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Thread: Sell Me On Low G

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2021
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    114

    Default Sell Me On Low G

    I have 2 Tenor ukes. I am considering throwing a Low G on the one I like less, but I'm struggling a bit to decide whether or not it's worth it.

    When you add a low G, you can play everything you can on a High G uke and you also have access to Low G, Low Ab, Low A, Low Bb, and Low B. You already have access to Low C, so you're giving yourself access to 5 more notes. Seems like a trivial gain.

    Of course I'm being a bit reductive in that criticism. There's the obvious difference in having the strings go from low to high when played from ceiling to floor on the Low G, instead of 2nd highest, lowest, 2nd lowest, and highest when played from floor to ceiling on High G. There's also the obvious general change in sound when moving from re-entrant to linear.

    Generally, though, it feels like a trivial gain.

    I want to hear from passionate Low G-ers.

    **UPDATE: I bought a pack of these fremont blackline fluorocarbon low G tenor strings. I'm going to put them on my kala tri top.

    It was really awesome reading everybody's thoughts on Low G. Thanks a lot.


    ******UPDATE
    Everybody, I put my new Fremont blackline Low G set on last night and I gotta say I really do not like how floppy the Low G is. Doing some research it sounds like it's just gunna be floppy unless I get a high tension wound or something. Am I right? So far I really, really dislike the flop. But it does sound nice.
    Last edited by donboody; 05-27-2021 at 01:38 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    2,849

    Default

    Just get a Fremont soloist low G string, It's just a few bucks and an easy change. I'm not a passionate low G-er, but I do have low G on my Tenor. It works fine for playing a lot of the old rock songs, etc.
    Just Play

    Sopranos: 1st uke, Lanikai soprano LU-11 - Aquilas | 30's Martin style 0 - Martins
    Concerts: Kanile'a K-2 CP - Living Water | Islander AC-4 - Living Water | Waverly Street banjolele - Worth Browns
    Tenor: Martin Iz - Living Water low G
    UBass: Kala FS2 (fretless) - Pahoehoe

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Upper Hale, Surrey/Hants border, UK.
    Posts
    6,802

    Default

    Nearly all my ukes are low G - those lower notes allow you to play a lot more tunes, which quite often go below middle C, plus I prefer linear, as I tend to down strum mainly.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2020
    Location
    Switzerland
    Posts
    57

    Default

    I have a low G on my Tenor and have for ages, I just recently ordered another Tenor now I had some money to keep in re-entrant so I can have both. For me, some songs and kinds of music just sound a bit more "natural" with low G as you don't have the super high note in there. Sure, it's also a bit less of the traditional ukulele sound but I like it. Also when playing with other instruments sometimes you don't wanna be super obvious (if you're quite a new player for example) and the low G blends in a bit more for example with a guitar. Again, this is all personal opinion and if you like it or not will vary.

    The advantage of re-entrant is of course there's so many more tabs etc. available and a lot of the music you would find specifically for ukulele assumes standard tuning. So... both? I also have a soprano and when I play it for a while the Tenor sounds too low, but if I play the tenor for a while the soprano sounds too high. My ears feel like different things on different days

    No idea if that was helpful or if I'm just rambling now, but that's my 2 cents...
    Current Ukes:
    - Kanile'a KSR-T Premium Tenor
    - MT Dorset Cedar of Lebanon/Sweet Chesnut Tenor (Low G)
    - Enya EUT-MAD Solid Mahogany Tenor

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    Briarcliff, TX - Fabulous Hill Country home to Willie Nelson, and me!
    Posts
    1,367

    Default

    Almost all my Ukes are Low G. I really like the broader sound, and the ability to finger pick more tunes without going too far up the fretboard. The only downside to Low G is that many TABs for Uke are written for re-entrant tuning, and they don't sound right with the Low G. I am seeing more and more TABs now that are specifically for Low G, so the situation is improving.
    Last edited by VegasGeorge; 05-21-2021 at 11:44 AM.
    "The sole cause of all human misery is the inability of people
    to sit quietly in their rooms." - Blaise Pascal, 1670

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
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    Canada Prairies, brrr ....
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    1,581

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    I like having my tenor with a low G as some of the more modern pop and non traditional uke music may sound better. However, some chords such as Em may need different finger positioning from what you are used to to sound decent, so it takes a bit getting used to. Also as you noted having a few extra low notes is trivial as they are rarely used, but on the other hand you will have a lot fewer options to use upstrokes for chord melody.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
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    1,631

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    It depends on how you play. If you're a strummer, it may not be worth it. You'll be playing the same old songs you've always played and strumming the same old chords, but the chords will be different inversions. If you are more of a picker, it is more significant. Low G turns a three-stringed instrument into a four-stringed instrument. Right now I am mostly playing pentatonic scales and modes of the harmonic minor. With re-entrant tuning I am allowed seven scales. With linear tuning I have fourteen.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
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    414

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by donboody View Post
    When you add a low G, you can play everything you can on a High G uke and you also have access to Low G, Low Ab, Low A, Low Bb, and Low B. You already have access to Low C, so you're giving yourself access to 5 more notes. Seems like a trivial gain.
    Ultimately, looking at it in terms of the extended range is probably not the best approach. Instead, look at it in terms of the notes you can play within a given number of frets of each other - it's not about total range of the instrument, but rather the range of notes that can be played comfortably and/or simultaneously in a given hand position or chord. Low G is more "efficient" at music that has a wider spread of notes and/or bigger runs or chords that extend past one octave.

    If you're trying to play a simple chord in an arpeggio as root-3rd-5th-octave, that's a whole lot easier on low G (one note on each string, in a shape that's comfortable) than high G (where you're more likely to end up with a compromise, like repeating the root in the same octave, moving your hand halfway through, etc.).

    To take this to an extreme, imagine if you had a two string ukulele, with a low string tuned to G3 and a high string tuned to A4. You'd effectively have the same total range of a low G uke but it would be absolutely no fun to play! Going from that arrangement to a "normal" 4 stringed uke, in either high G or low G wouldn't be about giving you more range, instead it's just about giving you a range that's useful and efficient for the style of music you would like to play.

  9. #9

    Default

    I'm the opposite. I struggle to keep any ukulele in High-G because from my perspective you reduce your chromatic range and lose bass.

    In fact, the closest I have to a high-G is a 5-string tenor.
    But even that pretty much behaves like a low-G

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Sparta, Wisconsin, USA
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    I like the sound of the tenor with a Low-G. Most strummed songs sound better to me with a Linear tuning. But not all.

    I am learning fingerstyle. As VegasGeorge stated, there are far more tabs written for re-entrant tuning than for linear. So, I have both.

    Try Low-G and see if you like the sound. If you do great! If not, it's easy to change the string back to High-g. It's that simple. You can always return to Low-G when the added range becomes important to your playing.

    Try it. You'll like it! Or not.
    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

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