What is High G Ukulele Tuning
The standard ukulele tuning is unique in the sense that the tuning of the strings is based on what is called “re-entrant tuning”.
This is a fancy way of saying that the strings are not tuned from low to high in a straight sequence.
The classic way to tune a ukulele is in fact to have a high G string closest to you, then the next string goes lower and from that point it goes up for each string.
The high G tuning on a ukulele is in fact the main reason for that happy and super upbeat tone. The second reason is of course that the ukulele is a high treble range instrument overall.
So a standard high G ukulele is tuned as follows: G4 – C4 – E4 – A4. Meaning that the first string is a note that is just below the highest A4.
What is Low G Ukulele Tuning
Now you probably already figured out what low G tuning is on a ukulele. It is of course to change that high G4 string closest to you, into a G3, meaning it will be the lowest string on the ukulele. Just like on any other string instrument like guitars etc.
However, you can not simply tune down a high G4 string to G3. Because strings depend on thickness, material and tension, that make up what note range they can be tuned to.
This means you will need to buy a set of strings for your ukulele that specifically says “low G strings”. Most often that low G string will be metal, while the others will still be plastic/nylon.
Another important consideration is what size your ukulele is. A soprano, and even a concert, ukulele may simply be too short to be able to cope with that l0w G string. So in most cases you will only find low G tuning on tenor ukuleles.
Why you should choose a Low G Ukulele Tuning
There are many benefits, but also downsides, of using a low G tuning on your ukulele. First, the main downside is that you will loose that characteristic light, upbeat treble sound when you strum chords on your ukulele.
The other downside is that it may take some time to get used to have that low string in metal, and of course it will affect the tone when going between that string and any of the other ones.
But what about the upsides? For me, the upsides weigh heavier, as I like that warmer, more deep tone, and extended range the low G tuning gives you.
Instead of middle C (C4) being the lowest possible note, you can now go down to G3. This is amazing for melodic playing, riffs and even arpeggios and fingerpicking chords.
Chords will sound fuller, deeper and warmer. But for me, the main upside is the extended range you get on your ukulele.
So, the Low G ukulele tuning is: G3 – C4 – E4 – A4.
If you enjoy both high G and Low G ukulele tunings, and want to use them for different purposes, I recommend getting 2 ukuleles. 1 main one with classic high G tuning, and 1 tenor ukulele with low G strings. Good luck, and have fun on your ukulele journey! =)