You will need to watch this page for a brief history and some basic details. Here we look at how to learn to sing koto and the differences between a five stringed ukulele and a tenor ukulele.
What is a concert ukulele?
A concert ukulele is a five stringed guitar. It’s generally referred to as a “koto.”
Koto (Japanese for “koto”) is an instrument traditionally played in Japan before becoming popular in the West. Koto was usually played with a single set of strings with a tenor ukulele string at the bottom. The tenor ukulele could be an old-fashioned tenor, usually very light, such as a ’64 or ’69. If it was a very thick instrument, it may have been made from the 1940s through the 1970s or even earlier. Some of these instruments were known as yakudani (or “pajamas”) in the West and kanshi (Japanese for “fishing boat”) in Japan. These instruments were much heavier and had very broad, thin, flat tops which made it easier to bend the bridge over the strings. When the tenor ukulele bridge was bent over slightly, these instruments were known as orobo (which is a Japanese word meaning “over-rode”) ukuleles and were usually sold as instruments with a single set of strings.
Today the term koto (but really “koto-shoujo” or “koto-gumi”) becomes somewhat more widely recognized in the West, but it is not a strict standard of play (at least in Europe or North America).
What is a tenor ukulele?
A tenor uke (Japanese for “tenor”) is a five stringed ukulele made in the 1940s, perhaps as early as the 1920s, and is still commonly available in several string sets in various styles to this day. The two fundamental instruments that make up an instrument called a five stringed tenor uke (or “koto-gumi”) are a set of eight strings (the top) and a set of two strings (a bridge and a saddle). The top string of each instrument is tuned to a different D, such that the lowest of these two stringings is D#. The lowest tuning is C# and the middle is G#. These tuning differences
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