Why (or do you) would you have non-traditional (5 or 6) stringing for your uke?

tluxtele

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Don't hear this as judgement, or stuck in my ways, or tribalism... I'm actually curious because I'm fairly new to the uke world. I understand standard tuning. I understand having an 8-string (it's equivalent to a 12 string guitar). I understand non-standard tunings to play some songs easier and simply to be creative. And if that's all the extra strings are for, more power to them.

But, as I've been looking around at ukuleles and seeing what's out there I discovered the 5 string where they have the octave Gg strings. First listen and look, just seems like someone who wants one uke but can't make up their mind on high or low G. I'm sure there's a point. Wondering if y'all can enlighten me.

I then saw a Kala on amazon that appeared to have g-Cc-E-AA stringing. Haven't heard one in real life and wondered what the point was. Is it designed for a specific sound? Or was someone just having fun in the design room one day?

I've obviously seen the 6-string (guileles) tuned A to A. I can kinda see this (and personally want one) but it starts to lose a little of the uke charm to me.

Maybe I shouldn't say this, but the only stringing that doesn't make sense to me is a 6 string uke tuned E to E. That's just a small guitar. I still want one, but I'd call it a guitar.

Anyway, just wondering if any of you have any of these "non-traditional" stringed ukes. And regardless, is there a specific point to them or just to add a little fun and spice to life? I'm assuming it's to add some spice to life, just didn't know if there was something I'm missing.
 

Dohle

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I don't own any of these ukes with non-standard stringings but I would guess that the point in 5 or 6 string ukes is the same as with 8 string ukes. They produce a more complex and fuller sound than 4 string ukes. Additionally, I assume that the reason you'd want one of those instead of an 8 string uke is that - particularly with a 5 string - you can do fingerpicking much more easily since fingerpicking those double strings can be a bit tricky. That's just my own thoughts though. Maybe someone who actually owns one can chime in.

A guilele or guitalele or guitarlele - whatever you like to call it - tuned E to E is just that, a small guitar. Different body sizes and body types and scales exist for regular guitars so I don't see the confusion here. It's just a very small bodied guitar, nothing more, nothing less.
 

badhabits

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having both high g and low g, I find 5-string Gg-C-E-A intriguing...but is it a jack of all trades or master of none thing? there aren't many models out there; I've never seen one in a store to try. and I don't know of many professionals that play one regularly (Taimane, who else?).
 

merlin666

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The first time I noticed one of the 6 strings was a performance of Paula Fuga in Hanapepe. Then I also realized that many of the uke players that support hula dances play 6 strings, as this gives a richer sound to the re-entrant. So while the 8 string is the low G equivalent of a 12 string guitar, the 6 string uke is the high G equivalent. I use mine for performing most songs that I would play at home on my re-entrant as it projects much better.
 

Veritas99

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having both high g and low g, I find 5-string Gg-C-E-A intriguing...but is it a jack of all trades or master of none thing? there aren't many models out there; I've never seen one in a store to try. and I don't know of many professionals that play one regularly (Taimane, who else?).
Also, Taimane’s 5-string is a double low G for added bass so it’s not a typical 5 string.

My wife has a 5-string Kanile’a super concert. She wanted it for more body when playing sing & strum songs and it certainly sounds fully than a standard 4-string. That said, she really hasn’t used it that much as she’s been working more on fingerpicking songs.9CE1FDAB-9B7F-4207-B343-A57E1757682B.jpeg
 

Jim Yates

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I have always considered a guitalele to be a small guitar. In playing style, it is closer to a guitar than a ukulele for sure. Capo a classical guitar at the fifth fret and you have a guitalele.
In fact, a guitalele is a newer name for a requinto guitar, a smaller version of a Spanish guitar, a nylon string instrument tuned ADGCEA.
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A bit of googling tells me that a requinto is usually a bit larger than a guitalele, having a scale length closer to a baritone uke. They are played the same way as a guitalele however, and anything played on a guitalele could also be played on a requito using the same techniques. In other words, there is no learning curve when switching from guitalele to requinto or vice versa.

Stu Fuchs plays requito/guitalele
 
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rustydusty

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I loved playing my 12 string guitar back before arthritis set in, and could see playing an 8 string uke, but not enough to want to buy one. As for 5 or 6 string ukeleles, when I master the 4 string, (never gonna happen...), maybe I would consider it.
 

Cadia

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I recently picked up a 5 string Cocobolo. I posted an inquiry on here to see how people like them and the responses were quite positive. Some references were given in that post to well-known players who use 5 and six string ukes. You can do a search and listen to these players. I have to say, I love the sound of mine. There's a richness to the tone, having both the high and low g, that is quite intriguing. I really enjoy having this uke in my collection. It's a definite keeper.
 
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Jim Hanks

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Maybe I shouldn't say this, but the only stringing that doesn't make sense to me is a 6 string uke tuned E to E. That's just a small guitar. I still want one, but I'd call it a guitar.
Ah, but if you put the bottom 2 or 3 strings up an octave, you regain much of the "uke ness" and a lot of cool chord voicings
 

Jim Yates

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Ah, but if you put the bottom 2 or 3 strings up an octave, you regain much of the "uke ness" and a lot of cool chord voicings
This reminds me of the Yamaha FG75 that was Maggie's first guitar. For the last 30 years it has been strung up in Nashville tuning, using the higher octave strings of a 12-string set, making it "re-entrant" tuning. I replaced the nut, but haven't intonated the saddle.

 

tluxtele

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Ah, but if you put the bottom 2 or 3 strings up an octave, you regain much of the "uke ness" and a lot of cool chord voicings
That could be interesting. I haven't run across anything like that so far. My interests are peaked.
 

ktuurna

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I have custom made 5 string gypsy jazz-styled ukulele made by French luthier Maurice Dupont. I bought it 2 years ago and it is my favorite instrument. I really its rich and loud sound. I like it becouse I can play lower with low g, but it still has traditional high g ukulele sound. I really love it!

5stringukulele.jpgdupontukulelesmall.jpg
 

about2

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I have an 8 stringed bari that I like quite a bit. I have it strung in an usual way.
 

steve-o-reno

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There are are also players who use 6-string ukes for more mainland jazz and Tin Pan Alley arrangements. Ralph Shaw and Casey MacGill come to mind. I bought my first 6-string because of Ralph Shaw's version of Puttin on the Ritz which he played on an older Kamaka 6-string.

You can use the tuning g cC e aa, with the c strings in octave and the a strings in unison for a more uke-like but much fuller sound. Using the octave C and A strings has a more traditional Hawaiian 6-string sound.
|This is my old Ko'olau 6-string that sounds super any way I've strung it.
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