-26-2013, 12:55 PM
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XLIWRfY66A0

West coast, I agree with Wicked. Embrace the re- entrant tuning, don't try to recreate the guitar by going linear.

Hi Steve,

You and I must have been replying at the same time. Yeah guitarists... don't go linear. I've been a mediocre guitar player since the age of 12 and I've been enjoying discovering the uke with re-entrant tuning. It just keeps giving me new ideas all the time. 8-) I find that strange, but it's true. I've figured out quite a few things that guitarists need to know about the uke but I'm too lazy to make a funny video about it. Most fingerpicking bluegrass/folk guitarists and classical guitarists including flamenco will make a very easy transition to the uke. Guitar players who just strum a lot with a pick and sing, or rock guitarists who never fingerpicked before will have a hard time. It's very difficult for a guitarist whose only used a pick all his/her life to strum without a pick. The uke with the re-entrant tuning is great for strumming without a pick. A pick wielding guitarist has to DE-PICKAFYE one's self. I know... it happened to me and I gave away ukes to some other guitar players and they were lost without a pick. Lyle Ritz always used a pick, but I'm talking about amateur guitar players like myself. hehehe

Petey

Dan Uke
01-26-2013, 01:11 PM
I'm sure even luthiers don't agree and there aren't too many luthiers more esteemed than Chuck Moore, maybe David Hurd and I know Chuck says that he prefers low G for tenors as he doesn't want to limit his instrument (paraphrasing).

Here is a link from David Hurd..."Thus it is surely no accident that the various tunings of the four ukulele courses as well as the six classical guitar courses often have a lower bound near the air resonance in order to access that range of notes directly. Note that as normally strung, the concert size has no near low note"

http://www.ukuleles.com/Technology/sounds.html

It's amazing if I understand correctly that the soprano, concert should be high G, tenor should be low G, and baritone should be low D. I guess there is truly a science to building ukes and not just art!

westcoast
01-26-2013, 02:31 PM
A member here recently posted a free PDF of uke scales in the campanella style, making use of the re-entrant string. :)

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?73251-Campanella-Scales-in-all-Twelve-Keys!

Thanks for the pointer, I downloaded the PDF and tried it out a bit. Very different with the re-entrant string.

lambchop
01-26-2013, 05:23 PM
Embrace the reentrant!

The high G can actually be very convenient when playing chord solos. Yes, you are pretty much down to three strings for any single note runs and solos, but the unique sound of the close harmonies is well worth the sacrifice.

A second uke with low G is always an option, if you really want those extra five notes on the low end.

Only my Kamoa electric has low G... all my others are reentrant.

Yes - I agree so much. I have tried low G and it just don't seem ukulele to me. Even my baritone uses a high-D. Once you get used to it, you will find you get so much music out of that high g and that it adds so much. Stick with it, my friend. You got the guitar for all that scale stuff - the uke is a comping machine! Of course, just listen to Jake or Abe Lagrimas Jr. -- they work all their magic with high-G. Yes, yes, 1,000 times yes - embrace the high-G!

ricdoug
01-26-2013, 07:51 PM
Reentrant is awesome for fingerpicking.

But I'm not a guitar player.

I have 62 guitars. The ukulele is a reentrant instrument from it's beginning. That's how I see it. If you prefer a low G, have at it. Different strokes for different folks. Sukie's my ukulele idol! Ric

blue_knight_usa
01-26-2013, 08:27 PM
Matt Dahlberg who is also a master player uses re-entrant as well. As one of his new students he is making me play with re-entrant now, so I might just have to be a convert soon ;-)


Thanks to everyone for all the responses!

I looked up campanella style playing here: http://ukulelehunt.com/2010/03/31/campanella-ukulele/ so that's pretty cool and a vote for the high G.

Like a lot of people I really got into the uke via Jake Shimabukuro, and I've read he plays with re-entrant tuning, which is one reason I've stuck with it as I'd love to learn some of his tunes.

Being a guitar player, though, I really liked Jason Arimoto's various blues covers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnUMZgPP6Wo&list=UUbIieKHkn2nzZWLpI5VHkig&index=11 (and of course, his cover of Gravity: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICMT0w-A7Us&list=UUbIieKHkn2nzZWLpI5VHkig). I'm guessing this is a low G since it's more a guitar song?

frets alot
01-27-2013, 04:01 AM
I have 62 guitars. The ukulele is a reentrant instrument from it's beginning. That's how I see it. If you prefer a low G, have at it. Different strokes for different folks.

+1

You have 62 guitars?!?!?!?!?!? Being that you are near San Diego, are some of them Taylors?

Wicked
01-27-2013, 04:34 AM
.... and let's not forget reentrant guitar tunings. Nashville tuning is used on several iconic tunes.

sukie
01-27-2013, 04:40 AM
I have 62 guitars. The ukulele is a reentrant instrument from it's beginning. That's how I see it. If you prefer a low G, have at it. Different strokes for different folks. Sukie's my ukulele idol! Ric

You're too funny and too kind!

Right now I am learning my first Hawaiian song -- TNC by Troy Fernandez. The open G is played constantly. As I learn this song it has helped me with fingerpicking on other songs. The E string 3rd fret G doesn't get played nearly as much. Makes for smoother playing.

coolkayaker1
01-27-2013, 06:10 AM
Matt Dahlberg who is also a master player uses re-entrant as well. As one of his new students he is making me play with re-entrant now, so I might just have to be a convert soon ;-)

Jay, like Gerald Ross shows in the video I linked below (guitar players, see that video...he explains why to go re-entrant), re-entrant is the way to go!

Once you play re-entrant most of the time--and your experience might be different-- returning to low G is downright annoying. The low G drones and drones. I can't even watch a low G video without hearing that droning low G. You'll see. Master Matt might be right (as is Gerald Ross, Aldrine, Jake, Kalei, and on and on). (personal preference, I know Brittni and others play low G).

note: low G is not as droning in certain types of music, such as jazzy ukulele (a la Craig Brandau, Glen Rose, etc.). Why? Closed chords--when barre chording the low G, nowhere near as annoying. But, alas, king of swing Gerald Ross barre chords up the wazoo and still does high G. So, no rule.

My ear dislikes low G just as my feet dislike walking on broken Coke bottles.

bnolsen
09-11-2013, 08:54 AM
You're too funny and too kind!

Right now I am learning my first Hawaiian song -- TNC by Troy Fernandez. The open G is played constantly. As I learn this song it has helped me with fingerpicking on other songs. The E string 3rd fret G doesn't get played nearly as much. Makes for smoother playing.

Sorry to resurrect this thread but now that I'm learning how to pick I'm noticing some tabs are very heavy on using the 'g' and that really rubs me wrong (having played bowed string before). Seems like using the reentrant just for open 'g' should be a good compromise. I mean I can definitley see how aggressive use of the 'g' string can help with making smoother (more legato) phrasing by alternating notes between the 'a' and 'g'. That seems pretty advanced and really locks one into reentrant tuning.

Honest I *really wish* tabs would include the melody notes as score, include chord names and have the tabs there as suggestions for combining the chords and the melody. I'm finding too many tabs online don't have any chord names listed.

Wicked
09-11-2013, 09:03 AM
Honest I *really wish* tabs would include the melody notes as score, include chord names and have the tabs there as suggestions for combining the chords and the melody. I'm finding too many tabs online don't have any chord names listed.

That is one of my pet peeves. Standard notation gives so much more information, but I always try to include standard, tab and chord diagrams when I transcribe a tune... it makes it useful to anyone, regardless of their level of knowledge.

Mistyface
09-13-2013, 02:13 AM
I like this thread^^and I enjoy all of ur ideas^^

I am just curious... Why do ukulele inventor set the instrument in high G?
I think there should be some specific reason... Is that about harmony?

I am always using high G, the reason behind is that it seems I am just playing guitar at fret5....it lose the special harmony color for ukulele...