PDA

View Full Version : Vorson Steel String and Strings



katysax
11-06-2014, 07:11 AM
I could not resist the Vorson steel string ukulele. At barely over $100 for the solid one it was too tempting.

Mine is the Les Paul shaped model. The strat models were on backorder. It was a coin toss for me between the Les Paul and the Telecaster shape and I ended up with the Les Paul

As others have noted the strings the thing comes with are awful. They feel like some wire that was not intended to be strings. It also was set up with a reentrant high G, and it seems to me that the likely uses for a steel string electric make a low G a better choice.

Ahh but what strings to use. Is there even such a thing as electric ukulele strings. Digging through my box of unused guitar strings I found a set of ultralight Webstrings. The lightest gauge was .08. I put them on the Vorson. They work great, not to heavy. They are actually a bit on the loose side, but that makes them very easy to bend - very important because it seems to me the ability to bend notes with an electric guitar sound is a major reason for a steel string electric uke.

My plan is to bring it to my uke group. We have a guy who plays great leads. I'm bringing it with a Yamaha Thr10.

The strings that come on it are tragic, but if you find the right strings I think the steel stringed Vorson is fun.

kohanmike
11-06-2014, 09:46 AM
I recently bought the Tele version and thought I would use really heavy string, what a mistake. Still have to switch them out, and I did go low G, but I haven't broken through the strum to fingerpick yet, slowly (very slowly) working on it. The low G sounds kind of weird to me right now. I was going to record a video sample, but I'm not ready to yet. I just got a Chinese 10w battery amp, waiting to receive a much better 5" speaker for it.

Rick Turner
11-06-2014, 10:03 AM
What's the difference between a steel string ukulele and a cavaquinho?

katysax
11-06-2014, 01:38 PM
This is a solid body instrument in tenor ukulele size - a Cavaquinho is an acoustic instrument. You could also call this a half sized solid body guitar tuned to C6. I don't take it that seriously, but there are times when it is fun to have a solid body steel string "ukulele". Really what makes a UBass anything other than a super short scale bass except that it is made on a ukulele sized body. Similarly isn't the Kanilea/Islander Guitalele really a requinto?

Sometimes my ukulele group plays "oldies". I usually play UBass. One of our members plays really great leads. I think it will be fun to have him do some of the leads on the electric instrument. I'd love to get a few of my friends together and play rock and roll using all ukuleles. Obviously we could also do it using guitars, but someone doing it with ukuleles makes the whole thing more fun and less serious.

Ramart
11-06-2014, 01:43 PM
What's the difference between a steel string ukulele and a cavaquinho?
Wouldn't the difference be that the former needs steel strings to enable use of onboard electrified magnetic pickups, whose signals are output through a jack/cable to an external electronic amplifier w/speaker; while the latter, according to Wikipedia, is an ancient member of the European guitar family that might be played mostly in Portugal and Brazil and that might be strung with either wire or gut?

bnolsen
11-07-2014, 02:31 AM
probably a bit more than that difference wise. The vorson is an electric guitar at ukulele size. Truss rod, fully adjustable bridge, 2 selectable pickups with vol/tone pots and the three popular electric guitar sizes (tele, strat, les paul). To me it screams lead guitar. Rick must be having fun :-p

Booli
11-07-2014, 03:13 AM
Hi There...

I have been following these threads on the Vorson electric ukes closely, and thanks to you guys for sharing the info. :)

I have a question, that I do not see detailed in any of the online vendors specs, nor on the Chinese manufacturers web site - so I am asking here, since ianchadwick, katysax, and kohanmike have all reported to have these in hand now...

Sorry for this to be slightly off-topic....

Can someone please take some measurements for me and post back here?

1. What is the width of the nut?

2. What is the width of the string spread AT THE NUT, out-to-out, on center?

3. What is the width of the string spread AT THE BRIDGE, out-to-out, on center?

I am sure that other folks besides me would appreciate having this information documented. Thank you kindly. :)


I want to get one of these, and if the strings are too close together at the bridge, then finger-picking is a problem for me.

One might ask, why not just use a pick? Well, I do not use a guitar pick, I prefer to FEEL the strings. For me, that is a big part of the satisfaction of playing an instrument.

Thanks in advance for you time...

-Booli

kohanmike
11-07-2014, 06:30 AM
1. What is the width of the nut? -------- 1 3/8"

2. What is the width of the string spread AT THE NUT, out-to-out, on center? ------ 1 1/16"

3. What is the width of the string spread AT THE BRIDGE, out-to-out, on center? ------------- 1 5/8"

Scale is 17" - over all length is 25 1/4"" - widest bout is 9 1/8"

bnolsen
11-07-2014, 08:51 AM
youch that 1 1/16" puts it narrower than my sopranino which is at 1 1/8". Nut width is the same. A little disappointing. Thanks for the measurements!

Booli
11-07-2014, 09:58 AM
1. What is the width of the nut? -------- 1 3/8"

2. What is the width of the string spread AT THE NUT, out-to-out, on center? ------ 1 1/16"

3. What is the width of the string spread AT THE BRIDGE, out-to-out, on center? ------------- 1 5/8"

Scale is 17" - over all length is 25 1/4"" - widest bout is 9 1/8"

Kohanmike - That's great. Thanks for the info and quick reply.

After repeatedly kicking myself for not being able to take advantage of that Hadean Omega U-Bass copy from Rondo Music a few months back, I could not let this one go by the wayside.

I've just ordered my own Vorson from American Musical Supply (AMS). They had a 'scratch & dent' model of the LP style with the Flame Maple color for $89, which is $50 cheaper than a 'new' model - see here:

http://www.americanmusical.com/Item--i-DSP-VORFLPUK2FM (http://www.americanmusical.com/Item--i-DSP-VORFLPUK2FM).

It's only going to get 'customized' over time from playing it any way, so why not? It's also MUCH cheaper than a RISA LP or RISA Bean. So I'm not worried about it developing battle scars.

I also grabbed the recommended set of D'Addario 'electric uke' strings, with the PL016, PL011, PL011, PL09 as a start, see here:

http://www.americanmusical.com/Item--i-DAD-ELECUKESET

and I also have a few spare sets of electric guitar strings in varying guages that I can experiment with.

If you register with them (AMS), and then check your email for the 'WELCOME to AMS' email, there is a coupon code for 10% off your first order which you can use to buy the Vorson, which I did, and while it only saved me $0.70 on the strings, if you are buying one of the NEW Vorson ukes, it might apply there, but it did not discount the 'scratch and dent' model any further when I added it to my cart.

BEWARE: their checkout system is weird and they want you to pre-enter your credit card, and then put you on some kind of payment plan (which has a $9.95 'processing fee'), but if instead you select PayPal, and use that to pull from your credit card, you can pay the full amount at once.


youch that 1 1/16" puts it narrower than my sopranino which is at 1 1/8". Nut width is the same. A little disappointing. Thanks for the measurements!

My tenor Kala KA-T string spread is 1 & 1/8" at the nut, so this should be fine for me.

The KA-T, and most of my other tenors have a 1.5" string spread at the bridge, so this seems pretty normal.

OTOH, I have a Zither-Heaven tenor banjo uke that has a string spread of 1.2" at the bridge and without fingernails it would be impossible for me to play. (I am soon to replace this bridge to make it easier)

I'll report back when I get mine, and let you know how beat up it is as a 'scratch and dent' unit...

and now the best/worst part of UAS begins again...

the WAITING...and online parcel tracking...:drool:

bnolsen
11-07-2014, 10:41 AM
how are you finding these "scratch and dent" deals? Just curious.

Booli
11-07-2014, 10:53 AM
how are you finding these "scratch and dent" deals? Just curious.

Hi bnolsen -

I wish there was some magic mojo, and that this observation could be repeated on a regular basis, but nothing substitutes for pure luck, vigilance or providence...

A google search for 'vorson electric ukulele', turned up zzounds, AMS, walmart etc.

On the AMS web site, I chose the LP style, once looking at the item, there is a drop-down item for selecting the color, and it says '4 options' available:

1. Black $99
2. Flame Maple $149
3. Flame Maple scratch & dent $89
4. Quilt Maple $159

From there Bob's your uncle.

No magic or science to it. I just happend to be looking when it was available. As of now, when I am writing this message, the LP style still shows a 'scratch & dent' item available.

katysax
11-07-2014, 10:54 AM
how are you finding these "scratch and dent" deals? Just curious.

On the AMS site when it gives you the option to select your model - if there is a scratch and dent deal it will list it as an option.

I took my Vorson to my uke group last night with a small amp. We have a guy who is a very good lead guitar player. He used the Vorson on a few of the songs. It was great fun.

kohanmike
11-07-2014, 10:54 AM
The Vorson purchase for me was more about the Tele look, which I really like. I have a Fender Telecaster and I'm having a Tele style 22" scale mini bass being made now by Bruce Herron of Blue Star Guitar in Michigan.

http://www.fairfax67.com/images/Tele Bass.jpg

bnolsen
11-07-2014, 11:09 AM
On the AMS site when it gives you the option to select your model - if there is a scratch and dent deal it will list it as an option.

I took my Vorson to my uke group last night with a small amp. We have a guy who is a very good lead guitar player. He used the Vorson on a few of the songs. It was great fun.

yeah thanks i finally figured it out. I do like the slight contouring on the strat style version.

Ramart
11-07-2014, 11:21 AM
Inasmuch as looks are a factor, it's too bad Vorson didn't also copy Fender's in-line tuner/headstock design for the Strat/Tele models.

Booli
11-07-2014, 11:34 AM
On the AMS site when it gives you the option to select your model - if there is a scratch and dent deal it will list it as an option.

I took my Vorson to my uke group last night with a small amp. We have a guy who is a very good lead guitar player. He used the Vorson on a few of the songs. It was great fun.

What case do you have for it?

it seemed to me that the LP style just might fit in a hard foam case made for an acoustic tenor ($29 @ AMS), with some extra padding, but that the Tele and Strat styles, you would have trouble finding a case...

Booli
11-07-2014, 11:43 AM
The Vorson purchase for me was more about the Tele look, which I really like.

Similar to my reason for the LP style, and why I got the Epiphone LP style concert uke too. Stagg also makes an LP style in soprano scale and Mahalo has a few of the classic shapes, but I'm not sure how playable they are or if they sound any good, but none of those for steel strings....

I've always played a Les Paul, or Les Paul style guitar, and never really felt comfortable on a tele or strat shaped guitar, other than for the Fender Jazz Bass with the shape similar to a strat.

Glad that Vorson has made these in different flavors. If the pickups, bridge/saddles, and/or tuners turn out to be crap, we can always look over at Moongazer Music which has kits and all kinds of parts for building electric mandolins, and related instruments. It's also a huge plus that it has a truss rod, in case you have to compensate for higher tension strings...

:)

Booli
11-07-2014, 11:51 AM
I have a Fender Telecaster and I'm having a Tele style 22" scale mini bass being made now by Bruce Herron of Blue Star Guitar in Michigan.

http://www.fairfax67.com/images/Tele Bass.jpg


That sounds great! What (bass) strings will you put on it? Assuming you want E-A-D-G like an electric long scale bass, you might need to get a 5-string set with an 0.135" for the low B-string and see if that will have enough tension as the E-string...and flatwounds and tapewounds are off the table because the silk-wrapped ends for the tuners will be far too long to wrap around the tuning pegs, and you cant really trim those strings without having them unravel into an ugly mess...

But you CAN get flatwound GUITAR strings like D'Addario Chromes, or tapewound GUITAR strings from La Bella, and play it like a Piccolo bass, i.e., one octave UP from normal bass, aka, the 4 lowest pitch strings on a guitar, sort of the opposite idea of a baritone uke or tenor guitar in Chicago tuning....

OR, you could tune it D-G-B-E, one octave below the baritone uke, and while chords will probably be very muddy, it would be like an octave baritone, and you would not have to learn new fingerings, but will need to be able to transpose to the Key of G when playing for/with others.

Booli
11-08-2014, 02:49 AM
I've just ordered my own Vorson from American Musical Supply (AMS).

[snip]
and then the WAITING...and online parcel tracking...:drool:

I realize that I am replying to my own post, but this morning I was very pleased to see the following shipping update:

11/08/2014 - Saturday - 8:03 am - On FedEx vehicle for delivery

WOW. That was quick! Needless to say, I'm pretty psyched to get it so quickly. :)

Teek
11-08-2014, 02:50 PM
wouldn't the difference be that the former needs steel strings to enable use of onboard electrified magnetic pickups, whose signals are output through a jack/cable to an external electronic amplifier w/speaker; while the latter, according to wikipedia, is an ancient member of the european guitar family that might be played mostly in portugal and brazil and that might be strung with either wire or gut?

rotflmao!!!!!!!

kohanmike
11-08-2014, 08:25 PM
That sounds great! What (bass) strings will you put on it?

I'm using LaBella white (clear) flatwound 30" scale strings, but before you go knockin' on me, they are going to the back of the bass via string-through holes at the bridge and anchored to a plate to allow for the full length to be used so they can be tuned to standard E-A-D-G. It's works perfectly well, I know because I did that with an Epiphone Les Paul Express 22" scale guitar to bass conversion a couple months ago, all in for $159.89 US. (Yes, I prefer the Telecaster style, but at the time I could only find a small Les Paul, so I went with it. I only discovered Bruce Herron a couple weeks ago, or I would have gone directly to his custom Tele.)

http://www.fairfax67.com/images/LP Bass convert.jpg

Stuntman
11-10-2014, 01:58 AM
I just got mine. Stratocaster shape in black. Looks great, sounds great, and nicely put together. Pulled it apart to check it all out and looks pretty good given the small outlay. Setup was pretty good out of the box. Restrung it low G using the top 4 from a set of "Thomas Vinci" light nickel strings - 0.026w/0.017p/0.013p/0.010p - only adjustments so far are are some minor ones with the bridge/saddles to get intonation right (especially for changing from the hi G to the low G).

Shawn

Ramart
11-11-2014, 10:45 AM
Low-G/Vorson question:

I've ordered a tele-style Vorson uke in flame maple from AMS along with the recommended D'Adarrio string set. However, I'm now realizing the unwound G string's gauge (.016) is probably only suitable for re-entrant tuning.

I use a flatwound, "squeakless" Fremont Soloist (.030) for low-G tuning on my other tenors but I doubt it would work on the Vorson even though it's metal-wound.

Do any Vorson owners have single-string recommendations for low G that wouldn't require nut slot widening?

Colonel Uke
11-11-2014, 04:28 PM
So you're the one who beat me to that scratch and dent. I saw that one the other day, figured I would go back online and purchase one later in the day, and then wham, it was gone. A couple months back they had a scratch and dent of the Tele version in solid black for $79. I missed that one too. I've got to start buying as soon as I see it appear.

Stuntman
11-11-2014, 08:32 PM
Low-G/Vorson question:
Do any Vorson owners have single-string recommendations for low G that wouldn't require nut slot widening?

A wound nickel string 0.026 - 0.030 will do the trick. I would choose based on the the diameters of the other strings to get the tension to match (use the same brand if possible) See here (http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?99854-NUD-Vorson-solid-body-electric-steel-string-Telecaster-style-uke&highlight=vorson) for some recomendations

On mine the setup was excellent - the nut was low and the slots fine - no recutting required

Ramart
11-12-2014, 07:04 AM
A wound nickel string 0.026 - 0.030 will do the trick. I would choose based on the the diameters of the other strings to get the tension to match (use the same brand if possible) See here (http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?99854-NUD-Vorson-solid-body-electric-steel-string-Telecaster-style-uke&highlight=vorson) for some recomendations

On mine the setup was excellent - the nut was low and the slots fine - no recutting required

Thanks, Stuntman. Since I'd ordered a D'Addario solid-body-uke string set from AMS with the Vorson, I bought a D'Addario .026 "Chromes" flat-wound for G. It costs twice the price of a wound nickel string but still under $3

I'm guessing a flat-wound metal string might be less wearing on frets, no? And less squeaky on slides, like the flat-wound Fremont Soloists I use for low G on my acoustic tenors.

Ramart
11-12-2014, 02:07 PM
I posted this question also in the Buying Tips forum but thought it might get more action here:

Has anyone found a source for a hard case that'd fit the Tele-style Vorson?

Deaks
11-12-2014, 02:22 PM
So envious of you guys, no one has these in the uk yet, and none of the overseas retailers ship here either!

Ramart
11-14-2014, 10:54 AM
youch that 1 1/16" puts it narrower than my sopranino which is at 1 1/8". Nut width is the same. A little disappointing. Thanks for the measurements!

kohanmike's report worried me a bit because I'm accustomed to 1 1/8" also, but the beautiful, nearly flawless Vorson I received today actually has a center-to-center, G-to-A string spread at the nut of 1 3/32". I'm not feeling any difference at all from what I'm used to.

Stuntman
11-14-2014, 12:34 PM
I just got a set of the D'addario flat wound chromes to try. Wound 4th and 3rd should warm up and maybe balance out the tone a bit. Fun little uke.

Stuntman
11-16-2014, 02:41 PM
Ok - To my ears I really like the extra-light flatwound chromes. Low-G with wound third and fourth. Nicely balances out the sound and warms it up nicely. Great feel and no string noise (which could be an issue if you like to do high gain string scratching).;)