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View Full Version : The Great String Debate Dec. 2015: To Compliment or Contrast. That is the question.



johnson430
12-08-2015, 11:20 AM
Firstly, I have two different sounding ukes.
One is mellow and woody while the other is bright and punchy.

Question:
Who uses strings that compliment the sound of their uke?
ie. Warm strings for warm uke or bright strings for a bright uke.

Who uses contrasting strings to their uke?
ie. Warm strings on a bright uke or...


Also: Low G and High G

Better to put a low g on a deep, woody sounding uke or better to put a high g on to give some balance to the deep response?
or vice verse for a bright, punchy uke?



Let the debate begin!

spookelele
12-08-2015, 11:37 AM
I think it's better to play to a strength than fight a deficiency

Peace Train
12-08-2015, 12:02 PM
I like warm strings on say, a spruce top that's already punchy. You get the best of both worlds.

edit: For me, it's not about making the sound overly punchy, but balancing out the sound to what my ears enjoy. And since what my ears (and fingers) enjoy can change in any given moment, that's the beauty of a string change.

johnson430
12-08-2015, 12:30 PM
I think it's better to play to a strength than fight a deficiency

Would you please elaborate on your answer?
I am interested in your angle. It appears as though you are saying it is compliment over contrast, yes?

johnson430
12-08-2015, 12:56 PM
I like warm strings on say, a spruce top that's already punchy. You get the best of both worlds.

edit: For me, it's ... balancing out the sound to what my ears enjoy.

I am feeling the same way. I have a mango that has been normally strung with bright, high g strings but I recently started the Pekelo book and that calls for a low G.
I feel like the bass can overpower the other strings when using a low g on the mango. (anyone else with a matte mango uke have similar observations?)

wayfarer75
12-08-2015, 01:08 PM
There's more to string selection than warm or bright strings complementing or contrasting a warm or bright uke. Volume, clarity/note separation, sustain, tension, and feel all play a part for me. I have several ukes, each with its own sound, and while the string choice can change the sound somewhat, there's an essential character in each that is not affected. So honestly, I go for strings that feel good--are not high tension--and let the ukes ring out.

Brad Bordessa
12-08-2015, 02:04 PM
I like "Search Button" strings. Bright, warm, woody, loud, soft, tinny, boomy, you name it! They adjust their molecular characteristics to bring out the best sound in any particular uke. I hope to be getting an endorsement deal lined up in the next few days.

:deadhorse:

But really, strings are cheap. Every situation is different. Contrasting, complementing, or not, buy a few sets and try them out. You'll learn a lot more from your experience doing that than reading a thread. Speaking from experience. I've tried lots of strings. And it didn't matter what I read on here; I got different results.

Has anybody ever put together a string swap program? Then people could try all kinds of strings for pretty much free.

johnson430
12-08-2015, 02:55 PM
Has anybody ever put together a string swap program? Then people could try all kinds of strings for pretty much free.

I like this idea.

I am in.
I have a set of Tenor La Bella No. 12 Wound C that I will not be using. They are low-medium tension strings. Trading for high tension.

Brad Bordessa
12-08-2015, 03:02 PM
I like this idea.

I am in.
I have a set of Tenor La Bella No. 12 Wound C that I will not be using. They are low-medium tension strings. Trading for high tension.

I think there'd be a lot of interest in that. Start up a thread and I'll meet you over there with some heavy strings!

Ukulele Eddie
12-08-2015, 05:34 PM
Has anybody ever put together a string swap program? Then people could try all kinds of strings for pretty much free.

I've swapped strings with others on here and also been gifted unwanted strings. These have so far been done with just a post in Uke Talk. Perhaps a dedicated thread might be interesting.

UkerDanno
12-09-2015, 03:37 AM
Has anybody ever put together a string swap program? Then people could try all kinds of strings for pretty much free.

yes...
http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?93532-string-exchange&highlight=string+exchange

haole
12-09-2015, 04:16 AM
I like "Search Button" strings. Bright, warm, woody, loud, soft, tinny, boomy, you name it! They adjust their molecular characteristics to bring out the best sound in any particular uke. I hope to be getting an endorsement deal lined up in the next few days.

:deadhorse:

But really, strings are cheap. Every situation is different. Contrasting, complementing, or not, buy a few sets and try them out. You'll learn a lot more from your experience doing that than reading a thread. Speaking from experience. I've tried lots of strings. And it didn't matter what I read on here; I got different results.

Has anybody ever put together a string swap program? Then people could try all kinds of strings for pretty much free.

I second this wholeheartedly. Always a little silly when someone with a $2000+ instrument would sooner go by adjectives used to describe the sound on a forum than buy a set of strings for six bucks. Your favorite strings may very well be the ones everyone else hates!

The string exchange is an awesome idea. I have a bunch I'm willing to part with.

spookelele
12-09-2015, 04:59 AM
Would you please elaborate on your answer?
I am interested in your angle. It appears as though you are saying it is compliment over contrast, yes?

I think things have a nature. If you work with their nature, you can get more out of it.

A bright spruce uke that you try to warm, may sound less bright, but may also sound dull.
A warm hog uke, you could try to brighten, might be less warm, but also anemic.

I think a uke wants to sound a certain way because of the physics of its construction, and maybe a little spirit. If you tone that down to change it's nature, I think you're not getting the most out of the uke.

If your uke is naturally bright, and you want it to be warm, maybe you bought the wrong uke, instead of the wrong strings.

PereBourik
12-09-2015, 05:13 AM
Live with the ukulele for awhile I have one that is naturally bright. Wonderful in all respects, but I quickly tired of playing it because it sort of got on my nerves. I put warm strings on it and voila! now I want to play her all day.

I think the "string chase" is one of the fun parts of playing ukulele. The only hassle is the time involved. Locally I can only get a narrow range of strings. Mail order can bring anything and everything that's available.

johnson430
12-09-2015, 05:27 AM
I started a string exchange in the marketplace:

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?117265-The-String-Exchange-Thread

Brad Bordessa
12-09-2015, 06:24 AM
I started a string exchange in the marketplace:

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?117265-The-String-Exchange-Thread

Great! Everyone seems to have extra strings. I just gave away a whole bunch to a friend, but I'll go see what I can dig up.