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View Full Version : Are most Tenor and Baritone string sets interchangeable?



Rakelele
08-15-2015, 04:02 AM
I have just compared the specs of some Tenor and Baritone string sets from the same brand (D'Addario T2) and came to notice that the strings on both sets are either the same or very close in gauge/diameter. The Tenor set is also long enough to fit on a Baritone. Hence the generalizing question: Can Tenor string sets be used on a Baritone and vice versa? Will the string tension be alright for regular DGBE tuning on a Baritone and GCEA on a Tenor, respectively?

Jim Hanks
08-15-2015, 08:30 AM
Interesting observation. I'm sure it doesn't hold in all cases but I'm guessing "most" is accurate, especially if you are willing to move up or down a tone to get the right tension for a particular instrument. For example I was looking for a linear Bb set for my 19" Bruko baritone and Ken Middelton at Living Water sent me a "custom" baritone set. Turns out it is the same gauges as the standard low G tenor set. I ended up in linear A as that was the best feel.

CactusWren
08-15-2015, 11:59 AM
Read Dirk's excellent articles on strings for baritones and tenors to realize how complicated the answer to this question can be.

http://www.southcoastukes.com/tips.htm

PhilUSAFRet
08-15-2015, 12:29 PM
Read Dirk's excellent articles on strings for baritones and tenors to realize how complicated the answer to this question can be.

http://www.southcoastukes.com/tips.htm

:agree: The fact that many strings are the same is why Dirk has such success with custom bari string sets and why so many players love them. Southcoast bari strings are optimized for the baritone scale length, tenor strings for the tenor, etc. etc.

Rakelele
08-15-2015, 11:26 PM
Thank you all, your answers are very helpful.

Is it possible that the fact that many linear sets have two wound strings has more to do with balance in sound and feel (similar gauges instead of increasingly fatter strings), rather than with string tension and such?

I like the Southcoast sets a lot, but for several well-founded reasons, they don't offer a Baritone set with an unwound 3rd (or even 4th) string, which is something I'd prefer for my specific Baritone.

So I just replaced the wound 3rd string from the D'Addario Titanium Baritone set (.030W) with the unwound 3rd (0.041) from their Tenor set. Sure, it's fatter than the wound string. But since the 2nd string is identical (.033) and the 1st is very close (.028 in the Baritone set and .029 in the Tenor set), I figured that the 3rd would be interchangeable as well.

Actually, D'Addario is using those very same strings for some of their Guitar sets, so they will be tuned the same as on the Baritone but at a higher tension due to the larger scale. I guess what that means is that the same strings can actually be used for some quite different purposes... of course, this might not produce the best result to everybody.

My question, therefore, would expand further to how to use Guitar sets on your Ukelele? Many here, for instance, like Savarez Alliance 520/540 strings on their Tenors. Can they be used on a Baritone as well? What are the factors that one has to consider when using Guitar strings on a Uke?

JonThysell
08-25-2015, 08:11 PM
I have been using Worth BT tenor strings on my 19" scale bari for months now, after comparing diameters and seeing that Jake puts the same strings on his bari that he does on his tenor. I replaced the unwound 4th with a Fremont soloist low-g. Uke is tuned traditional DGBE. I'll say the soloist is by far the best low D I've ever used - the least amount of noise and good tension. The treble strings have been okay, but not great. A little thin and looser than I'd like. But I can see if you wanted thinner trebles, and are on the more common 20" scale bari, you might like the setup you get with tenor strings. You just have to try it!