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Thread: Mandolin tuning on a ukulele

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    Registered User LazyRiver's Avatar
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    Default Mandolin tuning on a ukulele

    Why would I do this? A lot of soprano ukes can fit into a 22" carry-on backpack. My questions: Has anyone tried tuning a uke as a mando, and if so, what string sizes would you recommend? We're talking nylon or gut, not metal.

    Thanks.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Mandolin tuning on a ukulele

    On Amazon. Aquila 30U Ukulele SOPRANO in Violin/Mandolin Fifths Tuning - GDAE (w/ wound G-string)

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    Registered User LazyRiver's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin tuning on a ukulele

    Quote Originally Posted by jazzjune18 View Post
    On Amazon. Aquila 30U Ukulele SOPRANO in Violin/Mandolin Fifths Tuning - GDAE (w/ wound G-string)
    Awesome. I thought I was going to have to piece it together. Thanks.

  5. #4

    Default Re: Mandolin tuning on a ukulele

    Btw. Ironically, if/when the thinnest A string breaks you can replace it with fishing line of a comparable thickness. I've done it.

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    Default Re: Mandolin tuning on a ukulele

    Quote Originally Posted by jazzjune18 View Post
    Btw. Ironically, if/when the thinnest A string breaks you can replace it with fishing line of a comparable thickness. I've done it.

    Ha, have plenty of that handy. Hubby will think I've taken up fly-fishing when I ask him for some...

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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin tuning on a ukulele

    I have been using a combination of 1 low E string from a classical guitar string set ,
    the 2 middle ones from a Martin Baritone Uke set (3rd is Nylon core with aluminum windings)
    and the soprano Uke thinnest strings (the 2 outer ones are the same gage) .

    I have been tuning to FCGD 5th but 2 note half steps down in tension..

    Is floating Fly fishing Line adequate?

    Ordered a set of Gotoh Planetary 4:1 uke tuners from a Uke dealer in HI,

    once I get those on I will try the Aquila Mandolin strings I Got from the Italian Company.

    FWIW they are made in several Colors within the set, 2 reddish shades and 2 browner..

    Where the plain Martin Nylon and their new Fluorocarbon uke strings are colorless.
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    Default Re: Mandolin tuning on a ukulele

    I've tried mandolin tuning (GDAE) on a ukulele. I've used the Aquila GDAE set. The E string is extremely thin and broke before I had even tuned up to E. Fortunately the string was long enough to give it a second try, and this time I only tuned up to FCGD. But I didn't like the result: IMO, the uke fretboard and neck geometry doesn't lend itself to mandolin style playing (fretboard too wide, neck too flat). Also, I did not like the sound. It certainly doesn't have a mandolin sound, and it also doesn't sound like a uke any more (maybe due to different string gauges, maybe because with reentrant uke tuning you get close voicings as opposed to open voicings with GDAE). If the E string hadn't broken again after a couple of days, I would have restringed it with regular uke strings nevertheless.

    I have Aquila strings (standard reentrant tuning) on all my ukes and I prefer them over all other brands that I've tried. And none of the standard Aquila uke strings ever broke. But the GDAE set is definitely not for me.

    But it's a cheap experiment - it'll cost you 10 bucks and half an hour for putting on the strings, so why don't you just try it and find out for yourself?

    Peter
    Last edited by DroneAlone; Nov-15-2015 at 6:25pm. Reason: grammar

  10. #8

    Default Re: Mandolin tuning on a ukulele

    Man droid. Correct on the fly line. U need something for bass fishing

  11. #9
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin tuning on a ukulele

    Its Chinook Salmon Out here .. wet enough, Now, that at High tide they cross the roads ..
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    Registered User LazyRiver's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin tuning on a ukulele

    MY original thought was to make an inexpensive travel mandolin (I have an expensive Travolin on order, but the idea of retuning a uke was intriguing). I have a Stoneman, but the sound is very weak. I figured I could use a charango high E for the E string, keep the uke A, raise the uke C to D, and use low G from a non-reentrant tuned uke for the G. The all-in-one by Aquila makes it easy. Too bad about the high E. Fortunately I have charango strings available to substitute.

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    ISO TEKNO delsbrother's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin tuning on a ukulele

    There are several uke players who play in this tuning. Most IIRC were classical players - i.e. fingerstyle, not strummed. The sound is more like a classical guitar than either a mando or a uke, IMO.

  14. #12

    Default Re: Mandolin tuning on a ukulele

    This doesn't solve the travel issue, but I was successful in tuning a baritone uke in fifths, with a mix of bari strings and classical guitar strings. Guitar Low E > G (4) , Bari Low D > D (3) , Bari G > A (2), Bari E > E
    Poor man's octave mando-uke.

  15. #13

    Default Re: Mandolin tuning on a ukulele

    Tenor guitars are tuned in fifths like a mandola- C G D A. They are often the same size as baritone ukes.

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    Registered User LazyRiver's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin tuning on a ukulele

    I spent a whole lot of time trying to tune my Ohana teardrop in fifths. I bought two sets of Aquila 30u strings, but kept snapping the high E. I also tried 20# fishing line and it either snapped or pulled through the slot at the bridge (I threw it away before examining).. What DID work was the high E from an Aquila charango set. It has a larger diameter than the one in the 30u set. On the whole, the setup achieves my purpose of giving me a transportable (via carry-on), playable decent sounding mando-like instrument. That said, I wouldn't recommend it for any other reason. It's not as good as a regular mando and lacks the charm of the normal uke re-entrant tuning.

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    Default Re: Mandolin tuning on a ukulele

    I used soprano ukulele Lanikai and string set Aquila 30U.
    Here are three examples.


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    Registered User Cary Fagan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin tuning on a ukulele

    I have a small mandolin for travel that I built (my avatar) but I wanted something even smaller so I put those fifth-tuning strings on a 17 inch Sopranino uke. (Bought on ebay for $20 due to some scratches on the back.) I thought maybe the scale was too short but it plays fine. (Ok, it doesn't intonate perfectly, you could buy a better one.) This thing is about as small as you can go, fits in a knapsack, and is good for when you really can't take a mando but want something to pluck on. (Photo of same model lifted from the net.)Click image for larger version. 

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    Cary Fagan

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    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin tuning on a ukulele

    I travel with a Risa soprano solid uke tuned as a mando and have done for years. Per advice from the builder, I use the 4, 3 and 2 strings from a cheap classical guitar set as the 4 , 3 and 2 on the uke and I use .04mm 20 pound test monofilament copolymer fishing line for the first string. It works great. The first string is the best sounding one of the lot! The only string I ever replace is the 4 string, because it is metal wound around a nylon core and the winding corrodes eventually and the sound gets dull. I buy single 4 strings and replace them about twice a year.

    The only issue you might run into is that the intonation may not be right with the different tuning. On mine, the 1 string was on, the 2 and 3 were somewhat off and the 4 was way off. I had to have a different bridge made to compensate. But I play it a lot, so it was worth it.

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    Registered User LazyRiver's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin tuning on a ukulele

    I've posted this elsewhere, but might as well mention it here too since my goal was to find a playable carry-on size mando. I discovered that my mandolin banjo does the job. It's a bit more than 22", but by rotating it I can easily get it into my 22" backpack. Just what I wanted.

  23. #19
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin tuning on a ukulele

    Just replaced the friction pegs with Gotoh's 4:1 uke planetary tuner pegs .. cleverly called the UPT.

    ordered from here : http://www.theukulelesite.com/access...r-upgrade.html

    on my spruce headed may belle banjo uke .. May put the new Aquila strings on next ..
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  24. #20

    Default Re: Mandolin tuning on a ukulele

    Quote Originally Posted by LazyRiver View Post
    Why would I do this? A lot of soprano ukes can fit into a 22" carry-on backpack. My questions: Has anyone tried tuning a uke as a mando, and if so, what string sizes would you recommend? We're talking nylon or gut, not metal.

    Thanks.
    I put a low g on my tenor pono uke. Took a few days for the strings to get ised to their new GDAE, the E string I took two days to tune, its an whole octave higher so tune half way there day 1, rest of the way day2. Make sure you’re nexk has a rod, Low g was round wire, Aquila. Could now harmonize with violin but still sounded like a uke.

  25. #21

    Default Re: Mandolin tuning on a ukulele

    I had a Ukulele before going to a mandolin, tried & failed to get it tuned to GDAE& not the only one. There was a discussion on this on the Ukulele Undergound but the answer came to be a Madolele. Problem is that they didn't make many.
    Best of luck!

  26. #22

    Default Re: Mandolin tuning on a ukulele

    i used the fifths set for uke, and then added the E from a charango set it works well

  27. #23

    Default Re: Mandolin tuning on a ukulele

    One of the reasons for reentrant tuning is so early players could use the same size fishing line for all four strings, since the pitch range is only a sixth.

  28. #24
    Registered User Jim Adwell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin tuning on a ukulele

    I made a soprano ukulele sized mandolin a while back, with 8 nylon strings. It turned out pretty well. I made a custom set of strings out of singles for it, but I see Aquila has a set of nylon mandolin strings so I might try those.

    I call it the Batmandolin... The wood is sweet gum.

    Attachment 173351Attachment 173352Attachment 173353

  29. #25

    Default Re: Mandolin tuning on a ukulele

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Adwell View Post
    I made a soprano ukulele sized mandolin a while back, with 8 nylon strings. It turned out pretty well. I made a custom set of strings out of singles for it, but I see Aquila has a set of nylon mandolin strings so I might try those.

    I call it the Batmandolin... The wood is sweet gum.

    Attachment 173351Attachment 173352Attachment 173353
    I get an "Invalid Attachment" message for you image link. Is it still good, if not, could you repost it? Many thanks . dd

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