PDA

View Full Version : Which steel strings for my archtop baritone



Patrick Madsen
08-27-2015, 07:42 PM
I'm going to try a set of steel strings on my Chennell Archtop baritone. It has a floating bridge and Toby assured me it can easily take the tension. The original intent was it being a steel string bari.

I have a set of EXP16 Diaddario Bronze/Phosphor .012-.053 and a set of EHR370 Diaddario half round XL medium gauge .011-.049. They're nickel strings.

I know a few of you have steel string baris so am asking what you are using. I'll use the middle 4 strings.

PhilUSAFRet
08-28-2015, 01:23 AM
:drool: Wish I could help ya!

WhenDogsSing
08-28-2015, 01:49 AM
You might try a set of "Silk and Steel" strings on it. They are easily available at your local music store.

anthonyg
08-28-2015, 03:11 AM
I don't know what the fascination for the middle 4 strings is. From the point of view of trusting the professionals to get the string gauges right for the relevant pitches then its the top 4 strings you wan't and what I alway use with success. Unless you like wound strings of course which may work. Lighter gauge strings need less saddle compensation. Heavier strings need more compensation.

Anthony

Patrick Madsen
08-28-2015, 06:22 AM
Thanks guys, I would prefer using a wound string if possible. I understand trusting the professionals on string gauge but how many pros. are using a steel strung baritone and where can I look up their views. Most steel strings are for guitars; a whole different size and length compared to a bari.

The Big Kahuna
08-28-2015, 06:51 AM
https://wahiduddin.net/calc/calc_guitar_string.htm

The Big Kahuna
08-28-2015, 06:53 AM
That's just crying out for a BJB-style floating pickup!

Cfiimei
08-29-2015, 06:30 AM
Do you have any sound samples out there? I would love to hear that thing with any kind of strings on it.

Patrick Madsen
08-29-2015, 06:38 AM
LOL, I have been thinking about adding a pickup to it and will look at the BJB style p/u.. I should have done it as it was built. I'm not sure how difficult it will be adding one with f holes.

CF, no sound samples yet. but coming. It really has a nice Jazz sound.

The Big Kahuna
08-29-2015, 07:09 AM
LOL, I have been thinking about adding a pickup to it and will look at the BJB style p/u.. I should have done it as it was built. I'm not sure how difficult it will be adding one with f holes.

CF, no sound samples yet. but coming. It really has a nice Jazz sound.

The BJB is a floating pickup, it usually attaches to the side of the neck or the pickguard with a bracket.

SteveZ
08-29-2015, 07:20 AM
I'm going to try a set of steel strings on my Chennell Archtop baritone. It has a floating bridge and Toby assured me it can easily take the tension. The original intent was it being a steel string bari.

I have a set of EXP16 Diaddario Bronze/Phosphor .012-.053 and a set of EHR370 Diaddario half round XL medium gauge .011-.049. They're nickel strings.

I know a few of you have steel string baris so am asking what you are using. I'll use the middle 4 strings.

Depends what you want to tune it. If you want to go CGDA or GCEA (high G), then a set of Mandola (also a scale length of 20 1/2 inches) strings would do it, but most commercial sets come loop end. If you want ball end, EMando.com provides mandola strings and either ball or loop are available. They can custom a set depending on desires.

I always worry about tension levels going nylon to steel. On a mandola the steel tension to tune is usually between 100-115 pounds, while on a nylon bari it's 40-45 pounds. Can't see any reason why the mandola steel tension rate doesn't apply to baris as well, as to tune is to tune when the scale length is the same.

After looking at the photos, was this instrument originally built to be either an 8-string mandola or 4-string bari, depending on the desire of the customer? The floating bridge gives the inference of that being the case.

Patrick Madsen
10-03-2015, 10:55 PM
Last night around 10:30, I decided to try a set of steel strings on the Chennell archtop bari. I used a set of DiAddarios light guage. Takes a while to do with a floating bridge and cable tailblock. Didn't work out at all; sounded really faunky and the intonation was way off.

It came with Martin 630's which I changed out right away with South Coast HL-SW's thinking they would drive the soundboard better because of the higher tension. It didn't sound that good considering what I was hoping for and thought the bari would end up in the closet as it was very quiet and intonation way off.

By then it was 12:30am and I'm kind of cussing myself out for doing something like this being so late and concentration at it lowest. It was a choice of putting a new set of SC on or giving the Martin strings another try. I went with the Martins and glad I did. The intonation is much better and sounds more like I was hoping for. The Chennell definitely is one that is best suited to be used with a pick; it really brought out the jazzy sound of an f holed arch top.

Now that I've found the strings best suited for it, so far, it's time to take it to my luthier to get the intonation spot on and perhaps put in a pickup of some sort. I have an extra Misi hanging around but then I'd have to have a different bridge made so will probably go with a passive. A passive would give a more natural jazz sound anyway.

So I've learned steel strings don't work that well on a shorter scale instrument. I know there are a few luthiers out there that do them but I'm sure their waiting list is longer than I want to wait for. A short scale tenor guitar will probably be the way I'll go when I get the urge for steel strings again.

Sorry if I'm rambling, but it's late and thought I'd post the results of the change over.

Rakelele
10-04-2015, 12:19 AM
So I've learned steel strings don't work that well on a shorter scale instrument. I know there are a few luthiers out there that do them but I'm sure their waiting list is longer than I want to wait for. A short scale tenor guitar will probably be the way I'll go when I get the urge for steel strings again.

I'm very glad about your report, as I'm waiting for my Chennell Jazz Box Uke to be finished later this month and was wondering about how it would work with steel strings. Looks like it's not worth trying. Perphaps the Southcoast HML-CM might give it that typical steel string sound...?

As for a short scale Tenor Guitar: I just received my Kala KA-GTR which is basically just that: four steel strings on a 21" scale (most other Tenor Guitars are longer), with a body size right in between a Baritone and a fully grown Guitar. The only thing that I find a bit impeding is the slim fretboard: Like on most Tenor Guitars, string spacing is much narrower than on a Uke (nut width of about 30mm instead of 35mm). When tuned to DGBE, this makes it harder to fret something like a regular A chord (2220). Anyway, that Kala is an inexpensive and quick way to get a Big Baritone with steel strings.

Patrick Madsen
10-04-2015, 07:12 AM
Thanks R. for your assessment on the tenor guitar. I normally stayed away from Kala but it seems they've improved. I had CM's on my tenor that sounded really nice and on one of my other baritones. I may give them a try on the Chennell now that you mentioned. Oh boy, more experimentation.

Do you know if Toby has elongated the headstock. I felt it looked fairly short and he said he was thinking on making them longer.

What style did you order; Jack, Queen or King? I wish I had a pickup installed when I had mine built. Nice uke though.

Wicked
10-04-2015, 07:42 AM
Last night around 10:30, I decided to try a set of steel strings on the Chennell archtop bari. I used a set of DiAddarios light guage. Takes a while to do with a floating bridge and cable tailblock. Didn't work out at all; sounded really faunky and the intonation was way off.

It came with Martin 630's which I changed out right away with South Coast HL-SW's thinking they would drive the soundboard better because of the higher tension. It didn't sound that good considering what I was hoping for and thought the bari would end up in the closet as it was very quiet and intonation way off.

By then it was 12:30am and I'm kind of cussing myself out for doing something like this being so late and concentration at it lowest. It was a choice of putting a new set of SC on or giving the Martin strings another try. I went with the Martins and glad I did. The intonation is much better and sounds more like I was hoping for. The Chennell definitely is one that is best suited to be used with a pick; it really brought out the jazzy sound of an f holed arch top.

Now that I've found the strings best suited for it, so far, it's time to take it to my luthier to get the intonation spot on and perhaps put in a pickup of some sort. I have an extra Misi hanging around but then I'd have to have a different bridge made so will probably go with a passive. A passive would give a more natural jazz sound anyway.

So I've learned steel strings don't work that well on a shorter scale instrument. I know there are a few luthiers out there that do them but I'm sure their waiting list is longer than I want to wait for. A short scale tenor guitar will probably be the way I'll go when I get the urge for steel strings again.

Sorry if I'm rambling, but it's late and thought I'd post the results of the change over.

Actually, steel strings work very well on a number of short scale instruments. It's a matter of finding the right strings.

As far as intonation goes, the beauty of a floating bridge is that you can easily adjust the intonation yourself. Move the two ends of the bridge back and forth until the intonation on the two outside strings is good. Keep in mind that the bridge will almost certainly not be perpendicular to the centerline of the instrument when done. The middle strings should be good after that.

Patrick Madsen
10-04-2015, 09:07 AM
Yeah, I understand the principles of a floating bridge. Toby has pins in the bridge that go into a couple of holes on the soundboard. I could file 'em down but didn't want to mess with that. Maybe later. Thanks.

Wicked
10-04-2015, 01:52 PM
Yeah, I understand the principles of a floating bridge. Toby has pins in the bridge that go into a couple of holes on the soundboard. I could file 'em down but didn't want to mess with that. Maybe later. Thanks.

Oh... Now that's a different story.