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Thread: Uke alternative tunings an strings

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2020

    Default Uke alternative tunings an strings

    I recently found a set of GDAE strings for my soprano uke which is the same tuning as mandolin and fiddle (violin). It allows me to play any tune on that uke that I've already learned on the mando or fiddle. I'm guessing some of you already know about this option. Now I have an 8 string tenor and am looking for a set of strings that will allow me to tune it to GDAE as well. If anyone has any info of such I'd appreciate your input.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Redmond, WA


    I don't think there's a turnkey set to get GDAE on the tenor, Aquila has fifths tunings for tenor but it's CGDA rather than GDAE. The tenor's scale length matches the mandola rather than the mandolin.

    The high E is already pretty fragile on the soprano scale, but I believe some folks on mandolin cafe have bodged together a GDAE tenor set from fishing line.

    Aha. here - start with low-G GCEA, tune the C up to D and swap the A & E strings to get G3-D4-A4-E4 (low E reentrant?), then swap the E with 20lb fishing line to get to E5.

    I converted a Soprano to an 8 string GDAE, but the fingerboard is so wide and the nylon strings so much lower tension than steel that it plays very differently from a mandolin.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2020


    Thanks Arcy, I'll try the re-tune trick to raise the C to D and swap the A & E. I actually sent a note to Aguilla and D'Addario asking for possiblities but ran into a dead end. The D'Addario tech suggested trying a baritone set DGBE to re-tune. Haven't tried it yet but can't hurt I guess. Strings aren't that expensive and as long as I don't damage the uke what the heck. The consideration of tensions and pitches is making my whackey Idea more complicated than I figured. That's why I was hoping for someone to pipe up and say "sure just buy a set of such and such custom strings from mandufacturer X and you're all set". But sadly so far no easy answers.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    JoCo, NC (near Raleigh)


    If you search for fifths tuning I'm sure there is more info here. I've never tried it, but I think you'd have an easier time getting CGDA (starting at C3) or DAEB (starting at D3) than GDAE
    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
    Hanson 5-string tenor, dGCEA
    Bonanza SLN GCEA
    Bonanzalele concert
    Jupiter #47, G, TI CF127
    Pelem, A, EJ45LP


  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Sumter County, FL


    GDAE on a tenor uke was, for me, an exercise in frustration. Have never found anything which can reach the E note without quickly snapping under the tension. CDGA is readily available (Aquila set #31U). If GDAE is a must, then a good capo is a necessity.

    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.

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