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Luke El U
08-08-2015, 06:17 PM
It's been a long time coming. In late Spring of 2014, Dirk Wormhoudt from Southcoast Ukes sent me a few sets of the Machete strings for ukulele. They never arrived, due to problems on the Chinese side.

China is great on exporting, not always so great on importing. I was really bummed and pretty much gave up.

This Spring, Dirk contacted me and wanted to give it another shot. How thoughtful! I agreed, and sure enough our new method of delivery worked. I was so excited when the strings arrived a few weeks later, but was on my way to a European vacation with my family, so I set them aside until I returned to China.

Last night, I put a set on my KoAloha soprano and was blown away. They sound fantastic! Immediately, I pulled out my copy of Vasconcelos' "Collection of Pieces for Machete" edited by Manuel Morais and played through some of the pieces. What a joy to play these beautiful pieces in the original keys on an instrument with strings able to make the sound really come alive.

As soon as I can, I hope to record and post a few pieces with the guitar accompaniment.

Thanks again Dirk for going out of your way to help me realize a dream.
I highly recommend these strings for anyone with an interest in Machete music, open tunings, or just for an exciting new, higher pitched sound for their soprano ukuleles!

Sincerely,

Bill

CactusWren
08-08-2015, 07:15 PM
Always nice to hear a happy ending. I just got a few packs from Dirk, but never thought to get an extra light. I have a KoAloha soprano, so I perked up at that. Would love to hear what you come up with!

southcoastukes
08-09-2015, 04:01 PM
Hello guys- thanks for those kind words!

I'm wanting to hear those videos as well, Bill. We have a series on the newsletter archive called "Tuning Your Ukulele". With 11 parts, it's (ahem) a bit more involved than the title implies. In Part 6 (Tuning for the Group) we actually have a Vasconcelos video, but with Rajao in addition to Machete and Guitar. Bill was extremely kind to send me a copy of the Vasconcelos book, and if I remember correctly, the arrangements seem to more often be just for Machete and Guitar. Machete tuning (the original Ukulele tuning, in fact) is ideal to cut over the Guitar in such groupings - the Machete takes the lead, the Guitar is a deep toned rhythm instrument.

On point I'd like to clarify. The title of this thread is "Southcoast Extra Light Gauge Linear Set". That set is actually designed for around d' g' b' e" tuning on a Soprano, or in other words, an octave above typical Baritone Ukulele tuning. Machete tuning is an Open tuning: d' g' b' d". You can always order the XLL (Extra Light Linear) set and "slack" the first string down a note to the Machete tuning. But if an Open tuning is what you primarily want to play, then you go to the "Open Tuning" sets page and order a higher tension 1st string there. Not only does it give better tension a step down, but has a more substantial feel. We just add it on to the stock Linear set, so you end up with two 1st strings - one for each tension.

Do the Vids, Bill!

Luke El U
08-10-2015, 10:09 PM
Okay, here's a very quick, rough draft, warts and all. The tempo is too slow, and I really screw up at 1:15, but I think the rest of it will serve at least as a decent sound sample.

The piece is Waltz 9 from the book. I also play the accompaniment part that is written (only one out of 41 pieces has no accompaniment part) on a parlor sized guitar with very soft sounding silk-wound steel strings from D'Addario so as not to over power the uke.

http://mfi.re/listen/qf9pkedv546ucp5/DR001213.wav

southcoastukes
08-11-2015, 06:32 PM
Okay, here's a very quick, rough draft, warts and all.

Bill - warts and all, that was beautiful!

DownUpDave
08-12-2015, 12:13 AM
That really, really does sound gorgeous. Those string make such a difference in the sound of that Koaloha soprano.

On a different topic I have a Collings UT2 that I've had 4 diiferent strings sets on. The winner and the ones that will always be on that uke are South Coast mediums with a wound third. I have three tenors with South Coast HM RWL, I love Dirk's strings