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Thread: 3 tenor tunings compared

  1. #1
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    Default 3 tenor tunings compared

    As others have mentioned, sometimes ukes sound better in different tunings. I've found that tenors often sound better tuned down a 1/2 step to B, or a full step down to Bb. My personal favorite on tenors is usually a 1/2 step down to B tuning.

    I did a little video of all 3: first standard GCEA, then B, and lastly Bb. B tuning still sounds best to me, on this particular tenor uke, and most other tenors too. To my ears, B tuning just sounds fuller and richer. Bb usually sounds too low to my ears, it loses the lively uke character and ring, and is floppy feeling. YMMV.

    When evaluating the tonal character of ukes, I often use the Joel Eckhaus method of humming an increasing scale of notes into the soundhole, from my lowest to highest, listening until I hear the note that harmonically pops, is louder, and really vibrates the uke. It's usually really easy to hear. Then I identify that note. On this uke, the note that pops harmonically is F#, which is the note of the open G string, when tuned down to B tuning, probably why I like that tuning best of these 3. YMMV. What do you think?

    Last edited by Ukecaster; 10-19-2019 at 09:46 AM.
    John

  2. #2
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    Thanks for taking the time to share this John, I think I'll have to go with the Bb tuning, it sounds fuller to me But let's face it, they all sound nice!
    Happy just to be a Newbie +, Penny

  3. #3
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    I usually default to Bb on tenor but have to admit, that one sounds a bit better in B
    Ukulele:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - A, WoU Clarity
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, cFAD SC LHU
    Kala KSLNG, Eb SC XLU
    Flea soprano, C LW
    Hanson 5-string tenor, dGCEA
    Bonanza SLN GCEA
    Bonanzalele concert
    Guitars:
    Jupiter #47, G, TI CF127

    !Flukutronic!

  4. #4
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    B seems to be best as you felt Bb was floppy, but I like the sound of Bb. I have dropped the tuning of my 2 ukes by a half step recently and have never been as happy playing uke as I am now. I was always frustrated by the shrill 1st string & tried different strings to fix it, but the change has mellowed that.
    Last edited by ukebebop; 10-19-2019 at 06:10 PM.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for doing this test. I think it sounds best in B.

  6. #6

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    Hi

    were the strings "stretched" into GCEA tuning before testing lower tunings? This may affect the result and might be better to start lower and work up.

    I have just switched back from GCEA to high dGBE and the d (D4) and B (B3) strings took a couple of weeks to de-stretch and not sound floppy and flappy from previously being E4 and C4 respectively.
    Last edited by Davoravo; 10-20-2019 at 09:32 PM.

  7. #7

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    I'm a relative beginner, and the extent of my tenor retuning is to go to a low G - if everything is tuned down a half step, would that not change the fretting for each chord? Is it as simple as moving everything up a single fret for each half step of de-tuning?

    Or am I showing my music theory ignorance?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mattharrier View Post
    I'm a relative beginner, and the extent of my tenor retuning is to go to a low G - if everything is tuned down a half step, would that not change the fretting for each chord? Is it as simple as moving everything up a single fret for each half step of de-tuning?

    Or am I showing my music theory ignorance?
    When tuning down, I just play the same standard chord shapes. Sure, when tuned down a half step, but using the same chord shapes as standard tuning, you are technically playing different chords, all 1/2 step lower, but who cares, as long as you are playing by yourself. If playing with others, you'll need to tune back up to match everybody else, who are most likely in standard GCEA. Just find the tuning that sounds best on your particular instrument.
    John

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ukecaster View Post
    If playing with others, you'll need to tune back up to match everybody else, who are most likely in standard GCEA. Just find the tuning that sounds best on your particular instrument.
    Or throw a capo on and go about your merry way

  10. #10
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    They all sound good to me, John.

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