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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Tuning a plectrum to uke tuning


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/361052

Knows Picker - Posted - 02/10/2020:  06:01:41


I'm going to try tuning my plectrum to uke (GCEA) tuning. My dog has fleas, only I expect these fleas to be bigger and lower pitched. I dont care whether the G is low or re-entrant.

Length from nut to bridge is 26.5 inches. I was close last night with a regular plectrum set, the A just wouldn't take it though.

Anyone have a nice formula for this before I go quizzing the string calculator??

Thanks in advance, this board is pretty helpful, or at least good for a laugh.

Moose_Roberts - Posted - 02/10/2020:  06:33:15


Based on your scale are you trying it an octave low?

Knows Picker - Posted - 02/10/2020:  07:02:17


Of course, at least!!

This banjo has a metal plate inside the resonator which gives it almost a reso guitar sound. I want to stay in that range, but use the more familiar uke chord shapes.

Moose_Roberts - Posted - 02/10/2020:  07:07:32


I would think that if you have a similar string size progression as a uke then an octave low tuning should be very feasible.

I just got a new ukulele, but now you have me thinking on a plectrum... My wife will really appreciate your help.

Knows Picker - Posted - 02/10/2020:  07:18:06


Just to make things worse for you, the basis of this endevor is to get a little more bass into the works, WITHOUT buying an actual guitar and especially WITHOUT buying a new Blueridge or Gold Tone tenor guitar, as seen on Reverb and at Elderly and supposedly easy to tune to uke fingering.

Because she said something about "TOO MANY INSTRUMENTS ALREADY." Blah blah blah.

maxmax - Posted - 02/10/2020:  07:18:25


quote:

Originally posted by Knows Picker

I want to stay in that range, but use the more familiar uke chord shapes.






If you OK with just using the same shapes, but having to think for a second what chord you are playing, you can use Chicago Tuning: DGBE.



That is also the standard tuning for baritone ukulele and it's almost the same as standard bluegrass tuning, you just raise the first string from D to E (and no fifth string of course). It's also close to standard plectrum tuning, but then you tune the fourth string up from C to D as well.



You can then play all the same things when playing by yourself, but will have to transpose when playing with others. It makes buying strings easy!

Knows Picker - Posted - 02/10/2020:  07:21:29


Almost, but I can never wrap my head around the transposition when playing with others.

maxmax - Posted - 02/10/2020:  07:30:43


quote:

Originally posted by Knows Picker

Almost, but I can never wrap my head around the transposition when playing with others.






That's when you slap a capo at the fifth fret. wink 



If you are dead set on playing from GCEA, I would personally start with trying a guitar set, using the fourth string for C, third string for E and the second string for A. I would then use a lighter gauge string for a reentrant high g. Since your plactrum banjo has a slightly longer scale than a standard guitar, it should work fine I would think.



You may very well need to adjust the slots in your bridge and nut.



Disclaimer: I have never tried this, I'm just thinking out loud what I would do in your situation.



EDIT: You could of course also use the fifth string of a guitar set for a low G. Not sure why my spontaneous thinking was going for a high g..


Edited by - maxmax on 02/10/2020 07:33:17

mike gregory - Posted - 02/10/2020:  07:41:36


In the first place, uke tuning

GCEA

does NOT spell out My Dog Has "Fleas".

It spells out





"Grab Crazy Elephant Ass"!



In the 2nd place, it seems as if you could use a guitar 5th(which is "A" at about 24.5 inches, for a nice low G as your 4th, and a guitar 4th as your 3rd, a 3rd as your second, and a 2nd as your first.



 



 

Knows Picker - Posted - 02/10/2020:  07:48:18


Thanks Mike, I will give it a try!

G Edward Porgie - Posted - 02/10/2020:  07:59:56


The problem will always be the "A" string; it's just too high a note, so any string used at plectrum length that's not too stiff will break. It's simply too much tension.

I suggest a lower tuning, such as Chicago (DGBE), and using a capo to bring it to the desired pitch. You won't have to transpose on the fly.

One other idea that might work would be a sort of re-entrant tuning in reverse: tune as you wish on the bottom three strings, but use a heavier string for the "A"and tune it down an octave.

Knows Picker - Posted - 02/11/2020:  04:43:25


Tried Mike's advice, but George is right, that A was all the way to F sharp and half but I knew it wouldn't go any further.

I'll either search for a single or get myself a capo.

maxmax - Posted - 02/12/2020:  04:11:32


quote:

Originally posted by Knows Picker

Tried Mike's advice, but George is right, that A was all the way to F sharp and half but I knew it wouldn't go any further.



I'll either search for a single or get myself a capo.






What gauge string did you use for the A string? The way I was thinking of it, I would have the pitch of the first string right between the third and the second string of a plectrum or bluegrass set. The second string of a guitar set or the third string of a plectrum/bluegrass banjo set should work fine for this.



I think you might have been trying to get the first string up a full octave higher than what Mike and I recommended? That would put the first string in the same pitch as the first string of a jazz tenor banjo, which would of course be way too much tension.



 

Knows Picker - Posted - 02/12/2020:  04:51:44


I've tried just about everything between .009 and .012, everything breaks.

I'm going to suck it up, put on a capo and just be glad I haven't put out an eye.

maxmax - Posted - 02/12/2020:  04:59:23


quote:

Originally posted by Knows Picker

I've tried just about everything between .009 and .012, everything breaks.



I'm going to suck it up, put on a capo and just be glad I haven't put out an eye.






Tuning to Chicago and using a capo will work fine, but I still think you are missing what I am trying to explain. If you really want to get to GCEA, I would recommend going LOWER in pitch than Chicago tuning, not higher. Try a string around 0.16 for the A.

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