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Thread: different ukulele tuning

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    Default I hope this makes sense...

    Ok, after reading http://www.southcoastukes.com/string...es/tunings.htm
    I think I understand the numbering of the strings, re-entrant, and some basic tuning schemes. However, I still am unclear on some things about my ukulele's tuning. I recently purchased a Lanikai concert ukulele that came strung with what I believe would be the re-entrant tuning (the lower and thicker string being in the 3rd position instead of the fourth). Is this normal for a concert ukulele? If so, should I be tuning it to GCEA or something slightly lower? Or, should I consider moving the wider string to the 4th position. I realize much of it is a matter of taste, but I do not want to stretch my strings beyond what they were intended, thereby causing them to wear too quickly or even snap. Ok, enough questions for now...

    I do want to say that I think it is a bit confusing to have the strings numbered from the bottom (highest pitch) to the top (as strumming upward with the right hand) and yet name the tunings from the lower pitches upward (strumming downward with the right hand). I think it would be more consistent and easier to follow if the strings were numbered from the top down to match the way tunings are lettered. GCEA = 1234, instead of GCEA = 4321. jmo

    Thanks in advance for any help.

    Lon
    Last edited by Diffie; 08-27-2012 at 08:59 PM. Reason: corrected type of ukulele

  2. #12
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    Mar 2011
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    Default

    I agree, it's a bit confusing. Sometimes I get mixed up when I change strings and end up putting the 4th string where the first one should go. Unwind and start again!

    Re-entrant tuning is the standard tuning for sopranos, concerts and tenors, it's the GCEA "My Dog Has Flees" tuning. Seems to be what you have? Sometimes people use lower case when one of the strings is an octave higher... or was it lower? I can never figure it out. Either way, it's most likely that your strings are in the right position for this tuning, try using a tuner and see if you get G4 C4 E4 A4.

  3. #13
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    Aug 2012
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    Default Thanks, Lalou

    Lalou,

    I really appreciate your response. After attempting to tune the 3rd string higher, it became quite apparent that the GCEA tuning is the correct one for my concert. I am hoping I have the patience for learning the ukulele. I am finding that one of my biggest frustrations is that it does not stay in tune for long. I play trumpet and piano and am not used to having an instrument that needs to be re-tuned so often. Again, thanks for your input. Best to you!

    Diffie

  4. #14
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    May 2011
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    near Boston
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Diffie View Post
    I am hoping I have the patience for learning the ukulele.I play trumpet and piano and am not used to having an instrument that needs to be re-tuned so often. Again, thanks for your input.
    Don't give up yet! New strings stretch a lot at first and need to be re-tuned very frequently, but soon they will stretch out and settle in. I usually just tune once a day, right before I start playing.
    Live long, prosper, and play your ukulele.

  5. #15

    Default

    Hi everyone,

    I've been following this thread and am still waiting for some straightforward explanation on the variety of ukulele tuning modes there are and I am positive that the original question did not have anything to do with strings.

    Here's hoping to get simpler explanation as to the variation on ukulele tuning, i.e. high G, low G, slack etc.

  6. #16
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    Apr 2012
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dancingflee View Post
    Hi everyone,
    I've been following this thread and am still waiting for some straightforward explanation on the variety of ukulele tuning modes there are and I am positive that the original question did not have anything to do with strings.
    Here's hoping to get simpler explanation as to the variation on ukulele tuning, i.e. high G, low G, slack etc.
    Well, The Southcoast Guide was already mentioned in the 2nd post and offers quite some more information on the most common tunings.
    Anything beyond these common tunings (re-entrant/linear, C/D) is - as already said before - up to you and you personal taste. Whether it makes sense or not is a different story....
    Same goes for strings: if you feel like using florist wire, plain fishing line, sewing thread or whatever just do so - your mileage may vary though....

    The weirder your setup, the lesser you can share with other uke players.
    For beginners up to intermediate I'd recommend sticking to a common uke tuning with the strings that sound best to you. There are no "best" strings, btw.
    Soprano Concert Tenor Bass
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    more about all my ukuleles on just.4str.in

    Every artist was first an amateur (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

  7. #17

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Louis0815 View Post
    Well, The Southcoast Guide was already mentioned in the 2nd post and offers quite some more information on the most common tunings.
    Anything beyond these common tunings (re-entrant/linear, C/D) is - as already said before - up to you and you personal taste. Whether it makes sense or not is a different story....
    Same goes for strings: if you feel like using florist wire, plain fishing line, sewing thread or whatever just do so - your mileage may vary though....

    The weirder your setup, the lesser you can share with other uke players.
    For beginners up to intermediate I'd recommend sticking to a common uke tuning with the strings that sound best to you. There are no "best" strings, btw.

    Louis0815,

    I did not mean to instigate a bit of irritation with that post but was simply seeking an explanation simpler than those already presented. This is because I am a "beginner" and not a "senior member". I was simply relying on the knowledge and experience of "elders" in the world of ukulele with the hope that I and others will know the instrument better the right way rather than experimentation and come up with what you termed as "weird" set up.

    Again. I am sorry for asking and wasting your very precious time. Believe me, I know better than use florists' wire nor sewing thread to string my ukulele. As mentioned earlier, it is very confusing that I was hoping someone with more patience will take time to clear the smoke and guide us, beginners, to the right path.

    I do not deserve the sarcastic tone.
    Last edited by dancingflee; 09-06-2012 at 05:43 AM.

  8. #18
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dancingflee View Post
    Hi everyone,

    I've been following this thread and am still waiting for some straightforward explanation on the variety of ukulele tuning modes there are and I am positive that the original question did not have anything to do with strings.

    Here's hoping to get simpler explanation as to the variation on ukulele tuning, i.e. high G, low G, slack etc.
    Okay, Dancingflee, let me see if I can give you a simple clear list of uke tunings.


    At the most basic level, there are two common tunings: high-g and low-g.

    High-g is sometimes called standard or re-entrant tuning and is the most common tuning. It uses the notes GCEA. This tuning is somewhat odd when compared to tunings on almost all other string instruments since the lowest note is not the note closest to your face.

    Low-g tuning is the next most common tuning. It uses the notes gCEA, the g being the lowest note.



    All the other common tunings follow the same pattern as these two. Because some folks prefer a particular tension, they may tune all of their strings up or down by the same amount. For example, many players use D tuning. D tuning would be ADF#B or aDF#B.

    Personally, I prefer less tension on the strings and a richer, lower sound. This is why i've tuned my tenor ukes down several semi-tones. You can see the particular notes I use in my signature.



    Please let me know if this is a helpful description or if you have any questions. It seems that you might be feeling frustrated by the more highly-detailed responses of some of our other members. Remember too that it's very difficult for people here to ascertain your existing level of musical knowledge and that some might respond with what they feel is a meaningful answer to your question when they have in fact missed your point and purpose in asking the question. Further, I truly don't think that anyone meant to slight you or make you feel otherwise uncomfortable.
    MP Redwood/Koa Tenor with SouthCoast Heavies (tuned FBbDG), Loprinzi Mahogany Tenor with SouthCoast Mediums, Lute-kulele with Worth Browns, Mahalo "Les Paul"

  9. #19

    Default

    Hi JamieFromOntario,

    Thank you so much for making my journey a lot simpler. It was exactly what I was hoping for, a simple straightforward explanation.

    I've had my ukulele for almost a year now and I continue to read about it and more I read the more confused I get regarding the different mode or preference. Until your post did I understand that string brand or make is a factor that may influence the tone preference of a player.

    You will have to pardon me because I am a true beginner who only aims to learn and enjoy the ukulele.

    Thank you very much for making my learning process a lot more pleasant.

  10. #20
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Default

    I'm happy that I was able to clear things up for you, dancing.

    You are right, the whole tuning thing with ukes is pretty confusing. I feel like guitars are so much easier; sure people mess around with different guitar tunings but it's the exception rather than the rule. The fact that many of us put the tunings of the ukes we have in our signatures speaks to how common weird and wacky ukulele tunings are.


    If you're playing with groups or along with videos, it'll be easiest to stick with standard, high-g tuning. But, as I'm sure you can tell from others' enthusiasm about different strings and tunings, experimenting is awful fun.


    Diffie,
    Have you been playing your uke long? Strings should only keep stretching for a few days or weeks at most. You could have an issue with a tuner or tuning peg. That might explain why you are tuning and re-tuning all the time.
    MP Redwood/Koa Tenor with SouthCoast Heavies (tuned FBbDG), Loprinzi Mahogany Tenor with SouthCoast Mediums, Lute-kulele with Worth Browns, Mahalo "Les Paul"

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