Saturday, 27 June 2009

A major breakthrough

Well, a D major breakthrough, actually. Everyone tells you D major is dead easy, since it involves holding down three strings in a row. Even I could do that. But how come the result sounded ghastly? By discussing the wonders of ukulele tuning with some of the clever pluckers in the office I discovered that the first fret should give me a semitone higher than the open string. Imagine my surprise when I found that my G string (sorry) was sounding not a G sharp but an A on the first fret. I got a semitone for the second fret, giving me a B flat, which was clearly an unwelcome guest in a D major chord.

Now here's the mysterious bit. If I tune the G string to a high G, the first fret gives me a semitone higher. If I tune it to a low G, it gives me a tone higher. Weird or what? Some have seen unkind enough to suggest that I have bought a crap instrument. Surely not, I say, it cost me 20 quid. They give me an unpleasant look, somewhere between pity and smirking.

Ignoring their derision I set about my journey of discovery in the world of the high G. Suddenly chords stop sounding like Stockhausen with a hangover. C, C7, F, G - even D if I reach over the top: there's no stopping me. Ode to Moderated Joy here I come.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not an expert, but something to consider is that most ukes have either a high G string or a low G string. I think they are generally interchangeable on most ukes, but I haven't heard of someone completely changing the tuning of one string. You're string is probably designed for high G tuning. Maybe you could try replacing it with a specific low G string.

    Note: I just got my first low G string uke yesterday. Thought I would like it, but it sounds too much like a guitar and not enough like a uke. So I'll probably go back to high G.

    Keep up the work!