View Full Version : Guitar Open Tunings on a Ukulele

03-28-2013, 09:38 AM
Being a big John Fahey fan and his playing being my primary motivation for taking up fingerstyle guitar playing in the mid-70s, I'd been working on a few of Fahey's tunes in standard tuning on the ukulele.
Last week I had the pleasure of seeing Glenn Jones, one of Fahey's students and friends, in concert at a small local music store. Watching him navigate various open tunings, I thought why not on a ukulele. I went home and tuned my Lanikai O-8 to what would be Fahey's Open C (CGCGCE) on guitar to the ukulele equivilent (FCFA).
Some amazing sounds and harmonies. May experiment a bit more with other tunings but Fahey's Open C has long been a favorite.

03-28-2013, 10:09 AM
I had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Fahey in concert at UCSB in the early seventies: wonderful, beautiful, like ragas.

It seems the year before he had talked most of the concert and had angered many fans. So, when I saw him he refused to say a word and only played. It was great.

A friend of mine saw him in Davis and he stopped the concert midway and pointed at a girl in the audience and told her she had to leave because she didn't like turtlles. Fahey had some album with pictures of turtles. I think it was called Voice of the Turtle. He refused to play until she left. Glad I like turtles.

Anyway, if you buy Mark Kailana Nelson's slack key uke book you get into some open tunings. Just drop the A to a G and think about what you have.

03-29-2013, 02:42 AM
I'm always fooling around with the tuning of my ukulele, both high and low G...... I also play guitar and a little banjo, so when I want to make the ukulele sound a certain way, I start messing with the tunings on different strings, looking for economical and pleasing combinations. Only having four strings - and the shorter scale - makes it much easier to wrap my head around the implications of the alternate tuning and use it to good effect. Great fun to experiment.....

Just did this in an open C - GCEG.... only a slight change, but opened up a lot of possibilities.....

03-29-2013, 06:55 AM
I am a John Fahey big fan too. It would be great to try to touch his soul with our ukuleles.

23skidoo, your sound is great!

03-29-2013, 09:12 AM
I am a John Fahey big fan too. It would be great to try to touch his soul with our ukuleles.

23skidoo, your sound is great!

thanks tonet! Open tunings work really well with clawhammer on the ukulele as well, just like a banjo....

03-30-2013, 03:02 PM
Very nicely done.

I'm a uke newcomer but I frequently play different Celtic tunings on guitar. Should be interesting to see how things like that translate to four strings ...