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Thread: Jumbo Tenor (17” scale) tuned DGBE: Closest to a Guitar Sound?

  1. #1

    Default Jumbo Tenor (17” scale) tuned DGBE: Closest to a Guitar Sound?

    Either high D or low d.
    This is an off-shoot of my earlier post: “Tenor tuned DGBE with large body: Closest to a guitar sound?” And is also high subjective. But this post is specific to the following Tenors (most if not all of which come tuned gcea):

    Ohana BKT-70G, Mahogany or Acacia body?
    Romero Creations Grand Tenor?
    Mele Jumbo Tenor?
    Ono 18” scale Tenor (not sure if larger body is an option)
    Pete Howlett Baby Baritone (may not be feasible for many reasons)
    A Pono?

    If you have played one of these tenors in D (or d)GBE tuning, please indicate the wood composition and the strings used, since these affect the sound.

    Also, has anyone tried wound strings not just for the D and perhaps G but also for B and E?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Kerrville, TX - Heart of the Fabulous Texas Hill Country


    The key word in your post is "subjective." To my ear, the only difference in sound between a parlour guitar and a baritone ukulele is the broader spectrum of sound from the guitar's lower strings. Tonally, they cross over. Of course, that's just "my ear."
    "The sole cause of all human misery is the inability of people
    to sit quietly in their rooms." - Blaise Pascal, 1670

  3. #3


    I agree but the problem for me with baritones, as explained in my previous post, is the distance between one fret wire and the next (especially close to the nut); making it extremely difficult to form some chords with my old and relatively small hands.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    San Francisco CA USA


    I believe that it's a matter of physics that the longer the scale, the more sustain you are likely to get. Playing a D note, for example, is likely to produce the same tone on a 17" scale jumbo tenor as on a 20" scale baritone or a 24" scale guitar. However, some of the sound qualities, like sustain, are going to be affected by different scale lengths. I play a lot of baritone ukulele, and to my admittedly subjective ear, a tenor ukulele sounds more percussive (i.e., less sustain) than a baritone ukulele, which sounds more percussive than a 23" scale tenor guitar with nylon strings, which in turn sounds more percussive than a full-scale nylon string guitar.

    I also have a steel string tenor ukulele, a steel string baritone ukulele, and some steel string tenor guitars. These instruments sound, to me, somewhat more like guitars because I tend to think of steel string acoustic guitars when I think of guitars, possibly because I grew up listening to 60s and 70s pop music, much of which favored steel string acoustic guitars, rather than classical guitar music. One possible option for a guitar-like sound, given your decision to limit scale length, would be to find or custom order a steel string tenor ukulele tuned DGBE.
    Last edited by mds725; 02-19-2020 at 07:10 AM.

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