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High G or Low G?

I get this question quite often so I thought I would share an older video we did, but never put up here on The Ukulele Review. Aaron goes over some of the differences  and demonstrates benefits with both low and high G. It should be worth noting that any tenor with a high G  can be changed to a low G, and vice versa, simply by changing the string. The high G and low G are both about .026″-.040″ and if the nut slot is cut using the v files we use (we pretty much always lower your nut slots), then the slot does not need to be adjusted. If you want to try a low G and do not have an ukulele store nearby, find a guitar store that has sells single strings for classical. The low G on a uke is the D string from a classical set. Usually a .032. Feel free to share your comments, questions, or personal experiences.
Mahalo!

Comments 32

  1. Hey,
    First of all I just want to thank you for having such an awesome website and tutorials and in general for just being very helpful. I have contacted HMS a couple times already via youtube, facebook, and email so I hope you don’t get too annoyed at all my questions.
    I am a beginner guitar player, still learning to play my standard yamaha acoustic guitar. Even though I ove guitar and I love playing, my first love has always been ukulele’s (ok that sounds kind of weird). For a while now I have wanted a ukulele and I was completely sold on getting one after hearing “somewhere over the rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwoʻole. Ever since I have been ever more eager to get one. Finally the opportunity has come as my sister has agreed to buy me one for my 21st birthday.
    My question is as follows, in one of my previous posts it was suggested that I get either the ka-t or ka-15s as a first beginner uke. What I want to know is would it be better to have it with a high g or low g for playing with my guitar and of course for playing somewhere over the rainbow? And whichever one is better would you be able to “install” the high or low g and set up the uke and ship to california?

    Thanks for your time,
    Boruch DuBrow

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      Hi Richard, You can play everything the same, it is the same note, chords and scales will remain the same, but technically would be written out as the lower octave.

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    2. Actually, IZ used to play low-G on a Martin tenor uke, as you can hear and see in countless videos online.

  2. Saw the poll question on this -don’t know if this is where it started. Just starting out on uke this year after 20 years of guitar so I could help offer an alternative to my wife -she just couldn’t get around guitar (but is running away with uke!). When we shopped our first uke we gravitated toward tenor, and definitely picked up on high g sounding more traditional to our newbie ears. Actually turned down low g for sounding too guitar. Now a few months in, I hear Corey playing stuff that just can’t be done without it. Think jazz woulda be better on low g too, but Gerald Ross blew that theory out the window – go Gerald! IMR(ookie)O neither is better, they’re just 2 different animals.

  3. I really like the different sound that the low G creates, it was different at first and took a little getting used to but I like it now
    as some songs I play seem to fit the low G better, is there an alternative low G string that HMS supplies that isn’t metal wound?
    Thanks
    Drew

  4. I’m very glad that I learned with the more traditional high G, but have recently started playing the low G on my tenor. It has a great warm sound, and gives some of my older songs a new sound.

  5. I sure would like to see the video high g vs low g, however it does not play. Would you please fix so it plays.
    Thank you.
    Don Mallory

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  6. I have two ukes in low G, I will have to ukes in high G as soon as my new one arrives from you guys, and a Bass Uke. All of them are tenor ukes as I like the bigger size since I am a guitar player. I started learning on the high G as it was the traditional sound. When I heard the low G, I decided to get one. I will now have a high G and a low G with pickups, and a high G and a low G that are strictly acoustic. The best of all worlds! Oh…and also…OMG! Are you great on the uke or what?! What I wouldn’t give to be able to play like you. You are FANTASTIC my friend. WOW! Anyway, I love you guys and your set up and keep up the good work!

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  7. This may be dumb, I’m just starting out & not sure how you use a tuner on a low G ukee.

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  8. I think it’s all about taste no? I play both low g and high g and like musical variations in all instruments, hence the uke is so amazingly adaptable. I’ve seen IZ play several times in the old days and he did in fact play a lot of low g ukes. However, just because one person r anothNorth Berwick in Scotland. Almost as beautiful as Oahu, but maybe a degree or two cooler lol

  9. Excellent discussion. However, it’s, “If you don’t know what you’re looking for, try both,” not, “…what your looking for…”

    The first (you’re) means “you are.” The second (your) is possessive, as in “your house.” It’s a common error. Don’t make it one of yours.

      1. Hey Jeff – Regarding your reply to Richard’s comment, I think Richard must be an English teacher. (Boy, I hope my grammar and spelling are correct!) Mahalo

  10. I got my first uke 4 months ago, a Kala SLLNG long neck soprano. Is it possible to change my uke to a low G?

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  11. I just picked up a Kala 5 string tenor. It has both a low and a high G. Best of both worlds 🙂

  12. I just received the Pono MT last week from your site which I really enjoy. It has such a good pleasant sustained sound. I did order with low G which is great for some songs but for some others I prefer high-G . What type of high_G string would be preferred for this ukulele to blend with the other installed strings ? (i.e. what brand of strings are installed on it ?)

    thanks; Don

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  13. I am a beginner ukulele player and here are my thoughts on the Low G string. I want to play melody/chord so I hate to think that middle C is the lowest note I can play. With a Low G string installed you have several notes below middle C which widen your musical range of notes. Thanks for accepting my comment.

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  14. Hi, I have a baritone voice and my question is
    what will be better for my voice (singing), a Low G or High G on my ukulele?

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      I don’t think it would make a difference because the key is the same. So if you’re strumming chords and singing the melody would be the same either way.

  15. I’ve been playing the ukulele (I play guitar and a little bit of banjo normally) and playing it as it came – high G – on my tenor for about 10 months now. During this time I have noticed that the low G string would come in handy for maybe 1/4 of the tunes I’ve played, which is mostly just rock music. I typically like to play melody lines on overlapping or around chords. Anyway, I would like to play more jazz and gypsy style music. I know jazz chords sound pretty nice with high G but I’d like to play jazz soloing in addition to jazz chords. Does this type of music of go better with low G or high G? I did start exploring the low G sound a few days ago and found it to be pretty neat on some tunes but really weird on others. I didn’t buy a low G string, I just did this by moving the 3rd and 2nd strings up and the 4 string to the 2nd spot.

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