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View Full Version : What's more common - high G or low G tuning on a Soprano



UkeKiddinMe
07-27-2013, 06:42 AM
The soprano I have came with strings for high G tuning.
I was a little surprised, but then again, I know nuttin about Soprano ukes.

Is high G tuning the norm? If yes, why?

I immediately ordered a coupla sets of low G nylguts to put on the uke.
It sounds great now, but I know it will match the sound I want more when
there is a low G on there.

?

Walden
07-27-2013, 06:56 AM
High G is by far the most common tuning for soprano. It is traditional. It gives an overall closer harmony, and higher pitch strumming. Also strums sound more alike when strummed upward and downward than on a non-re-entrant instrument such as the guitar, which gives ukulele strumming its distinctive sound.

kvehe
07-27-2013, 07:31 AM
Yep, high G. I have one low-G soprano - I bought in in the marketplace and it came to me that way. I love it, but when I took it to my uke class it sounded weird when played with the other students' high-G sopranos. It's a Mya-Moe, so I don't think it was the instrument! Or maybe it was me!

OldePhart
07-27-2013, 07:32 AM
Low g is okay on soprano but less balanced than on a tenor where the body has more volume. Just for grins I set one of my longneck sopranos up with a low g. I think I said something like "it's not terrible but next time I change strings it will be back to a high-g" - and that's exactly what happened. Of course, you have to keep in mind that I am not much of a fan of low-g tenors, either... :)

John

Walden
07-27-2013, 07:53 AM
Another issue is that many soprano players dislike using wound strings, due to the scratchy sound when sliding, and perhaps the general wear and tear they bring, and non-wound low strings haven't been real popular with a lot of players either.

hoosierhiver
07-27-2013, 07:54 AM
I'd say less than 10% of ukulele players use lowG tuning, and most of them use it on a tenor.

T-nice98
07-27-2013, 08:14 AM
High g is all I ever see on a soprano.

MidwestUkeJoe
07-27-2013, 08:15 AM
Ive messed around with the LowG on my soprano, its alright... But i believe the Soprano should be tuned D6, makes it much more vocal. I keep the LowG on one Concert, dont have a Tenor so it does the trick.

PhilUSAFRet
07-27-2013, 09:21 AM
High G, because the efficiency of the low g string decreases as the scale length decreases according to Southcoast. It is most efficient on a baritone uke, then tenor, etc.

BlackBearUkes
07-27-2013, 11:58 AM
Low G on a soprano is a very sorry sound. The scale length is too short for a big fat ugly low G string. The body size is too small to get any kind of quality sound. It should be against the law, period.

mmfitzsimons
07-27-2013, 12:06 PM
Wow, some really strong feelings, lol... I personally prefer low G on tenors—but the beauty of music is in the ear of the beholder, and they're just strings after all, so put them on and decide for yourself. Your ears are unique, and so is your instrument, so your opinion is the one that counts. :)

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
07-27-2013, 12:14 PM
IMO a low G doesn't belong on a soprano. It's a totally different animal than a tenor ukulele. I prefer a low G on all of my tenors but I love the re entrant sound on a soprano.

strumsilly
07-27-2013, 12:30 PM
In my opinion, low G only sounds good on a tenor or baritone.,and especially when fingerpicked.

UkeKiddinMe
07-27-2013, 01:42 PM
low g on a soprano is a very sorry sound. The scale length is too short for a big fat ugly low g string. The body size is too small to get any kind of quality sound. It should be against the law, period.

:d ______________________

PeteyHoudini
07-27-2013, 01:46 PM
IMHO - low G works best on a tenor. Didn't IZ do that? Best to keep two tenors around though: one with reentrant tuning and one with low G. hehe

Petey

Hippie Dribble
07-27-2013, 02:16 PM
Definitely an awful mismatch of tones to slap a Low G on a soprano scale uke. About as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike. :p

MGM
07-27-2013, 03:05 PM
Definitely an awful mismatch of tones to slap a Low G on a soprano scale uke. About as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike. :p

Well I do agree almost all sopranos are tuned high G.....but do you really want to tell Ohta-san that his low g soprano is a awful mismatch and should never be on a soprano.......

Hippie Dribble
07-27-2013, 03:56 PM
Well I do agree almost all sopranos are tuned high G.....but do you really want to tell Ohta-san that his low g soprano is a awful mismatch and should never be on a soprano.......

he he...na Mike, I'll leave that to you. :)

mm stan
07-27-2013, 04:14 PM
Usually I would say no to all sopranos with a low G.... the only uke I thought is sounded pretty good was set up with a G and C wound strings and it sounded pretty good...I know
terry brown teaches with low G to the kids too.. and this older Koalana soprano did surprise me.....way better and not even close when I bought a kamaka soprano with a low G string....

coolkayaker1
07-27-2013, 04:26 PM
MGM Mike -- if one was to try the uncommon low G on a soprano, like Ohta-San, what strings would you recommend? Thank you.

J-Peg
07-27-2013, 04:47 PM
The laws of physics lean on the side of a high G on a soprano. At least according to an analysis of the acoustics I read on the net somewhere (Southcoast String's website maybe?)

Low notes have a longer wavelength. So they need a larger soundboard. A smaller soundboard simply doesn't resonate well at lower frequencies. There's a mathematical formula for relationship between soundboard surface area and the lowest frequency it can resonate well, but the bottom line is that the typical soprano soundboard is too small for a low G. A low G really needs a tenor soundboard.

Or so says the math. YMMV.

janeray1940
07-27-2013, 04:57 PM
I've heard a soprano with low G that actually sounded decent, so I was inspired to try it on one of mine. Turned out that the slot in the bridge was too narrow to accommodate any of the half-dozen or so brands of low G strings I had on hand, so I never did get to try it out. I do keep my concert uke strung low G, and I quite like the sound of it.

Here's a prior thread (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?45868-Low-G-on-a-Soprano-YES!) the OP might be interested in about sopranos with low G, with some sound samples.

UkeKiddinMe
07-27-2013, 05:29 PM
The laws of physics lean on the side of a high G on a soprano. At least according to an analysis of the acoustics I read on the net somewhere (Southcoast String's website maybe?)

Low notes have a longer wavelength. So they need a larger soundboard. A smaller soundboard simply doesn't resonate well at lower frequencies. There's a mathematical formula for relationship between soundboard surface area and the lowest frequency it can resonate well, but the bottom line is that the typical soprano soundboard is too small for a low G. A low G really needs a tenor soundboard.

Or so says the math. YMMV.

Tell that to a UBass. :D

OldePhart
07-27-2013, 05:39 PM
Here we go again...

Here's a video I posted a few months ago the last time this came up... :)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_ENLpF3FS0

John

J-Peg
07-28-2013, 02:53 AM
Tell that to a UBass. :D

But notice how little volume you get out of an unplugged UBass. The manager of my local guitar shop is a multi-instrumentalist but he plays bass more often than anything else. I asked him about the UBass and he loves it for gigs. He plays in a bluegrass and folk group where the standup bass would sound best but the UBass is so much easier to transport and the big fat floppy strings sound more like a standup bass than a bass guitar. BUT... their gigs are always amplified. He said that unplugged, in a group, the UBass is completely overwhelmed. He said the same is true 90% of the time for an acoustic bass guitar. If he's playing unplugged he has to use his standup bass because nothing else is big enough to provide the volume at those low frequencies.

At the time I thought the size factor was all about the volume of the body (which I've read is also a factor.) But after reading up on it some more it seems it's mostly about the size of the soundboard. At least that's the theory.

But as Yogi Berra said, "In theory, practice and theory are the same, but in practice they're different." So YMMV, INAL.