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Old 07-26-2021, 08:32 AM
subby subby is offline
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Default GDAE Tenor or Ukulele accompanying a six string pair?

I play in an acoustic trio and currently fill the melodies role (the other two are superior players running basslines and chord/rhythm). I'd like to diversify our sound and started as a four-string player on ukes and DGBE tenor guitars.

I'm living in a YouTube/internet wormhole of GDAE tenor tuning and I think it could really diversify our sound if I pivoted there, without too much pain in catching up on the theory of fifths tuning. Tuning up a baritone uke to reentrant GCEA is also an option, and that would be a quicker transition.

Would you lean towards one or the other to diversify our sound? The bandmates are lifetime guitar players and don't really have a preference. Their response has been "those notes exist on the guitar but knock yourself out".
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Old 07-26-2021, 08:40 AM
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ljguitar ljguitar is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subby View Post
I play in an acoustic trio and currently fill the melodies role (the other two are superior players running basslines and chord/rhythm). I'd like to diversify our sound and started as a four-string player on ukes and DGBE tenor guitars.

I'm living in a YouTube/internet wormhole of GDAE tenor tuning and I think it could really diversify our sound if I pivoted there, without too much pain in catching up on the theory of fifths tuning. Tuning up a baritone uke to reentrant GCEA is also an option, and that would be a quicker transition.

Would you lean towards one or the other to diversify our sound? The bandmates are lifetime guitar players and don't really have a preference. Their response has been "those notes exist on the guitar but knock yourself out".
Hi hubby

Why not get a mandolin and up the game. You're already tuning GDAE which is mandolin tuning.

Are the two guitarists you play with using classical guitars (nylon strings) or acoustic steel strings?



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Old 07-26-2021, 08:43 AM
subby subby is offline
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Hi hubby

Why not get a mandolin and up the game. You're already tuning GDAE which is mandolin tuning.

Are the two guitarists you play with using classical guitars (nylon strings) or acoustic steel strings?



Hi lj,

I was thinking the advantage to the GDAE tuning would be that I could eventually bring in a mando as well, so you're right on with that point. They're both playing steel string acoustics.
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Old 07-26-2021, 08:44 AM
Dave Hicks Dave Hicks is offline
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I would think a reentrant tuning would distinguish itself more clearly from the guitars.

D.H.
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Old 07-26-2021, 08:47 AM
J Patrick J Patrick is offline
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…I have a bandmate that plays tenor guitar on some tunes….tuned GDAE…..I love what it brings to the tunes he plays it on….I have played a concert uke with guitar players quite a bit and while I like what it can do too it’s not as versatile or usable as a tenor guitar….but I vote for both in order to bring even more versatility to your role as melody provider…
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Old 07-26-2021, 08:50 AM
Italuke Italuke is offline
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Yes, as a guy with a bunch of ukuleles and playing them in lots of different genres, just too many questions to ask in order to answer yours. What genres do you play, what guitars do the others play, what kind of sound are you going for, etc.?

Personally I never got into tenor guitars. That skinny neck relative to the bigger body just bugs me. But I do keep my main baritone (Favilla Brothers, 1950s) in re-entrant DGBE for playing some Lyle Ritz arrangements and other jazz stuff where the close voicing helps. Never tried 5ths.

But tell us more and you'll get better answers.
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Old 07-26-2021, 03:34 PM
merlin666 merlin666 is offline
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I think that synthetic string ukulele as melody instrument will get lost in the sound of the steel string guitars, and from own experience did not find fifths tuning on uke very pleasing. As others have suggested a true tenor guitar, mandolin, or even a tenor banjo may be better options.
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Old 07-26-2021, 04:56 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subby View Post
I play in an acoustic trio and currently fill the melodies role...I'd like to diversify our sound and started as a four-string player on ukes and DGBE tenor guitars...

I'm living in a YouTube/internet wormhole of GDAE tenor tuning and I think it could really diversify our sound if I pivoted there...Tuning up a baritone uke to reentrant GCEA is also an option, and that would be a quicker transition.

Would you lean towards one or the other to diversify our sound? The bandmates are lifetime guitar players and don't really have a preference. Their response has been "those notes exist on the guitar but knock yourself out".
They're right - there's already a lot of sonic information in that frequency range, and IME if you're filling a melodic role you want to carve out a timbral niche different from your compatriots...

One option you haven't considered is a tenor banjo in drop-G tenor uke tuning (GCEA low to high) - fingerings and range are the same as a guitar capoed at the fifth fret, and the natural volume/timbre differ sufficiently from the guitar to keep your lead lines in their own sonic space; a fairly common tuning in the 1920's for Prohibition-era uke players looking to make some bucks on the speakeasy jazz-band circuit, it was all but forgotten as the guitar became the main '30s/40s Big Band rhythm instrument (TMK Chuck Romanoff of Schooner Fare - who turned me on to it - is the sole active exponent). I have a Deering Boston tenor that I keep in this tuning, and I've used it successfully for most types of acoustic music (I've even fingerpicked it for country-rock); FWIW it sees far more use than my GDAE tenor, simply on the basis of versatility (yeah, it does Irish too) - and if you already have a background in uke and Chicago-tuned (DGBE) tenor guitar, the learning curve is virtually nil...

Here's some examples with bass/12-string guitar and vocals:

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