PDA

View Full Version : Help me pick !



Adrian Ortiga
05-25-2015, 02:53 AM
hey guys , im torn between two strings right now, the high g and low g . and worst part, i only have one uke right now , its a spruce/ebony custom and right now i need advice as to which strings you guys think i should use. i cant sing so i only play solos , ive only been playing since november
haha . please reccomend :)

Booli
05-25-2015, 03:08 AM
Anyone who tells you what are 'The Best Strings' is blowing a lot of hot air. Run from them, fast!

The best strings are the ones that YOU like the SOUND and FEEL of on YOUR instrument.

Even if we have the same make and model instrument, with the same strings, in the same tuning, they will NOT sound the same, and this is for 2 reasons:

1. What I like for sound will be different from what YOU like for sound of the ukulele.

2. We will have different playing technique. Does not matter if we learned from the same teacher, the way you hands move are different from mine. The way you hear yourself playing and adjust will be different from mine.

High or Low G is a preference you need to find on your own. Some music is only written for one or the other and sounds 'off' if you are tuned the opposite way. Other than that, there are NO rules, only the music can tell you what to do.

I have personally tried over a dozen brands of strings on my more than 16 ukes over the past 18 months, and while I like certain strings on certain instruments, I hate the same strings on others. At the same time, I tend to rebel against 'convention' or conventional wisdom and have to prove things hands-on myself in order to trust it.

In addition to that, strings that I thought were my FAVORITE on a certain instrument 6 months ago, now sound like crap to me, and I am trying other strings now. As you evolve with the ukulele (or any instrument) your preferences WILL CHANGE over time.

Sorry I could not be more helpful, but this is a journey where each of us has to follow his own path. :)

HBolte
05-25-2015, 03:18 AM
There are songs that just work with high g and others that only work well with low g. You'll have to decide which you play the most of. Many of us have ukuleles dedicated to each. Instead of changing strings I switch ukes.

Adrian Ortiga
05-25-2015, 03:32 AM
Thanks a lot guys :) time to get another custom built hahaha

PhilUSAFRet
05-25-2015, 04:12 AM
I would personally go with somewhat bright reentrant strings to take advantage of the woods you chose. Go mellow with the wood choices for your next custom and go low g to take advantage of that if you want one of each. Which brand strings? Booli pretty much said it all.

Booli
05-25-2015, 04:24 AM
One possible compromise that I forgot to mention, when trying to decide for high or low G, is to get a 5-stringer, AND you can have BOTH!!!

In the past, some folks have mentioned that Oscar Schmidt Willie-K model, and Kala also has that cedar/paduk ATP uke with the slothead that you can get a 5-stringer in the tenor

I'm still on the fence for that, as per HBolte said above, I have different ukes in different tunings, which includes one for high-G (G4) and one for low-G (G3).

@PhilUASFret- THX! :shaka:

Ukejenny
05-25-2015, 04:46 AM
Yes. To both. Because I love them both and have music that works better for one/other. I will never be able to limit myself to just low G or just high G. I will always want the best of both worlds.

My only advice is to get another ukulele and then experiment to see which one is better suited for high/low, and string accordingly.

tbeltrans
05-25-2015, 05:42 AM
One thing I have not yet seen is a double-neck ukulele - one neck for low G and the other for high G. It has been done so many times in the guitar world (usually a 6 string neck and a 12 string neck), that I would be surprised somebody hasn't tried it already in the ukulele world. The most successful material for this in the guitar world is carbon fiber to keep the overall weight of the instrument manageable and for the ergonomics that the carbon fiber material allows for. . I am sure that if it doesn't exist already, some enterprising ukulele builder could build one. Then, you don't have to decide on that part of your choice list. As to which strings, it has already been said already.

Tony

DownUpDave
05-25-2015, 05:55 AM
Re-entrant vs Low G has a lot to do with the music and songs you most like to play. Re-entrant is excellent to passable on just about everything. I find I can play most anything with re-entrant and it sounds good. Other stuff like classic rock ie. Eagles songs, blues, country sound better to me with low G because it has more of a guitar like sound. So yea.........you need both :p

Icelander53
05-25-2015, 07:15 AM
Anyone who tells you what are 'The Best Strings' is blowing a lot of hot air. Run from them, fast!

The best strings are the ones that YOU like the SOUND and FEEL of on YOUR instrument.

Even if we have the same make and model instrument, with the same strings, in the same tuning, they will NOT sound the same, and this is for 2 reasons:

1. What I like for sound will be different from what YOU like for sound of the ukulele.

2. We will have different playing technique. Does not matter if we learned from the same teacher, the way you hands move are different from mine. The way you hear yourself playing and adjust will be different from mine.

High or Low G is a preference you need to find on your own. Some music is only written for one or the other and sounds 'off' if you are tuned the opposite way. Other than that, there are NO rules, only the music can tell you what to do.

I have personally tried over a dozen brands of strings on my more than 16 ukes over the past 18 months, and while I like certain strings on certain instruments, I hate the same strings on others. At the same time, I tend to rebel against 'convention' or conventional wisdom and have to prove things hands-on myself in order to trust it.

In addition to that, strings that I thought were my FAVORITE on a certain instrument 6 months ago, now sound like crap to me, and I am trying other strings now. As you evolve with the ukulele (or any instrument) your preferences WILL CHANGE over time.

Sorry I could not be more helpful, but this is a journey where each of us has to follow his own path. :)

How could this not be helpful? All great advice and I would add how in the heck could one know if someone is going to like high or low g? Especially when we don't know what kind of music they usually play.

tbeltrans
05-25-2015, 07:55 AM
How could this not be helpful? All great advice and I would add how in the heck could one know if someone is going to like high or low g? Especially when we don't know what kind of music they usually play.

When I learned about low G tuning and what it is often used for, I got myself another ukulele that was set up in low G tuning. That seems a reasonable solution to me. Then, you can freely switch between the two without having to change the fourth string to do it. I routinely go back and forth between them, depending on what sound I want for what I am playing.

Tony

Patrick Madsen
05-25-2015, 08:14 AM
I'm from a guitar background so only play low G. You didn't mention what size you're playing. If soprano, a hi G seems appropriate. Concert either/or. Tenor, for me, low G. What a=string ar you using now?

tbeltrans
05-25-2015, 08:58 AM
Iam also from a guitar background. I played professionally full time back in the late 70s for a couple of years, doing Holiday Inns, supper clubs, etc. I enjoy both high g and low g, leaning more toward high g (re-entrant) because it is different from the guitar, making the ukulele a "new" instrument for me.

I do agree that tenor or concert will work well with either low or high g. I have not tried soprano with low g, so I can only guess that it would not really work well with the really short scale, but I could be wrong.

Tony

Booli
05-25-2015, 09:33 AM
I am also from a guitar background. I played professionally full time back in the late 70s for a couple of years, doing Holiday Inns, supper clubs, etc. I enjoy both high g and low g, leaning more toward high g (re-entrant) because it is different from the guitar, making the ukulele a "new" instrument for me.

Count me in too w/35 yrs of playing guitar before picking up an ukulele. Never played 'professionally' but was in 2 bands in HS, and in college played electric bass in a band that had weekend gigs at a local bar throughout the summers. There are so many of us coming from guitar here on UU.

When I first started with the uke, re-entrant tuning was like asking me to eat a live beetle (but wealthy folks living in Asia think it's a delicacy), i.e., completely foreign and distasteful from my perspective. However, I now in fact prefer this tuning and have most of my ukes in re-entrant tuning, and only one tenor in linear (low-G tuning). I also have a baritone in each of re-entrant and linear tuning.


I do agree that tenor or concert will work well with either low or high g. I have not tried soprano with low g, so I can only guess that it would not really work well with the really short scale, but I could be wrong.

IMHO, low-G experiments with smaller bodied instruments seem to be hindered by physics in that the smaller sound-box of a soprano seems to really struggle to resonate at the frequency of G3 (and thereabouts), and while it can be done, the sound seems a bit strangled to my ear, whereas re-entrant on a soprano can really penetrate and bark at you (as it seems is the 'traditional' uke sound, and even moreso with a soprano banjolele).

As far as physics goes, in the uke world, try this -- think of how a sub-woofer speaker does the deep bass (baritone uke), the 'normal' woofer does slightly higher bass and lower-mid-range sounds (tenor uke), a mid-range horn does middle frequencies (concert) and a tweeter does the high end (soprano uke), based upon, primarily matching the size of the speaker cone to the wavelength of the desired frequencies (not unlike a cheerleader's cone-shaped bullhorn)...

tbeltrans
05-25-2015, 10:10 AM
Count me in too w/35 yrs of playing guitar before picking up an ukulele. Never played 'professionally' but was in 2 bands in HS, and in college played electric bass in a band that had weekend gigs at a local bar throughout the summers. There are so many of us coming from guitar here on UU.

When I first started with the uke, re-entrant tuning was like asking me to eat a live beetle (but wealthy folks living in Asia think it's a delicacy), i.e., completely foreign and distasteful from my perspective. However, I now in fact prefer this tuning and have most of my ukes in re-entrant tuning, and only one tenor in linear (low-G tuning). I also have a baritone in each of re-entrant and linear tuning.



IMHO, low-G experiments with smaller bodied instruments seem to be hindered by physics in that the smaller sound-box of a soprano seems to really struggle to resonate at the frequency of G3 (and thereabouts), and while it can be done, the sound seems a bit strangled to my ear, whereas re-entrant on a soprano can really penetrate and bark at you (as it seems is the 'traditional' uke sound, and even moreso with a soprano banjolele).

As far as physics goes, in the uke world, try this -- think of how a sub-woofer speaker does the deep bass (baritone uke), the 'normal' woofer does slightly higher bass and lower-mid-range sounds (tenor uke), a mid-range horn does middle frequencies (concert) and a tweeter does the high end (soprano uke), based upon, primarily matching the size of the speaker cone to the wavelength of the desired frequencies (not unlike a cheerleader's cone-shaped bullhorn)...

Good points all around. As for the physics of the guitar, I can't argue what you said, but I believe my point still also holds. On guitar, a very short scale can make using open tunings that tune the strings down, a bit problematic. Both intonation and loose tension on the lower tuned strings have to be taken into account. That is why companies such as Santa Cruz Guitars, when building an instrument designed to be used in many open tunings, will use a longer scale. There is rarely a single perspective that encompasses the entire answer.

My point with the guitar is that coming from guitar, people can react differently to re-entrant ukulele. For me, it was a matter of wanting to get away from the guitar. I have seen teaching materials for ukulele that leverage a person's experience with the guitar. I specifically did not want that, instead preferring to start something fresh because I felt that I was getting stale on the guitar. If I treat the ukulele as just a smaller version of the guitar, then that "staleness" will also translate. I wanted a completely fresh viewpoint. I have been exploring the ukulele fretboard as a new instrument, though my method for learning my around it is the same one I used for the guitar. My thinking when playing instrumental music on the ukulele is not the same as it is on the guitar. I plan on taking that fresh viewpoint back to the guitar at some point.

In other words, different guitar players will have different reasons for getting to the ukulele, and one person's experience will not necessarily predict another's. I will add a differing point of view to simply keep minds open on something like this. There is rarely a single perspective that encompasses the entire answer. I think we both have valid points, rather than one refuting another.

Edit: I think I may have an analogy to help explain my perspective. Years ago, I worked as an electronic technician. One of the worst things one technician could do when asking for "another set of eyes" on a tough problem, was to walk the other tech through what the first person had already done. The reason was that this would lead the other tech down the same thought pattern that had failed the first tech. It was better to let the other tech tackle the problem from a fresh viewpoint.

It is not at all uncommon for a musician to reach a block or sense of staleness on his or her main instrument, and switch to another to get a fresh perspective to come back with. I have seen others do this rather successfully. Though I do also play a low G tuned ukulele, I am applying the new perspective I am learning to that instrument, rather than falling back on what I was doing on guitar. For me, it is simply a different sound that works better in some situations.

I hope that helps. It would be interesting to know if others who came from the guitar were simply looking for a smaller version of the guitar, or for something entirely new. Maybe I am the only one with that perspective here, but I doubt it.

Tony

Booli
05-25-2015, 10:56 AM
Good points all around [snip]

Edit: I think I may have an analogy to help explain my perspective. Years ago, I worked as an electronic technician. One of the worst things one technician could do when asking for "another set of eyes" on a tough problem, was to walk the other tech through what the first person had already done. The reason was that this would lead the other tech down the same thought pattern that had failed the first tech. It was better to let the other tech tackle the problem from a fresh viewpoint.

It is not at all uncommon for a musician to reach a block or sense of staleness on his or her main instrument, and switch to another to get a fresh perspective to come back with. I have seen others do this rather successfully. Though I do also play a low G tuned ukulele, I am applying the new perspective I am learning to that instrument, rather than falling back on what I was doing on guitar. For me, it is simply a different sound that works better in some situations.

I hope that helps. It would be interesting to know if others who came from the guitar were simply looking for a smaller version of the guitar, or for something entirely new. Maybe I am the only one with that perspective here, but I doubt it.

We have some things in common here. My biggest problem when I started was that I was initially approaching it as a little guitar.

All my past experience with guitar-like instruments was very helpful in terms of the physical mechanics of playing, i.e. fretting, strumming & picking, holding it, however my chord theory and 6-string 'brain'/mindset was a real hindrance in appreciating or even wanting to explore the re-entrant side of things.

Once I stopped trying to learn songs, and instead focused on learning chords, and then noodling endlessly, I discovered just how NEW, fresh and different the uke is on it's own, and when I got my second uke I left it re-entrant, and playing certain songs that I had begun to write ON THE UKULELE, in re-entrant tuning, really opened up not only the SOUND, but also my mind, and completely unlocked and unblocked my ability to appreciate re-entrant tuning, so much so, that I really love it now and prefer it, as it opens a dimension of writing and playing that was completely unavailable to me in linear tuning or even previously on guitar. And even further it completely lifted a 3 yrs long writing block, and almost immediately I began to write new music, solely on and for ukulele. I 'hear' music very differently now [in a good way] since the ukulele. I will never look back.

Now the 6-string guitar feels almost foreign to me when I pick it up to play just about anything, other than songs that I wrote myself on guitar.

Also, not wanting to use a pick at all, has really developed both my strumming (almost flamenco inspired) and fingerpicking such that when I pick up my classical guitar now, I have much better dexterity or agility with both hands, it's like my brain got rewired for the better since the ukulele. I love it! :)

tbeltrans
05-25-2015, 11:32 AM
We have some things in common here. My biggest problem when I started was that I was initially approaching it as a little guitar.

All my past experience with guitar-like instruments was very helpful in terms of the physical mechanics of playing, i.e. fretting, strumming & picking, holding it, however my chord theory and 6-string 'brain'/mindset was a real hindrance in appreciating or even wanting to explore the re-entrant side of things.

Once I stopped trying to learn songs, and instead focused on learning chords, and then noodling endlessly, I discovered just how NEW, fresh and different the uke is on it's own, and when I got my second uke I left it re-entrant, and playing certain songs that I had begun to write ON THE UKULELE, in re-entrant tuning, really opened up not only the SOUND, but also my mind, and completely unlocked and unblocked my ability to appreciate re-entrant tuning, so much so, that I really love it now and prefer it, as it opens a dimension of writing and playing that was completely unavailable to me in linear tuning or even previously on guitar. And even further it completely lifted a 3 yrs long writing block, and almost immediately I began to write new music, solely on and for ukulele. I 'hear' music very differently now [in a good way] since the ukulele. I will never look back.

Now the 6-string guitar feels almost foreign to me when I pick it up to play just about anything, other than songs that I wrote myself on guitar.

Also, not wanting to use a pick at all, has really developed both my strumming (almost flamenco inspired) and fingerpicking such that when I pick up my classical guitar now, I have much better dexterity or agility with both hands, it's like my brain got rewired for the better since the ukulele. I love it! :)

Yes! For guitar players, I think there is almost a "magic" in the ukulele. It would be like spending time in the woods to gain a new perspective, but you don't even have to leave home, except to get a ukulele. My preference on the guitar has always been fingerstyle. I use a pick only when necessary. At this point, I wish I could completely abandon the guitar for a few months or so and come back to it as a sort of "new" instrument. However, I am frequently getting pulled into filling in in bands. That can be fun, but I really think I am on to something new, just as you are describing.

Just recently, I signed up for a year with James Hill's "Ukulele Way". That online course is focused on arranging solo fingerstyle instrumentals instead of spending a lot of time on strumming technique and other aspects of playing ukulele. While I think these are important to those who want to do that, I am glad to find a course that is so focused on what interests me. :) I like James' thinking, and it is steering me away from my own guitar-laden thought processes.

One advantage for the ukulele, that really is a blessing and a curse at the same time, is that most people I know have a preconceived notion of the ukulele as a "toy" or just something to clown around with, given the image of Tiny Tim with his Laugh-In appearances. Everybody plays fingerstyle with a reasonable degree of sophistication on the guitar, so it is pretty much "ho hum" these days. However, if you play something like that on the ukulele, it is novel enough that people will listen - for a little while anyway.

To rephrase a worn-out marketing cliche: "They laughed when I picked up the ukulele, but then...". :)

Tony

Rllink
05-25-2015, 01:20 PM
hey guys , im torn between two strings right now, the high g and low g . and worst part, i only have one uke right now , its a spruce/ebony custom and right now i need advice as to which strings you guys think i should use. i cant sing so i only play solos , ive only been playing since november
haha . please reccomend :)OK, you asked, so I'm going to give you an answer, high G and Aquila Super Nylgut strings.

Nickie
05-25-2015, 04:43 PM
One thing I have not yet seen is a double-neck ukulele
Tony

Tony, Manitoba Hal plays one. here he is....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4vilmcxQCU

Adrian Ortiga
05-25-2015, 05:00 PM
I'm from a guitar background so only play low G. You didn't mention what size you're playing. If soprano, a hi G seems appropriate. Concert either/or. Tenor, for me, low G. What a=string ar you using now?

i play tenors :) and in d6 tuning with low A , i just recently tried it out and im nkw torn between campanella or the bass notes haha, i play all types of music ranging from classical to rock and pop and reggae

Adrian Ortiga
05-25-2015, 05:39 PM
OK, you asked, so I'm going to give you an answer, high G and Aquila Super Nylgut strings.

i would really love to try aquilas hahaha, in my city the only good available strings are d addarios pro arte strings and they dont sell them per string so i have to buy two sets of classical guitar strings , ouch!

ubulele
05-25-2015, 06:37 PM
I started with a concert in reentrant C6 tuning and a baritone in linear G6 tuning. The bari can be capoed at the fifth fret to function like a tenor in linear C6 tuning. Put it in A6 tuning and it'll function like a linear D6 tenor. Then you can bide your time till you get your third uke. And you'll have a bari!

pablocity
05-25-2015, 09:04 PM
I saw Manitoba Hal last year and he had a double neck ukulele, although it was built with the idea of a concert joined to a tenor. I think he was getting a bit fed up with the size of the thing. Just put a tenor next to a concert and imagine the size case it would need!
One thing I have not yet seen is a double-neck ukulele - one neck for low G and the other for high G. It has been done so many times in the guitar world (usually a 6 string neck and a 12 string neck), that I would be surprised somebody hasn't tried it already in the ukulele world. The most successful material for this in the guitar world is carbon fiber to keep the overall weight of the instrument manageable and for the ergonomics that the carbon fiber material allows for. . I am sure that if it doesn't exist already, some enterprising ukulele builder could build one. Then, you don't have to decide on that part of your choice list. As to which strings, it has already been said already.

Tony

tbeltrans
05-26-2015, 01:55 AM
Tony, Manitoba Hal plays one. here he is....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4vilmcxQCU

It does seem that these things are out there. A google search found several references, including Youtube videos such as the link you provided. This guy is fun to listen to. :)

Tony

tbeltrans
05-26-2015, 01:58 AM
I saw Manitoba Hal last year and he had a double neck ukulele, although it was built with the idea of a concert joined to a tenor. I think he was getting a bit fed up with the size of the thing. Just put a tenor next to a concert and imagine the size case it would need!

Yes, they would be a bit awkward. Until carbon fiber came along for use in making guitars, the older wood double neck instruments were really heavy and few people used them. The lead guitarist for Triumph and Led Zepplin were the only touring groups I know of who used them.

Tony

k0k0peli
05-26-2015, 03:29 AM
One thing I have not yet seen is a double-neck ukulele - one neck for low G and the other for high G. It has been done so many times in the guitar world (usually a 6 string neck and a 12 string neck), that I would be surprised somebody hasn't tried it already in the ukulele world. I just started a thread in Uke Talk about designing a small 3-neck uke, maybe (1) gCEg, (2) GCEA, and (3) GDAE. Insanity, or the future? And maybe a bigger 3-neck banjo-uke -- I'm not sure yet what each neck would be, but it would certainly be impressive. Lock me up now?

tbeltrans
05-26-2015, 03:42 AM
I just started a thread in Uke Talk about designing a small 3-neck uke, maybe (1) gCEg, (2) GCEA, and (3) GDAE. Insanity, or the future? And maybe a bigger 3-neck banjo-uke -- I'm not sure yet what each neck would be, but it would certainly be impressive. Lock me up now?

Yes, I saw that thread. Nothing wrong with taking the ukulele in new directions. I personally never had the desire to play a double neck guitar, and would not be interested in playing a multi neck ukulele. However, I would find such instruments interesting to look at for their novelty value.

Tony

Adrian Ortiga
05-26-2015, 05:19 AM
Why switch to different ukes when you can get a 3 necked one hahahaha

tbeltrans
05-26-2015, 06:00 AM
Why switch to different ukes when you can get a 3 necked one hahahaha

Answer: A 3 necked ukulele might be too cumbersome. Also, the increased mass might adversely affect the overall sound.

Tony

pluck
05-26-2015, 06:19 AM
I mostly play a soprano but on my tenor I change between low G and hi G about every week. I don't recommend this, necessarily, but if you aren't ready to buy another uke it's an option. It's gets pretty easy and fast after a while. The only real problem is that you constantly have a g string that hasn't settled in yet. I will usually switch to low g because I want something more different from the soprano or I run across some low g piece I want to play. I usually switch back to high g because the low g is very boomy on my tenor.