PDA

View Full Version : metal vs nylon strings for the solid electri uke



Icelander53
02-06-2015, 07:53 AM
So I'm looking at the solid electrics for fun. Just kicking around like a rock star in my jammies. So.. I have some questions before I make the purchase. (right now it's Godin, Pono, and possibly teton) Anyway I need some education here. What is the pros and cons between traditional electric metal strings and the nylon strings usual for ukes? Can I get by with nylon strings? Pros and cons? What can I expect from an electric that I can't expect from an acoustic?

Finally what type of pedals would you think would make for fun at home jamming like I described.

Currently I have a Behringer acoustic amp and a Vox Mini 5. I also have a Hall of Fame reverb pedal and a equalizer. What else should I use just for kicks? Wah wah pedal? ???

Thanks guys.

Jim Hanks
02-06-2015, 10:12 AM
Lots of questions there. The models you list are all nylon/fluorocarbon and should not use metal strings. There are steel string ukes like Vorson, Blue Star Guitar, and others. Compared to nylon, steel strings are generally higher tension, longer sustain, lower action, harder on the fingers, take better to distortion. Neither is better, just different.

I would recommend a good (or even not so good) multi effects pedal. There are lots of options from the likes of Line6, Digitech, Roland, etc. Or if you have an iPhone or ipad, get a guitar interface and a guitar effects app like JamUp or AmpKit. Lots of fun to be had.

Icelander53
02-06-2015, 10:54 AM
Thanks, I think you've answered my question.

What's your fav. solid?

kissing
02-06-2015, 11:48 AM
Nylon string and steel string electrics are actually very different instruments. They're as different from each other as classical guitar is from electric guitar, because essentially an electric ukulele is a smaller version of the electric guitar.

As a general rule, nylon string electrics are best used as acoustic-electric instruments.
They are designed and work best when you are trying to emulate the clean tone of an ukulele.
You can use effects pedals and run them through an electric amp, but it won't give you as good results as if you use a steel-string electric with magnetic pickups.
This uke will sound better through the Behringer acoustic amp, and not as good through your Vox.


If you want a "truly" electric instrument - ie: something to play as you would an electric guitar - then you get a steel string electric with magnetic pickups (single coil/humbuckers). Then you basically have a mini electric guitar with 4 strings and tuned like an ukulele. It will sound, feel and play like a different instrument. You are going further away from the feel of a traditional ukulele and more into the realm of electric guitar. You will definitely need to play this kind of instrument through an electric guitar amp like your Vox and it will perform better as an "electric" instrument than the nylon string electric. However, it will not sound anything like an acoustic ukulele any more.

Basically which you get boils down to what kind of instrument you want?
Do you want something that feels and sounds like a regular ukulele, but is electric?
or
Do you want something that feels and sounds completely different from a regular ukulele, and you can use it like an electric guitar?


My favourite steel string electrics? Risa.
They are made in Germany and have soprano and tenor models. I have personally owned and played every model of their steel string electric (Single coils soprano and tenor + Les Paul soprano and tenor). As well as all sizes of their nylon strung "uke-solid" models.

Another brand of steel string electrics that I've been hearing positive things about are Vorson.
Check them out, I hear they are cheap but good.

As mentioned by Jim, Blue Star make great instruments too.

Jim Hanks
02-06-2015, 04:53 PM
What's your fav. solid?
As you can see by my sig, I've only had two, the nylon Risa stick and the steel string Blue Star Konablaster. I still have the KB. :rock: Its half the price of a Risa steel, customized to your liking (within reason), and great out of the gate which might not be true for a Vorson. Of course, the Vorson is a third to a half as much as the KB too - you pays your money, you takes your chances.

Habanera Hal
02-07-2015, 04:56 AM
I've always understood that mag pickups require steel strings. Piezos can use either.

kissing
02-07-2015, 05:53 AM
I've always understood that mag pickups require steel strings. Piezos can use either.

That is indeed a difference, but what is more important is the difference that these factors make to the instrument.

Piezos can use either because they work by transferring the physical vibration of the strings to an electrical signal.
However, you cannot put steel strings on a piezo electric instrument designed for nylon, and vice versa.

Photojosh
02-07-2015, 05:59 AM
I have had both and prefer the steel string electrics myself. I have two Jupiter Creek concerts (though I keep meaning to sell one of them). Fun, but turned out to be something I just don't use all that much once I got an electric tenor guitar.

Photojosh
02-07-2015, 06:02 AM
7583875837

Sonic blue telecaster.

studemobile
02-07-2015, 06:05 AM
What about the effect on the strumming hand? I strum using the nail on my forefinger. Seems like it might take a beating on steel strings?
Stu

Photojosh
02-07-2015, 06:08 AM
What about the effect on the strumming hand? I strum using the nail on my forefinger. Seems like it might take a beating on steel strings?
Stu

I play the steel strings with a pick. But I guess it would depend on how aggressive your strumming was.

coolkayaker1
02-07-2015, 07:39 AM
http://youtu.be/qjAUqR8B6uw

Nylon strings.

Plenty, I mean plenty, of grunge or crunch w nylon strings and your amp gain turned up. Very guitar-y. Absolutely no reason for the high-tension, fret-wearing metal wound strings. The tiny gain in sustain ain't worth it.

Just play the a godin w the nylon strings that come on it; no cart before the horse, ice.

Icelander53
02-07-2015, 09:40 AM
Well the Vorson is out of stock everywhere anyway with no eta.

Liquidayno
02-07-2015, 09:50 AM
Add 13-pin electronics to your nylon string uke and you can have all the steel string electric sounds you want while retaining nylon strings.

Icelander53
02-07-2015, 11:51 AM
Just sprung for the Godin.

kissing
02-07-2015, 12:11 PM
http://youtu.be/qjAUqR8B6uw

Nylon strings.

Plenty, I mean plenty, of grunge or crunch w nylon strings and your amp gain turned up. Very guitar-y. Absolutely no reason for the high-tension, fret-wearing metal wound strings. The tiny gain in sustain ain't worth it.

Just play the a godin w the nylon strings that come on it; no cart before the horse, ice.

If you believe that a nylon string can get close to performance of a steel string electric at being a steel string electric.. i think your belief is flawed.

Steel string electrics are better at being steel string electrics than a nylon. I think that we can establish as a fact, not opinion. Certainly someone who has played nylon all their lives may be a little intimidated by steel strings if they have a fear of the unknown and don't like change... but i can assure you that steel strings is nowhere as bad as you're making it sound. In fact steel string electrics, when correctly setup, have really low action and low tension. It does not take long to adjust.

You can get distortion with nylon strung ukuleles.. but a steel string does a much much better job at getting useable distortion with good sound. Piezo pickups have too much high end and brashness and are not designed nor suitable to have distortion. It's like going into a medieval battlefield with a kitchen knife, or using a battle axe to cook in the kitchen. You can manage, but not with ideal results. The level of sustain difference between a steel string electric and a nylon string electric is HUGE and so are the tonal differences that suit for different uses.

As for "fret wear"... tell that to every guitarist and ask them whether they worry about it.

Sorry but your post was so biased that it is borderline misinformative and misguiding..

Icelander53
02-07-2015, 12:23 PM
It was obvious to me that steel strings are where it's at for rock an roll. If they weren't they wouldn't be out there in such numbers. So that was obvious to me. But for my needs something that only approximates those sounds will make me perfectly happy. I know this because I have a Mahalo solid body with plastic strings. I have a blast just running it through my Vox with all the effects. It gets close enough for me.

But I do agree with your post here and had the Vorson been available I'd be trying out steel. I can still do that down the road if I feel the need.

Doc_J
02-07-2015, 12:24 PM
If you believe that a nylon string can get close to performance of a steel string electric at being a steel string electric.. i think your belief is flawed.

Steel string electrics are better at being steel string electrics than a nylon. I think that we can establish as a fact, not opinion. Certainly someone who has played nylon all their lives may be a little intimidated by steel strings if they have a fear of the unknown and don't like change... but i can assure you that steel strings is nowhere as bad as you're making it sound. In fact steel string electrics, when correctly setup, have really low action and low tension. It does not take long to adjust.

You can get distortion with nylon strung ukuleles.. but a steel string does a much much better job at getting useable distortion with good sound. Piezo pickups have too much high end and brashness and are not designed nor suitable to have distortion. It's like going into a medieval battlefield with a kitchen knife, or using a battle axe to cook in the kitchen. You can manage, but not with ideal results. The level of sustain difference between a steel string electric and a nylon string electric is HUGE and so are the tonal differences that suit for different uses.

As for "fret wear"... tell that to every guitarist and ask them whether they worry about it.

Sorry but your post was so biased that it is borderline misinformative and misguiding..

I must agree that the steel strings ukes with electromagnetic pickups do a better job at getting a more electric guitar-ish sound than nylon strings with an under the saddle piezo pickup. I had a nice Pono CE with a MiSi. And I really liked it. But I found the steel string solid body electric uke more to my liking even using an acoustic Yamaha THR – 5A amp. I sold the CE.

kissing
02-07-2015, 12:44 PM
It was obvious to me that steel strings are where it's at for rock an roll. If they weren't they wouldn't be out there in such numbers. So that was obvious to me. But for my needs something that only approximates those sounds will make me perfectly happy. I know this because I have a Mahalo solid body with plastic strings. I have a blast just running it through my Vox with all the effects. It gets close enough for me.

But I do agree with your post here and had the Vorson been available I'd be trying out steel. I can still do that down the road if I feel the need.

Did you know Mahalo has a steel string version of the Surfboard electric? I have only tried the nylon model in store once, but if the steel string one is of same quality level, I daresay they would be quite useable!

coolkayaker1
02-08-2015, 05:44 PM
Ll
If you believe that a nylon string can get close to performance of a steel string electric at being a steel string electric.. i think your belief is flawed.

Steel string electrics are better at being steel string electrics than a nylon. I think that we can establish as a fact, not opinion. Certainly someone who has played nylon all their lives may be a little intimidated by steel strings if they have a fear of the unknown and don't like change... but i can assure you that steel strings is nowhere as bad as you're making it sound. In fact steel string electrics, when correctly setup, have really low action and low tension. It does not take long to adjust.

You can get distortion with nylon strung ukuleles.. but a steel string does a much much better job at getting useable distortion with good sound. Piezo pickups have too much high end and brashness and are not designed nor suitable to have distortion. It's like going into a medieval battlefield with a kitchen knife, or using a battle axe to cook in the kitchen. You can manage, but not with ideal results. The level of sustain difference between a steel string electric and a nylon string electric is HUGE and so are the tonal differences that suit for different uses.

As for "fret wear"... tell that to every guitarist and ask them whether they worry about it.

Sorry but your post was so biased that it is borderline misinformative and misguiding..

Dorothy, disregard the man behind the curtain. His name is Kissing and he's having a bad day. Lol.

I couldn't disagree with everything you've written and suggested more. And dude, do you know how many guitars I own? Maybe a dozen, Telecaster my fav. And you're schooling me on metal strings? Seriously?

We see things, brother Kissing, from different ends of the planet.

kissing
02-08-2015, 07:37 PM
Dorothy, disregard the man behind the curtain. His name is Kissing and he's having a bad day. Lol.

I couldn't disagree with everything you've written and suggested more. And dude, do you know how many guitars I own? Maybe a dozen, Telecaster my fav. And you're schooling me on metal strings? Seriously?

We see things, brother Kissing, from different ends of the planet.


Your two posts are inconsistent. So why do you bother having so many guitars with high tension steel strings and fretwear when you could be amplifying nylon strung guitars? You're telling people that steel strings are pointless.. it just doesn't add up :/

Either way, I dont want to argue.. it's just that I didn't want to see misleading information go unchallenged.

Btw - I have a few guitars too (7). Two classicals, 3 acoustics and 2 electrics..8 if you include my Viola bass guitar. My favourite is my Gibson Les Paul 50s tribute with the dual humbuckers ;)

One of my classical guitars is a solid body electric - i still wouldnt use it with distortion compared to my Les Paul though.. same applies to ukes ..

weerpool
02-08-2015, 07:49 PM
Get a solid body electric uke/mandolin like these. Almuse mandolins UK75894 and plug it in a fuzz pedal and just rock out.

Rakelele
02-08-2015, 11:37 PM
I must agree that the steel strings ukes with electromagnetic pickups do a better job at getting a more electric guitar-ish sound than nylon strings with an under the saddle piezo pickup. I had a nice Pono CE with a MiSi. And I really liked it. But I found the steel string solid body electric uke more to my liking even using an acoustic Yamaha THR 5A amp.

I agree. I have the Pono TE and like it a lot, but I can't get it to sound like AC/DC, as distortion fades away rather quickly. If you really want to rock, I suppose you need steel strings and magnetic pickups.