January 4, 2019 at 12:51 pm #22067
Just started the intro and first lesson. But before I go further I need some feedback from Andrew et al.
Since I started RockClass I’ve been using my one and only instrument, a $40 Mitchell soprano. Should I go get a second uke and have it strung with low G for this course?
Or is it time for me to invest in a better uke and a different size? Then string my Mitchell with the low G?
Or some other suggestion.
I am a “Monkee [sic] see, Monkee [sic] do musician. Everything that I’ve ever learned about music began right here in RockClass 18 months ago. Everything that I’ve ever played was arranged by RockClass (whoops, except “Christmas Time is Here”). So I don’t know what a low G is or when to use it, etc.
You’ve seen my recordings which were usually after 20 days of practice. Please give me an objective opinion. Maybe I need to sit down face to face with a true musician that can explain my options. I really don’t know.January 4, 2019 at 3:10 pm #22068
Hi Rickey, you are definitely committed to learning and playing. So yes, I would encourage you to invest in a higher-end ukulele.
As far as the course, 3/4ths of it, basically up to module 2, unit 10: Natural Notes on the G String, can be learned using a high G ukulele. While there is an overwhelming interest in lessons for low G ukulele, I realize that not everybody has one or wants one. So it was important for me to write the course with this in mind. High G players will still be able to gain the benefit of a greater understanding of rhythm and timing, as well as, learning to read music up to the C string.
Low G ukulele simply means that the 4th string is an octave lower than high G. One of the benefits of this, is that it provides 5 additional notes that are lower in pitch then what can be achieved on a high G ukulele. This is discussed in detail in the first lesson of the course.January 4, 2019 at 3:12 pm #22069
I’m not sure a soprano can take the tension of a low G string without starting to warp in the body and neck eventually.
If it were me, I’d keep the soprano as is and upgrade to a properly setup concert strung with low G.January 4, 2019 at 3:22 pm #22070
Ricky- I’m not Andrew but I wanted to throw in my experience. That’s awesome you dove into the new lessons so fast! I’m so relieved there’s bonus tab for the performance pieces in the coarse.
Anyway I got 2 ukes (Mainly because of Moon because it’s so pretty) so I put a low G set of Aquilla on my soprano 1) because Aquilla made a set specific for it, and 2) I got the $40 concert uke that’s out to kill me but it came strung normally.
Some songs sound fine with low G some sound weird. La Gitanita (spelling) is totally playable for example on low G but in one part I had to figure out the high G notes on the A string. For that song I just kind of fumbled around till it sounded right. It was only a few notes and I play it both ways now on the high G. I can’t play Neil Gow’s Lament on low G, and I can’t play Moon at ALL on high G. So my newbie advise would be to maybe pick up a concert or a size with normal tuning! and have 1 of each to play different songs on If you find yourself wanting to play low G songs enough to warrant buying another uke.
Anyway that’s my 2 cents, If I remember right low G just adds lower notes starting on the 5th fret? Everything above that’s the same as high G. Maybe you can just get around it? I haven’t seen the lessons yet. 😁January 4, 2019 at 4:23 pm #22072
@rickeymike- I would recommend going to a music store to play and get a feel for both Tenor and Concert ukes….and see if you like them. If you do, then maybe get your next uke Low G so you have it for Andrew’s lessons. It just means the G string is an octave lower…so some songs sound better on it.
If you like the feel of Tenor or Concert better than Soprano, maybe get one in high G as well to replace your Soprano. There are lots of decent ukes at good prices that would be an upgrade.
I know for me….I’ve held them all and my favorite is Tenor. I have 1 uke that is Low G
Hope this is helpfulJanuary 4, 2019 at 4:55 pm #22073
Thanks all for the advice. Hope I get more opinions and I will weigh them all. Yes, I do need to get to a music shop and play. That’s the only way I’ll even know what other uke’s sound like. Hopefully the shop people know what a log G is. I know nothin’ ’bout ‘nothin.January 4, 2019 at 6:24 pm #22074
Ricky, music stores around here rarely have a low g strung uke I stick to try out but they all know what it is and can order if they don’t even have strings in stock. Regardless, going to the stores and playing RC101 songs on a bunch of ukes is tons of fun.
I picked up a book on reading standard notation and it was for low g too. I was surprised then, and now it’s the same here. Curious.
Heads up, the jump from a little soprano to a huge tenor has been a challenge for me because the frets are spaced farther apart so my muscle memory suffers. Concert is less of a stretch from soprano so try them all and see how they feel to you.
Also heads up, ukulele acquisition syndrome is a real thing. You might want them all, lol. I have my standard go-to soprano islander that I play most of the time, plus a plastic ukadelic for the beach, plus an amazon.com cheap electric that’s very quiet when not plugged in (so I can practice without bugging people, I get a lot of extra time in on this, e.g. looping hard bits over and over while watching tv) plus a tenor low g that I haven’t figured out what to do with yet. I have to stay away from music stores for a bit!
Happy hunting!January 4, 2019 at 6:25 pm #22075
The shop people will likely know about low G tuning, but don’t be surprised if they don’t have any low G ukes set up for you to play. I like your original plan of upgrading to a new uke and then stringing the Mitchell with a low G (you can indeed string a soprano with a low G…treat your Mitchell to a fresh set of low G strings!) Try out all three sizes of ukes — who knows, you may still prefer sopranos. Find that second, upgraded, uke and then you’ll have the $40 instrument for low G.January 4, 2019 at 8:15 pm #22078
Speaking of UAS, I think I have it BAD! Let me tell you the story…
About 4 years ago, I asked Tiffany what she wanted for her birthday and she said “a ukulele.” I was somewhat taken aback as neither of us played an instrument, but I got her a Luna Tattoo Pineapple soprano because she liked the pattern and neither of us had any other way to judge quality.
To both my and her surprise I kept playing with her ukulele in my home office, so when it was my birthday, she told me she was getting me a uke so I’d leave hers alone. I had decided that I didn’t like the cramped fret spacing on the soprano and wanted to try a low G so she got me a tenor and I strung it low G. I like that one, but I sometimes struggle with stretch chords because I have a boutonniere deformity in my left little finger that limits the amount I can stretch with it.
Fast forward another year later and we ended up going to Hawaii for Tiffany’s cousin’s wedding. We decided that while we were there we would get a nice(ish) uke. We couldn’t afford a K brand, but we really liked the Mele uke that we got. At that point I decided that I like concert ukes best because I can manage stretch chords but I don’t feel cramped. Anyway, the Mele is by far my favourite uke and I have played it in all of my high G videos so far (including Angels We Have Heard on High).
Another year later, I saw a beautiful looking Milo Wood concert uke that was pretty cheap. The maker was recommended by someone online. I thought it would be nice to have another concert that I could tune low G because I really prefer concerts. Anyway, it turned out to be an absolute lemon. The frets were uneven, one of the nut slots was too low, the action was really high at the bridge end, and it had a bad wolf tone on the high G. I did a bit of research and filed down the bridge myself and had my local guitar tech fill one of the nut slots a bit and even out the frets. I managed to fix the wolf tone with different strings, although it took me a few tries. Anyway, now it plays and sounds great and doesn’t look too bad either. It’s just a shame that I spent about half as much again as I originally paid for it trying to get it right. For a while there, I was very tempted to turn it into firewood. Anyway, that’s the uke I played for Moon.
Then, I was recently browsing Gumtree and I saw I guitarlele for next to nothing because it had a few cracks. I thought it would be interesting to try it, and if it was too badly damaged, I wouldn’t have lost much anyway. Once I got it, I found that the cracks are tiny and it sounds great. I’m really happy with it but it’s a really steep learning curve, so I still rarely play it.January 5, 2019 at 6:40 am #22085
Rickey, I’m glad you asked the question. From my limited experience I’d say get a second Uke and put the low G on your first one. But seeing as it’s still only about eight months since I first touched a uke, what do I know? 😂
Thanks for the info that the new course can be started with high G, Andrew. I learned to read music about 50 years ago although never advanced very far really and still can’t easily identify two notes together. Anyway, I was excited for the new course to put music reading with ukulele then thought I needed low G before I could start. Good to know I can get going while I learn about strings. Just need to learn the new note names. When I started, quarter notes were called crotchets. Or maybe that’s another UK/US difference? No matter anyway. I can see what they are when they’re written down, I just get a little confused when they’re spoken. It took me ages to figure out that a whole note is actually a semibreve. But I ramble…
I’m thinking of putting a low G on my Snail soprano, but do I need a whole set or just the low G string? Also, would a new set of strings improve the intonation? My Snail is fine until I move up the frets when it goes quite out of tune. Maybe its just a rubbish uke, which is a pity because it’s a pretty thing and feels alive when I play it.January 5, 2019 at 8:39 am #22088
Your Snail goes out of tune when moving up the neck because it has not been set up properly (cheaper ukes just come from the factory as they are), the saddle is not set correctly so the strings sit too high and are out of tune when played. If the frets are set wrong too, then some notes will be out of tune.
Have a look at Uke Republic (or other uke site) to see what a proper set up involves.
Your cute snail is probably just for basic strumming at the first four or five frets.
I have FIVE ukes that need adjustment 😲, but I will only get a couple done.
Find a luthier and ask if it is worth while paying to get it set up properly.
My “eucalele” (more expensive) was set up at the Ohana warehouse in LA (so Ohana professes), and Mike at Uke Republic checked and refined the set up too. And it sounds beautiful where ever I play along the neck (except when I play a string wrong, but even my poor playing sounds better on this instrument 😁).
We get what we pay for, and I have a few (pretty) duds in my collection.
January 5, 2019 at 11:28 am #22091
- This reply was modified 8 months, 2 weeks ago by miztaken.
When I first started playing I couldn’t really tell a difference between the sound quality of my $50 shark Makala and a more expensive uke. The deeper I got into playing the more I noticed the intricacies of various ukes. I ended up putting a low G on my shark soprano once I added my nicer second uke and had a lot of fun with it. I probably wouldn’t put a low g on a more expensive soprano for reasons that have been mentioned above (stress on the neck, etc.), but I wouldn’t worry about it for an instrument that is not too expensive and from which you’ve aleady got a lot of good milage.
Have fun playing other ukes in your search for upgrading! The first time I upgraded I thought I knew what brand and model of uke I wanted and would be in and out of the store within 15 minutes. I was probably there for an hour and a half playing and narrowing down the selections.I recommend taking your old uke with you to the store so you can compare and contrast the models.January 5, 2019 at 3:41 pm #22096
miztaken – I dare say you are right. The snail is certainly not in your ‘euc’ league that’s for sure 🙂 All good points to consider when thinking about upgrading.January 5, 2019 at 4:48 pm #22099
Hey Rickey 🙂
Second Ukulele: It seems you have fun playing the Ukulele and that you dont plan on stop playing it soon, so i would say if you can afford it, go for a second, higher priced Ukulele! As many others said, try different sizes and get you something you like, its worth it! 🙂
Low G: I have tried a low g on a (very cheap) soprano once. It didnt work at all. It sounded horrible and made terrible buzzing noises.. But i can See others could make it work, so maybe this particular Ukulele was just not right for it..
Either way, dont be afraid of the low G! You can order/buy them in single packages, so you actually dont have to buy a whole new set of strings or change all the strings, just to try the low g (though you should maybe, if the strings a older).
You could just change the g string to a low g and try it out, See if you like it. If not you just change back to a regulär high g again.
It often sounds like “a low g Ukulele” is some special Kind of Instrument, and as if you only could use a low g on it, but you can put whatever g string you like and change whenever you want to 🙂
January 5, 2019 at 9:00 pm #22106
- This reply was modified 8 months, 2 weeks ago by Gaby.
Rickeymike, I agree with others who have suggested stringing the Mitchell low G, and investing in something better with regular re-entrant tuning. My additional recommendation would be to do some online research before visiting the music store. Check out the review sites – one of my favorites is gotaukulele.com. Select ukulele reviews and you can search by brand or see lists categorized by price range. Barry’s reviews are thorough, and can help a lot. Sometimes the price difference between a pretty satisfying uke and a really frustrating one is not that much.
Good luck and have fun shopping!
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