View Full Version : Steel strings for a tenor ukulele?

11-29-2015, 10:31 AM
Hi all,

Further to my previous post, I embarked upon building myself a Ukulele. Given my complete inexperience, I decided to start with some cigar boxes I had but aimed to do most of it by hand - eg no pre bought necks.

I will attach a couple of pictures so far but the thing I need help with is my second build - a coil pickup tenor cigar box ukulele. In short, I cant seem to find steel strings for it. I thought I ordered them, but it turns out their "titanium" strings were not actually metal.

Anyone know where I could get some in a tenor ukulele scale?

11-29-2015, 10:39 AM
First attempt. Unfinished as I need to move the controls for the pickup (they were supposed to be on the bottom) and I'll turn the old holes into slots for the sound to escape
The second attempt. Awaiting buttons which are gold but otherwise just need strings

Apologies for pic quality, tablets camera is not the best.

11-29-2015, 10:41 AM
just use a light gauge guitar strings of your choice. should work out juts fine.

11-29-2015, 11:00 AM
Thanks weerpool. I washoping someone sold some, even if obscure. Do you know which guitar strings I woukd use (eg which of the 6 strings to use for which note etc)

Pete Howlett
11-29-2015, 11:10 AM
Pyramid in Germany do steel string sets. I have some samples...

11-29-2015, 11:10 AM
For low G, use the top four from a light gauge electric guitar set. It's often cheaper to buy a set of 6 (for guitar) than to purchase 4 singles.

11-29-2015, 11:49 AM
For low G, use the top four from a light gauge electric guitar set. It's often cheaper to buy a set of 6 (for guitar) than to purchase 4 singles.

Any idea which ones specifically for each string? I assume it's not as simple as the same order?

Also would I need to tune them down a step or so?

Jim Hanks
11-29-2015, 12:47 PM
Here's a post that suggests using the middle four strings:

But that is for DGBE tuning. If you want GCEA the top four should work. Either would be in the same order as they will be liner tunings, not reentrant. And IMO, you want linear tuning on an electric, especially if you're going to apply any degree of distortion or other effects.

11-30-2015, 04:47 AM
I have a Risa tenor, here are Risa's and D'Addario's recommndations:

heavy gauge (about 20 lbs tension):
high g - .014"
low-G = 0.030" wound
C = 0.023" wound or 0.020" plain
E = 0.016" plain
A = 0.012" plain

light gauge (about 15 lbs tension):
high g = .012
low-G = 0.026" wound
C = 0.017" plain
E = 0.014" plain
A = 0.010" plain

A 0.018" for C is is okay. You can buy a standard electric guitar string
set 0.010" and take the first four strings of this set.

With kind regards
RISA Musical Instruments

And D'Addario's Recommendations:

Unit Weight Scale Length Frequency Gauge Tension
(Lb/in) (in) (Hz) (in) (Lb)
.00001601 19.00 466.20 A# = PL0085 13.00
.00001794 19.00 440.00 A = PL009 12.98
.00003190 19.00 329.60 E = PL012 12.95
.00004984 19.00 261.60 C = PL015 12.75
.00009184 19.00 196.00 G = NW022 13.18
.00001999 17.00 466.20 A# = PL0095 13.00
.00002215 17.00 440.00 A = PL010 12.83
.00004037 17.00 329.60 E = PL0125 13.12
.00006402 17.00 261.60 C = PL017 13.11
.00010857 17.00 196.00 G = NW024 12.48