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Thread: Heavy Metal Risa stick thoughts

  1. #1
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    Default Heavy Metal Risa stick (rhythm) thoughts

    I enjoy many different musical styles from Classical to Hawaiian to a dark slow gloomy metal that drips off your face. I'm happy playing the old tin pan alley songs and such on the ukulele.

    But...

    After playing with a Risa stick through a Digitech RP360 with a tweaked sound I just cant seem to be able to transpose what are very simple 5ths on the lower strings of a guitar to the ukulele for some metal fun. The sound is there.

    So...

    I begin to wonder besides the use of liner tuning can I tune a ukulele to the lower four strings of a guitar instead of the upper four? Even keeping the same range off the guitar. This would facilitate the simple pattern for 5th cords and make the thing a metal machine.

    Or...

    Am I just being pattern minded, blind and could really play much the same on a liner tuned ukulele in the standard tuning.

    thanks
    Last edited by Inksplosive AL; 02-07-2015 at 06:35 PM.
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  2. #2

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    Well having 4 strings.. does limit the range of uke compared to guitar.

    I don't play much metal, but i do a lot of Blues, jazz and pop style pentatonic soloing which I modelled from guitar. As a result I use linear tuning more often on uke and just accept that I dont have those two lower bass strings.

    Tuning an ukulele to EADG like the lower 4 strings of a guitar (but an octave high) is not hard to do. You just have to find the right strings. Could be harder on Risa stick since they cannot handle wound strings like a regular uke can

    Perhaps an instrument suitable for you is an electric guitalele
    Last edited by kissing; 02-07-2015 at 04:25 PM.

  3. #3
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    Would using strings from a concert or tenor be increasing or decreasing tension on a soprano ukulele? I'm thinking commonsense rules a thicker string will have a higher tension at a shorter length thus increasing tension.

    I own two sticks now an older concert and a newer soprano and I'm ready to start modding them. I want to refret them both with larger frets and the first gen crossover bar can use to be modded like the 2nd gen. Both can use a simple mod that I believe will allow the use of the Aquila red low G as my soprano has no issues with the reentrant set. Replacing the saddle with something that will take a wound string looks very doable if needed. My concert bought used came strung left handed with the saddle flipped, its a simple piece of plastic.

    Soloing makes use of the upper registers of the four high strings of a guitar mostly while metal rhythm mostly the lower four. That's what drove my thinking about this alternate tuning. I should have stated metal rhythm in the title.

    I did have a vision of a ukulele made to mimic my BC Rich guitar. I bought a bridge and pickups from a bass guitar and downloaded the PDF of the guitars shape, researched some wood on eBay and that's as far as I got. The project has stalled big time. I don't think I want a guitalele or another instrument just yet. Well maybe a tenor stick even though I'm not fond of the scale.

    ~peace~
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  4. #4

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    Ukulele string tensions are a bit funny. One would expect that strings designed for a shorter scale (eg: soprano) would be heavier and thicker... that is what we would expect on guitar.

    i think you have it the opposite way round. Strings will have a LOWER tension on a shorter scale length. Generally on a shorter scale guitar, you can use thicker gauge strings. Longer scale gets higher tension with the same strings.

    However with ukulele, a soprano is not a "short scale" tenor, but a smaller instrument with less tension. This logic does not apply.. sopranos are supposed to have loose tension, and hence, ironically soprano strings are lighter gauge.

    So hence, tenor strings are heavier than soprano strings. you can use them on soprano ukes for a harder tension...or theoretically a lower tuning.

    If you can find a way to replace the saddle on a Risa that can handle wound strings, you could try installing Baritone ukulele strings (DGBE) but tune it slightly higher to EADG.

    That being said, on a soprano scale, it may not feel/sound very good due to the very short scale. A tenor electric may handle it a bit better.

    If you really like Risa, i think the Uke-Ellie models can handle wound strings. Or get a different brand electric
    Last edited by kissing; 02-07-2015 at 06:52 PM.

  5. #5
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    Ive thought the same thing. For power chords you want the bottom 4 strings, not the top 4.

    The simplest thing to do as an experiment would be to tune the ukulele, G,C,F,A#.

    That will give you the right string relationships for power rhythm chords.

    Anthony

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    Quote Originally Posted by anthonyg View Post
    Ive thought the same thing. For power chords you want the bottom 4 strings, not the top 4.

    The simplest thing to do as an experiment would be to tune the ukulele, G,C,F,A#.

    That will give you the right string relationships for power rhythm chords.

    Anthony
    Hah! been staring at this now on http://www.get-tuned.com/online_ukulele_tuner.php but looking at E4 A4 D4 G4 tuning I knew I was missing something very simple.

    Whoosh parted hair visible from space.

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  7. #7
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    The only thing that mimics the guitar a bit like in the Smoke on the Water riff is to do these type of barred chords:

    2225 5558 777(10)

    It's not in the key of G, rather D but that's the closest one can get on a high G string uke. You can also shuffle with:

    2225 2225 4225 2225

    Petey

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the thoughts and comments,

    The alternate tuning works well for what I was going for with this experiment as well as my original thought of using the Risa pitch shifted as a pseudo bass.

    For the time being I tuned down to f A# D# G# which gets me into a darker sound once shifted down distorted and mixed a bit. I need to pull the crossover bar chuck it up in a drill and mod for a low G. Supposed to snow all day so maybe I'll do it later today. (remember to take pictures)

    I'm trying to pull off a passable version of a Type O Negative song but as usual I think I'm just not enough a musician to get there just yet. Jumping the gun a bit but keeping it interesting by mixing things up. I must be getting serious with it now as I used the strap last night for the first time and left the connectors on the uke. The ability to practice bass and easy power chord riffs on such a small instrument is enough to make me want to explore this tuning further.

    Hm maybe a pick!

    ~peace~
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  9. #9
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    On my Korala concert I've tried playing a couple of System of a Down songs before. They normallt play in Drop-C on the guitar, which is C, G, C, F, A, D. To replicate that on a uke I go with the same principle that a uke is a guitar with a capo on the fifth, but I focus on the bottom four strings instead. So from GCEA (low-G with Aquila Reds) I drop the G down to F, keep the C as is, raise the E to F and the A to A#. Not too much down or up-tuning so there isn't too much strain on the strings and I end up with FCFA#, five semitones up from CGCF which allows for some half-decent chugging. On my amp and distortion I turn the treble right down and the bass right up and I'm good to go. Added bonus that your power chords are now a straight barre on all four strings, but I've not tried much fingerpicking because I'll I know how to improvise on is the pentatonic which is obviously all over the place with that tuning. But on most metal tabs I end up looking at, it's only the bottom four strings used so you can play exactly the same on your uke, it'll just be in a different key.

    It's also useful for a band I love, Royal Blood. They're two guys, one on drums, one on bass a vox. But he's tuned the bass to drop C and pretty much plays rhythm and lead on it. Tuned the way I described above and their songs are perfectly transferrable to uke.
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