5 string set up questions


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Jun 20, 2013
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So, I got an Inexpensive but very nice playing five string tenor. It came with low G on the top string and high g on the bottom of the 4th string position. That was horrible, all I heard was Low G drone, so I swapped. Now it sounds better. I can play my high g songs by picking top outside string. I can get unison by hitting both. I can even isolate Low G by picking upward and isolate that. Cool.

The Ukulele is solid mahogany top which looks like one piece. I can’t see a seam anywhere. The rest of body is laminate mahogany. Sounds is great.

From a set up perspective, should the tops of the Low G and high g strings be level for optimum playing. Just curious. I have never had a five string nor set one up. Action is low. Intonation is great. The frets are very low frets, lower than any of my other tenors! Playing is pretty easy But five string does take more attention for correct form to play well. Occassionally, I muffle a fingering and don’t get a clear set of notes out of the two Gg strings.

I have tuned the Ukulele down half step so B flat tuning. That gives me a nice tension. I will try concert strings on it NUD see if I like on regular GgCEA tuning.

Comments if you have experience with this? Thanks
Excellent topic! I am a big fan of the 5-string tenor, having recently acquired a beautiful Kanilea from TheUkuleleSite.

I made a topic few months ago on this exact topic:

The gist of it is, having the high G first on top and then low G is actually the more common tuning.
It's how mine came.

But I didn't like it, and changed it so low G is first, and then high G.
Yes, the low-G overpowers. But I am predominantly a low-G player so it works.

I setup this uke like how i like low-G ukes setup.
The saddle is ever-so-slightly higher at the G end and tapers down a little bit to the treble side.
Kind of like a classical guitar.
A five string ukulele is designed to bring reentrant tuning to a low-G ukulele. You get those big fat lowG strums, topped off with the sweetness of a high g setup.

So, while it is true that anyone can set their instrument up however they want, the 5-string is meant to be tuned, g G C E A.
So, while it is true that anyone can set their instrument up however they want, the 5-string is meant to be tuned, g G C E A.

According to what reference?
Some prominent 5 string tenor players have been known to have low-G first (eg: Sean Tiwanak)
Thanks for reply. Kissing, it’s funny youI’d same type of thread. I will look up Old thread.I purchased the Aklot five string. Off eBay. I have my eye on Kanilea five string but wanted to try one before I purchased a More expensive one. I get why you put low G on top being a low g play. I’m the opposite, a High g player who occassionallyplays low g. you can do what you want. I will look at action of the low G which is the high point.
Kissing, can you post link to your thread?. I can’t find your thread. I guess I should get lessons from my son on searching..LOL

Above you say your Kanile’a has a saddle sloping from low g ( top most string) down to first string. Ever so slightly. My saddle is compensated, bone with perfect intonation.

I was more wondering if a slight tweak to nut slot would adjust the low g so they are same height. But then I will startEd wondering if that would be better or worse. Being a high g player mostly, I syncopate a lot of high g

I will take a look at nut slot. I changed the Super Nylgut to Oasis warms. Both sounded good but the string thru was tied wierd with stock string. I added beads and changed to a different gauge low g. It’s all fun for the sake of knowledge And new sounds!

I must say five string does add a dimension to playing and sound colours!. Congrats on Kanile’a five string. That is what I have my eye on for next purchase.
If you play mainly single notes and use the low G like a bass string, then there may be an advantage to having the low G first. Most people use a five string uke for strumming and for that having high G first is preferable, as otherwise it can get easily missed in a downstrum when the thicker string is hit first.
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