Inspired by the Uke.

Icelander53

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How many have moved into playing other instruments since taking up the uke? What do you play now? I'd like to explore some instruments that are tuned to the same GCEA as my ukes. Are there any?
 

k0k0peli

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I could say that dulcimer inspired me to play guitar, but the truth is that the dulcimer was a cheaper substitute for my guitar lust. I could say that playing uke (starting two years ago) inspired me to hunt for a charango now, and that's probably pretty true. I could say that a mix of dulcimer, banjo, and mandolin are inspiring me to find or build balalaikas in various tunings. All those are somewhat true but not really relevant. When I actually acquire a charango, I'll attribute that to playing ukes.

As for your last question: Uke *did* actively inspire me to buy a tiple and maybe getting a cuatro-menor in Mexico a few years ago inspired me to start with ukes; the cause-and-effect chain is a bit twisted there. The initial soprano uke inspired the purchase of a 6-string tenor uke, the Kala KA6.

I can strum the tiple and cuatro-menor and even an appropriately-tuned 5-string banjo with exactly the fingerings I use on mandolin. Set the banjo to aGCEA; the tiple (same size as a tenor uke) is strung gG-cCc-eEe-AA; the cuatro-menor (also tenor-uke size but shaped like a thick A-type mandolin) is GGG-CCC-EEE-AAA; and the upcoming charango will be GG-CC-eE-AA-ee. The 6-string tenor is set to g-cC-E-aA. Yes, the chord forms are the same, but the voicings and melodic lines all turn out very different.

So, your questions. Did I move to other axes since my first uke? Yes. What do I play now? 6-string uke, cuatro-menor, tiple, and I'll add charango to that roster soon. (My mandolin-driven cravings for citterns, bouzoukis and mandolas form a separate thread in my life.) Do other instruments share the GCEA uke tuning? Yes; and many instruments can be strung for such tuning, transposed from a guitar's DGBE. Noted studio guitarist Teddy Tedesco reputedly tuned EVERYTHING to DGBE or GCEA. Dr Zhivago's LARA'S THEME was played, not on a balalaika, but on a mandolin tuned GCEA. If Teddy could do it, so can you! Ukelele everywhere!
 

PhilUSAFRet

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I have a tenor guitar on my wish list that I will tune gCEA....same with the tenor banjo. gCEA or GCEA are widely accepted alternate tunings for these instruments.
 

Icelander53

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Thanks guys for all that great information. More to look forward at. But first things first. I have a Koaloha on order.

I like the idea of the tenor guitar. I play a concert Banjo.
 

Rllink

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I have a couple of harmonicas that my dad used to play. I put one up on the table by my uke, and I found a site on the internet to learn how to play it, but so far I haven't done anything with it, other than take it apart, pound some dents out of it, clean it up, and put it back together. I think the ukulele is probably going to be it for. I mean, I'll probably be learning how to play the ukulele for the rest of my life, so that doesn't really leave any time for harmonicas. But I think about playing it sometimes. I also sometimes think about playing the accordion, but I'm sure that is never going to happen.
 

DownUpDave

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Both a tenor banjo and especially a tenor guitar are on my "to do list".Tune GCEA it should be an easy enough transition and will give a cool new sound. This might not happen for another year or so. I am concentrating on playing just tenor uke at the moment.

One of the regular uke jams I attend does a harmonica work shop and that has been very tempting. But I need to give my spare time to my uke, I still work full time.
 
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Icelander53

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Harmonica is on my to do list also. I bought one but can't keep my hands off the ukes.
 

KohanMike

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I've played guitar for almost 50 years, harmonica about 35 (taught to me by Lyle Waggoner from the Carol Burnett Show), then two years ago took up the uke and haven't touched my guitars since, and just a few months ago added u-bass, which has taken me away from regular play on the uke.
 

Ukejenny

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I've played clarinet since age 11, played it a lot in college. I also had to learn how to teach the other wind instruments and percussion in college. After college, I branched out into the flute. Tried to play guitar off and on a few times. It never clicked. I also started seriously playing recorder after college. All of that led me to the ukulele. So far, ukulele is my last instrument to take up.
 

tangimango

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I went from normal size Ukulele to baritone ukulele does that count? then baritone ukulele to guitar, now interested in a guitalele. now im on the piano.
 

kypfer

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Not sure the ukulele "inspired" me to take up another instrument ... certainly, having taken to the ukulele (and acquired several, as one does) I re-strung one soprano with a set of Aquila 5th's, tuned to GDAE, to have a quiet practice alternative to the mandolin I'd taken up subsequent to the ukulele. I've now got a baritone ukulele tuned GDAE, but an octave lower, which is effectively acting as a "substitute" tenor banjo ... so maybe one day I'll convince myself I really need a tenor banjo, so at that point I'll be able to say the ukulele inspired me ;)

On a slightly different tack, I'd be wary about choosing another instrument that uses the same chord shapes as a ukulele if you're really looking for something "different". Many many years ago, having finally convinced myself I was a least partially competent on a guitar, I bought a 6-string banjo. It was strung like a guitar so it had to be easy, right? NOPE ... I just ended up playing the same stuff I was already playing, in the same styles that I was using on the guitar, simply because I'd convinced myself I didn't want/need to learn anything new/different.

What I really wanted/needed was a 5-string banjo and a few months off the guitar to learn something completely different ... but I didn't realise that then. 30-odd years later I finally got my 5-string banjo, eventually spent rather more than "a few months" coming to terms with it, but I can now pick up a banjo and have it sound like a banjo, which was what I wanted in the first place.

My point is ... eventually you all cry ... don't restrict yourself by "not wanting to learn anything new" when "something new" is what you really want :)

As always, YMMV, but enjoy the journey :)
 

mds725

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I also have some tenor guitars. They're tuned DGBE, like the top four string (i.e., the non-bass strings) of a guitar and like a baritone ukulele, so the chord shapes are familiar, although the names are different (i.e., a "c" chord on a tenor uke is a "g" chord on a DGBE tenor guitar). The "jump" to tenor guitar was to play an instrument with steel strings.
 

Icelander53

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Not sure the ukulele "inspired" me to take up another instrument ... certainly, having taken to the ukulele (and acquired several, as one does) I re-strung one soprano with a set of Aquila 5th's, tuned to GDAE, to have a quiet practice alternative to the mandolin I'd taken up subsequent to the ukulele. I've now got a baritone ukulele tuned GDAE, but an octave lower, which is effectively acting as a "substitute" tenor banjo ... so maybe one day I'll convince myself I really need a tenor banjo, so at that point I'll be able to say the ukulele inspired me ;)

On a slightly different tack, I'd be wary about choosing another instrument that uses the same chord shapes as a ukulele if you're really looking for something "different". Many many years ago, having finally convinced myself I was a least partially competent on a guitar, I bought a 6-string banjo. It was strung like a guitar so it had to be easy, right? NOPE ... I just ended up playing the same stuff I was already playing, in the same styles that I was using on the guitar, simply because I'd convinced myself I didn't want/need to learn anything new/different.

What I really wanted/needed was a 5-string banjo and a few months off the guitar to learn something completely different ... but I didn't realise that then. 30-odd years later I finally got my 5-string banjo, eventually spent rather more than "a few months" coming to terms with it, but I can now pick up a banjo and have it sound like a banjo, which was what I wanted in the first place.

My point is ... eventually you all cry ... don't restrict yourself by "not wanting to learn anything new" when "something new" is what you really want :)

As always, YMMV, but enjoy the journey :)



You make some great points and I shall consider them. Hardly worth playing the same stuff on a different instrument. I think I'll learn harmonica and I can pretend I'm Bob D.
 

k0k0peli

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On a slightly different tack, I'd be wary about choosing another instrument that uses the same chord shapes as a ukulele if you're really looking for something "different".
As I played with numerous stringings and tunings on guitars and banjos, I learned that each tuning turns an axe INTO A NEW INSTRUMENT! That's one reason I'm now accumulating soprano (and maybe concert) ukes.

I'll leave my banjo-uke in gCEa because that high-g gives a nice ringing tone. I'll leave some other uke in standard gCEa as my 'teacher' instrument while my wife learns her tenor and for duetting with her. One soprano will get the Aquila low-G set installed when we return home. Another soprano already wears an Aquila straight 5ths (DGAE) set for mando-type fingerings. Others will experience various open and modal tunings.

Once they leave the GCEA (ukes) or EADGBE (guitars) patterns, the standard chord forms do not apply. I've tuned one guitar to straight 3rds, another to straight 4ths, and a 12-string Cumbus to straight 5ths so it's a banjo-cittern. I've tuned a soprano in straight 4ths too, ADGC -- some jazz players call that "rationalizing the fretboard". All these requires learning new fingerings. All transform the instrument into something else.

Yes, it's handy and comfortable to play diverse instruments in the same tuning. Studio whiz Teddy Tedesco reputedly did exactly that, tuning everything -- banjo, mandolin, whatever -- like a guitar. Hey, for him it was a paying job! But retuning to vastly different systems is educational, really mind- and fionger-stretching. I like getting stretched.

EDIT: I've been a guitarist for a long long time. Moving chord forms to similarly-tuned instruments ain't no big thang. But playing melodies and basslines on re-entrant instruments is *different*. Reworking guitar pieces to fit the multi-le-re-entrant Kala 6-string tenor or even a standard gCEA uke requires some doing. I've worked out some arrangements that *only* sound right on gCEA, that just won't translate to guitar or tiple or a GCEA instrument. I'll restring one uke to GcEA to see what difference it makes, what pieces will only work there and not on other variants.

I think I'll learn harmonica and I can pretend I'm Bob D.
Get a chromatic and pretend you're a Harmonicat. (One of these days I'll master RHAPSODY IN BLUE on a chromatic, yes I will.) Or get a tremolo harmonica and pretend you're a Cajun accordian. Mouth organs are a whole new world with surprising technologies. Fun fun fun.
 
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julieuke1978

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I played the clarinet in school. I picked up the uke 2 years ago. I LOVE it! I had tried guitar in the past, but didn't ever get far. It doesn't help that the action on my cheap guitar is high. After playing the uke i did have more success with the guitar. I'm stuck with the guitar again to about 14 chords. I can't Barr on the guitar to save my life. I picked up the mountain dulcimer as well. I like the variety, but the uke is still my favorite...
 

KaraUkey

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I played a guitar for decades before discovering the ukulele, now the guitars hardly get a look in, including at paid gigs. Recently I purchased a Cordoba Guilele which is exactly the same GCEA tuning as a Uke but with the added two bass strings. That means you are using the same chords with the same names as the Uke just adding the other two notes. That allows me to add little bass runs and the like.
 
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Mivo

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I still play and love kalimbas as my other instrument(s). Those are very collectible, too, since they come in so many layouts and tunings. I have a chromatic one that spans 2.5 octaves, with tines on both the front and the back (this is clashing a bit with playing ukulele because I'd ideally like a bit of nail on the left hand, but that's my fretting hand), but most have 17 tines. I discovered kalimbas and ukuleles at around the same time when I decided I wanted to learn a portable, small instrument, so neither really inspired me to pick up the others. They happened simultaneously. :)
 

peanuts56

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I started on trumpet in 1966 and majored in music ed. I gigged a lot with many different kinds of groups. I played in a Portugese Band, (I'm Irish/Italian) did pit band work and my last regular gig was with a jazz quintet. I enjoyed it immensely but as time wore on and working a day job as a teacher my desire to practice regularly began to diminish. I married a woman from Hawaii and got interested in the uke about 15 years ago. Two years ago I bought a Kamaka and began to take the uke seriously. Hearing players like Jake, James Hill etc. inspired me to work hard. They are not just great ukulele players, they are world class musicians.
Playing/practicing trumpet is too much like work. Playing/practicing uke is fun, plus you can play it any time of day and not bother your spouse or the neighbors. I doubt I'll ever regularly play the horn again. I have no interest in gigging any more. I have 2 beautiful professional trumpets that are probably worth 5 grand that are just sitting there. I'm seriously considering selling one of them and putting the $$$$ towards a KO'OLAU Tenor. I retire in one year from teaching band/string at an arts magnet school. I'll keep one just in case I get the urge to play again when I have the time to practice both instruments.
 

loco85

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I am still learning to play the uke, but it inspired me to do a research. After doing some research about the history of stringed instruments in my home land I decided to bite the bullet and I am buying a Puerto Rican Tiple Doliente. It has five strings tuned to CGDAE and about the size of a concert uke. the body and the neck are made out of a solid piece of wood.