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Monthly Archives: April 2014

GretschTech: Ukulele Tuning

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Gretsch Roots Collection G9110-SM Concert Deluxe ukulele.

The Gretsch Roots collection includes several ukulele models of varying sizes and styles. Given the resurgence of the instrument’s popularity in recent years, many who acquire a ukulele for the first time often find themselves wondering how to tune it.

Of several ways to tune ukuleles, the most common standard tuning is gCEA. The third-string C equals middle C on a piano, and that lowercase G indicates that this is a reentrant tuning in which the strings are not tuned in an ascending (or descending) order of pitches. That first G is actually not the G pitched below the second-string C by a perfect fourth; it’s actually one octave higher than that, which makes it fall between the pitches of the third-string E and fourth-string A. This non-linear kind of tuning arrangement is partially responsible for the distinctively lilting tone of the instrument.

Of the four common ukulele sizes, three of them—soprano, concert and tenor (smallest to largest)—frequently use the reentrant gCEA tuning. The fourth and largest, the baritone ukulele—typically uses the non-reentrant version of this tuning, GCEA, in which the first-string G is tuned a perfect fourth below the second-string C.

Having said that, soprano, concert and tenor ukuleles less often can and do use non-reentrant tunings such as the GCEA arrangement just described.

Simply tuning a uke as you would the top four strings of a guitar presents a non-standard baritone-style tuning of DGBE (low to high). While this is clearly quite different than the standard gCEA uke tuning, note that applying a capo to the fifth fret of a guitar in standard tuning does yield a non-reentrant GCEA tuning.

A popular alternate ukulele tuning—especially for tenor and baritone models—is aDF#B (and its non-reentrant version, ADF#B), which is one whole step higher than standard ukulele tuning. Other alternate uke tunings include FBbDG, EbAbCF and EAC#F#.

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Brass Bed Featured on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts Series

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Brass Bed

Lafayette, La., band Brass Bed was recently featured on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts series, where the four guys played a few songs off their debut album The Secret Will Keep You.

The self-described “wide-eyed pop dreamers” were unfortunately the recent victims of theft. Despite having most of their touring gear stolen from their van, they’ve held true to their optimism.

“While we’ve not found the stolen equipment, through donations by friends, family, fans, and aid by Chicago Music Exchange, and Fender/Gretsch Guitars, we’ve replaced nearly everything lost,” the band wrote on their Tumblr account. “My friends, this is a miracle not of modern technology, but of human love and compassion. In the past 36 hours, the wave of generosity we’ve received from you has nearly drowned us. It’s given us more than just our gear back. It’s given us a renewed faith in the basic goodness of people around the country, a renewed fervor to continue our craft, and a desire to do good for others.

“Losing your guitar is material. Even at the lowest emotional point of this event, we were still a lucky bunch of guys. We had our health, our families, each other, and even few guitar amps left. We want you to know that the relative insignificance of our loss is not itself lost on us; even if we didn’t recover or replace that equipment we’d still be a lucky bunch of guys.”

Watch the band perform the short set for NPR below, featuring one of their new instruments — a Gretsch Electromatic Center-Block.

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David Ellefson Teams With Frank Bello in Altitudes & Attitude, Drops Video for ‘Tell the World’

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David Ellefson GretschMegadeth’s David Ellefson and Anthrax’s Frank Bello have been hosting bass clinics together for a few years now, but who would have thought the thrash legends would actually team up and start a band?

That’s just what Ellefson and Bello did, with the recent release of Altitudes & Attitude’s debut three-song EP.

The two bassists wrote each track and played both guitar and bass, with support from drummer Jeff Friedl of A Perfect Circle.

To get a taste of the new music, check out the video for “Tell the World” below.

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