6-String Uke but ... What did I buy??
Dear Ukulele Underground,
I bought a used 6 string uke that came tuned as ADGCEA. Nothing I've seen so far addresses this tuning. Also the fret board does not look the same as the pictured fret board in the forum, with the C's and A's so close together. It looks more like a small guitar in its stringing. I bought it so I could have a uke in the 2 places I frequent without being concerned with damaging it during travel. I am a brand new student and would like to be able to apply what I learn from your course to both of the ukes. Would you suggest removing 2 strings or something else?
Thank you so much for being a part of the Underground! From the sound of it, it seems like you bought a guitar-ukulele hybrid (often called a "guitalele"), which is different from a 6-string ukulele where two of the courses are doubled up (see image above). The usual tuning for guitaleles is just as you got it (ADGCEA) and it is played using guitar chord shapes.
Standard ukuleles are basically guitars that are tuned 2 1/2 steps up with the two bass strings removed, so a guitalele is the same thing (except it still has the two bass strings). So you can technically use any guitar tab and play it on your guitalele - the song will sound the same, just in a higher key.
Ukulele (Standard Tuning) - GCEA
6-String Ukulele - GCCEAA (usually the two Cs are tuned an octave apart, while the two As are in unison)
Guitalele - ADGCEA (Same as a guitar with a capo on Fret 5)
You can remove the two bass strings on your guitalele and you will essentially have a (low G) ukulele, though you would have the extra-wide fretboard to deal with, which can be a little cumbersome. So it's totally up to you, guitaleles are a great way for ukulele players to start learning the guitar or for guitar players to transition to ukulele, so it's worth having around if that's something you're interested in. Otherwise, it might be easier to just pick up another standard ukulele for your second location.
Hope that helps! Thanks again, Marie, and as always if you have any other questions or need absolutely anything else at all, just send a message and we got you covered. Have a great day & keep strummin'
-Aaron (& the UU Staff)
NOTE: 6-String Ukuleles can be played exactly the same way you play standard tuned ukuleles. Because the two C strings and two A strings are so close together, you can effectively hold down both strings with a single finger. So all of the fingerings that you use for your chords on a standard ukulele can be used directly on any 6-string ukulele (or 8-string ukulele, where there are doubles of all of the strings). This is not the case with the guitalele, however - if you want to take full advantage of all 6 strings on a guitalele, you need to use guitar chord shapes instead of ukulele chord shapes.
Got a questions for us? Having problems with your ukulele or ukulele playing? Let us know!