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Thread: Strings and Volume

  1. #1
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    Default Strings and Volume

    I've been playing ukulele for a few months now and have a question for the Forum. If I replace the existing strings on a ukulele with new ones (same type and brand), will the volume of the ukulele increase? Or is volume mostly determined by the type and brand of string, rather than the age of the strings?

    Thanks for any info you can provide!
    Last edited by Jan D; 11-27-2017 at 08:53 PM. Reason: Misunderstood what Title was supposed to be. Thought it meant MY title, the realized it meant the title of my post. Oops!

  2. #2
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    How old are the ones on the Uke?

    Some of the better quality strings can really last a long time, so it would have to be some pretty harsh conditions and extreme amounts of playing to wear down the sound, so that new ones sounded better...
    Looking For My Next Uke!
    Lanikai LU-21C - Concert

  3. #3
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    Default Strings and Volume

    I purchased the tenor ukulele (an Ohana TK-35-CG) new about four months ago. However, it was part of the music store's inventory for quite some time before I bought it. In fact, I think this particular model is no longer available, except from dealers who stocked up on it before production ended. I love the look and feel of the uke, but it is quieter sounding than my soprano (Kala KA-SLNG), and I wondered if the softer volume might be due to the original strings (Aquila), which have been on the uke for an indeterminate length of time. Do strings continue to age and/or deteriorate when they are not being played?

  4. #4
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    What strings fitted are very unlikely to affect the volume ... the quality of the sound, the sustain and/or the tone, but not the volume.

    Basic physics ... the volume is defined by how much deflection is applied to the string before it's released and the efficiency of the instrument body in converting that energy into sound-waves.

    If it's pure volume you're after, you'd be better served retaining the strings and replacing the ukulele
    Last edited by kypfer; 11-27-2017 at 10:57 PM. Reason: punctuation
    There are those who will wax lyrical about the ability to play a double shuffle with a split fan and a tight G-string ...
    it just makes me walk funny!

  5. #5
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    Hi Jan!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jan D View Post
    Do strings continue to age and/or deteriorate when they are not being played?
    If it's pure volume you're after, you should increase string tension by thicker strings.
    Kamaka HF-1 100

  6. #6
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    Basically, the laminate SLNG can be a chirpy uke, whilst the Ohana will be more mellow, that's what a solid mahogany tone is about, I like it.

    You could try fluorocarbons on the Ohana for a better sound, I use Living Water Low G concert strings on both my tenor scale & concert scale ukes, (they will also change the tone of your SLNG if you try them there as well).
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.
    Formerly known as uke1950.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Croaky Keith View Post
    Basically, the laminate SLNG can be a chirpy uke, whilst the Ohana will be more mellow, that's what a solid mahogany tone is about, I like it.

    You could try fluorocarbons on the Ohana for a better sound, I use Living Water Low G concert strings on both my tenor scale & concert scale ukes, (they will also change the tone of your SLNG if you try them there as well).
    Agree with Croaky Keith, fluorocarbon string may help your problem. It may not actually increase the volume, but with the brighter tone, the brain with interpret it as louder.
    Tenor:
    Mya Moe Classic Koa #2052

    Concert:
    Hoffmann ML Style Cedar/Ebony, LoPrinzi Nova MS-C Mahogany/Spruce, , Knaile'a KPA C Premium Koa, Kiwaya KMC-K Koa, Pono RC-C-PC Cedar/Rosewood, Kala Waterman KA CWB Green

    Long Neck Soprano:
    KoAloha KSM-02 Koa

    Soprano:
    Lanikai LU-21 Laminate Mahogany (My Very First Uke!), Kamaka Pineapple 100th Anniversary Koa, Maui Music SK-41 "Pre-Fire" Koa, Romero Creations XS Soprano Spalted Mango, Ohana SK 50G Cedar/Rosewood, Zimnicki Soprano Koa

  8. #8
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    Thanks, everybody! After reading all of your comments and suggestions, I realized two things. I need to play a bit more aggressively, if I want a bit more volume. Up until now, I have been playing to the mellowness of the instrument, since it is the tone I have generally preferred with most of the instruments I play, or have played in the past. However, due to the aging process, my hearing is not what it used to be. So in recent years, I have found myself being drawn to brighter tones, which my ear hears better. This tells me that if I replace the Aquilas with a somewhat brighter brand of strings, I may very well achieve my goal of (what my ear perceives as) "greater volume" ... even though, in reality, it is mostly just a brighter sound. I have been thinking about Worth strings (clear) as a potential replacement. Are they generally a bit brighter than Aquilas? Would they be too bright? I don't want to completely lose the uke's mellow nature; I just want to be able to hear it better when I'm playing in a crowd of other uke players. :-)

  9. #9
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    I don't play in any groups, but I do think fluorocarbon strings bring a uke to life, (personally, I'm not keen on Aquilas), I don't have much experience of Worth strings, so I'll leave that one to some one who uses them.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.
    Formerly known as uke1950.

  10. #10
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    fluorocarbon strings sure sound louder to me, not sure it's a brain deception LOL...
    Looking For My Next Uke!
    Lanikai LU-21C - Concert

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