View Full Version : 8 or 6 string ukes

02-10-2014, 05:34 PM
Hey all. I was wondering if anyone has a recommendation for somewhere that can sell or build 8 and 6 string soprano ukuleles? I see a lot of tenors and some concerts around but that's not what I'm after. Specifically I'd love an 8 string long neck soprano with octave tuning. Am I being too picky here or is this type of thing out there and available? I'm not beyond a custom built uke.
Unfortunately my old uke was destroyed in a mugging attempt last year and I still haven't got round to replacing it. I just sunk back into the guitar since then but I'm really longing for a ukulele again. I'd appreciate any help and advice.


Ken Middleton
02-10-2014, 08:44 PM
With a soprano uke there would be real problems like string tension and spacing. It just would not work very well compared to the tenor size. You have to take care, even with an 8 stringed concert.

02-10-2014, 09:18 PM
I have never tried a 6 or 8 string soprano and now that I think of it I don't think I seen one before. But like Ken the string tension on a Soprano is extremely low and I can see all sorts of issues arising. Have you thought of a Soprano with a Tenor neck for a 6/8 stringer?

02-10-2014, 09:46 PM
I have never tried a 6 or 8 string soprano and now that I think of it I don't think I seen one before. But like Ken the string tension on a Soprano is extremely low and I can see all sorts of issues arising. Have you thought of a Soprano with a Tenor neck for a 6/8 stringer?

I'm pretty sure that Ken is referring to the size of the body, not the neck. In the small soprano body, there wouldn't be enough room for the type of bracing to accomodate the amount of tension that 8 strings would cause.

But you are surely in the land that you could find out if anything regarding an ukulele is possibe.

02-10-2014, 11:52 PM
What about this one (http://www.gryphonstrings.com/instpix/38089/)?

02-11-2014, 12:53 AM
What about this one (http://www.gryphonstrings.com/instpix/38089/)?

:drool::iwant: OMG, OMG, OMG

The first 6 string uke I ever played was a custom concert that a lady in my uke group had. It was "off the hook" and I just had to have one. It was extremely light and didn't appear "overly braced", but then I can't be sure about that. I have a Pono tenor 6 string that is nice, but I still remember that concert. Not sure of the string setup on it either. I keep trying to talk Ohana into making a taropatch out of the ck35, but no luck so far....and they made a tiple? I have had some builders offer to build a concert size taropatch. I notice most of the ones I've seen are 12 frets.

02-11-2014, 01:55 AM
I know someone that tried to build an 8-string soprano and when they tried to get the octave C up to pitch it would break every time. he tried a bunch of things before he turned it into a mandolin.

02-11-2014, 02:31 PM
Thanks for the replies people but damn! The truth really hurts sometimes hey hehe. Well, I'd rather have a realistic idea of what I can get than an unrealistic idea of what I want. I have some family members that are luthiers, one in the U.S. and one in Aus, maybe I'll talk to them and see if one of them are able to build something as close to my dream uke as possible. But then again neither of them have built ukes before so we'll see.

fernandogardinali - It breaks my heart to see such a beautiful yet unattainable ukulele. Thanks for sharing. One can dream I guess. :drool:

If anyone's heard of any other similar ukes available out there or options for custom builds I'd appreciate any more opinions, ideas and information. Mahalo

02-14-2014, 11:32 PM
Responded to a similar question here http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?92975-6-string-questions/page2 in post #11. My short answer would be that a 8 string soprano would push the limits of the design into mechanical failure if everything was kept at "normal" soprano size ranges. In this case, I think the fact that we haven't seen/don't see 6 or 8 string sopranos can be attributed to the physics of the design not supporting it rather than humans not having tried. Not trying to burst your bubble but I think there is a hard reality in this one.

**Added context **
The above comments are in the context of trying to optimize the design for sound while designing for known issues of increased string tension. In my opinion, just adding bracing or making the top thicker only addresses half of the equation (string tension). Decided to throw out some partial solutions to help you brainstorm how to increase mechanical stability while optimizing for sound. These are based on my understandings of the physics involved which is a work in progress so take them with a grain of salt. You'd want to 1) decrease string tension 2) increase lower bout surface area and 3) possibly lower the air resonance. For 1) you could find an alternate tuning and lower the tuning from GCEA to something lower that is acceptable to you. You could also shorten the scale length. Both would have the effect of lowering string tension. For 2) you could go with a "pineapple", "bell" shape or some other modification to the soundboard to increase the surface area. You'd probably have to do something that doesn't look like the traditional shape to change it enough to make a difference. 3) You could make the soundhole diameter smaller to lower the air resonance while keeping the volume of the box the same (see Hurd page 121, Figure 85). Additionally, you'd still have to make more spacing for the added strings on the neck width, fretboard width and bridge width. All of the above solutions require making something that is outside of the "normal" parameters for a soprano to accomodate the doubling of the string tension. Just trying to present some of the potential design issues.

I've read a couple of threads recently about instruments with "longer scales" having problems with bellying in front of the bridge. Increasing the scale length, increases the string tension which is the same principle in this discussion. Important to understand what the tradeoffs are. Sorry so long.

02-15-2014, 01:14 AM
Maybe you can modify an inexpensive soprano to add a 5th string for both high/low g. I have found at least on a tenor, five strings really broaden the sound somewhat like a six string uke. Hmm? Sounds like a good project.

02-15-2014, 02:01 AM
Boat Paddle makes one.

02-20-2014, 01:32 AM
Dave Newton made a taropatch for me with his soprano "Diaz" body, concert scale. It's a fine uke. Intonates properly up the neck. Big sound, very comfortable to play.