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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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Cage the Elephant Get a ‘Little Closer’ to Ellen

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Cage the Elephant’s latest album Melophobia has earned both critical and commercial accolades since its October 2013 release, and the single “Come a Little Closer” is definitely a radio staple.

That must be why Ellen DeGeneres was so excited when she recently hosted them on her daytime talk show.  Watch it all unfold after the jump.

(more…)

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Roddy Hart and the Lonesome Fire Rock Craig Ferguson

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Roddy Hart Craig Ferguson

Roddy Hart was recently booked for a week-long residence on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson with his band the Lonesome Fire, and the Scottish singer/songwriter definitely brought the heat.

One of the highlights of the residency was the single “Bright Light Fever,” which comes off Roddy Hart and the Lonesome Fire’s self-titled 2013 album.  That performance prompted Ferguson to exclaim, “There’s your Glasgow rock and roll right there!”

Watch Hart and his Gretsch Black Falcon in action below.

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Switchfoot Perform Two Fading West Tracks on Kimmel

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Just as they hit the road in support of their 2013 album Fading West, Switchfoot stopped by the set of Jimmy Kimmel Live to play two of their newer songs.

Performing in front of a crowd that was ready to rock, Switchfoot sounded tight as ever when they pulled out “Say It Like You Mean It” and “When We Come Alive.”

Watch both performances after the jump and visit Switchfoot’s official Facebook page for a list of tour dates. (more…)

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Arctic Monkeys Perform at BRIT Awards

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Arctic Monkeys opened the 2014 BRIT Awards in London on Wednesday night with an incendiary performance of “R U Mine?”. The band also took home top honors at the show, winning both Best British Group and British Album of the Year with 2013′s AM.

“That rock and roll, eh?” said frontman Alex Turner in his acceptance speech for the latter. “That rock and roll, it just won’t go away. It might hibernate from time to time and sink back into the swamp. I think the cyclical nature of the universe in which it exists demands it adheres to some of its rules. But it’s always waiting there just around the corner, ready to make its way back through the sludge and smash through the glass ceiling, looking better than ever. Yeah, that rock and roll, it seems like it’s fading away sometimes, but it will never die. And there’s nothing you can do about it. Thank you very much for this. I do truly appreciate it. Don’t take that the wrong way, and invoice me for the microphone if you need to.”

The win for Brit Album of the Year marked the third time the band has won the award.

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