View Full Version : How to avoid boom of wound low G string

11-03-2016, 01:30 AM
When strumming, we don't normally hit all strings in guitar. When we need really big sound, we strum all strings. But in usual, we just hit about upper 4 strings (green in the figure below) for down and lower 4 strings (red) for up strum. This gives us good rhythm.

https://s15.postimg.org/mavfq303f/guitar1.png (https://postimg.org/image/zf102rs53/)imagen (https://postimage.org/)

Same method works in ukulele too. We may strum all 4 strings for down (green in the figure below). If we strum only 3 strings for up (red), we can avoid boom of wound low G string. I think many people strum this way even with reentrant tuning for good rhythm.

https://s17.postimg.org/b23xgcz1r/Mahalo_U50_Soprano_Ukulele_soundhole_label.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/brmpspzl7/)imgurl (https://postimage.org/)

Croaky Keith
11-03-2016, 04:09 AM
...or you could just fit a flourocarbon low G string. :)

Kayak Jim
11-03-2016, 05:32 AM
I gotta try that- the short up strum I mean. Low G boom is a deal breaker for me (Fremont wound).

11-03-2016, 06:01 AM
I can see how that could be a problem. I think the string combo in low g could have some effect. I have not had the problem with the Fremont Soloist and PHD's. The problem has occurred with an Aquila Red low g and Oasis.

11-03-2016, 06:19 AM
When strumming, we don't normally hit all strings in guitar.

That turned out to be one of the bigger reasons why I concluded that I prefer the four strings of a ukulele. It's not hard to do, but (for lack of a better way of putting it) it's not fun. :)

Maybe that is why I like the sound of low-G tenors, but I don't actually enjoying playing on a low-G instrument myself. It took me a bit to realize that this is probably where my indecisiveness with low-G came from. In my experiments, though, I found that not all low-G strings boom. Unwound strings didn't work for me at all as they just sound dead, and among the wound low-G strings the one that boomed less (on my Barron River tenor) was actually the Aquila Red series wound low-G string (which, interestingly, Steve mentioned boomed more for him; it really does depend on the individual ukulele), followed by the Thomastik-Infeld CF30. I have a couple of Fremont Soloist strings, but didn't try them. Eventually I just put re-entrant high-G Worth Clears back on the instrument and like actually playing it better.

I agree that technique probably matters the most, but anyone going for a low-G is probably best off trying out various strings and sets. It's a slow and costly process (the string expenses add up), but recommendations by others are of limited value since so much depends on the instrument on hand.

11-03-2016, 10:00 AM
One can also use a pair of small, carefully placed neodymium magnets to reduce certain frequencies and 'flatten' the sound of the boom or wolf notes.

Just place one magnet inside the uke, and one outside and when close together they will mate, and you can usually drag them to the correct place. Neo magnets are usually strong enough to hop over the inside top-braces and re-attach to the outside magnet.

It takes some time to find the sweet spot where the sound is evened out, and which frequency you wish to dampen.

However, once placed, they are easy to remove, and they are very cheap, e.g., on Amazon you can get a dozen 2mm x 2mm round/cylinder neo magnets for a few dollars...

Then you can use your low-g or favorite C-string while mitigating the offending frequencies.

I've done this with good success on 2 ukes previously.

When I strum normally for just rhythm, and not any 'melody lines' on the G or A string, I do in fact strum ALL four strings on both down and up strokes, on purpose as I want ALL of the sound that the uke can give me. The careful placement of the neo magnets serves to act as a completely non-electronic EQ. Add as many magnets as necessary.

Using neodymium magnets instead of the cheaper and more popular ceramic magnets will alllow you to use much SMALLER magnets because often the neo magnets are about 10x stronger than the same sized ceramic magnets, and as such you need to be careful, for if your neo magnets are much bigger, say 25mm x 5mm they will be very hard to separate.

Yes, magnets are like magic when used well. :)

11-03-2016, 10:26 AM
I play Low strung Tenors but none are strung Low G precisely to avoid the boom. Bizarrely some are strung higher and some lower !!

Neither of my Ohanas can handle Low G but both can handle Low A with Worth treble strings (incl a soprano A string tuned up to B) and a standard Aquila C string detuned to A. They can also handle Low F with standard Worth trebles and a standard wound classical guitar D string for the bass. But tuning this bass string up to Low Gb causes it to boom.

My Kala has a much bigger and deeper body than either of the Ohanas and strangely cannot handle Low A like the Ohanas (the detuned Aquila C starts to boom unlike with the smaller-bodied Ohanas) but can handle Low F with the same strings as for the Ohanas.

My fourth Tenor is a Risa LP tuned Low F so I have four tenors, two tuned Low A and two tuned Low F. Between them I cover quite a few keys, but there is not a Low G tuning in sight !!

After an enormous amount of trial and error I have discovered the following:

- I always thought the boom appeared below a certain resonance and then for all turnings below that, but in my experience it doesn't. Instead there is a window of boom with tunings above and below this being okay.
- The reason for this window is a combination of body resonance AND string tension, the high tunings being above body resonance and the low tunings having sufficiently low tension to negate the boom.
- Worth Low G's are abysmal and Fremont Soloists boom like crazy due to a too high tension even at Low F although they may be okay if detuned further.
- The strumming techniques described above are absolutely crucial for playing in linear tunings.

After starting playing in re-entrant tunings I quickly got tired of that "same strum sound in either direction" that characterises the ukulele and moved over to linear tunings pretty quickly. However re-entrant tunings still come into their own when playing the uke equivalents of Clawhammer or Bluegrass banjo. I really only keep a couple of Concerts tuned re-entrant because it took me ages to learn these styles and Clawhammer remains my favourite way of playing.

11-03-2016, 10:43 AM
All my tenors are low G, most with Fremont soloist and they all have a wound C string as well. I learned early on to use some finesse while strumming just as zztush illistrated. As Mivo stated when I first tried low G I loved the sound of someone else playing but not me. I realized my ears were so conditioned to the reentrant sound that "ME" producing a low G sound was just foreign to what I was use to hearing. This is all I love to hear now, I have no boomy problems and I am a died in the wool "wound" low G fan.

There is definitely some technique required, just like any other form of playing. Do you remember how bad you sounded the very first time you strummed a reentrant uke. I sure didn't sound like Jake out of the gate. Still don't :p

11-03-2016, 11:23 AM
DownUpDave can i ask what make of wound C string you use with the Fremont Low G ? .I'd love Fremont to make a Soloist C string .

11-03-2016, 12:02 PM
DownUpDave can i ask what make of wound C string you use with the Fremont Low G ? .I'd love Fremont to make a Soloist C string .

I do have a number of sets of South Coast HML -WB and I will steal the wound C from that set if I am mixing and matching.:-)I know that won't help you out so here are two other good alternatives The Thomastik CF 27 is a great wound C string as is the D'addario NYL028W or NYL027W. All of these can be ordered from Strings by Mail

11-03-2016, 12:42 PM
to answer the original question. practice

11-04-2016, 02:35 AM
Thanks for the info DownUpDave. :)