View Full Version : Adventures In Wound C - Concert Scale

03-07-2016, 01:42 AM

A few days ago I realized that it was time to put some new strings on my Kala KA-ACP-CTG cedar top concert. I decided that I would try out some different options, including fitting a wound c.

The Kala had been, up to that point, strung with Living Water fluoros and a Fremont Soloist wound low g. I had been quite happy with these and was mostly motivated to try something different out of curiosity. Also, I am hoping to get another UAS fix soon - acquiring my first Pono (or possibly a Risa stick). So, I decided that it was time to see if I could make wound c work for me at concert scale.

I'd already researched wound c a bit. There didn't seem to be a lot of information relevant to concert scale. A big clue I found was that Mya Moe offered a D'Addario silverplated wound string as a low g option - .026 gauge for a concert scale instrument. I also figured out that, at tenor scale, wound low g hovered around .030 gauge and wound c around .027. From these numbers I extrapolated a theoretical wound c gauge of .023 for concert scale (yep, that's the 'science' i used :p). Hmmm, no such gauge - okay let's go with .024 then :)

Blimey it worked!!!

I got the two individual D'Addario strings - .026 and .024 - from Strings Direct here in the uk and fitted them to my uke. For A and E I ended up with Fremont blackline fluoros (medium tension), which I'm yet to make my mind up about - thinking they are maybe just a little too bright sounding on the Kala.


My uke sounds great! The D'Addarios are well balanced, both with each other and the fluoros. Projection and sustain are good (the best I've experienced so far with this instrument). String tension feels even across all four strings. I am very, very happy. I will definitely be trying a wound c on my next acquisition.

Also... I slightly prefer the D'Addario low g to the Fremont Soloist. It's a little livelier I think. At concert scale anyway.

Also... The two white 'basses' and two black 'trebles' look cool :cool:

Also... There is some squeak. Just thought you ought to know. Hasn't really bothered me so far. Doesn't outweigh the good in my mind.

Also... Thanks to Booli, who offered me advice when I was doing my wound c research. It was his suggestion that I report back my findings, so if you have found this boring then blame him ;)

03-07-2016, 02:41 AM
Excellent, excellent review. I enjoyed reading it and your impressions and thoughts were very clear and explained well.

I am a huge wound C fan, both reentrant tuning and with low G. As a matter of fact all my low G tenors are strung with wound 3rd & 4th strings. So are my baritomes for that matter.

As a point of reference the new South Coast ML - RW, which are medium gauge and well suited for concert scale are .30 and .265 respectively. Just incase someone wants to try a little thicker string on there concert.

I like how you matched the make and sizes of the wound D'addario strings, no doubt that is the reason they sound so good

03-07-2016, 02:41 AM
T = (UW x(2xLxF)^2)/386.4

T = tension
UW = unit weight
L = scale length
F = frequency


03-07-2016, 04:16 AM
Yeah.. the UW.
Cant just use gauge because copper and alu are so different in density.
Gotta make sure it's apples to apples.

03-07-2016, 04:40 AM
I would love to hear it if you are up to making a sound sample for us.

03-07-2016, 06:20 AM
Excellent observations. I had less satisfactory results with a D'Addario low G set. Every uke is different...
I'm still loving the Aquila Reds I installed over two months ago. For those interested in a second low G perspective please check here (http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?110087-Kala-KA-ACP-CTG).

03-07-2016, 09:36 PM
Thanks to everyone who has responded :)

I am a huge wound C fan, both reentrant tuning and with low G.

I'm definitely a convert and will be using wound c strings on all instruments from now on. I used to get a bit disheartened with how 'thuddy' fluoro c strings could sound - problem solved!

I would love to hear it if you are up to making a sound sample for us.

Right now I just simply do not have the tech in place to produce a decent sound sample. That may change soon however as I was only yesterday looking at the Blue Snowball mic on Amazon. It seems like kind of a bargain and I may well grab one soon. Then I might post something... perhaps when I get my new uke.

Excellent observations. I had less satisfactory results with a D'Addario low G set. Every uke is different...

It's a shame to hear that the D'Addario low g didn't work out but it sounds as though the Aquilas reds are making you happy. Every ukester is different... ;)

04-11-2016, 11:05 PM
Our story continues. But first, an interlude...

This all began, unsurprisingly, with Nancy Sinatra. I was just starting out on my ukulele journey - I had my first concert uke, with brand spanking new Martin M600s attached. And I was very happy with those strings, liked everything about them. That is, until one fateful day...

I was trawling through YouTube, looking for ukulele beginner stuff when I found this:


Well the song is a favourite of mine and, as a bonus it presented the opportunity to play a short melody line as well as strum chords. The melody line is pretty much a straight run along the C string from the ninth fret up to the second - very, very simple but it seemed way cool to me at the time. So, I had a go at playing it and the result sounded something like this...


Oh dear. I was no longer so pleased with my M600s. That chunky C string was lacking some much needed twang.

Fast forward to the present day...

I'm currently trying to find the perfect strings (for me) for my recently acquired Pono AC. Currently. I have gone with D'Addario silver wounds again for low-G and C and have M600s for E and A. So far so good, but I kept feeling that some fine-tuning was in order and decided to get a little more methodical.

Firstly I downloaded the D'Addario string tension pdf. This includes unit weights for all their strings and the formula required to calculate tension for any given scale/pitch.

Next I put together a simple Excel worksheet with all the relevant data and formulas plugged in. This has allowed me to conclude that, whilst the NYL026W is pretty much on the money, I should probably be looking to swap out the NYL024W for a NYL020W. Here is my working:


This based on the assumption that overall tension on a concert scale instrument is typically somewhere in the mid-thirties - it seems reasonable that individual strings should therefore be somewhere around the 8.5lb mark.

So, the NYL020W is on order and will hopefully arrive in the next couple of days. Maybe I will report back once I have it on the uke.

Anyway, this was all just in case anyone thinking of trying wound C on a concert uke might find some number crunching useful. Cheers :)

04-12-2016, 12:38 AM
You're welcome.

04-12-2016, 01:36 AM
So far the the best wound C I've found is in the set from Southcoast ml-wb very little to no squeak because they are polished but they are recommended for 17" scale not a concert 15. I'd contact Dirk at Southcoast and ask what he has that you can use on a 15" concert scale. GHS also makes a wound C but I'm not sure for what sizes, it is lower squeak also but Southcoast is still the lowest squeak I've come across.