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View Full Version : Restringing a Guitalele



VegasGeorge
08-14-2014, 04:56 AM
In my Guitar days, while hankering for something small, but before I decided to return to the Ukulele, I bought a Yamaha Guitalele. For those who don't know, it's a Tenor Uke sized (17 inch scale) 6 nylon string instrument, meant to be played like a baby Guitar. Now that I'm back to the Uke TO STAY, I'd like to restring the Guitalele in a more Uke like tuning. That will mean doubling a couple of strings, perhaps in octaves, and choosing a tuning. Of course, appropriate gauge strings will be necessary depending on the tuning. In that regard, I've become attached to the C6 tuning of my Concert size Ukuleles, so I'd like to stay with a C tuning if possible. What do you folks think would be the best way to go? Thanks for the help!

SailingUke
08-14-2014, 06:44 AM
Guitaleles are ready made to be tuned ADGCEA.
Notice the high 4 strings.

ubulele
08-14-2014, 06:58 AM
This may be a bit obvious or seem glib, but I'd suggest selling the the guitalele and buying accessorites/bling for the ukes you've got, or maybe a pretty banger you can tune differently: open C for clawhammer, or Bb6 or D6 tuning for playing some songs in a slightly more comfortable singing range without capoing or retuning. One reason I have baris is to play tabs/arrangements in my key, not their key, without having to mentally transpose on the fly.

Another idea is to put regular reentrant tenor strings on the first four courses and restring the 6th and 5th courses with the 5th and 4th guitalele strings, tuning thus: C G g c e a. If you generally avoid full strums, this gives you the advantages of reentrant tuning with the extra range of low-G and then some, or just some low "harp" strings. In fact, this might make a good tuning for slack-key ukulele with campanella effects. (Is another guilele in my future?) Or you could string it like the raj„o (from which the reentrant uke tuning was lifted) continuing the 4ths pattern for the 6th course: A d g c e a. This is like the regular guitalele pattern, but with the bottom three strings raised an octave. It would really open up campanella opportunities. I'm just brainstorming here.

Afterthought: The first suggested tuning could be achieved with a regular guilele string set supplemented with a high-G single. The only problem I foresee with that is in matching the tonal quality of the single to that of the other Supernylgut strings.

Jim Hanks
08-14-2014, 01:42 PM
I don't have a guitalele but if I did, I'd probably string it with the Eddie Freeman Special tuning here :
http://www.southcoastukes.com/specialty.htm

There were some threads and videos recently with his tuning and I was very impressed. I'll see if I can dig them up.

Jim Hanks
08-14-2014, 01:45 PM
http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?98296-Southcoast-EFS-Guilele-String-Set

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?98437-Eddie-Freeman-Special-Rag

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?99208-Bottle-Up-amp-Go

drbekken
08-14-2014, 01:56 PM
http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?98296-Southcoast-EFS-Guilele-String-Set

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?98437-Eddie-Freeman-Special-Rag

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?99208-Bottle-Up-amp-Go
The 'Eddie Freeman Special' strings are wonderful. The guitalele can be tuned E to E like a regular guitar, with strings 4,5&6 one octave up. I just LOVE the sound.

VegasGeorge
08-14-2014, 02:48 PM
Jim, that's a great suggestion. I just don't know if I'm up to learning the fingerings, etc. I was thinking that if I simply doubled 2 courses, it would finger like a 6 string Lili'u, in other words, with standard Uke fingerings. I know I'd have to cut slots for the doubled strings in the bridge and saddle, to get them closer together, but that's no big deal. Anyway, thanks for the effort you made in replies. I didn't know about the Eddie Freeman string sets.

ubulele
08-14-2014, 03:26 PM
I have had a six string tuned in ADGCEA for several years [...]

To clarify: that is the standard guitalele tuning, i.e., what he has now and wants to change. It's the standard guitar tuning transposed up a fourth.

As for the Eddie Freeman Specials, that tuning as far as I can figure it coincides with my second tuning suggestion (A d g c e a), except for being a fourth lower—I guess I wasn't being daft. Putting it up a fourth retains the familiar C reentrant tuning in the upper strings, so all the chord names and shapes stay the same, except for being extendable like their guitar counterparts with similar shape (i.e. with chord names a fourth lower) Because the instrument has the body of a tenor, the higher pitch range would be more naturally resonant for the instrument. Of course, playing it in a bluesy or raggy way (as in the clips) probably wouldn't sound quite as effective in that range; it's all a matter of trade-offs.

Thanks, Jim, for bringing that tuning and the availability of string sets to our attention!

Jim Hanks
08-14-2014, 04:17 PM
Jim, that's a great suggestion. I just don't know if I'm up to learning the fingerings, etc.
It's regular guitar fingerings is the point of EFS but the reentrant strings give the ukey sound.