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Thread: Gretsch G9121 Tenor Strings Dilema

  1. #1
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    Default Gretsch G9121 Tenor Strings Dilema

    I have been unable to get an answer anywhere else to this question so hopefully I can get it here.

    I have a Gretsch G9121 Uke.
    I recently went to change the strings.
    In the Gretsch specs for the uke it says to use soprano strings.
    Can anybody tell me why they would say to use soprano strings as a replacement?

    I am afraid of what is going to happen if I use larger Tenor strings?
    I am afraid that the larger strings may produce fret buzz on my low action and also that the additional tenor string tension is going to affect the neck.

    I have tried to contact Gretsch, several times, but they have not given me an answer. As a matter of fact, it was Fender Guitars that replied but they never answered my question.

    I would appreciate any help you can give me as I am tired of the runaround that I have received from Gretsch/Fender.

  2. #2
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    Concert strings give a lower tension on a tenor uke, a softer feel to fretting, I use Living Water fluorocarbon concert strings, low G, on my tenor scale ukes, because I prefer the feel of them.

    No idea why Gretsch would say to use concert strings other than for the reduced tension & feel of them.

    (Edited out my reference to soprano as it may have confused.)
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    They may use the same basic booklet for various ukuleles, or for different sizes of the same model. Or it may just be an oversight. For a tenor, use tenor strings or concert ones (concert strings for less tension as Keith said). Some soprano sets may not be long enough for your tenor.

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    I own that very same ukulele. It was my first uke so it is three years old, has had a lot of playing and many string changes. All the strings I have used were tenor strings, it came with tenor strings. It must be a miss print on the brochure, someone was not paying attention, happens when a guitar company does ukuleles. I can assure you it is designed for tenor strings, it comes with tenor strings and tenor strings will not harm it in any way shape or form.
    Ukuleles.............yes please !!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by DownUpDave View Post
    I own that very same ukulele. It was my first uke so it is three years old, has had a lot of playing and many string changes. All the strings I have used were tenor strings, it came with tenor strings. It must be a miss print on the brochure, someone was not paying attention, happens when a guitar company does ukuleles. I can assure you it is designed for tenor strings, it comes with tenor strings and tenor strings will not harm it in any way shape or form.
    yea - go with what Dave said above ^ and you should be just fine.

    FENDER is late to the game and their foray into ukes is nothing but a cash-grab, and IIRC Fender and Gretsch are now owned by the same parent company.

    Gretsch has been making ukes a LONG time it seems, but Fender should stick to their steel-string electric instruments if you axe me.

  6. #6
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    Thank You all for your quick input.
    I forgot to mention that when I first received the uke, a few months ago, it was strung with soprano strings.
    I have since been able to contact Sweetwater Music and they confirmed that this is a mystery but they are looking into it and will get back to me soon.
    I will let you know what they say.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celticknits View Post
    Thank You all for your quick input.
    I forgot to mention that when I first received the uke, a few months ago, it was strung with soprano strings.
    I have since been able to contact Sweetwater Music and they confirmed that this is a mystery but they are looking into it and will get back to me soon.
    I will let you know what they say.
    I am curious as to how you "know" it came with soprano strings. Did you measure them with a digital caliper and compare them against the same make of strings in soprano size. Or are you relying on the written material provided. I am just curious as this all seems very strange. You don't have to worry about string buzz when going to a larger gauge string, its actually the opposite effect because the tension is higher. You don't have to worry about the neck getting distorted, Gretsch has the deepest beefiest neck of any uke on the market. As an example Koaloha neck is .660", Kamaka .680", Pono .750", Gretsch .870" it's a baseball bat compared to the others

    If Sweetwater has to get back to you about "can a tenor uke use tenor strings" they don't have a clue either. It is a 17" scale instrument which is tenor scale, end of story. Every tenor scale uke I have ever seen or heard of can use tenor gauge strings. Oasis sell one gauge of string to be used on Tenor, concert and soprano, I guess you could use those and not worry. I have measured them, they are the same diameter +/- .002" as every other florocarbon tenor set out there. As the string manufacture they state these strings can be used on soprano concert tenor, right on their website
    Last edited by DownUpDave; 10-13-2017 at 12:33 AM.
    Ukuleles.............yes please !!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ubulele View Post
    Ahem, I have a Gretsch (albeit a long-neck) whose neck did distort out of playability, within a relatively brief period of time. But I doubt it was because of the tenor strings, because the higher tension would have warped the neck in the opposite direction (deepening rather than removing the "relief").
    Scary. The lack of truss rods in most ukes has always worried me a little.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by DownUpDave View Post
    I am curious as to how you "know" it came with soprano strings. Did you measure them with a digital caliper and compare them against the same make of strings in soprano size. Or are you relying on the written material provided. I am just curious as this all seems very strange. You don't have to worry about string buzz when going to a larger gauge string, its actually the opposite effect because the tension is higher. You don't have to worry about the neck getting distorted, Gretsch has the deepest beefiest neck of any uke on the market. As an example Koaloha neck is .660", Kamaka .680", Pono .750", Gretsch .870" it's a baseball bat compared to the others

    If Sweetwater has to get back to you about "can a tenor uke use tenor strings" they don't have a clue either. It is a 17" scale instrument which is tenor scale, end of story. Every tenor scale uke I have ever seen or heard of can use tenor gauge strings. Oasis sell one gauge of string to be used on Tenor, concert and soprano, I guess you could use those and not worry. I have measured them, they are the same diameter +/- .002" as every other florocarbon tenor set out there. As the string manufacture they state these strings can be used on soprano concert tenor, right on their website

    I discussed this with my uke group, earlier this week, that I attend, and they agreed that the strings I was replacing were not tenor strings.
    I measured the strings with a micrometer and that is what finally confirmed my suspicions and started my 'quest' for an answer to this issue.

    Sam Ash also sells this uke and confirmed that the specs they have for it are also indicating soprano string replacements.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celticknits View Post
    I discussed this with my uke group, earlier this week, that I attend, and they agreed that the strings I was replacing were not tenor strings.
    I measured the strings with a micrometer and that is what finally confirmed my suspicions and started my 'quest' for an answer to this issue.

    Sam Ash also sells this uke and confirmed that the specs they have for it are also indicating soprano string replacements.
    Thanks for the update.......very strange indeed. Are they Aquila strings, I know that is what they use to come with stock. I have Martin M620 florocarbons on mine right now. I've had Oasis and Worth CT (my favorite, though Aquilas did sound good). Best of luck with your search.
    Last edited by DownUpDave; 10-13-2017 at 08:06 AM.
    Ukuleles.............yes please !!!!

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