PDA

View Full Version : What are the loudest strings for ukulele?



Lillo
08-23-2016, 11:55 AM
I know that there are already some threads on the topic but since I had read that in the last years a lot of strings manufacturers came to light I was wondering if Aquila strings are still considered the loudest of all or if there are some new competitors in terms of volume. What about fluorocarbon strings instead of nylon? :confused:

What does actually determine the volume of a string? Is there a point of "optimal tension" for a particular string to make it vibrate a lot and so produce the volume? Material will play its part too I would guess.

Thanks to anyone who wants to share his opinion :D

pritch
08-23-2016, 12:24 PM
Interesting questions and I'll be interested to read the answers. You may find some answers in the material here: http://www.southcoastukes.com/stringuide.htm

The amount of information they provide can be almost intimidating at first but perseverance may be rewarding. Or as I read once,
"If it does not enhance your understanding, it should at least add breadth and depth to your incomprehension." :)

kypfer
08-23-2016, 09:03 PM
The volume (loudness) of any plucked string is mostly down to how far sideways it is deflected before being released (how hard you strum it). This defines the amplitude of the initial oscillation and consequently the amplitude (volume or loudness) of any generated sound waves.

However, the overall loudness of the played note is far more affected by the instrument it is mounted on ... compare acoustic ukulele to solid-body instrument for an extreme example.

In brief, one set of suitable strings is likely to as loud as any other suitable strings, though the overall tone and sustain can vary quite dramatically.

Just my tuppence worth ... YMMV ;)

Mivo
08-23-2016, 09:26 PM
As Kypfer said, my observation is also that it depends on the instrument and how it is built. Even with identical strings, my Barron River tenor (very lightly built, cypress) is louder than my ukuMele tenor (more regularly built, acacia). My two KoAlohas are sound cannons also. String tension also matters, as do technique and fingernails.

In general, I think nylon is probably quieter than Nylgut and fluorocarbon, but I have only experimented with a small number of nylon sets. The Aquila Red Series strings struck me as particularly loud (great tone, too), though oddly enough on said BR tenor the Worth Brown BT strings seem to be slightly louder, but it's hard to measure. Maybe it's just because the wound red string goes really well with the Worth Browns. Perfectly melts into the sound, even better than with all reds (but this is on this particular uke).

Basically it comes down to experimentation with your ukulele. Try the locally available strings first, don't go importing stuff right away. Grow you nails, too.

On my sopranos, Nylgut is louder than any fluorocarbon strings I tried, but if that can be generalized, I don't know. I haven't tried Nylgut on my tenors, where I tried nylon und fluorocarbon strings primarily.

Croaky Keith
08-23-2016, 09:40 PM
I think it is more a case of how hard you play/pluck the strings, & the size of the sound box, which determines sheer volume. :)

JackLuis
08-23-2016, 10:02 PM
The mass of the string oscillating makes the most difference. I find Fluorocarbons and PVDF are louder than Aquila Nylguts generally but it is the uke's reaction to the strings that really makes the difference. If you've never tried Fc's vs Nylgut try a set. I've never tried regular Nylons but I hear some people like them on their Ukes.

Check out the Southcoast web page, it has a lot of information and it's their business so they have real experience to share.

jollyboy
08-23-2016, 11:58 PM
What does actually determine the volume of a string? Is there a point of "optimal tension" for a particular string to make it vibrate a lot and so produce the volume? Material will play its part too I would guess.


String tension can affect volume, with the received wisdom being that higher tension should give you more volume on the attack but will lose you sustain. Obviously there is a ceiling to this - too much tension and the strings will not be able to oscillate freely.

sukie
08-24-2016, 03:12 AM
I used to use Worth clears. I thought they were pretty loud. And bright.

UkerDanno
08-24-2016, 03:38 AM
...the overall loudness of the played note is far more affected by the instrument it is mounted on ... compare acoustic ukulele to solid-body instrument for an extreme example.

That's kind of what I was thinking, the wood and consruction makes more difference than strings. Koalohas are known for being loud, probably due to the light, high quality build.

mm stan
08-24-2016, 04:23 AM
You mention volume, but not brashness.... id go with Oasis or Aquilas..

bearbike137
08-24-2016, 04:35 AM
Aquila strings are the loudest. That said, I hate them. Are you sure you want loud? :)

Both my ukes now are strung as such:

G: Worth Clear
C: Southcoast MU-NW
E: Martin 620
A: Martin 620

Its plenty loud, but sounds great.

Lillo
08-24-2016, 04:45 AM
Aquila strings are the loudest. That said, I hate them. Are you sure you want loud? :)

Both my ukes now are strung as such:

G: Worth Clear
C: Southcoast MU-NW
E: Martin 620
A: Martin 620

Its plenty loud, but sounds great.

Ahaha no I was just curious to which strings to put on the day that volume would be my goal for whatever reason. I actually plan to try some sets to see how they sound, volume is not a concern at the moment.

I have to say though that I have read of some people having very quiet Kanile'as so I was wondering if in need for volume which strings would solve the issue.

Thank you :)

Lillo
08-24-2016, 04:50 AM
Thank you all for your answers!
I know there are many other factors involved when speaking of volume like the ukulele itself, the players, the nails, etc.

What I meant was keeping everything even same ukulele (a cloned one) same player (cloned too) same nails, but different strings would volume change?

I am not looking for volume, I am looking for good tone and I'll try some sets.

But I was wondering if in case I really need volume (maybe to play with other instruments in a park), if there are some strings that would help me doing so.

Thank you all!

mm stan
08-24-2016, 04:58 AM
Oasis brights..
Every uke will react different to every strings, depends on How they are built and woods or laminates ... also type of nuts and saddle

pointpergame
08-24-2016, 06:28 AM
To answer the question asked: string tension. So-called "unit weight" is the variable. That is the "pounds per inch" of a given string. When scale length and pitch are held constant, the only variable left that determines tension is "unit weight." It is obvious that the more massive the material, the higher the tension must be to reach a certain pitch.

Here's an experiment. String up your Ukulele with 4 of the "same pitch" string, brand and material aside. Choose a range of lightweight ( thin, usually ) strings to heavy ( thicker, usually ) (all the same nominal pitch ) to compare. I mean put on 4 A's, 4 E's, 4 C's...whatever you want to investigate. You might have to put an extra little stopper at the knot end to keep them from pulling through the bridge slot, hole. pluck all 4. Play some songs ( sort of fun with 3 drones, or 2 ). If you feel there's some compensation ( fatter bridge plate on one side, for instance ) in the build of the ukulele, swap the outer stings in a second experiment and see.

Anyway, which are the louder strings? The stings with the greater tension. Which are the stings with the greater tension? The strings with the greatest "unit weight." There are tables around the internet of the unit weights of various string materials. It is trivial to calculate the actual tension of a string if you know it's unit weight.

This answer does not include perceived "tone" or longevity or finger pressure required or intonation. It's just the answer to your basic question, "what strings are the loudest."

Whether the instrument distorts or handles the tension in some non-linear way is another question. But in my experience, if I crank a string up and up and up in pitch (raising its tension), it gets louder and louder. Somewhere in there the instrument folds or the string breaks. Hopefully, I recognize that I'm tuning the wrong string before that happens.

Papa Bear
08-24-2016, 06:39 AM
Changing strings generally won't help much when increasing volume. I am of the opinion that tonewoods/materials make a much larger difference in volume. Play a Fluke, Flea, Ovation or other conposite back uke and you will be amazed at the volume difference. Ohana has a composite backed concert, and it is easily twice as loud as most all wood ukes regardless of size.
If I were to pick a all wood uke for plenty of volume, it would have maple back and sides and a spruce top.

bellgamin
08-24-2016, 08:25 AM
Flourocarbons.

Also -- I had a uke with a too-high bridge. It was v. loud. When the bridge was lowered, the uke got much softer. I wonder why?

Papa Bear
08-24-2016, 09:03 AM
Flourocarbons.

Also -- I had a uke with a too-high bridge. It was v. loud. When the bridge was lowered, the uke got much softer. I wonder why?

When the strings are further from the fretboard , you can pluck them harder without them hitting the fretboard. Very low action strings require a gentler touch or they will buzz.

jollyboy
08-24-2016, 09:45 AM
Also -- I had a uke with a too-high bridge. It was v. loud. When the bridge was lowered, the uke got much softer. I wonder why?


When the strings are further from the fretboard , you can pluck them harder without them hitting the fretboard. Very low action strings require a gentler touch or they will buzz.

Actually the height of the action at the saddle can directly affect volume. There's an explanation of the physics in this thread (http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/archive/index.php/t-27675.html).

SoloRule
08-24-2016, 10:33 AM
LaBella and Aquila RED are the loudest in my opinion regardless of the type of wood.

DownUpDave
08-24-2016, 10:38 AM
Any string that makes contact with a saddle connected to a pick up that is plugged into an amp.:biglaugh:

Sorry but I couldn't help myself:music:

stevejfc
08-24-2016, 10:38 AM
String for string, Aquila Reds

jimavery
08-24-2016, 10:46 AM
I suspect steel strings would be the loudest. My banjo uke had them briefly until I changed them for nylon to make it quieter. Most ukes aren't built for steel strings (and I'm not sure if my banjo uke is either, but that's another story) so don't try this at home folks.