hello world!

this is an (experimental) website dedicated to a 4-stringed instrument: the ukulele.

“as if we had not yet enough of these pages” one might think – and you are correct. in fact i am was just messing around a bit on a new hosting platform. but i didn’t like the idea of using dummy texts and the like all over the place so i went for something more inspiring – and who knows, maybe i will really start blogging ukulele related stuff here…

ukulele related

my random collection of topics related to ukulele in general – whatever i found worth spending some thoughts on.

quickstart for guitar players (dgbe tuning) on ukulele (gcea tuning)

quickstart for guitar players (dgbe tuning) on ukulele (gcea tuning)

i would assume it is commonly known that guitar and ukulele have some things in common – apart from the 8-shape. i am referring to the tuning intervals of the strings.
standard guitar tuning is eadgbe, standard ukulele tuning is gcea – and believe it or not: the string intervals are the same :-). ukulele is just tuned a bit higher than the top 4 strings of a guitar; baritone ukulele is the exception from the rule and tuned to guitar pitch completely.

quick excursion regarding vocabulary:

  • a chord is a group of notes in certain intervals. it contains the same notes on any instrument – in other words: this is what you hear.
  • a pattern (or shape) is the group of finger positions on the fretboard which creates a certain chord – in other words: this is what you do.

this similarity has some fretting advantages especially for people switching back and forth between guitar and ukulele:

  • guitar and baritone uke shapes are identical. whatever you do on the top 4 guitar strings to fret e.g. a c chord is exactly what you need on the bari for a c chord.
  • gcea chord shapes can easily be used on guitar (or bari), all you need is a capo in 5th fret. if you use gcea shapes on a bari without capo your chords are different, namely 5 semitones higher (a gcea “c” shape will produce an “f” chord on baritone). as long as you play on your own this is no problem at all, but what if all you have is gcea knowledge and only a bari or guitar in a group of guitar players?

so what could you gcea player do when trying out a bari? sure, you could force the different names for the known patterns into your head. but that’s probably a rather tedious task. the other option is pretty simple (somehow cheating – but who cares? as long as it sounds ok…): assuming you are familiar with gcea patterns and your mind has no problems translating a “c” on the chord sheet to the 0003 pattern you could use the transposition table below to rewrite the chords on your chord sheet.

the correct pattern for the c chord in dgbe tuning is 2010 – this pattern should be known to your brain as “f” pattern. grab your chord sheet and change all c’s in chords to f, change all d to g, etc.
an experienced bari player will now sound way off when using your chord sheet – but you gcea guy can now easily get along on the bari.

best of all: this works both ways. if you want to play along with a guitar/bari transpose the chord letters on your chord sheet (f to c, g to d, etc.) and you’re done.

ADF#Bd

d#

eb

eff#

gb

g

g#

ab

aa#

bb

bc
c pattern in adf#b
c#

db

GCEAc
c pattern in gcea
c#
db
dd#
eb
ef

f#
gb
gg#
ab
aa#
bb
b
DGBEgg#
ab
aa#
bb
bc
c pattern in dgbe
c#
db
dd#
eb
eff#
gb

(chord diagrams kindly provided by ukulele-chords.com)

notefinder aka another fretboard map

notefinder aka another fretboard map

there’s plenty of fretboard maps out there, showing which note is where on the fretboard of your ukulele. but all of these graphical maps omit the octave, they show only the note names – which can lead to slightly unwanted results…

fretboard_mapas this disturbed me for quite some time now i finally decided to quickly draft some kind of tabs showing classical musical notation together with tabs considering all strings:

howto add a strap button to the firefly banjolele

howto add a strap button to the firefly banjolele

sometimes a strap comes in handy – but on the original firefly there’s hardly any good mounting point to attach a strap. big banjoleles come with lots of possibilities, just the firefly lacks one. and i do not consider fiddling some shoelace through the tailpiece a good solution, not even a workaround.

forutnately the tailpiece is fixed to the rim with a standard screw. replacing it with a longer one and a strap button is only a matter of less than 15 minutes…

  1. losen the strings and remove the bridge (after all we will undo the tailpiece which holds the strings so we’d better get the tension off it)
  2. remove the cap nut and the screw. you might have to really unscrew the screw from the rim instead of simply pulling it out
  3. depending on your strap button you might need a longer screw with the same diameter. i only had a m4x40mm with matching nut and washer at hand, but a 25mm would have been sufficient. the original cap nut did not fit my german m4 screw btw.
  4. mount the button – this time the screw goes from outside to inside of the rim, the nut secures it from the inside.
  5. make sure the tailpiece does not touch the skin after tightening everything.
  6. retune.

in case you’re interested: i mounted a planet waves pweep202 elliptical end pin (available e.g. at amazon)

project: “bass” ukulele

project: “bass” ukulele

bass clefone might ask: why “project”, the ubass has already been introduced?
looking closer, the question already contains the answer: the ubass (and all its variants) is in fact not an ukulele but a small scale bass. most obvious proof is the tuning: ukulele is tuned gcea (or adf#b) – ubass is tuned eadg which is the standard bass tuning.

in a group of ukuleles you’re always a bit weak on the bass side, mostly for pure physical reasons: as a matter of fact low frequencies simply do not properly resonate in small instrument bodies with short-scale strings. big bass needs big space (or proper amplification as we see on the ubass). period.

coming from ukulele i do struggle with bass playing, all fretboard knowledge (“which note is where“) is useless and i have to relearn. after all the bass is an instrument of its own. learning the arpeggio patterns etc. is not rocket science, it just takes time and prevents a easy quick flick between uke and bass.

the solution of this “dilemma” is imho quite obvious: for more bass you need a bigger ukulele body with strings tuned below standard c4. the biggest available ukulele bodies are baritones, but these are usually tuned dgbe (like the four highest strings of a guitar). fortunately baritone string sets are available in gcea as well, even in linear tuning.

and this is exactly what i will try: a baritone tuned (low-)gcea, one octave below standard c4 tuning. i know it will not be as low as a real bass but i expect it to be a nice low-end addition to the smaller ukes. see the picture below with tonal ranges of various ukulele sizes (all tuned gcea) and the bass (tuned eadg):

  • yellow = sopranino
  • green = soprano, concert, tenor (low g enhancement in light green)
  • orange = the “bass” ukulele (baritone tuned low gcea)
  • blue = bass
tonal ranges of ukuleles and bass
tonal ranges of ukuleles and bass

all necessary materials are ordered, i am curious about the results.

i will start off with a inexpensive standard (re-entrant gcea) set of aquila 23u baritone strings which i will use for linear low g tuning by swapping g, c and e strings to descending diameters from top to floor:

4th string = c string, tuned down to low g
3rd string = e string, tuned down to c
2nd string = g string, tuned down to e
1st string = a string, tuned to a 🙂

btw: this is the easiest way to test linear tuning without investing any money in a dedicated set of strings. the strings could feel a bit sloppy, but in any case they will give you an overall idea of low g sound on your ukulele.

update 12 dec 2015:

the string tension of the aquila 23u is so low on the baritone that i refrained from the low-g trial – re-entrant tension is already pretty sloppy and way less than what i am used on my concert and soprano ukes. the c string is almost in tune once you pulled it tight and fixed it on the peg, hardly no need for a few peg turns if you don’t want to go for adf#b tuning.

anyway, it gives the expected low end even though strummed chords tend to sound “muddy” – but that’s most probably caused by the ear’s disability to clearly distinguish the low frequencies.

bottom line: test passed 🙂

if you need some bass in the ukulele group and don’t want to spend time and money on ubass the gcea baritone is an instant solution.

ASCII Art: Ukulele

ASCII Art: Ukulele

you never know when you will need this, e.g. in a forum signature…
basic ukulele

( o )==::

advanced (soprano and concert) ukulele incl bridge (a turkish character, code #305;)

(ı o)==::
( ıo )===::

a fluke

| ıo >==::
[ ıo >==::

a flea

|ıo )==::
[ıo )==::

a banjolele

(ı )===::

another one (found on Ukulele Rocks!)

::==={o |}

(to be continued…)

coming soon: plastic ukulele

coming soon: plastic ukulele

i couldn’t resist when i saw this koki’o transparent plastic soprano – maybe i will found an underwater ukulele group one day. the only non-plastic parts are the tuners, all the rest should be 100% waterproof. apparently plastic ukuleles are on the raise again, targetting the lower end of the price scale whilst promising a steady level of quality. after buying a flea with plastic body and fretboard, this seems the next logical step. sound samples on the web are still rare, but not disappointing (nor discouraging).
for the time being i can only post pictures from the vendor’s website; these will be replaced by my own photos as soon as possible.

the koki’o plastic ukuleles are also available in black, transparent blue, transparent red and “wood” – all are soprano scale. click here to get directly to ukulele.de.

i love the idea of putting stuff inside like e.g. some led lights or similar – this could become a whole new ukulele experience….

some sound samples on youtube:



ukulele tuning pitches

ukulele tuning pitches

i found a great picture of a full piano keyboard (made by phillip kuhrt based on an original by sergey pushkin) on wikimedia; look at the different ukulele tunings in relation to each other:

ubass: E A D G
baritone: D G B E
“standard” ukulele (tenor, concert, soprano): G (low or high) C E A
“alternate” tuning: A (low or high) D F# B

planet waves micro headstock tuner (pw-ct-12)

planet waves micro headstock tuner (pw-ct-12)

i already have a few of the previous model (planet waves mini) living on the various headstocks of my ukes, and now I gave the new model by d’addario a try:

it is an excellent example of how even good things can be improved.

  • slightly smaller than the previous model
  • 3-color display (red=off, yellow=almost, green=in tune)
  • reworked clip, now fits thinner headstocks and is easier to handle
  • “flip screen” display, can be turned 180° depending on mounting location
  • bigger buttons on the micro tuner
  • tuning range 410-480 Hz (mini: 410-450 Hz)
  • optical metronome 20-270 bpm
    (haven’t used that one yet, but can imagine some use for it)
  • battery now accessible without any kind of tools
    (you still needed a coin or similar to twist the battery compartment of the mini)
  • standard CR2032 battery
  • lightweight and almost invisible when mounted behind (or should I say “under”?) the headstock
  • 360° swivel base
  • piezo system for precise tuning even in noisy environments

bottom line: definitely one of my “must have” ukulele accessories.

cheap enough (available on amazon for ) to have one for every uke – and on the other hand so small you should never take it off because it will get lost 😉

some pictures below; on the left is the old model (pw mini), measures in cm

 

link collection

link collection

i don’t want to maintain a super long list of external links in the side menu, but still i need some kind of notepad for useful links. here we go – unordered for the time being…

ukulele setup

ukulele related

inventory

ukuleles i played, ukuleles i owned, ukuleles i found interesting enough to write about. articles are dated with date of purchase for a chronological view.

definitely a piece of high-tech, engineered and produced in usa. the folks at blackbird really spent some thoughts on that one and came up with great engineering and sound without using a single bit of wood and still sustainable. from a price point this is significantly a...
read more
uas kicked in badly when i saw this beauty for sale… specifications body: all solid (curly) koa, bookmatched back and sides binding/trim: (faux) tortoise and mahogany/maple rope style neck: mahogany (2 pieces) fretboard: ebony, 20 frets (14 to body), fretboard and s...
read more
specifications top, back and sides: made “with hand-selected, hawaiian koa harvested on the big island of hawaii.” – in plain words: laminate koa , outer layer is koa, the rest some other tonewood. binding/trim: maple with some white and black accents ne...
read more

about

this website started as an experiment: i was interested in the possibilities of hosting with one.com – they praised themselves as fast, easy and reliable hosting provider.

the domain name was inspired by one of my hobbies: ukulele playing. that’s it. the fact that one.com offered .in domains helped me choosing them.

despite some affiliate links eventually being spread over the website this is a private and non-profit web presence without any commercial background.

having said this here is the first affiliate link to WebhostOne, the current provider. one.com didn’t exactly fit my needs, so i decided to put an end to the experiment whilst still keeping this site alive.

webhostoneKlimaneutrales-Hosting

go.4str.in

YOURLS: Your Own URL Shortenergo.4str.in is powered by yourls (your own url shortener)

if you came here to find out more about go.4str.in you have come to the right place.

i am pretty active posting stuff about ukulele in various related forums like ukulelenboard.de or ukuleleunderground.com (just to mention two). as a matter of fact people keep asking similar questions over and over again, meaning you need to point them to the same resources again and again. that’s why shortlinks are useful – you simply don’t have to remember the full url to everything.
of course i could have started using one of the more popular shortlink providers like bit.ly or tinyurl. but i am more of a diy person and thus i went for my own installation of yourls on this webserver. just for the pun of it i set up the url shortener with a “speaking” subdomain 😉
i have full control and full statistics available at my own discretion – what more could i want.

for the time being the shortlinks on go.4str.in are reserved for anything related to 4 strings.

it might happen in the future that i open up the public interface on go.4str.in and make this shortlink service available for the general public. YOURLS as such is reliable and stable enough, but spammers tend to abuse the service pretty soon; so far i have not found a fully satisfying remedy against those “funny” people. that’s why the interface is not yet public.

(Header image shamelessly copied from http://blog.yourls.org/)

disclaimer

anything posted here could be pure fiction or plain wrong – this might have happened on purpose or by coincidence. feel free to notify me about any errors you find. some things might still be true though.
whatever you do with stuff found here is done completely under your own responsibility, not mine.

links to external sites should only lead to legal content – at least they did so at the time of linking. should that have changed in the meantime pls. leave a comment on the respective page where you found the link to notify me.

pictures used on this site are either my own work or used with kind permission of the original authors. should you know better, let me know and i will take down the unlicensed content.
some of the background images are taken from pixabay – a great source of free (cc0 license) images.

trademarks and copyrights are respected even when not explicitly marked as such.

google analytics is not used to track your visit. nevertheless it could happen that this site makes use of cookies. for visitor tracking i recommend using piwik instead – or one of the multiple plugins available for wordpress. actually i am using piwik on this site, hosted on the very same server.