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

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by ubulele View Post
    As long as ukes have been ukes, there have been linear ukes, so the "is it a uke?" question is not subjective, it's just silly and aggravating.

    The second question is also silly: a linear uke is "just trying to be" a linear uke, nothing more nor less. Why does it have to "try to be" anything but what it is? If people want to play small guitars, there are guitarleles. I play ukes in linear tunings because of their many advantages, both with respect to guitars and with respect to re-entrant fleas ukes (and ukes in other tunings, like fifths).

    Should you push forward with low G? Given your apparent mindset, I'd say "not at present." You're not approaching it with an open mind, but rather with re-entrant tuning blinders and too strong a bias for the re-entrant sound. Maybe, after seeing what others do with linear tunings, the light may dawn, you'll have a more focused motivation, and you'll revise your opinion; you'll be more inclined to appreciate linear tuning's strengths instead of focusing on its seeming weaknesses and unfamiliarity to your ear and handsójust as you did with re-entrant tuning.

    Although you can find lots of arrangements for linear tunings, you'll find blessed little that really explains how best to exploit these tunings. In large part that's because, in the uke world generally, linear tuning is treated as just some variant of re-entrant tuningósame chord shapes, after all, so how different could it be? As you can see from responses above, even some linear players haven't really wrapped their heads around all the differences yet. So my advice is: don't wait to be told and guided, pay closer attention to what people are doing with linear tunings, even work out your own arrangements. Then maybe you'll see that the same picking patterns don't produce the same effects (and don't need to be changed as often, to dance around pesky unisons between strings), or how you can get more voice line separation, or how you have a wider pitch range available in every neck position, or how the chords sound more spacious and full, how the voicings sound more distinctive, how the lower string pitches convey more gravitas, etc. There are downsides, too, but every tuning is a compromise, and that's why I like having a choice between linear and re-entrant tunings (and also between higher and lower tunings).
    Holy Cow do some of you guys take things too seriously and/or literally!

    Notwithstanding the difficulty in interpreting nuance in a brief piece of text, especially if you don't know the writer, a few of the responses to my light-hearted OP have been pretty snarky!

    I've re-read my OP a few times and, although obviously I cannot be fully consciously objective as they're my words, I fail to see why some of you have responded rather negatively!

    Lighten up, dudes!

    All I was saying is, I'm historically only familiar with re entrant, I've got a lovely new tenor, I strung it low G as I wanted to see what it is like, I'm finding it all a bit weird, I love to pick four string arpeggiated patterns and am finding that sonically strange with the lowest string being on the fourth rather than the third string. So, fool that I am, I thought I'd hit up the cognoscenti on UU for their thoughts and guidance! What an idiot I was, eh?!

    Anyway, many thanks once again to those courteous enough not to feel they needed to be somewhat judgmental towards what I naively thought was a nice request for advice and guidance.

    Feel free to close the thread, Mods.

    Ben

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by ripock View Post
    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.
    Pick the same patterns?
    After playing mostly reentrant, I found that the picking patterns my fingers were used to sounded weird on linear tuning. I would go for different patterns, play more guitar like arpeggios on the linear tuning. Still hard to get the prime in the bass like on a guitar, but the finger order might be the same concept. I only did it once for a particular song myself.
    A strength of linear tuning is that you don't run into playing the same note in the same octave back to back in some patterns with some inversions of some chords.
    A weakness is that those banjo flatpicking techniques requires reentrant.
    Ohana SK30M mahogany super-soprano, Cort UKEBWCOP Blackwood concert, Anuenue African Mahogany Tenor, Fluke Koa Tenor, Hora M1176 spruce Tenor

  3. #23
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    Playing low G is just different, esp if you've always played reentrant. To me, a long time guitar player previously, low G sounds deeper and more guitar like, reentrant more jangly and uke like. The jangly reentrant sound bugs some people, they feel it sounds tinny and toy-like. I like both, but some chords just don't sound good on low G, if strumming all 4, so if needed, I'll just play the bottom 3 strings, skipping the low G. If that particular chord is prominent in the song, then I just feel that switching ro reentrant is a better solution. Play what sounds good to you!
    John

  4. #24
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    I can definitely see where you're coming from and have a somewhat similar mindset. I prefer the re-entrant sound and even going away from soprano seems less ukulele-like for my preference. But that's a personal thing, I wouldn't try to convince someone else who liked low G. I think if I had a tenor, I could get used to low G. I've tried it before, but never really gave it a chance. I mostly finger pick and occasionally I have to pass up a song that was written for low G, so I can see the advantage of having both. I have a baritone (and now a guitar) that satisfies my linear needs, so I'm not in any hurry to go low G.

    If you still have your soprano, having both tunings is ideal. Just pick up the one that suits the music you're playing.
    Glenn

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ukecaster View Post
    Playing low G is just different, esp if you've always played reentrant. To me, a long time guitar player previously, low G sounds deeper and more guitar like, reentrant more jangly and uke like. The jangly reentrant sound bugs some people, they feel it sounds tinny and toy-like. I like both, but some chords just don't sound good on low G, if strumming all 4, so if needed, I'll just play the bottom 3 strings, skipping the low G. If that particular chord is prominent in the song, then I just feel that switching ro reentrant is a better solution. Play what sounds good to you!
    I've noticed this too, and am surprised to not find more mention of it. A biggie for me (in low G) is Em. If played by fretting just the top* three strings (0432) the open G string is kind of booming. So in low G that chord always sounds better when fretted 4432.

    *A separate discussion is which are the "top" strings. From the guitar world, top strings, bottom strings, up the neck, and down the neck are always used to refer to the note, not the geographic location on the instrument. That sure doesn't seem to be the accepted usage here though.
    Blackbird Farallon Ekoa Tenor
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  6. #26
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    Ben,
    It's recommended that one develop a thick skin when asking questions on this forum. As many would attest, some people have been offended and left the forum for that very reason. I've put up with some myself, but, I'm new to the forum and don't know any better. I recommend you stay away from the technical sub-forums for a while until members get used to you and your "style".

    As far as Low-G tuning, it's my preferred way. I've come from guitar as well, electric and steel-stringed acoustic. I get Low-G. I don't use standard tuning unless it's for strumming. That's just me. Many of the members here use tunings that are far afield from standard, which is uncomfortable to myself, but, that's because I'm struggling to wrap my head around ukulele-land still.

    BTW, IMO, I recommend you stick with Low-G for at least another few weeks, you'll regret not giving it a decent trial.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by besley View Post
    I've noticed this too, and am surprised to not find more mention of it. A biggie for me (in low G) is Em. If played by fretting just the top* three strings (0432) the open G string is kind of booming. So in low G that chord always sounds better when fretted 4432.
    Indeed that is a good habit, as it also closes it into a Dmin shape that is "movable" and you can use it for alternative Fmin, F#min, Gmin etc. at higher positions.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by UkingViking View Post
    Pick the same patterns?
    After playing mostly reentrant, I found that the picking patterns my fingers were used to sounded weird on linear tuning. I would go for different patterns, play more guitar like arpeggios on the linear tuning. Still hard to get the prime in the bass like on a guitar, but the finger order might be the same concept. I only did it once for a particular song myself.
    A strength of linear tuning is that you don't run into playing the same note in the same octave back to back in some patterns with some inversions of some chords.
    A weakness is that those banjo flatpicking techniques requires reentrant.
    Of course, you and Ubulele are correct regarding the specificity of the two tunings. I was merely trying to allay the OP's concerns that the two tunings were so utterly different. I suppose I meant that if someone took a picking pattern they learned on re-entrant and just imposed it on the linear tuning, it would still sound melodic. It would work. It wouldn't be optimized or appropriate, but it would do in a pinch.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill1 View Post
    [snip]
    They are not seeing the light heartedness. Everyone who can do a Google search can read these posts. More than a few people like to make a big issue of High and Low G because its much more interesting than the other things happening in their life at the moment, its part of their ukulele lifestyle. What better way to spend breakfast than arguing over High and Low G, instead of dealing the rubbish in the newspapers and on-line news? They are not going to respond in a lighthearted way, they want to debate the issue because its more interesting than the news.
    All the more reason to take heated discussions here with a grain of salt; having rhino-skin is a benefit as well!

  10. #30
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    Just to be more useful, I thought I would just list some typical things I do with my linear tuning.

    1. do nothing special. If I hear of a chord progression, I just strum it as would any other re-entrant strummer.

    2. wider range. People adduce this a lot when mentioning low-G. I rarely use it because I rarely play other people's music. I do remember that I played a Cantata from Bach. It was written in G but I transposed it to Db so that the lowest note in the music would be Ab, the lowest note on my uke...hence giving me the most fretboard to work with.

    3. Freedom. When I am standing by my music stand and playing my music, linear tuning gives me choices. For example, if I want to play around in A Lydian, I can either play it from the 2nd or 14th fret of the G string, or the 9th fret of the C string. I can even do both in a call-and-response fashion. More importantly (in my way of thinking) there are two sets of shapes, shapes rooted on the G string and shapes rooted on the C string. And these shapes overlap and provide an infinite amount of possibilities for jamming. For example, I was playing in B Phrygian Dominant (based on a root on the C string). However, the same area of the fret board also belongs to the tonic shape of the E minor pentatonic (if you root it on the G string). So, you have one area with two over-lapping systems. You can see the potential there for making interesting music. And it is completely movable. As you slide up and down the fret board in the modes of the minor pentatonic on the G string, you're also modulating between the varieties of the harmonic minor on the C string. And that's just one of countless possibilities.

    There you go. I just wanted to add something concrete to the conversation because we had been responding rather glibly and flippantly about the Low G.

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