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Thread: High G or low G for fingerpicking?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Bend, OR

    Default High G or low G for fingerpicking?

    As a guitar finger picker, it seems more logical to go with low G, but curious as to popular opinion....

    Kala TEM

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2017


    I will start by saying that I vastly prefer low G for any and every thing. However, it all depends on what you're fingerpicking. Some arrangements, like Daniel Ward's arpeggio studies, are written with high G in mind. And then there's anything arranged in campanella style. I have a few instructional books that teach traditional patterns and they swing both ways.

    When I am just playing from the heart, the high G string becomes dead to me. With high G I play scales and modes and such using only the first three strings. With low G I use all four strings. For example if I'm going to improv with E Phrygian, I do with the E on the 4th fret with high G and with the E on the 9th in low G. So I just play what I play and adapt to whichever tuning I have hanging around my neck.

    If I had to pick only one tuning it would be low G because with low G I can play the first three strings as if it were a high G as well as play with all four strings.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Sunny Jersey - where the cows come from!


    I've bought several collections of arrangements for high-G fingerstyle so that defines that reason ... I sometimes wonder why I bother with low-G arrangements on a ukulele when I can do the same on a capo'd guitar ... but somehow it's not quite the same

    There's certainly a place for all three instruments (and several others) on my wall

    There are those who will wax lyrical about the ability to play a double shuffle with a split fan and a tight G-string ...
    it just makes me walk funny!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2019


    If you need a weak and feeble excuse for buying another Uke fingerpicking is that excuse.

    Two Ukes are mandatory, one high g one low G.

    Tongue now out of cheek.

    Let us know what you buy ;-)
    From the UK with a bad case of MIAS.
    Korg PA700, Korg Kross 2, Gibson LP, Fender Jazz Bass,
    + Amps, PA, Boss GT100, mixer.
    Ukes - Kala KA-TEME and Risa ST electric solid body.
    Uke wish list, a Bass, make and model yet to be determined

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009


    Both, if there's room in your budget and life for two ukes. If not, I'd go with reentrant/high for the sake of variety over the linear tuning of guitar.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2017


    Quote Originally Posted by janeray1940 View Post
    Both, if there's room in your budget and life for two ukes. If not, I'd go with reentrant/high for the sake of variety over the linear tuning of guitar.
    I agree with you. Also agree what ripock told, I can't really play melodies in high G when improvising. But high G normal stringed uke is a variety from guitar.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2019


    I've just started learning ukulele...unfortunately I have no time to practice it more than twice a week as I have lots of things to do for university but maybe this is the one you need ? If it's not sorry for taking your time body ! Good luck.
    Last edited by Mahito21; 01-13-2020 at 11:00 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Upper Hale, Surrey/Hants border, UK.


    Low G all the way, only use high G for 'sing & strums' - all but two of my ukes are low G.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Grand Rapids, MI


    Whose arrangements do you want to play?

    Each tuning has possibilities the other does not. In the surviving literature for Renaissance guitar (a 4-course instruments tuned gcea...) there are pieces written for Low G, High G, and with the fourth course tuned as a gg’ octave...

    So clearly this is a discussion that’s been going on since at least 1546, and probably won’t end any time soon.

    I have and enjoy both about equally.
    Concert: Lanikai LU-21C (Southcoast MU)
    Soprano: Kala KA-PWS (Southcoast Machete)
    Baritone "Rennaissance Guitar": Kala KA-SBG (C-Linear with Worth BL-LGs currently.)
    Tenor: Kala ATP-CTG (Southcoast LMU-NW
    Tenor "Low G': Kala KA-FMTG (Southcoast LML-NW
    Tenor: Kala SRT-CTG-E (Southcoast LMU-NW
    Baritone "Nui": Pono NS-10 (Worth B-B)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Durham, UK


    I would definitely tell people to try both tunings. If you like low G then, if possible have two instruments.
    It makes more sense, I think, to try jazzy stuff or bossa nova with low G. But I also watch tutorials on YouTube and some arrangements making use of the high G are also very nice to try and learn.

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