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the flat tire
12-18-2015, 04:48 PM
to find out how your instrument really sounds?

86576

I'm on set 12...

rappsy
12-18-2015, 05:12 PM
It isn't always a full set that makes up a good sound. I mix strings from different types of sets to create a sound that I think is good for me.... YMMV.

igorthebarbarian
12-18-2015, 05:18 PM
How many licks does it take to get to the center of a blow pop!
Sadly I've tried almost every one of those strings too.
Cheaper than buying a new one, right??!

Kekani
12-18-2015, 06:47 PM
Of course you're still searching. . .Savarez Alliance is missing. BUT, that would also be dependent on what instrument you have, and how its tuned.

Doc_J
12-18-2015, 06:57 PM
Of course you're still searching. . .Savarez Alliance is missing. BUT, that would also be dependent on what instrument you have, and how its tuned.

Great selection!
The Savarez Allances are there, but Titaniums and SouthCoasts are missing.

If none of those sound good it's either the instrument or your ears aren't working well. :)

the flat tire
12-18-2015, 07:52 PM
Savarez is there, right hand row.
I have more South Coast coming in (see below) and the Titaniums are on one of my ukes (see below)!

Some of my generalizations on high G sets:

Flourocarbons are colored.
They have a certain sound, a ringing/chiming that I'm not particularly fond of.
Then again, the Savarez and the new Pepe Romeros (made me get some LaBellas) were a pleasant surprise; very close in sound. I also liked how they played.
My Tangi mango is also wearing some Oasis warms. Oasis is/was okay, but felt a bit stiff, both the warm and bright.
Living Waters didn't do it for me though I only tried them once and I may go back.
Same thing for Worths, though I haven't tried the browns.
South Coast was maybe the least colored of the flouros and I got more on order.

Aquila: Regular and Super bored me. Felt like playing big game 500 lbs test fishing line. The Lavas (which is supposed to be the same as the Supers) I liked and will go back to them. I really dig the Reds; makes an un-ukulele sound particularly on my spruce tops. I put them on koa and liked them there too. Currently on one of instruments and will go back to them later. I am using mix of old Reds and new. So far so good on the A strings.

Fremonts: for whatever reason, they only get along with one of my ukes, a spruce top. I'd call the sound muddy but warm, opposite of the Aquila Reds. I like them there but haven't had success with any other uke.

Martins, bleah, just like D'addarios.
Except for D'addario titaniums. Currently on one of my ukes, still being reviewed. Large diameter strings that don't feel large. Similar I think to Aquila Lavas.

I also tried Kala Pearls on a couple of my instruments. I sort of liked them, but sort of reminded me of flouros.

Did I learn anything?

My Kamaka sounds like it does no matter what strings I got on it. I mean it sounds different with each string yet at the same time, it retains a large part of what I now think is it's native sound. The Kamaka, or should I say my Kamaka, seems to be very sensitive to string changes. Sounds contradictory, but I could hear the minute differences in each string change, things that I couldn't hear or notice when changing strings on other instruments (spruce tops).
I have a feeling the Tangi Mango may be the same.

My Kala spruce seems to be the least sensitive, sounding pretty much the same no matter what string I dropped on it. I really like that uke.

My other two ukes were some place in between; sometimes changes made a big deal, sometimes not.

To recap, I'm using Oasis Warms, Aquila Reds and Lavas, Fremont Blacklines, and D'addario Titaniums.
I think all the sets I've tried have their merits, some are just not for me; on the instruments I now own.
I have goofed around with mixing some strings, mostly with the Aquila Lavas for the A string has a tendency to 'ring' on me. I usually just drop whatever A string I got laying around.

Favorites or first string I change out to? Aquila Reds or Lavas and Savarez or Romeros for flouros.

Next up are PHds, and Aaron's 'special blend' and possibly some Koolaus.
And the rest.

I gotta say this Quest for Strings has taught me about what kind of sound I like and not, and it also taught me a bit about all my instruments and the sounds they make.

Kekani
12-18-2015, 07:54 PM
Great selection!
The Savarez Allances are there, but Titaniums and SouthCoasts are missing.

If none of those sound good it's either the instrument or your ears aren't working well. :)
I stand corrected, and I need.to clarify; Savarez Alliance 540J or 540R. The ukulele sets Ive tried, not so good.

the flat tire
12-18-2015, 08:02 PM
I stand corrected, and I need.to clarify; Savarez Alliance 540J or 540R. The ukulele sets Ive tried, not so good.

I haven't gotten around to looking at the guitar sets; I don't really like how flourocarbons sound. I did like how the ukulele set 150R felt and played on the Kamaka. Not real strong, but not real weak, sort of someplace in the middle. Mostly I liked how they felt.

hammer40
12-18-2015, 10:32 PM
I stand corrected, and I need.to clarify; Savarez Alliance 540J or 540R. The ukulele sets Ive tried, not so good.

The Savarez uke strings are the same Alliance KF strings used in the classical 540 sets, just slightly different diameters. Which results in a little more tension and a slightly warmer, round sound, when using the strings right out of the classical 540R set compared to the uke set. Only two strings, in the uke set are different diameters.

Uke set diameters are.0205/.0272/.0331/0224, the usual classicals (the 540R treble set and an extra E string) used are at .0244/.0272/.0331/0244. So you can see, it is just the A and G string in the uke set that is a different diameter than the 540R set.

Of course, you can use any diameters you like. Savarez sells carbon singles in just about any diameter you could want.

Phluffy the Destroyer
12-19-2015, 01:46 AM
The Savarez uke strings are the same Alliance KF strings used in the classical 540 sets, just slightly different diameters. Which results in a little more tension and a slightly warmer, round sound, when using the strings right out of the classical 540R set compared to the uke set. Only two strings, in the uke set are different diameters.

Uke set diameters are.0205/.0272/.0331/0224, the usual classicals, the 540R treble set and an extra E string, used are at .0244/.0272/.0331/0244. So you can see, it is just the A and G string in the uke set that is a different diameter than the 540R set.

Of course, you can use any diameters you like. Savarez sells carbon singles in just about any diameter you could want.

Two thoughts:

8 string ukulele's are strung so the paired strings are different octaves, aren't they? They are essentially 2 complete string sets that each have a different pitch which are strung in pairs to create a ukulele with a fuller, richer sound.. Why couldn't you simply string one set or the other to change the pitch of a normal 4 string ukulele? I'm not a luthier by any stretch of the imagination, so I don't know if changing the pitch of the strings would improve the sound quality of a ukulele. However, it seems to me with that even if the quality was not improved, the ability to string a ukulele in a different octave might be of some benefit to many players.

On a slightly different note, a baritone is strung similarly to a tenor guitar. Tenor guitars can be strung using the DGBE strings from a guitar string set. I don't know whether or not a ukulele bridge would need to be altered to accommodate guitar strings, but if using guitar strings is possible, it would increase the selection of strings available to baritone players.

Is this correct, or just unconventional (and/or impractical) thinking?

hammer40
12-19-2015, 02:30 AM
Two thoughts:

8 string ukulele's are strung so the paired strings are different octaves, aren't they? They are essentially 2 complete string sets that each have a different pitch which are strung in pairs to create a ukulele with a fuller, richer sound.. Why couldn't you simply string one set or the other to change the pitch of a normal 4 string ukulele? I'm not a luthier by any stretch of the imagination, so I don't know if changing the pitch of the strings would improve the sound quality of a ukulele. However, it seems to me with that even if the quality was not improved, the ability to string a ukulele in a different octave might be of some benefit to many players.

On a slightly different note, a baritone is strung similarly to a tenor guitar. Tenor guitars can be strung using the DGBE strings from a guitar string set. I don't know whether or not a ukulele bridge would need to be altered to accommodate guitar strings, but if using guitar strings is possible, it would increase the selection of strings available to baritone players.

Is this correct, or just unconventional (and/or impractical) thinking?

Classical guitar strings, nylon or carbon, can and are used for the ukulele.

70sSanO
12-19-2015, 07:20 AM
So how much mx-n-match have you done. Surely in all those sets you have found an individual string that works. Sometimes it takes finding the right G and then a C that doesn't boom or thud, etc. I have found C and A strings to be the biggest challenge (on re-entrant high G). Sometimes that A is a an exercise in futility between too thin and too much tension.

John

ukuleleden
12-19-2015, 11:36 PM
How many licks does it take to get to the center of a blow pop!
Sadly I've tried almost every one of those strings too.
Cheaper than buying a new one, right??!

That was my first thought too. I guess the best answer is as many as it takes. We all seem to have a certain sound in our heads/body that resonate the best with what our expectation or desire may be. All can be a bit different, so it makes it hard to pigeon-hole Ukes and strings together.

PhilUSAFRet
12-19-2015, 11:55 PM
All string sets sound good to somebody on one uke or another!!!!!! :music:

johnson430
12-20-2015, 03:33 AM
I see you have the PHD strings coming up in rotation.
Those have been my favorite strings on my mango. And I just recently put a PHD high g set on my mahogany. Very happy with the sound.
I still need to try South Coast, Salvarez and Oasis though.
Thanks for posting this thread.
I will have to hit up the string store after xmas.

mm stan
12-20-2015, 05:08 AM
Wrong salvarez set though, what kind of uke is this. Usually when i choose strings, first is tension, guage and compound..wound or not, fluro carbon or nylon, low or high g,
Depends on your ukes tone and feel. On what strings may work, for instance heavy build thin guage
Laminates, thin or aquilas, bright or tinny sounding , heavier guage softer compound etc.
Good luck, 11 sets huh? Clarity heavy tension, sweet , heavy guage softer compound

the flat tire
12-20-2015, 07:33 AM
So how much mx-n-match have you done. Surely in all those sets you have found an individual string that works. Sometimes it takes finding the right G and then a C that doesn't boom or thud, etc. I have found C and A strings to be the biggest challenge (on re-entrant high G). Sometimes that A is a an exercise in futility between too thin and too much tension.

John

I haven't done too much testing, mostly like you, the A and C strings. I mostly replace them with whatever used set I got laying around. I've replaced some C with Aquila Red, mostly because I had a couple of open sets. I like the Red A but it's prone to self destruction.

I'll probably start customizing once I work my way through all the sets.

the flat tire
12-20-2015, 07:37 AM
That was my first thought too. I guess the best answer is as many as it takes. We all seem to have a certain sound in our heads/body that resonate the best with what our expectation or desire may be. All can be a bit different, so it makes it hard to pigeon-hole Ukes and strings together.


That sound in my head was what got me started on the Quest for Strings. Where that sound came from, I don't know. Where that sound is, I don't know.

One interesting thing about all this is that all the strings have been tested on one instrument.
It think it was around the 10 string change that I began to realize that while string changes were altering the sound some, I was still hearing the same ukulele.
If that makes any sense.

Rllink
12-20-2015, 07:56 AM
to find out how your instrument really sounds?

86576

I'm on set 12...What are you looking for? What is wrong with the sounds you have already found? I mean, is there going to ever be a time when you say, "I'm satisfied, and I'm just going to play this thing", or will you always be looking? I ask this without judgement. I just wonder if there is actually a sound that you seek, or if you are just seeking a sound.

70sSanO
12-20-2015, 08:27 AM
I haven't done too much testing, mostly like you, the A and C strings. I mostly replace them with whatever used set I got laying around. I've replaced some C with Aquila Red, mostly because I had a couple of open sets. I like the Red A but it's prone to self destruction.

I'll probably start customizing once I work my way through all the sets.

Well diameter isn't a sure fire way to go about things, but for me cheap Harbor Freight digital calipers go a long way in figuring these things out. As odd as it may seem .001" can make or break the right and wrong string.

As mm stan pointed out composition and material plays a more important role, but for like material strings, at least for me, having some tangible data does help. I have contemplated getting a tennis string tension gauge, but I'm not sure if it will work and I have zeroed in on the right strings for the different ukuleles.

I think the current Reds are supposed to be better as far as breaking, but you may want to do a search of the threads.

John

the flat tire
12-20-2015, 08:32 AM
What are you looking for? What is wrong with the sounds you have already found? I mean, is there going to ever be a time when you say, "I'm satisfied, and I'm just going to play this thing", or will you always be looking? I ask this without judgement. I just wonder if there is actually a sound that you seek, or if you are just seeking a sound.

I'm hoping I'm gonna hit on a set and say "eureka!"

It all started when I took off the stock strings, after reading about how bad they were. The Kamaka stock set I mean.
It was sort of validated as I had tried a bunch of instruments and they didn't sound that great.
The one I finally bought however, I bought because I thought it sounded nice. Well okay, and looked good.
Going from the Kamaka strings, I think I expected an instrument altering change in sound! A sound I started to chase.
The short answer is that after all them string changes, I found my instrument's sound.
Is it the sound I was searching for? No. Am I disappointed? No. It's hard to explain but now I feel like I know this instrument.

Was there a sound a was seeking? yes.
Now, I'm just seeking a sound, now that I know what my instrument sounds like.
I'm having a hard time with this: I'm looking for the set that best matches my Kamaka's sound.
There really was nothing wrong with the sound before, in fact I'll be going back to them stock strings soon.
Will I ever be satisfied? maybe. There are four sets right now that I'm going to go back to. Then again it's sort of fun to change strings; kinda like getting a new instrument for five bucks!

Kekani
12-20-2015, 06:37 PM
If you got time on Sunday the 27th, my friend Ramon Camarillo returns from Virginia, and we're playing at Nico's for lunch 11-1 if you want to hear Savarez Alliance 540's. If he can, and if its done, he'll have his custom Kamaka. If the Kamaka is not done, he'll have his custom Aaron Oya. He'll also have a Tiple as he's dying to get his Gabby on. Should be fun.

Maybe Stan and Greg will show up?

the flat tire
12-20-2015, 07:15 PM
If you got time on Sunday the 27th, my friend Ramon Camarillo returns from Virginia, and we're playing at Nico's for lunch 11-1 if you want to hear Savarez Alliance 540's. If he can, and if its done, he'll have his custom Kamaka. If the Kamaka is not done, he'll have his custom Aaron Oya. He'll also have a Tiple as he's dying to get his Gabby on. Should be fun.

Maybe Stan and Greg will show up?

Sounds like a plan! I make kadomatsu every year hopefully I got that day off.

geetee
12-21-2015, 12:58 AM
Maybe Stan and Greg will show up?

Maybe we will.

Rllink
12-21-2015, 03:39 AM
I'm hoping I'm gonna hit on a set and say "eureka!"

It all started when I took off the stock strings, after reading about how bad they were. The Kamaka stock set I mean.
It was sort of validated as I had tried a bunch of instruments and they didn't sound that great.
The one I finally bought however, I bought because I thought it sounded nice. Well okay, and looked good.
Going from the Kamaka strings, I think I expected an instrument altering change in sound! A sound I started to chase.
The short answer is that after all them string changes, I found my instrument's sound.
Is it the sound I was searching for? No. Am I disappointed? No. It's hard to explain but now I feel like I know this instrument.

Was there a sound a was seeking? yes.
Now, I'm just seeking a sound, now that I know what my instrument sounds like.
I'm having a hard time with this: I'm looking for the set that best matches my Kamaka's sound.
There really was nothing wrong with the sound before, in fact I'll be going back to them stock strings soon.
Will I ever be satisfied? maybe. There are four sets right now that I'm going to go back to. Then again it's sort of fun to change strings; kinda like getting a new instrument for five bucks!One question, or two I guess, have you found a noticeable and big difference in the sound between any of the strings, or is it all more subtle? I ask, because at the time, everyone was raving about Aquila Nylgut and how they transformed the cheaper laminate ukuleles. I changed out the stock strings on my Makala, and the difference was not as much as I expected. There was a little bit of change, but neither better nor worse. It certainly did not do any "transforming". I have not played anything other than the Aquilas though, so I was just wondering.

the flat tire
12-22-2015, 06:20 AM
One question, or two I guess, have you found a noticeable and big difference in the sound between any of the strings, or is it all more subtle? I ask, because at the time, everyone was raving about Aquila Nylgut and how they transformed the cheaper laminate ukuleles. I changed out the stock strings on my Makala, and the difference was not as much as I expected. There was a little bit of change, but neither better nor worse. It certainly did not do any "transforming". I have not played anything other than the Aquilas though, so I was just wondering.

I think there's a difference between nylon and fluorocarbon.
Between fluorocarbons, not so much; Savarez, South Coast, and the Romeros I liked and for some reason they stood out from the rest.
Same with nylons. The only ones that stood out for me were Aquila Lavas, Reds, and D'addario Titaniums. The rest were sort of 'bleah.'
Most of the differences were subtle, not enough for me find exception. Sometimes the string sets didn't last fifteen minutes, in those cases I suppose the differences were rather large. Sometimes it was sound, sometimes it was something else. Oasis for instance sounded okay, I just didn't like the tension.

All these string changes didn't do any 'transforming' either.
My Kamaka still pretty much sounds the same.

70sSanO
12-22-2015, 07:11 AM
I think there's a difference between nylon and fluorocarbon.
Between fluorocarbons, not so much; Savarez, South Coast, and the Romeros I liked and for some reason they stood out from the rest.
Same with nylons. The only ones that stood out for me were Aquila Lavas, Reds, and D'addario Titaniums. The rest were sort of 'bleah.'
Most of the differences were subtle, not enough for me find exception. Sometimes the string sets didn't last fifteen minutes, in those cases I suppose the differences were rather large. Sometimes it was sound, sometimes it was something else. Oasis for instance sounded okay, I just didn't like the tension.

All these string changes didn't do any 'transforming' either.
My Kamaka still pretty much sounds the same.

Yep... your Kamaka will always sound like a Kamaka no matter what you do. Bad strings will make it sound bad, the right strings will make it sound better.

From your statement about Oasis tension, I get the impression that you would like a lower tension feeling string with all the tonal qualities of a higher actual string tension string. I'm sure there is along line of people who want a more compliant feel and a more robust sound and as time goes on I'm sure there will be new materials that get closer to that.

For now, it is what it is.

John