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Thread: So, this Low G thing...what's it all about?

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Upper Hale, Surrey/Hants border, UK.


    A fair few of the tunes that I like start below middle C, so having the low G allows me to play them in the right octave.

    It will sound quite different when strumming, you will like it........or not.

    Don't forget, the soprano was originally tuned in D, not C..........check out some old sheet music for uke to see that.

    These days, anything goes, there's no right way or wrong way, just the way you like, it's all good.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Catskill Mountains, NY


    Quote Originally Posted by bennyhana22 View Post
    the question I was asking was of Low G players and, particularly those who play high and low.
    A friend has all his ukes strung with low-G. I could never do that. I like variety, and low-G provides that. I'm more of a strummer than a picker, and I like the different sound of low-G. I also like the sound of high-G, and I wouldn't want to be without that. My suggestion is to get yourself a decent tenor uke with the traditional strings and keep you low-G tenor.
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2014


    Why using low G is a valid question. Some of the answers may include:

    - More range, extra notes
    - Extra depth, more complexity, less parallel notes
    - Probably a little more guitar-like, not just in sound, but in playing
    - Linear tuning is more common in instruments, so it may be easier or more logical to many people including myself (not only most stringed instruments, but also keyboards, xylophones, flutes, clarinettes and saxophones are moving the notes up in a "linear" way)

    When switching over from playing exclusively high G, the low notes might sound somewhat overpowering, booming or droning. If you are sticking with it, this sensation will usually disappear. For one, your ears will adjust over time to those low notes being included in your chords. And your playing should adapt, hitting that fourth string somewhat lighter to make it fit in better with the other strings. Of course, you'll also have to play chord/melody a little different, as the melody will not include the fourth string anymore.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Sumter County, FL


    "Why low-G" is simply "why not low-G" or any other tuning? Since our ancestors made the first drum, musicians have sought to get greater range and more versatility out of instruments. Tinkering with musical "on-the-shelf" stuff is inherent in the human spirit. Because of that tinkering, horn players now have a variety of mutes to expand a horn's range; drummers have tip mutes, brushes and heads to create different sounds; and guitarists have everything from capos to stompboxes for effects. Why shouldn't the ukulete experience a musician's attempt to make it grow beyond the basic?

    Don't get me wrong. There's a lot to be said and appreciated for tradition when it comes to music, especially with instruments that have a significant history. Those who keep tradition alive deserve respect and gratitude, otherwise a piece of history is lost. That said, musical progess isn't a bad thing either. As a quick example, there would be no tenor guitar had not there had been a desire to create a supportive orchestral sound different than what came from the tenor banjo. All wind instruments - from flutes to tubas - are a derivative of another. When musical experiments happen, sometimes remarkable things occur. The variety of ukukele scale lengths, body shapes and string types show that the ukulele "growth" has not been stagnant.

    Musical tradition is great, but so is progressive experimentation. There's a nostalgic place and creative need for both.

    Ukuleles: Oscar Schmidt OU28T (T8), Lanikai LU-6 (T6), RISA Solid (C), Effin UkeStart (C), Flea (S)**
    Banjo-Ukes: Duke 10 (T)*, Lanikai LB6-S (S)*
    Tenor Guitars: Martin TEN515, Blueridge BR-40T
    Tenor Banjo: Deering Goodtime 17-Fret
    Mandolin: Burgess (#7)***

    * CGDA reentrant, **DAEB, ***GDAE, The rest are CGDA

    The inventory is always in some flux, but that's part of the fun.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Canada Prairies, brrr ....


    Quote Originally Posted by bennyhana22 View Post
    - Is Low G really 'ukulele?!
    - Is it just trying to be a bit 'too guitar'?
    - Should I stick with it (I'd quite like to be able to play both)
    - If yes, what resources are good for Low G playing/picking?
    1) I think that would be a small yes from me, as it is now well established for many players.
    2) I think that would be a bit bigger yes than 1.
    3) Definitely YES.
    4) You are the best resource. You already learned a lot, so just play everything on both ukes and it will become clear what sounds better and is more fun on re-entrant, and what sounds better on the linear uke.

    I came to uke from guitar, so I learned with the low G and started to love the uke. But as I played more with other uke players I learned to appreciate the re-entrant sound more and gradually shifted. Now I only play the low-G tenor for a few songs that don't sound good with re-entrant, typically the more modern songs. But also my playing interests shifted away from adapting pop/rock/country to ukulele toward traditional Hawaiian music and Tin-pan-alley songs that were basically written for uke comping, with implied re-entrant tuning.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Ames, Iowa


    It never gets old.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

    I just want everyone to understand that I am not a ukulele expert, even though it may look at times like I'm pretending to be.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Twin Cities, Minnesota, USA


    "Is Low G really 'ukulele?!"

    Possibly not. But then I've never cared about being "authentic", as I use straps and picks too. It's an instrument, not a cult.

    "Is it just trying to be a bit 'too guitar'?"

    Probably, but so what?
    Blackbird Farallon Ekoa Tenor
    Beltona Songster Resonator Tenor
    Klos Carbon Fiber Tenor
    Magic Fluke Tenor Firefly Banjolele

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2017


    Isn't this much ado about nothing? I personally play low G because it sounds better and less toy-like. Four linear strings give me more scales to play.

    However, I do play both linear and re-entrant and there's no difference...aside from the difference in pitch. You play the same chords, you finger pick the same patterns. As I said before, the only difference is the pitch. Embrace the difference. Or, if you don't want to, re-read your Aaron Keim books; he changes patterns slightly based on the tuning.

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2009


    Vic did a video a while back about the differences

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    La Grande-Bretagne


    Thanks for all the helpful comments and thoughts, guys.


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