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Thread: best tenors for Low G tuning?

  1. #1
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    Default best tenors for Low G tuning?

    Any advice on best tenor ukuleles for low G tuning? I'm assuming that some have bigger bodies, and can better handle the resonance of a low G than others, and I'm wondering if anyone's had any experience to that effect?

    Also interested to hear what people think makes an instrument deeper/more suited to lower tuning. For example, which woods might be better for lower-tuned tenors? And does the pineapple shape make a tenor more or less suited to deeper tuning?

    Wish I could test this out more easily on my own, but ukes in stores are almost never tuned that way. I've tried tuning the C string down, and that gives somewhat of an idea, but often the floppiness of that tuned-down C makes it a poor gauge. Since most some stocked with Aquila strings with an unwound G... with higher gauge strings, I think that test would work better.
    Last edited by 13down; 10-31-2016 at 03:58 PM. Reason: pineapple question
    uke blog

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    current ukes

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    former ukes

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  2. #2
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    If I set out to buy a dedicated low-G tenor, I think I'd strongly consider a Kanile'a super tenor. It has a wider lower bout, but the scale length is regular. My Kanile'a GL6 uses the same body, and the low-G on there sounds fantastic. No boom, no droning, no thumping. I'll add, though, that I feel it also depends heavily on your choice of strings. Some low-G strings just boom and drone more than others, depending on the uke and its wood and construction.

  3. #3
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    If I had bigger hands and could play tenor, I'd go with a Kamaka HF-3. I've never heard a bad one and they sound great strung low G.

    As for woods - I think I've only every played koa, and mahogany, low G ukes. Between those two, I'd go with koa all the way.

    As for testing them out on your own - a good shop might let you swap out the reentrant G for a low G, especially if you're considering a higher end uke. I can't speak for other stores, but my local shop has no problem doing this for a serious customer.

    And I'll second Mivo's comment about choice of strings. I play low G concert, and wouldn't consider putting anything but a wound string on it - non-wound strings boom and thud.

  4. #4
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    Don't know your budget. Pono tenors can be luscious in low G. My ATD is. Choose strings well. I prefer wound low G.
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  5. #5
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    Thanks to all 3 of you, very intriguing advice so far.

    I owned (I sold it) was a Clearwater roundback one, with a spruce top. It didn't seem to hold low notes that well to my ears.

    I also owned & sold a Godin cedar tenor. I also didn't love how it handled low notes, though it was much better than the Clearwater. More to the point, both of them are electro ukes, not necessarily meant to have the best unplugged sound.

    My current budget is definitely the Pono range (considering regular and deluxe, not the more expensive Pro models though).

  6. #6
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    I'm pretty happy with my Sapele Opio that came with low G...which would be in or below your Pono range.
    My ukulele blog: http://ukestuff.info

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  7. #7
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    Thanks for that suggestion! HMS has low G in their video for it and damn it sounds good!!!
    uke blog

    https://bennyukes.blogspot.com

    songs

    https://soundcloud.com/bennypaul

    videos (includes uke demos)

    http://youtube.com/user/theschumanity

    current ukes

    Wunderkammer "Boswell" Tenor, Keiki Kamaka Soprano, Johnson UK-200 baritone, Kiwaya Famous FLS-1G, Cordoba 24T

    former ukes

    Martin 1T, Martin Oliver Ditson Dreadnought Soprano, Martin Baritone, Ohana SK-28, Ohana SK-25S, Favilla Baritone, Kala KA-FMBG, Luna Great Wave Concert, Mainland Red Cedar Baritone, Mainland Classic Mahogany Tenor, Oscar Schmidt OU53, Oscar Schmidt OU57, Kiwaya Famous KTS-5 soprano, Ohana TK-38 tenor

  8. #8
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    Low G tenors are pretty much all I play.........linear tuned baritones also. Most quality instruments will sound good in low G regardless of wood choice, if you like the low G sound. Currently I have ukes with spruce rosewood, spruce cocobolo, redwood walnut and cedar macassar ebony tenors all strung low G. They all have wound G and C strings with florocarbon E and A strings. If Pono is in your price range their tenors are big bodied and really sound good in low G.
    Currently enjoying these ukuleles : *LdfM tenor, *LfdM 19" super tenor. *LfdM baritone, *I'iwi tenor , *Koolau tenor, *Webber tenor, *Kimo tenor, *Kimo super concert, *Mya Moe baritone, *Kamaka baritone, *Gianinni baritone, *Fred Shields super soprano, *Kala super soprano, *Loprinzi super soprano, *Black bear ULO concert , *Enya X1 concert, *Enya X1 pineapple soprano, *Gretsch tenor, *Korala plastic concert

  9. #9
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    I have a Kala solid mahogany tenor with a mellow low g set, and I had a Cordoba solid mahogany topped tenor with the same strings. Both were very "guitar like" for tenor ukes, which is what I was going for. They were my surrogate "blues guitar."

  10. #10
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    Honestly, the best bang for your buck under $400usd are the satin series Pono MGT, MT or AT.
    I had an MGT and it was a great player. I had a deluxe hog and didn't like the gloss finish as much as the satin, on the Pono's, at least.

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