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View Full Version : Wanted: someone with 19" uke for string experiment



Jim Hanks
11-29-2015, 07:06 PM
So here's the deal. I posted a thread about Eb baritone tuning (http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?81095-Reentrant-Eb-on-baritone). Long story short, with Ken's help I have designed a custom Living Water string set that might work. The problem is I no longer have a uke I can try it on and my custom Ono won't be ready for some time yet.

I considered getting one of these (https://reverb.com/item/936094-28-pineapple-shape-ukulele?_aid=pla&currency=USD&pla=1&gclid=CNHw6p6yt8kCFYEsHwod5LoApw) to experiment on but at $65 plus about $20 for the strings, that's not an inexpensive lark.

That's where you come in. Here's the deal:

1. It is highly preferred that you have a 19" scale baritone or super tenor. Also preferred that you be in the U.S. (If I get no takers, I will probably open up the offer to 20" and/or non-US)

2. I will make the order, pay for the strings, and have Ken ship them directly to you. If you want to add your own string sets to the order (at your cost) just let me know. I'll probably have a regular set or two as well.

3. You take a sound sample or video of your current baritone configuration. (Either low d DGBE or high d dGBE would be most helpful, but that is not an absolute requirement.)

4. You install the strings and tune to reentrant Eb (bb Eb G C). Let the strings stabilize for a day or three.

5. You take another sound sample or video for comparison against #3.

6. You provide your thoughts on the experiment. How is the tension, the sound, etc.

7. Finally, you mail me my extra sets that I mentioned above. I'll send you postage for that. You are free to keep the installed set.

Bottom line, it will cost you no money to participate but it will take a few hours of your time to do the experiment and record your findings for posterity.

The only caveat that I can think of is with the install. This set uses the fat low D string of the normal DGBE set but as the 3rd string. It is possible it will not fit a standard nut slot or bridge hole. (The normal G string being used as the 2nd string may also be a problem.) If that's the case, you have two options: a) bail out, just send me the uninstalled strings and we'll call it quits, or b) widen your nut/bridge to fit and carry on. If you take the second option, you're on your own. I am not responsible for getting your uke back to baseline. ;-)

If you would like to be considered for this experiment, send me a PM. I will take "applications" for 24 hours.

Thanks for your consideration

Rodney.
11-30-2015, 01:36 AM
Had the fat D on two ukes, no problem getting it through the hole.

Jim Hanks
11-30-2015, 01:50 AM
As a fourth string yes, but this would be as a third string.

Booli
11-30-2015, 03:04 AM
So here's the deal. I posted a thread about Eb baritone tuning (http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?81095-Reentrant-Eb-on-baritone). Long story short, with Ken's help I have designed a custom Living Water string set that might work. The problem is I no longer have a uke I can try it on and my custom Ono won't be ready for some time yet.

I considered getting one of these (https://reverb.com/item/936094-28-pineapple-shape-ukulele?_aid=pla&currency=USD&pla=1&gclid=CNHw6p6yt8kCFYEsHwod5LoApw) to experiment on but at $65 plus about $20 for the strings, that's not an inexpensive lark.

FYI: That pear-shaped 'baritone' is sold by the same vendor 'mangolulu' also via eBay.

Fellow UU brother Jazzbanjorex did a video demo and a few songs with it in different tunings, and IIRC his takeway was that is was quieter and less resonant than most of his other figure-eight shaped baritone or tenor ukes. Possibly over-braced, or just a very thick top.

I've also seen it sold under both the 'Harmonia' and 'Sojing' brand names, and in nearly ALL of those descriptions this instrument is listed as having an oddball 18" scale length, so the description on that Reverb sale listing is likely inaccurate from what I've seen across at least 3-4 other sites that all say it is an 18" and NOT 19" scale length.

BEWARE! You might want to check out Jazzbanjorex's videos on it, his YouTube is here:

https://www.youtube.com/user/Jazzbanjorex/videos

This might not be a good ginea pig instrument, and one of the Butler Music 'gamber specials' on eBay can be had for ~$35+shipping if your timing is right.

Also, remember that Musicians Friend has the Rogue baritone which is frequently on sale for ~$33 and they offer free shipping. When I wanted one (also as a test/hacking instrument) but it was on backorder and I did not want to wait, so I found the Savannah brand selling the same instrument on eBay for $51 and free shipping and bough that instead at the time. The Savannah looks identical to the Rogue, and in fact has a 19" scale length.

Dr. Bekken (also fellow UU brother) did a comparison video/demo of the Rogue, Johnson and Savannah baritones, which you can see here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzeAfkcbN0s

and some songs on the Rogue here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTZz69NeMbo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSGSXvDMiKI

So you have a few options for a test candidate that might be better if a 19" scale and super low-cost is your goal.

My Savannah was pretty decent out of the box, and intonation pretty good and does not sound 'bad', but it's not great either. It's plywood, but the fret ends were smooth and the plastic nut and saddle needed no adjustment for me, nor for the intonation.

The strings it came with were covered with some kind of gunk, but I removed them right away and commenced string testing, right now it has extra hard tension classical guitar strings on it and is tuned E2-A2-D3-G3 as a piccolo bass (an octave up from bass guitar) and plays like buttah. :)

Jim Hanks
11-30-2015, 03:28 AM
Thanks Booli. Yeah I saw the Jazzbanjorex video where he said it was 19" so that's what got me thinking. Also thought about the Butler gambler special. Savannah is probably a better option - didn't know that was 19". But really I don't want another instrument that will have to be unloaded after the Ono comes in. Not enough space. Still, we'll see how bad my curiosity gets. :)

Jim Hanks
12-01-2015, 04:42 PM
I'm going to close down this experiment for now. Just found out yesterday that my Ono build is starting very soon. We might try this Eb idea on it or might not. But I'm going to see how that plays out before going off on another tangent.

If anybody wants to try it in their own, let me know and I'll send you the details on the custom set. Cost is 10 plus shipping, about $20.