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Thread: re entrant tuning

  1. #1
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    Default re entrant tuning

    Hi, am a newbie and was wondering about the re entrant tuning. I saw on one site that the reason for this initially was the the first ukes could not hold a thicker lower G string. Any thoughts on this, does this seem right?

    When I am trying to strum chords, or triads really, with the top melody note, then I find that I am limited to only one string when I get down to the middle G. For instance, that one is the third down and to support the G, I can play the C. If I play the first string, it is higher and seems to overtake the G as the melody. Am I right on this? What do y all do with the re entrant string? Play it as the melody instead of the A line?

    How do I approach the re entrant tuning? Any pointers out there? Thanks!

  2. #2
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    I'm confused by the question. In playing melodies, you use the high G in addition to or in conjunction with the other strings. If you are strumming and hoping to always hear string #1 (A on a common re-entrant) then strum so that string is more forcefully sounded. I highly recommend James Hill's free lesson on chord melody playing, for learning to accentuate the top or bottom string when strumming.
    If you're picking, it's a different story. You simply use the string that has the note you want near your hand's position. Although it has its down-side, the high G can come in very handy.
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  3. #3
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    There are two ways of tuning a ukulele, as you have mentioned, linear or reentrant. Reentrant is the most common way to tune a ukulele.

    As Steve said, you can use the high fourth string as another sequence in the melody (but you don't have to). But if tuned GCEA in reentrant tuning, middle C will be lowest note in your melody.

    With that in mind, and as many songs go down to the 5th (Sol) of the key they are in, arranging melodies in keys that allow for the lowest note of C (e.g. Key of F) is essential.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by valde002 View Post
    Hi, am a newbie and was wondering about the re entrant tuning. I saw on one site that the reason for this initially was the the first ukes could not hold a thicker lower G string.
    The original tuning isn't known and documents/accounts from that time aren't clear. The gCEA tuning came from a five-string instrument named rajao, which in Hawaii was known as taropatch fiddle (which, I gather, was more popular than the ukulele before the latter hit the mainland). The first method book was for both the taropatch fiddle and the ukulele, and the same tuning was used for both (the four strings for the ukulele). There is an account from a relative of Nunes that implies that ukuleles were first tuned like the machete (linear). Early method books were either for C tuning (gCEA) or D tuning (aDF#B). Re-entrant guitars existed long before the first ukulele, as did other instruments. I don't think it is because of string material, though, but because of acoustics/physics. A low-G on a soprano usually sounds pretty bad, even more so on vintage ukuleles that are often a bit slimmer and thinner than modern ones. They are just too small to reproduce the G3 note well (Otha-San Sr. somehow manages to make it sound good, though). Even the C is a bit too low on smaller/flatter sopranos (I much prefer D tuning on my vintage one).

  5. #5
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    yes, i am beginning to find that most/all/lots of sheet music for the ukulele is in the key of F, C, or G, vs other instruments, am used to the piano. Which is kind of cool because it simplifies things, but also limits the instrument. I feel that the high g is more of an accent note, to give the melody (A string) some volume.

  6. #6
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    will do, thanks! this is all new, and I need to get used to this. I think I'll stop using my low-G tenor for a while so that I can get used to this system.

  7. #7
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    To me the re-entrant tuning is what makes a ukulele both unique and challenging. Yes, you can change songs to a key that will not take the melody below middle C and I do that myself sometimes, but you can also play the notes that go below it in a higher octave and see how that sounds, or you can incorporate a chord in place of a particular note and that often times works. For myself, I find the re-entrant musical world exciting and I spend a lot of time finding ways to make it work. It isn't that hard once you get your head out of that linear way of thinking. But it isn't limiting. My advise is to not look at what you are playing on the ukulele as a reflection of something, and instead look at it as a re-entrant interpretation of it.
    Last edited by Rllink; 01-13-2017 at 04:01 AM.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

    I just want everyone to understand that I am not a ukulele expert, even though it may look at times like I'm pretending to be.

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  8. #8
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    Re-entrant tuning also enables different techniques, like campanella (1, 2). I feel that re-entrant tuning is really what makes a ukulele a ukulele, and not a piccolo guitar without the bass strings, and unlocks the huge potential of the instrument.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mivo View Post
    Re-entrant tuning also enables different techniques, like campanella (1, 2). I feel that re-entrant tuning is really what makes a ukulele a ukulele, and not a piccolo guitar without the bass strings, and unlocks the huge potential of the instrument.
    I wish that we had a "like" button.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

    I just want everyone to understand that I am not a ukulele expert, even though it may look at times like I'm pretending to be.

    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_n...tective+Agency

  10. #10
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    Hi, choirguy!

    Quote Originally Posted by Choirguy View Post
    With that in mind, and as many songs go down to the 5th (Sol) of the key they are in, arranging melodies in keys that allow for the lowest note of C (e.g. Key of F) is essential.
    One of top amateur ukulele player says that F is the best key of solo on ukulele. But he could not explain why. He just suggest that key of F brings the melody line on first strings. Your explanation is great. Thanks.

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