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Thread: Ukulele tuning

  1. #1

    Default Ukulele tuning

    I apologize for asking a non-mandolin question, but yall are a wealth of musical knowledge and Im sure yall have suggestions. My 5 year-old granddaughter is wanting to play the ukulele and I was going to play guitar along with her. Is there an open G tuning for the ukulele where she could strum along and sound close when I change to C or D? Im wide open to suggestions and thanks for the help.
    Jim Armstrong

    1924 Gibson A-1 Snakehead
    2017 Silverangel F-Oval
    1979 Martin D-19

  2. #2

    Default Re: Ukulele tuning

    Standard uke tuning is gCEA (the 4th string, nearest your nose, being high, i.e. re-entrant tuning). But aDF#B is also possible with the same string set.

    This means that gDGB can work, but to play along when you shift to C and D she will have to barre the 4th and 5th frets.

    I've found that 5 year-olds can fairly quickly pick up the fingering for open chords in gCEA, though the G chord is the hardest for them. You can make it a bit easier as follows:

    G - 0232, barreing strings 1-3 at the 2nd and then fingering fret 3 on the 2nd string
    C - 0003 (the easiest uke chord)
    D7 - 2223 (barre the 2nd). D6 (2222) would also sound fine for most songs. D (2220) is quite hard to fret cleanly, so I wouldn't even try that to begin with.

    If you place her thumb on the back of the neck, these chords become quite easy. If she curls her thumb around, only the C is easy!

    The other thing to watch for is the action height at the nut. Cheaper ukes notoriously come with sky-high nut action, and if you deepen the slots until fretting a string between 2 and 3 gives you an almost unnoticeable gap above the 1st fret, chords become vastly easier. I think this is vital for a small child, otherwise the amount of finger pressure needed will be too great for comfort.

    I wouldn't worry about the action at the 12th, unless it's ludicrous (2.5 to 3mm is normal, but 4mm doesn't make much difference in ease of playing down at the nut end).

  3. #3
    Confused... or?
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    Default Re: Ukulele tuning

    Quote Originally Posted by ProfChris View Post
    This means that gDGB can work, but to play along when you shift to C and D she will have to barre the 4th and 5th frets.
    While C and D are the 4 & 5 chords, they'd fall at the 5th & 7th frets. (Hey, I've made similar mistakes posting at 5am.)

    Otherwise, nice analysis!
    - Ed

    "What our group lacks in musicianship is offset by our willingness to humiliate ourselves." - David Hochman

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