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Thread: Clawhammer Uke Recommendation - Tiny Tenor

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Sydney, Australia and Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    88

    Default Clawhammer Uke Recommendation - Tiny Tenor

    Hi All,

    Just wanted to give all you clawhammer players out there a recommendation for a superb uke for frailing: Romero Creations Tiny Tenor.

    I've played clawhammer on a number of ukes, and all sounded far too thunky and echoey for my taste (and banjo ukes were often the worst offenders -- way too tonally dead with the small head). Even my Farallon, which I adore, was way too bassy and hollow sounding (especially the E string). Put me off for a while...

    Anyway, since I needed a solid travel instrument for teaching in Australia, I broke out my old Tiny Tenor (Spruce top, laminate sides), stuck a handkerchief inside, and was amazed at how good it sounds as a frailing uke. The spuce top gives it a nice bright jangly sound that is reminiscent of banjo, and the enlarged soundhole really opens it up and prevents the thunkiness most ukes exhibit when played clawhammer style. It also has a really nice pop, and just the right amount of sustain for hammerons and pulloffs. The concert scale feels pretty perfect, but the tenor size body gives it nice volume and richness. And the thing is tonally PERFECT. I'm using Oasis brights, with a Fremont Soloist wound C. Great combo for me.

    Anyway, your mileage may vary, but I've been super stoked with it. If you're thinking of trying out clawhammer, this is one instrument I'd definitely suggest trying.
    _____________________________________________

    Current Stable:

    Soprano:
    Kala travel uke (spruce & mahogany) (KA-SSTU)
    Concert:
    Romero Creations ST Concert (Spruce & Mahogany)
    Gold Tone Banjo Ukulele (BU-1) - Open Back
    Tenor:
    Romero Creations Tiny Tenor (Spruce & Mahogany)
    Kala Spruce-Ovangkol (KA-ASOV-T)
    Blackbird Farallon (Tobacco Sunburst)

    Banjos:
    Pisgah Dobson Rambler 12" pot

    PM me if you'd like to be in touch...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Bloomington, Indiana, USA, Earth
    Posts
    30

    Default

    Neo1022: You mentioned that "... The concert scale feels pretty perfect..." However, if you've got a Tiny TENOR, then you're playing a tenor scale (17"), not concert.

    -Brett

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Honolulu
    Posts
    423

    Default

    Love those Tiny Tenors, and yes, they be tiny as a concert but with the 432mm tenor scale. I wanna collect them all! Okay, maybe just one more...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    345

    Default

    Have you tried open or slack key tuning? Either C or G.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Sydney, Australia and Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bretterb View Post
    Neo1022: You mentioned that "... The concert scale feels pretty perfect..." However, if you've got a Tiny TENOR, then you're playing a tenor scale (17"), not concert.

    -Brett
    Indeed -- I was thinking about my Romero Creations ST Concert when I wrote that (which has, btw, become my go-to for clawhammer).
    _____________________________________________

    Current Stable:

    Soprano:
    Kala travel uke (spruce & mahogany) (KA-SSTU)
    Concert:
    Romero Creations ST Concert (Spruce & Mahogany)
    Gold Tone Banjo Ukulele (BU-1) - Open Back
    Tenor:
    Romero Creations Tiny Tenor (Spruce & Mahogany)
    Kala Spruce-Ovangkol (KA-ASOV-T)
    Blackbird Farallon (Tobacco Sunburst)

    Banjos:
    Pisgah Dobson Rambler 12" pot

    PM me if you'd like to be in touch...

  6. #6

    Default

    Out of curiosity, did you put a high g on it? It may come from years of 5 string banjo playing, but playing clawhammer with a low G simply seem wrong to my ears.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Copenhagen. Denmark and Houston; TX
    Posts
    89

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bf_ View Post
    Out of curiosity, did you put a high g on it? It may come from years of 5 string banjo playing, but playing clawhammer with a low G simply seem wrong to my ears.
    I have on my Romero Tiny Tenor (mango) ukulele. Ended up doing that, for the same reason - to play claw hammer. I had been exploring a single string capo that would work at the 12th fret of the 4th string, just to get the high g (and those can be found) but didn't try that and changed to a high g. It works fine and sounds nice, though I sometimes miss being able to use my Romero Tiny Tenor with it's low G. For anyone interested in claw hammer technique on the ukulele, besides Aaron Keim, I can recommend Richard Hefner's ezfolk.com site. Many nice, free lessons and easy to follow.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Sydney, Australia and Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    88

    Default

    Yes, you must use a reentrant turning (high-g) for clawhammer to sound right.

    BTW, after a lot of experimentation, I've finally found what I think is the ideal clawhammer string set for this uke: the new crop of Aquila Reds, with a Thomastik-Infeld CF-27 Flat Wound 3rd C string. This is the first Aquila set that's worked well for me -- the right sound, right tension, and most importantly, no issues with string breakage! The formula seems to have been perfected...

    The sound is crystal clear, bright, and bell-like, with just the right amount of sustain on the highs. No thuddiness or boom on the E string, which can be a problem with some string sets. Really nice sound for clawhammer, and a set that plays to the strengths of the sitka spruce top. My old go-to were Oasis brights, but these leave them in the dust.

    What do I like: First, the tension on the strings seems a bit lower -- just about right for the way I play clawhammer. Hammer-on, pull-offs, and slides are easily executed, and sound clearly (not often the case with other sets I've used). Honestly, I'm amazed at how good all the slurs and grace notes sound now...

    What I don't like: The lower tension does present one problem -- if your action is low, you may get a bit of sizzling/buzzing on the C string (which was a problem I experienced). The thicker string and lower tension results in a greater range of oscillation, which may cause a bit of buzzing as it brushes the frets. This issue was easily remedied by swapping out the C with my go-to flat-wound C favorite, the Thomastik-Infeld CF-27 (available as a single string from the usual sites). No buzz, nice balance with the other strings, and an overall beautiful sound.

    Anyway, if you've got this use and play clawhammer, give the Aquila Reds a try.
    Last edited by neo1022; 08-04-2019 at 03:46 PM.
    _____________________________________________

    Current Stable:

    Soprano:
    Kala travel uke (spruce & mahogany) (KA-SSTU)
    Concert:
    Romero Creations ST Concert (Spruce & Mahogany)
    Gold Tone Banjo Ukulele (BU-1) - Open Back
    Tenor:
    Romero Creations Tiny Tenor (Spruce & Mahogany)
    Kala Spruce-Ovangkol (KA-ASOV-T)
    Blackbird Farallon (Tobacco Sunburst)

    Banjos:
    Pisgah Dobson Rambler 12" pot

    PM me if you'd like to be in touch...

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