© Copyright 2013 Southcoast Furniture, Inc.
Home Design Construction Woods Finish Features Models Availability
With the Tenor Largo Ukulele our designs step well away from the norm.  Here we have a body that has a soundboard with the approximate dimensions of a traditional Tenor Ukulele.  The scale is longer, however, having the 20” length most often associated with a Baritone Ukulele.  As a result, we’ve made the shape of our body is a little different - it’s a bit longer and narrower.  This is by intention, as our instruments are designed from the start for the scales they have.  They are not longer fretboards stuck on a body designed for a “short-neck”.  As such, the overall proportions are more pleasing to the eye. With this layout, we feel our Tenor Largo Ukulele becomes a much better performer in some aspects, and gives a very different voice in others.  Here’s why: Ukulele Reentrant Tuning: Ukulele reentrant tuning on a traditional Tenor Ukulele today is most often done in the modern Key of C.  That high a tuning generally requires somewhat high tension to drive a soundboard of this size with typical Tenor Ukulele bracing.   But a Tenor sized body easily handles deeper notes.  In fact, it was originally intended to be played with an Ukulele reentrant G tuning.    To get back to the Tenors natural range, the long scale and lighter bracing of a Tenor Largo improve performance in several ways.  First, on a standard 17” scale fretboard, a Key of G reentrant tuning tuning will require very heavy strings.  The performance with that type of stringing is why the original Tenor tuning was abandoned to begin with.  Our bracing does not require higher tension to project well, and so normal Ukulele tensions work perfectly.  For those who like playing up the fretboard, either with moveable chords or for solos, this fretboard gives 16 frets to the body - in other words, the room you would normally only have on a standard Tenor if it had a cutaway.  Most importantly, the longer fretboard also means much greater clarity throughout the entire range of notes. You can tune down to the Key of B flat, a step lower to the Key of A, or to the original Tenor tuning in the Key of G.  You’ll have a richer, fuller sound, and play without high tensions.  You’ll be playing with the sound this instrument was intended for, but with a clarity and range it never before possessed.  It will feel right and sound right.  We believe this to be the optimal set-up for a larger reentrant Ukulele. But what if you are one of those who has learned to play in C tuning, and occasionally need to revert back in group situations.  Of course you could learn to transpose your chords, but maybe from time to time, you just like the higher, brighter sound of a C tuned instrument.  The Tenor Largo is an excellent choice for that situation as well. If you are at all familiar with Flamenco guitar playing, you may have noticed that it sounds very different from Classical guitar.  You may also have noticed that these fellows are almost never seen playing without a capo.  As flamenco is instrumental more often than not, this is not done to adjust for vocals.  It’s because flamenco players prefer a higher, brighter sound, and most importantly, the low action that goes with capo use.  You need a certain scale length for this to be effective, and the 20” scale of the Tenor Largo does the trick. Tune to the key of G and capo to C, and on our long neck, you will still have 11 frets to work with.  This is basically how Nick Reynolds of the Kingston Trio played his Tenor guitar.  He always used a capo, and moved up from the Key of G to C or even D tuning.  Tune to the Key of A on a Tenor Largo and then capo to C - you’ll have 13 frets to the body.  Tune to B flat and capo to C and you have 14.  In other words, from B flat tuning with a Tenor Largo, a capoed C tuning leaves you with the same fretboard length as a standard Tenor, the difference being, you have a lower action. With a Tenor Largo in Ukulele reentrant tuning, in effect, you have two instruments.  Played open you have a rich, resonant, “classical” reentrant Tenor Ukulele.  Capoed to C, you have a bright, low action, fast playing “flamenco” reentrant Tenor Ukulele.  (Maybe we should charge double.) Linear or Open Tuning: The other popular tuning on the standard Tenor Ukulele today is a Linear C tuning.  When we speak of “Open” tuning, we’re restricting it only to mean the tuning shown on the previous page, sometimes called Taropatch.  As the range of notes is so similar to the linear form, what we point out in regard to linear tuning will apply to this form of open tuning as well. The low note of a Linear C tuning - the 4th string - is the same g note as the low note of the Tenors’ original Key of G Ukulele reentrant tuning: a g note on the 3rd string.  A standard Tenor Ukulele, then, is a very viable choice for this set-up.  With our designs, however, we wanted to present another option - another voice.  Compared to a standard Tenor Ukulele, the differences in tone again arise chiefly from the longer scale and lighter soundboard bracing. The longer scale requires a move to lighter gauge strings for this tuning.  It is at this point that an all plain string set-up comes into its own.  There is none of the flabbiness or muddiness associated with a plain material 4th string on the shorter standard Tenor scale.  For those who have been wanting to play a linear C set-up with plain strings, this instrument is nirvana and our lightly braced soundboard gives the Tenor Largo the ability to respond well, maintaining projection and sustain at these light - medium tensions. If you prefer to play at high tension, the heavier strings and heavier braced soundboard of a standard Tenor Ukulele can be a good choice for this tuning.  The typical standard construction is more “guitar” oriented than our instrument, both in how it plays and how it sounds.  On the other hand, if you like playing at more traditional Ukulele tensions, and with a light, clear, full and reverberent sound -  a sound we feel has more of the traditional “Ukulele” character as well, then we recommend you consider our Tenor Largo. Tenor Largo or Lyric Baritone? These two designs are actually the same instrument with one difference only - the depth of the body.  Our recommended tunings intersect where the low note is a g.  The two most common set-ups with g as a low note are the Ukulele Reentrant Key of G (g on the 3rd string), and the linear Key of C (g on the 4th string).  The deeper Lyric Baritone (LB) body gives a fuller, more reverberant sound in those tunings while the shallower Tenor Largo (TL)  body gives a brighter, quicker sound.  In addition, both of these tunings can be done with plain strings or wound strings.  Our own view is that the all plain string set-ups with slightly lower tension match up best with the shallow body TL, while the longer sustain of a wound string set-up with slightly firmer tension sounds best on the deeper body LB. Cuatro tunings also can have a low note of g (or even higher), and so they can be played on a TL, but our recommendation there is for the LB, as there are two relatively low notes and a deep body gives more of the traditional Cuatro sound.

the Tenor Largo Ukulele - design & sound

Back to Tenor Largo Specs Back to Models