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Thread: Your 8-string uke. Love it? Not a fan?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    MN metro area
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    Default Your 8-string uke. Love it? Not a fan?

    My curiosity has me itching (again) at the idea of an 8-string ukulele. I figure if I'm adding yet another uke to the herd it should be something different. What are your thoughts on yours? Do you love it? Is it being neglected, collecting dust or something you plan on selling? Is it a uke that is good/suitable for every day playing or is it more of a niche type of instrument? Does it lend itself to pretty much all types of songs or more of a thing for certain types of songs or genres of music?

    Just looking at what's out there shows me there are multiple choices at reasonable prices. I see that the Oscar Schmidt 8-string is pretty cheap but I have heard so much about their heavy builds and so many unimpressed users that I'm reluctant to fall to the temptation of going with a cheapy just to try one out. If I didn't like it I'd still be out a fair amount of money and if I did like an 8-string I'd probably want a better one.
    Money can't buy happiness but it can buy a uke which is basically the same thing.

    Ukes are a lot like potato chips. It's hard to stop with just one!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
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    Sparta, Wisconsin, USA
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    I have an MP 8-string made by Mike Pereira. Spruce top with rosewood body. It's a lovely instrument and sounds sweet with an 8-string set of Living Waters on it. Very mandolin-like sound. I don't play it as much as it deserves. But, for some songs, it's just perfect.

    I trying to learn finger-style playing and I am nowhere near able to do that on the 8-string. Though I have had a couple of experienced players make it sing while picking.

    For me, it's more of a niche instrument for now.

    I've played a Pono 8-string mango and it had a very nice sound. Warm and full. A friend has an 8-string Mahogany Ohana that he plays very well. It's more of a niche instrument for him as well.
    There is a subtle yet profound difference between the learning of something and the knowing of that thing.
    You can learn by reading, but you don’t begin to know until you begin to try to do.

    —Lou Churchill, Plane & Pilot Magazine

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2018
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    Colorado Springs, CO
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    105

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    I have a ortega hydra double neck. Top is 8 strings and the bottom is 4 strings. I don't play it as often as I thought. It can be for sell.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
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    San Francsico Bay Area
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    Default

    I have a Kala KA-8 eight string. It has a nice sound, some what mellow.

    I can finger pick or strum - usually I do a combination. It is somewhat more difficult to play as it requires TWICE the finger pressure to depress eight strings. I’d say it was a mid range, Lower midrange price - I recall $250 some 8 years ago.

    Fun addition to round out your collection. Sounds fine, plays different and generally affordable.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Palm Beach County FL
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    I have an Oscar Schmidt )U28T. Strum more than pick, I find picking more difficult. Pick it up for a change of pace every now and then.
    Then again this is picking an 8 String
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHC1LkbZD10

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    12

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    I got a Kala 8-String Baritone last year on a whim. At first I liked the 8 strings, but after awhile I decided the unison paired strings weren't working for me. So then I went down to a 6-string by keeping the octave pairs. That lasted for awhile, but recently I took it down to 4 strings and I'm enjoying it a lot that way (I don't have any other Baritones). I guess my takeaway would be that it's versatile.

    I didn't really like fingerpicking the paired strings. I didn't feel like it took more finger pressure. My perception was two strings would vibrate into each other resulting in a buzz if not fretted just right. I don't know if it was me, the uke, or the setup. Maybe if the string pairs had slightly more spacing between them the story would be different.

  7. #7
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    Jun 2018
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Falcan View Post
    I got a Kala 8-String Baritone last year on a whim. At first I liked the 8 strings, but after awhile I decided the unison paired strings weren't working for me. So then I went down to a 6-string by keeping the octave pairs. That lasted for awhile, but recently I took it down to 4 strings and I'm enjoying it a lot that way (I don't have any other Baritones). I guess my takeaway would be that it's versatile.

    I didn't really like fingerpicking the paired strings. I didn't feel like it took more finger pressure. My perception was two strings would vibrate into each other resulting in a buzz if not fretted just right. I don't know if it was me, the uke, or the setup. Maybe if the string pairs had slightly more spacing between them the story would be different.
    Falcan, your comment reminded me. I agree about the close strings hitting each other. Because of the fretting. But even more so for me, the way I strummed it. If I attacked the strings from too much of an angle, or unevenly, they would hit each other and buzz regardless of fretting. It did require some adjustment to my strum. But, perhaps I have a lazy strum?
    There is a subtle yet profound difference between the learning of something and the knowing of that thing.
    You can learn by reading, but you don’t begin to know until you begin to try to do.

    —Lou Churchill, Plane & Pilot Magazine

  8. #8

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    Hello,

    I once had an 8-string Baton Rouge tenor which I guess is the cheaper 8-stringer you can get. The idea was to tweak it for renaissance guitar tuning, i-e single first string, second and third in unisson and an octave (low and high g) on the fourth string. The instrument in itself was very well crafted and easy to play (with special alliance kf strings) but rather quiet and somehow a bit lifeless because of the laminate top. I eventually sold it and purchased a real renaissance guitar, which is more of a baritone scale-wise. There is a compendium of about 15 books that survived devoted to renaissance guitar. It's a wonderful repertoire, full of intricate polyphony (yes, all that on 4 courses !) that deserves a wider recognition. And an 8 stringer is a good tool to get started, even if it can't compare with the lute-like sound of a real renaissance guitar, with its flush fingerboard and gut frets tied around the neck.
    Hope this helps.
    Regards

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
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    I had a Barron River 8 that was spectacular but I sold it to a great friend and regretted it ever since so I'm having another one build for me now by Allen McFarlen (Barron River). I am in the process of rationalising my collection to include instruments with a unique sonic signature.

    My current signature below shows what I will be ending up with.
    "All worthwhile things in life should be easy to learn but hard to master"

    Beau Hannam Custom Tenor - Vintage Hand Rubbed Sun Burst all Tassie Blackwood
    Hoffmann Lutherie - Concert - Angry Owl Ebony and Cedar
    Anuenue - Flame Maple Soprano
    Barron River 8 string Tenor - Black Limba and Lutz Spruce
    Beansprout Banjolele - Walnut and Pistachio

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Steveston, B.C. Canada
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    Yeah, the Ohana 8 string that I bought with a friend is definitely a niche instrument for us. I am glad I decided to get it as a joint project with my uke pal because, as it turns out, both of us only play the 8 stringer now and then. (We live next door to each other so it is easy to grab the uke if the other has it.)
    I do find the extra strings makes fretting harder and buzzing more likely especially when playing barre chords. It does have a lovely rich sound and I do find I strum it more than pick.
    Kind of fun to have in the herd but definitely not a 'must have' uke.
    Klos Tenor (carbon fibre)
    Mya Moe Tenor (myrtle)
    Kamaka Tenor (koa)
    KoAloha Tenor (mango)
    Lone Tree Tenor (driftwood red cedar, black cherry, western maple)

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