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Thread: Tuning Down a Concert

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jannik Lindquist View Post
    When Martin began making concert ukuleles they seem to have thought of them as slightly bigger sopranos -
    so I have gone the other way and tuned my concert up to D - tuning - which Wikipedia also claims were common for concerts back in the day.
    Interesting you say this. The 1940s Martin Concert I used to own was very bright and soprano-y sounding. I don't recall if I ever tried tuning it up to D.
    Pohaku "Yellow Label" Mahogany Soprano
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  2. #12
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    BTW, for this thread I am only talking about changing all the strings uniformally up or down. Tunings that use different intervals can be really cool too...that's something for another day.[/QUOTE]

    I don't have much music theory under my belt, but your post did remind me how magical "drop D" first sounded to me on a guitar, and how much fun to play... and I wondered if there was an equivalent on uke.
    Tracie

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  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ukeinfused View Post

    I don't have much music theory under my belt, but your post did remind me how magical "drop D" first sounded to me on a guitar, and how much fun to play... and I wondered if there was an equivalent on uke.
    Tracie. The magic of drop D tuning is that it gives you a D5 (aka power chord) on the bottom 3 strings of the guitar. Barring those 3 strings gives you similar power chords on those 3 strings all the way up the neck. Because power chords only consist of the root and fifth (DAD on the open strings in Drop D tuning) they dont sound fully major or fully minor. When using lots of distortion they also sound clearer than a chord containing the 3rd which is why Drop D is common to heavy rock and metal.

    Try dropping your 4th string to F and raising you 3rd string to F. This will put your uke in Open Fmaj and will give you an F5 (F power chord) on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th strings of the uke. Add in the open 1st string and you get your FMaj. Fret your 1st string at the 3rd (like a typical C chord) this will give you the F5 across all 4 strings.
    Last edited by CPG; 10-09-2020 at 01:37 AM.
    Pohaku "Yellow Label" Mahogany Soprano
    Weymann Model 10 Mahogany Soprano (c. 1918)

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by CPG View Post
    Certainly you can, but it won't necessarily sound good. Even with heavy gauge strings the short scale and small body of soprano wouldn't sound good tuned down below a certain point. The same is true for a concert or a tenor. Yes you can tune any of them to a wide range of pitches, but there is smaller window where the instrument will sound good.

    So all I'm getting at here is trying to learn about peoples experiences in tuning down concerts (or even sopranos) and still having them sound good. Yes, "good" is subjective but that's okay. I'm interested in peoples subjective experiences in playing their instruments tuned objectivley below standard c tuning. :-)
    Fair enough. Here's my subjective input. I tend to tune down to E A C# F# (sometimes I even go one half step beyond that). As I said before, I do this to get a tension that I want. I play roots music and therefore I like strings loose enough to bend and to slide. Also, I really dislike the traditional tinny, plucky ukulele sound. So I downtune to change the timbre. I think of myself as a soloist and primarily finger pick. The altered tuning does not affect that in the slightest. However, strumming requires a little bit of technique. Sometimes the low G string is a bit loose and drones on a tad. In that situation I have to find a way to mute the string.

    I have tried CFAD, seven half steps down from GCEA, and it was too much. When I downtune I like a little bit of grittiness, a little less brightness, a little more muddiness. The operative word here is "little." CFAD was too much of a good thing. I was almost like playing rubber bands stretched across a surface rather than strings.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ripock View Post
    Fair enough. Here's my subjective input. I tend to tune down to E A C# F# (sometimes I even go one half step beyond that). As I said before, I do this to get a tension that I want. I play roots music and therefore I like strings loose enough to bend and to slide. Also, I really dislike the traditional tinny, plucky ukulele sound. So I downtune to change the timbre. I think of myself as a soloist and primarily finger pick. The altered tuning does not affect that in the slightest. However, strumming requires a little bit of technique. Sometimes the low G string is a bit loose and drones on a tad. In that situation I have to find a way to mute the string.

    I have tried CFAD, seven half steps down from GCEA, and it was too much. When I downtune I like a little bit of grittiness, a little less brightness, a little more muddiness. The operative word here is "little." CFAD was too much of a good thing. I was almost like playing rubber bands stretched across a surface rather than strings.
    Thanks for sharing your experience. That makes total sense. I can definitly see that CFAD tuning being too loose...even on a tenor I have found that dGBE starts to hit the limit of what sounds subjectivley good to me. I really have liked eAC#F# when I tried it on a tenor. It seems to strike a nice balance of low and mellow but not too loose or too muddy and it works well for fiddle tunes that are in A or D (which is a heck of a lot of fiddle tunes). As someone else mentioned and as I think about it more, plenty of people use low G on a concert uke so I would think that with the right strings eAC#F# (using a low G string for the) would probably work just fine on a concert.
    Last edited by CPG; 10-09-2020 at 04:12 AM.
    Pohaku "Yellow Label" Mahogany Soprano
    Weymann Model 10 Mahogany Soprano (c. 1918)

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