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Thread: Thoughts and experience with 5 and 6 string ukes.

  1. #1
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    Default Thoughts and experience with 5 and 6 string ukes.

    I posted a thread earlier on 8 string ukes and in researching them, I discovered 5 and 6 string ukes. What are your thoughts and experiences with 5 and 6 string ukes? Would they be good as a daily player or are they more a niche kind of instrument? Compared to the 8 string, they seem to have more of a regular ukulele sound with more depth and richness from the videos I watched. The 8 string almost had more of a mandolin sound. It looks like there are 3 different incarnations of the 5 and 6 strings.

    5 string
    - The G string is doubled with a high and low G
    - regular C, E, A

    6 string
    - The G string is doubled with a high and low G
    - The C string is doubled with a high and low C
    - Regular E, A

    6 string
    - Regular G
    - Doubled C with high and low C
    - Regular E
    - Doubled A with high and low A

    I'd be interested in hearing other's thoughts and opinions on the various incarnations.
    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
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    I have played 5 strings a few times and they are fun for strumming and give some extra oomph. But I didn't consider getting one myself because they seem to be somewhat undecided between linear and re-entrant setup, but not quite like either. I own a six string and when I bought it it had the G octave set up. I played it like that for a couple of months but didn't really connect. Then I switched to the a octave setup and I love it. It is definitely my favourite uke now and I would never consider the G octaves again.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlin666 View Post
    I have played 5 strings a few times and they are fun for strumming and give some extra oomph. But I didn't consider getting one myself because they seem to be somewhat undecided between linear and re-entrant setup, but not quite like either. I own a six string and when I bought it it had the G octave set up. I played it like that for a couple of months but didn't really connect. Then I switched to the a octave setup and I love it. It is definitely my favourite uke now and I would never consider the G octaves again.
    Wait, I don't understand how you switched from doubling the g to doubling the a. Isn't the nut set up for doubling on specific strings?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowdenn View Post
    Wait, I don't understand how you switched from doubling the g to doubling the a. Isn't the nut set up for doubling on specific strings?
    I had the same question! And I'm assuming he went from double G/double C to a double C/double A?
    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!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowdenn View Post
    Wait, I don't understand how you switched from doubling the g to doubling the a. Isn't the nut set up for doubling on specific strings?
    It is a Kamaka so the nut was already cut for the thick a. The transition was very smooth.

  6. #6
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    I love the sound of a 12 string guitar. I bought a six string Kala at a reasonable price. I like Kalas in general as well as many other comparable brands and also more expensive brands. But, what I didn’t like is there was very little room for me to push the strings, to slightly bend the strings. So, my point is that if you buy one it’s probably more for just strumming rather than picking or using it for fills.

    Perhaps a better player has had more success.

  7. #7
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    I'd like to add that I use the 6 string with the same songs that I use my re-entrant concert for. My low G tenor is used for different songs that need fundamental bass and for fingerstyle. I can't accomplish that with a G in octaves.j
    Last edited by merlin666; 05-16-2020 at 09:59 AM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlin666 View Post
    It is a Kamaka so the nut was already cut for the thick a. The transition was very smooth.
    Quote Originally Posted by merlin666 View Post
    I'd like to add that I use the 6 string eith the same songs that I use my re-entrant concert for. My low G tenor is used for different songs that need fundamental bass and for fingerstyle. I can't accomplish that with a G in octaves.
    Thanks, this answers a question I've had about 5-string ukes and whether they're more suited to high or low G song arrangements.

    But I'm still confused about the nut because of spacing. When there are double strings, aren't the slots spaced really close to each other? So if they were spaced really close together for the G, and there's just a single slot for the A, how were you able to switch from doubling G to A?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowdenn View Post
    Thanks, this answers a question I've had about 5-string ukes and whether they're more suited to high or low G song arrangements.

    But I'm still confused about the nut because of spacing. When there are double strings, aren't the slots spaced really close to each other? So if they were spaced really close together for the G, and there's just a single slot for the A, how were you able to switch from doubling G to A?
    Apologies my memory was playing tricks. I looked at the nut and now I remember that it just had a low G and the As in unison. So not like a 5 string at all. So there is no empty nut slot and this is was the linear set up for a 6 string whereas I prefer the re-entrant. It's a common option that the OP didn't mention.

  10. #10
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    Where low = lower case and high = upper case, I initially set my 6-string as g cC E AA. The unision high A was too dominant & twangy for my ears, so I went to g cC E aA. The result was pleasing to the ear as a change of pace but was too zither sounding for use as a primary uke. I finally gave that 6-stringer away.
    Last edited by bellgamin; 05-16-2020 at 08:39 PM. Reason: spelling

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