View Full Version : Five strings ukuleles

09-15-2013, 04:47 AM
I'm quite interested in the idea of 5 string ukuleles and I was wondering if anyone here has any experience with them. I generally play reentrant but I have had a low G in a concert once. On the concert I tended to find the drone of the low G unpleasant. Now I mainly play tenor ukuleles and I'm interested in a 5 string tenor, as it is different to a concert and it's no easy to find a 5 string to try out. I was wondering if anybody had any experience of such an instrument; how does the low and high G sound when strummed and picked in either case, is there any excesive drone?

In terms of paired strings, I also play the charango which has octaved E strings, but this is considerably higher in pitch.

Any opinions welcome.


09-15-2013, 05:01 AM
I tried a 5 string once and chose a 6 string tenor. I have it tuned G cC E AA. Some folks are recommending one of the A strings be low a. I feel having the low c as my 5th string compensates for the reentrant G. If you go with the 5 string, you can choose the order in which you place the G string, either as a 5th string or as a 4th one, depending on which one enhances your playing/picking style. Good luck.

09-15-2013, 07:07 AM
Many people new to low G tuning notice that the low G sounds too loud. That is easily solved by adjusting your technique to play softer on that string. Try different string on your Low G uke. A non-wound string will sound more balanced.

I have one of the Ohana 5 string tenors (with double octave G string). They are hard to find. It is an awesome instrument! The extra string brings a real fullness to the sound. It is probably best suited for strumming. It would take a bit of time and practice, but I think you could play the individual G strings separately, but you would have to develop a very subtle touch to avoid playing both. I found I could hit the high G with a downstroke of my thumb, and hit the high G with an upward stroke from my finger.


09-15-2013, 07:25 AM
Thanks for the replies. How do the octaved strings sound when finger picking and playing them both instead of individual strings? On certain songs on the charango it's better to try and play the higher E string than the lower E and it's possible (the low E might sound a bit but it's subtle enough to not matter), this is only when your playing the other high E strings a lot. They are normally played in unison however and sound good together. Is that the case with octaved G strings or does the low G drone out over the other strings?

09-15-2013, 08:06 AM
My Ohana 5 string has a balanced sound when strummed. I expect with fingerpicking, it depends on the song. If the paired strings are part of the harmony, and not the melody, it will be fine. If you play the octave strings together for the melody, it is quite pretty, but if your melody moves to a non-paired string, it will sound odd going between paired and non-paired strings. I noticed the same thing on the 6 string ukes, where other strings are paired.


09-17-2013, 04:26 AM
Anybody else got some wisdom to share?

Jon Moody
09-17-2013, 04:39 AM
I have a Boat Paddle M-Style Concert 5 string that I love for strumming. It gives a good, full sound with both the G strings.

For fingerpicking, it is a bit odd, because you're going to hit both strings. So for that, it sounds a little bit out of place.

09-17-2013, 05:48 AM
I have an Ohana 5 string and it is a terrific instrument.
I strum and finger pick I play it just like any of my 4 stringers.
I don't use the high G on any ukulele for melody,
if the melody goes below middle C it sounds fine on the 5 string as the low G is dominant and the high G just drones.

09-17-2013, 06:12 AM
Funny I just posted about my ordering the Ohana 5 string from Mim just this morning.

Check out Taimane on youtube, she plays a 5 string Gg uke

The ohana is under $300 so it's affordable for me to have one of those in my collection. I don't have a problem with high or low g as I just pick a particular uke as needed, but I'm very curious about combining both high and low in one instrument.

Ken Middleton has two reviews of the ohana, although I can't really appreciate the high\low g from the tune he played on the video.

09-17-2013, 06:16 AM
You could make a 5 string banjo ukulele. Have one string be about half the length of the others, stretch the neck out and put it on a big pot.
Who knows, you might start a trend.

09-17-2013, 09:02 AM
My curiosity only grows, I really need to get my hands on oen for a few strums

09-17-2013, 09:38 AM
I played this http://www.theukulelesite.com/maui-music-custom-tenor-koa-ukulele-5-string.html a couple of weeks ago at Hawaii Music supply and was really impressed. It was a little out of my price range at the time (mainly because I just bought a l'iwi tenor) but it's a great instrument. I like 6 strings but the 5 was both easier to play, and something about having the "G" doubled made it have a fuller sound when fanning.

09-17-2013, 10:29 AM
"Something out of your price range" You and me both mate! Everyone says it is great for strumming, I'd like to hear how the songs I play (more finger picking than anything) work on five strings. I wonder if the lute stuff would sound as good, where as I'm sure some blues songs would be sound good (maybe). If I splashed the cash I'd prefer it not to be used for a couple of songs for which it sounds good but more for a main instrument (with the added idea of working on adjusting my playing to work around the paired strings).

09-22-2013, 12:08 PM
Check it out http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?86280-Video-sample-5-string-Uke-Ohana-tk35g-5&p=1390622#post1390622