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Thread: Tenor scale Uke with large body tuned DGBE: Closest to a ‘guitar sound’?

  1. #1

    Default Tenor scale Uke with large body tuned DGBE: Closest to a ‘guitar sound’?

    Of course, suggestions will be subjective but feedback might be helpful. I’ve tried a guitar but besides not wanting to deal with two more strings, the necks are too wide for my somewhat small, very old hands. Extreme opposite: Tenor guitars have the strings too close together because of their very narrow necks. Also, because I live in a motorhome I prefer not to get one the size of a guitar.
    My Ohana baritone with Sprucetop and rosewood body has a guitar like
    Sound But the frets are too long (The distance between one fret marking and the next) especially near the nut.
    Although like most people I would like to buy a Jumbo Tenor Uke that is inexpensive, I am willing to spend close to $1500 if necessary.
    I might consider one that is built for steel strings if I could find specially coated ones not Just for the B & G but also for the E & B (Silk and steel, Phosphorus bronze etc.,?).
    Look forward to your experience feedback!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Pickering, ON, Canada
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    5,977

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    Here is the problem with a standard 17” scale tenor tuned DGBE, strings are very floppy and the sound is dull and muddy. You can’t fight physics, even at normal baritone scale length of 20-1/4” string tension is soft and tone can suffer. You need enough string tension to drive a top for good tone and 20” is just barely enough, a larger oversized tenor body will not compensate.

    Now all this being said you could try baritone strings on a normal tenor, tune it to DGBE and see if you like it. Even buy some classical guitar and use the middle 4 strings, they are thicker with more tension. Best bet is for you to really practice on that baritone and get your fingers educated. It ain’t easy, I know I have finger issues, but it’s worth it. Hope this helps.
    Currently enjoying these ukuleles : *LdfM tenor, *LfdM 19" super tenor. *LfdM baritone, *I'iwi tenor , *Koolau tenor, *Webber tenor, *Kimo tenor, *Kimo super concert, *Mya Moe baritone, *Kamaka baritone, *Gianinni baritone, *Fred Shields walnut pineapple super soprano, *Kala super soprano, *Loprinzi super soprano, *Black bear ULO concert , *Enya X1 concert, *Enya X1 pineapple soprano, *Enya Nova *Gretsch tenor, *Korala plastic concert

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Northern Illinois
    Posts
    28

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    I'm with DUD on this. A low D will not/cannot play on a Tenor. I have tried.

    However, reentry (high) D would probably work well on a Tenor scale.

    -Wiggy

    <edit> I use CGBE tuning, and am quite happy with this on a Concert scale (GBE are the same pitch as guitar):

    E .022 Tried up to .029 but it was too hard, and not any more "sparkly"
    B .038 Good balance
    G .029w Good balance
    Cr/e .034 (or .032 or 033 for reentrant D?)
    Last edited by Wiggy; 02-11-2020 at 02:35 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
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    Near Lake Okeechobee, Florida
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    Bari-tenor tuning (the re-entrant version of DGBE) isn’t that uncommon. Lyle Ritz often tuned his tenors as Bari-tenors.

    GHS packages a bari-tenor string set as CU-BTR. Ken Middleton (Living Waters) packages a set as well. If you’re going to go all-nylon dGBE, try: .032”, .040”, .036”, .028”.

    I like the tuning myself, especially with smaller bodied tenors when amplified.
    Last edited by bacchettadavid; 02-11-2020 at 04:11 PM.
    "Who hears music, feels his solitude Peopled at once -- for how count heart-beats plain / Unless a company, with hearts which beat, / Come close to the musician, seen or no?" - Robert Browning, "Balaustion's Adventure"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
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    Canada Prairies, brrr ....
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    For steel strings you will need a truss rod in the neck. With your budget you can get a luthier to build you some kind of uke to fit your specs.

  6. #6

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    Wiggly, i’m curious: what concert ukulele do you have tuned CGBE?

  7. #7

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    You have a point UpdownDave. I may not be willing to practice/work that hard. And I do prefer somewhat loose and floppy strings!

  8. #8

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    I already have a good quality Tenor tuned with a high D but with almost no guitar sound.

    I’m looking for a 17” scale (possibly 18-18.5”) with a jumbo body (baritone or larger) that sounds at least somewhat like a guitar.

  9. #9

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    What is a D-VI? By A string do you mean the one from a classical guitar set?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gypsyuke View Post
    What is a D-VI? By A string do you mean the one from a classical guitar set?
    I think that's a guilele. So what purpose would it serve to have an oversized tenor in dgbe if a baritone would do a much better job with that? Tenor in gcea would probably sound better as that's what it's designed for.

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