Thoughts about tenor high and low G

eternal tinkerer

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After spending more than a year of having settled on the tenor size and low G tuning, I recently have taken an interest in and appreciation for high G / reentrant tuning. Specifically, there's something pleasant about high G tuning when playing a chord arpeggio. It simply feels nice, and I want to hear it again.

The other thought I have - and shouldn't be the least surprised to discover - is that some of my ukes "naturally" sound better in low G, others in high G, and that there's hardly any internal controversy with my conclusion.

Curious - anybody have anything else to comment on this much revisited tuning comparison?
 

KohanMike

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I played guitar for almost fifty years before I picked up the ukulele in July of 2013, cutaway tenor being the most comfortable for me. Since then I never touched my guitars again (gave my four to my nephew, a very accomplished guitarist and now film composer). One of the very specific things about the uke that grabbed me was reentrant tuning, being that much different than guitar. After learning about low G tuning, I decided not to go there because it's not different enough from guitar for me. (I've actually since taken up bass uke, which has become my main, instrument, with ukulele and blues harmonica close behind.)

Michael Kohan in Los Angeles, Beverly Grove near the Beverly Center
8 tenor cutaway ukes, 4 acoustic bass ukes, 10 solid body bass ukes, 14 mini electric bass guitars (Total: 36)
•Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children in hospital music therapy programs. www.theukc.org
•Member The CC Strummers: www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/video, www.facebook.com/TheCCStrummers
 

Counter

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Every tenor I have ever played sounded better in Low G whether Mango, Koa, Myrtle, Cedar or Spruce. I would have no hesitation in asking for Low G on any new tenor I ever buy in the future. Baritones sound equally good to me whether Low D or High D and I like to always have both but a High G tenor is not for me. Millions will disagree.
 

Jeanpaul

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After spending more than a year of having settled on the tenor size and low G tuning, I recently have taken an interest in and appreciation for high G / reentrant tuning. Specifically, there's something pleasant about high G tuning when playing a chord arpeggio. It simply feels nice, and I want to hear it again.

The other thought I have - and shouldn't be the least surprised to discover - is that some of my ukes "naturally" sound better in low G, others in high G, and that there's hardly any internal controversy with my conclusion.

Curious - anybody have anything else to comment on this much revisited tuning comparison?

Sometimes I even considered trying a five-strings.
 

kypfer

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The tenor size suits me, coming from a long-time guitar association. The size isn't too cramped, whilst retaining a lot of the "cheeriness" of the smaller instruments. The lo-G tuning is just too "guitar-like" for it to be "different", but I play a hi-G for the claw-hammer arrangements by Aaron Keim and the medieval and lute music re-arrangements from Jamie Holding and others.
 

LukuleleStrings

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I like to try new strings on different ukes and I have a nice Kala that just doesn’t agree with low G. That’s fine, though. It can stay in high G and sound awesome. I agree that some ukes sound good in low G and some sound good in high G.

The only issue that I run into is that if I arrange for (and use) the high G, then I’m limited on ukes I can play the piece on. I suppose the same goes for low G, but that really depends on if those low notes are used.

One day I might get good enough at the mental gymnastics to figure out a way to play the piece regardless of whether the G is high or low, but for now my limitation is a handy excuse to have both. ;-)
 

donboody

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I have a low G soprano, a low G tenor, a high G concert, a high G tenor, and a high D baritone. I used to worry about what they sound like before I decided to put strings on them, but now I just put the strings on. It's very easy to do. I could have a Low G on Monday and a High G Tuesday. I am just very fortunate to have a number of instruments to experiment with.
 

merlin666

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I also came from guitar and was advised that low G tenor would be the best to transition. So I picked a deep bodied Gretsch to make sure there is enough resonance to support this. After a few years of trying different uke sizes in stores I realized that the sweet spot for me was re-entrant concert size. But to translate the cheerfulness of the re-entrant to tenor size I also have a six string which is perfect for performances alternating with the low G tenor.
 

kissing

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Do you mean restring on the same Ukulele on both Monday and Tuesday? Do you reuse the removed old strings?
I think he meant he has multiple ukuleles, some tuned to high-G and some to low-G
 

wqking

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I think he meant he has multiple ukuleles, some tuned to high-G and some to low-G
I think so too, otherwise I would wonder if he can afford a lot of new strings or reuse strings (which I think not a good idea).
 

Steve_S

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Something I have pondered is whether given two ukuleles made with different woods/construction that have different brightness or warmth characteristics would you choose to string the bright instrument with high-G and the warm instrument with low-G to enhance the brightness/warmth or vice versa to dial back those characteristics a bit. The former seems more logical if you want to expand your potential musical experience.
 

Jerryc41

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After spending more than a year of having settled on the tenor size and low G tuning, I recently have taken an interest in and appreciation for high G / reentrant tuning. Specifically, there's something pleasant about high G tuning when playing a chord arpeggio. It simply feels nice, and I want to hear it again.

The other thought I have - and shouldn't be the least surprised to discover - is that some of my ukes "naturally" sound better in low G, others in high G, and that there's hardly any internal controversy with my conclusion.

Curious - anybody have anything else to comment on this much revisited tuning comparison?

I have ukes with both high and low G. It's nice to mix it up a bit. I've never found a particular uke to be better with high or low, though.
 

donboody

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I think so too, otherwise I would wonder if he can afford a lot of new strings or reuse strings (which I think not a good idea).
I guess what I'm saying is "all of the above." I used to worry about changing strings. I have come to find out it takes me less than 5 minutes to change than strings on my instruments, so now I dont worry too much about which one is my low G and which one is my high G. I just decide and experiment whenever I want. My soprano was a high G for years until last week when I put the Low G on. Maybe next week I'll put a high G back on it. I dont consider it very expensive, but I also dont change strings every day. I order a pack or two of uke logics every month or so.
 

Voran

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*laughs in 5-stringed tenor*

I don't yet own one but I'm getting one soon
 

ripock

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I have always played tenors exclusively. I keep my Kamaka in re-entrant tuning out of respect for the tradition. However it is rather limited. I think of my Kamaka as a 3-string instrument with different chord voicings. I don't keep the Kamaka re-entrant because some ukes sound better with certain tunings. I think that's a silly notion. The Kamaka would sound awesome with whatever tuning and whichever string set I put on it. As I said, I do it out of respect for the history of the uke. And I don't mean to bad mouth re-entrant tuning. After all, tunings don't have an inherent morality. There aren't good or bad tunings. I use linear tunings because it is the right tool for the job. i like to play scales and fingerpick and linear tunings work better for that.
 

Voran

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Personally I like re-entrant because it adds some zing to the chords. But it is nice to drop some bass as well.

I'm getting a 5-stringer soon. Gonna finish some cleaning I've avoided for years, then buy myself the 5-stringer as a reward. I found one with a raven as the bridge. A Voran for a Voran.
 

deadpool

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When I first started on the uke and I mainly played chords I was happy with re-entrant. After a long lay off I play a lot of chord melody (on tenor mainly) and now use low G exclusively. Maybe because I am mainly a guitar player, I like the linear sound of the low G. I have a hard time now wrapping my head around the sound of re-entrant even on chord strumming. Just me. YMMV.