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David Hodge

Since joining Guitar Noise in 1999, David has written over a thousand articles, lessons, interviews and reviews here. He also serves as the site's Managing Editor, supervising all content in addition to the continued writing of his own lessons and articles. And if that wasn't enough to keep him busy, David is also the author of seven instructional books, the most recent being Idiot’s Guide: Guitar Theory.

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4 Comments

  1. Don Spaeth
    May 15th, 2012 @ 4:37 am

    Lovely introductory Ukulele lesson.
    I started collecting vintage ukuleles in 2005–buying mostly on eBay. At the depth of my obsession I had over 50. My wife was shaking her head and making serious threats, so we thinned the herd a bit. While I love the looks and vibe of a soprano ukulele, they are very difficult to play. The fretspace is so small. My favorite playing-out ukulele is the Tenor.
    I would recommend playing some vintage ukes–mahogany sounds and looks very different from koa. I love my Martins, but check out Mele Ukulele from Hawaii. Great instruments, roadworthy, beautiful, wonderful tone. Affordable. Gibson and Gretsch vintage ukuleles are available to the dedicated collector.

  2. Mat (The Laughing Bard)
    May 21st, 2012 @ 11:45 pm

    One way to tell if it’s a toy Ukulele is to look if it has a Sponge Bob logo on it…

  3. Adam
    October 30th, 2012 @ 10:47 am

    Thanks, David! I always learn a bunch from your articles. I think I’m confused, though. Did I follow the tuning explanation for the non baritone models right? The fourth string (G) is tuned higher than the third string (C) and second string (E)?

    • David Hodge
      October 30th, 2012 @ 12:02 pm

      Hi Adam

      And thank you for your kind words.

      You did indeed get the explanation correctly. Part of the ukulele’s distinct sound comes from this tuning, which is called re-entrant tuning, where the fourth string is tuned higher than the second and third. If you’re tuning to a keyboard, the C string would be tuned to middle C. Then the E string is tuned to the E just above middle C and the G string is tuned to the G above middle C. So hitting those three strings in that specific sequence – C, E, G – gives you a C major arpeggio, running from root (C) to third (E) to fifth (G). The A string is then tuned to the A above middle C, which is one whole step up from the G string.

      In some ways, it’s a little like playing a five-string banjo, with a very high note being the first string struck when strumming.

      It goes without saying, though, that some folks just don’t like the sound of re-entrant tuning and will buy a thicker gauge G string that can be tuned an octave lower, that note being the G below middle C (the same as the G string on the guitar). For some reason a lot of tenor ukulele players do this (some will even insist it’s the only way to tune a tenor uke), but it can also be done on both the soprano and the concert sizes.

      And then there are folks (myself included) that have a separate uke for each of these possible g-strings. Totally up to you, of course!

      I hope this helps. As always, feel free to post any further questions you may have here or simply email me directly at dhodgeguitar@aol.com. I look forward to chatting with you again.

      Peace