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Thread: Tension?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    Oahu Isle, Hawaii
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    Default Tension?

    I have several ukes. My only "problem uke" is a Cordoba 32T tenor, one of the so-called "Pepe Romero" models. Solid spruce top, solid indian rosewood S&B. Phd strings. 0.8 mm at the nut, 2.5mm at 12. Tuned C. It sings loudly & beautifully but is quite painful to play for any length of time. Possible reasons(??):

    1-The strings bite when chording -- especially barre chords. (Even though my chording finger tips & my strumming finger are so heavily callused you can strike a match on them.)
    2-The fretboard is almost 1/4" wider than any of my other tenors. (I wonder why they did that.)

    I have loaned this uke out to several different folks over the past year or so, & they all hated it. I offered 2 of them the uke free for nothing, but they passed on the offer.

    My only idea so far is to change to low tension strings &/or switch to Bflat tuning. Questions......

    1-Do low tension tenor strings exist? If so...... which brand is low tension?

    2-Might bflat tuning help assuage the pain?

    Any comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
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    1,006

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bellgamin View Post
    I have several ukes. My only "problem uke" is a Cordoba 32T tenor, one of the so-called "Pepe Romero" models. Solid spruce top, solid indian rosewood S&B. Phd strings. 0.8 mm at the nut, 2.5mm at 12. Tuned C. It sings loudly & beautifully but is quite painful to play for any length of time. Possible reasons(??):

    1-The strings bite when chording -- especially barre chords. (Even though my chording finger tips & my strumming finger are so heavily callused you can strike a match on them.)
    2-The fretboard is almost 1/4" wider than any of my other tenors. (I wonder why they did that.)

    I have loaned this uke out to several different folks over the past year or so, & they all hated it. I offered 2 of them the uke free for nothing, but they passed on the offer.

    My only idea so far is to change to low tension strings &/or switch to Bflat tuning. Questions......

    1-Do low tension tenor strings exist? If so...... which brand is low tension?

    2-Might bflat tuning help assuage the pain?

    Any comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    Can you lower the action? In my experience, tenors have higher tension than other sizes, but what you are describing sounds a bit extreme...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Treacletown
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    Default

    Have you tried nylon strings (such as aquilla)? I find that fluerocarbon strings feel thinner and more high in tension.

  4. #4
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    Upper Hale, Surrey/Hants border, UK.
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    Default

    Sounds like it may be the distance between strings, as you say it is a wider neck, & the fact that no one likes playing it.
    If that is the case, I'd suggest getting a new nut, with the normal spacing.

    My solution to the higher tension of normal tenor strings is to use concert scale strings, flourocarbon, (in my case Living Water), I have these on all my tenor scaled ukes.
    Long Neck = Kala KA-SLNG - Ohana SK30M - Ohana SK30L - Ohana CK35L
    Electric = Mahalo 'Surfboard' concert - RISA Solid/Stick concert - RISA Uke Ellie tenor - RISA Solid/Stick tenor
    Concert = Baton Rouge Hotrod - Baton Rouge Sun thinline cutaway - Kala KA-CEME - Kala KA-ASAC
    Tenor = Kala KA-T (fitted with classical guitar strings DGBE)
    Baritone = Lani solid Spruce top - Kala solid Cedar top

  5. #5
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    Feb 2014
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    Default

    Are concert strings long enough for a tenor?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    Default

    Most sets, yes, or those folks couldn't do it. It's only a scale difference of two inches. How much do you normally have to clip off of the strings? Probably more than that.
    Last edited by ubulele; 08-03-2017 at 08:13 AM.

  7. #7
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    Nor Cal USA
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    Default

    You might try South Coast for lower tension strings. they offer several tensions, or detune to dGBE and make it a Bari-Tenor. Fremont has a set for that. I've been playing bari-tenor, with just regular tenor strings actually, for a while and I really like it, but my voice is pretty low.

    I just yesterday detuned a spruce topped concert to Bb which seems to work out pretty well and lowered the tension a good bit. I'm not sure I want to keep it that way as it makes playing with others weird. I was looking to lower the brittle sound of the spruce top and it seemed to help.

  8. #8
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    Nor Cal USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by ubulele View Post
    Um, to play easily with others, you could just capo your Bb uke at the 2nd fret. The string tension won't change.
    True I just didn't think about it as I'm playing my bari-tenors mostly. My next door Uke buddy likes baritone and I can play my bari-tenors with him when he pays his C6 tuned tenors. And I can play my laminate concert in C6 too. Learning C chord forms and G chord forms make me a double threat!

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  10. #10
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    Grrreat links Booli. Much thanks! I'm studying what you wrote.

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