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View Full Version : Classical guitar stringsmfor baritone uke



DownUpDave
05-25-2017, 06:02 AM
There is always discussion and questions about using classical guitar strings on baritone ukuleles. I have experimented a lot with various strings but with two twists. I always buy single strings and everything I am going to discuss will be florocarbon for the B and E strings, no nylon. I buy everything from Strings by Mail and they are great to deal with and have an excellent website that is easy to navigate. Just go to classical guitar strings and click on the brand you want. I do not work for them or get a kick back, I'm just a very satisified customer.

The strings that I list below I have tried on one of 5 baritones, I currently still have three of those. Tone is very subjective and each instrument can be a law unto itself. But in general terms the thinner the string the brighter the sound, but the looser the tension under finger. As an example I will use two Baritone sets to illustrate

Worth CB............B string .0310"........E string .0250"
Martin M630......B string .0256"........E string .0216"

On every baritone I have tried the Martins were aways brighter. This also illustrates a key component to experimenting with strings, the wide range of diameters you can use. REMEMBER I am referring to florocarbon trebles for every thing below. We will start with wound singles

Wound strings. Most D position strings are around .035" in diameter and G position strings are around .030"

*D'Addario NYL035 (D) & NYL030(G), inexpensive with a great full sound, they balance well together, my go to wounds. They do squeak

*D'Addario Pro Arte polished
Normal J4505LP .034" (D) and J4504LP .027" (G)
Hard.....J4605LP .035" (D) and J4605LP .028" (G)
Brighter and almost squeak free compared to the NYL series above

*Thomastik Infield
CF35 (D) and CF30 (G)
Very high quality string, very squeak free with an even tone, less chimey than the D'Addarios above

*Dogal Diamante
Extra Soft NR1275 .0325" (D) and NR1274 .027" (G)
Soft.........NR127A5 .034" (D) and NR127A4 .028" (G)

*Oasis GPX+Carbon
Normal Sost NT05 .035" (D) and NT04 .029" (G)
High Sost HT05 .037 (D) and HT04 .031" (G)


Florocarbon Trebles. This is where I have found the greatest impact on tone from warm to bright.

*Oasis GPX+Carbon

Normal NT02 .027" (B) and NT01 .024" (E)
High HT02 .028" (B) and HT01 .025" (E)

*Dogal Diamante , very interesting string that combined nylon and florocarbon, sweet tone
Extra soft NR1272 .032" (B) and NR1271 .0285" (E)

*Pyramid (specialties singles) PVF Carbons
Lots of different diameters, huge selection. Note there are smaller diameters for sopranos up to tenors as well

*Savarez Alliance KF
Same as above with a huge selection of singles

*Hannabach Carbon Trebles
Car2MHT .029" (B) and Car1MHT .025" (E)

Please feel free to add to this thread with your favorites. Hopefully 2Xbass joins in with his spread sheet and extensive knowledge of nylon strings

bunnyf
05-25-2017, 09:12 AM
Thanks for the list. I'm just changing one of my Baris strings today. I usually put two wound T-Is on and then just two fluorocarb trebles, which vary Worth, Oasis, Savarez. This time I'm gonna use the T-I classical set, using the middle 4 (3 wound, 1 plain nylon). If I hate the nylon, I'll swap it out for a fluorocarb but I'm gonna give it a try first. +1 on Strings By Mail. I am often not near anyplace with a nice selection of strings, so they are great...good prices, good service, quick ship, and I like being able to get single strings.

bratsche
05-25-2017, 11:27 AM
I echo the thanks - that's some valuable information to have, even as a fifths-tuner. I use two TI strings on mine, but the CF .035 is the D and the CF .045 is the (very low) G. :-)

For the trebles, I still just have the strings that I got on it, when I bought it used. I tuned the 2nd down to A, and it sounds fine. But I have no idea what strings they are! I asked the seller, who didn't know either, as someone else had changed the strings for him and he had no clue.

QUESTION: Is it possible to tell the difference between fluorocarbon and nylon? I'd love to identify what my trebles are, just to know in case I want to buy more of the same.

bratsche

jollyboy
05-25-2017, 12:57 PM
Hi DownUpDave,

I'm currently using the D'Addario silver wounds as basses (NYL033W and NYL028W), matched with Savarez Alliance KF trebles (KF81A - 0.0319" and KF62A - 0.0244"). I'm very happy with this combination, which gives a really nicely balanced tone.

bunnyf
05-25-2017, 03:41 PM
Hi DownUpDave,

I'm currently using the D'Addario silver wounds as basses (NYL033W and NYL028W), matched with Savarez Alliance KF trebles (KF81A - 0.0319" and KF62A - 0.0244"). I'm very happy with this combination, which gives a really nicely balanced tone.

If you like a little squeak, I have Savarez (picked from full set)classical on one of my Baris and like them a lot. As I have said, I have the T-Is on my other, and I like them even better.

DownUpDave
05-26-2017, 12:51 AM
Hi DownUpDave,

I'm currently using the D'Addario silver wounds as basses (NYL033W and NYL028W), matched with Savarez Alliance KF trebles (KF81A - 0.0319" and KF62A - 0.0244"). I'm very happy with this combination, which gives a really nicely balanced tone.

Thanks jollyboy, I know you are a big fan of the D'Addario NYL series as am I, great strings for a good price. They also have so many diameters it is easy to pick something suitable for tenor or concert size.

Same with the wide size range of florocarbon from Savarez and Pyramid PVF Carbons. I have used these with great success on tenors, concerts and soprano.

manfromtexas
05-26-2017, 02:27 AM
Last week I put a standard baritone set of worth clears on a baritone, but I found the D string to be too floppy so I swapped it out for the D string from a La Bella classical guitar string set that I had laying around. It was taken from a set of La Bella 850 Gold Nylon strings. And I like it a lot! I like having the wound just on the 4th string with the top 3 unwound.

And I thought well heck - the next time I put new strings on a Bari I think I'll just try out the top 4 strings from some of my favorite sets of classical guitar strings. So I've been thinking a lot of going down this road lately - but I have a question

I did a bunch of lookups on the strings you guys have listed and it appears to me that you all are using what would be the A and D strings in a classical set for your D and G string on the bari. What's the reason behind this? Is it necessary? Is it because you just prefer to have a wound 4th and 3rd, and so need a pair that is closely set up that way? Or do you find that a necessary adjustment in order to get the correct diameter and tension for the uke?

Because me personally - I like having the top 3 unwound, and I would like to just try various sets of classicals using the top 4. Is there any reason I shouldn't do that? Will it be a flop?

jollyboy
05-26-2017, 02:49 AM
QUESTION: Is it possible to tell the difference between fluorocarbon and nylon? I'd love to identify what my trebles are, just to know in case I want to buy more of the same.

bratsche

The thickness of the strings might offer a clue. If they're pretty chunky then they're more likely to be nylon.



If you like a little squeak, I have Savarez (picked from full set)classical on one of my Baris and like them a lot. As I have said, I have the T-Is on my other, and I like them even better.

Thanks for the tip :) I am interested in trying the Savarez wounds. Maybe next string change...


Thanks jollyboy, I know you are a big fan of the D'Addario NYL series as am I, great strings for a good price. They also have so many diameters it is easy to pick something suitable for tenor or concert size.

:agree:

jollyboy
05-26-2017, 03:06 AM
I did a bunch of lookups on the strings you guys have listed and it appears to me that you all are using what would be the A and D strings in a classical set for your D and G string on the bari. What's the reason behind this? Is it necessary? Is it because you just prefer to have a wound 4th and 3rd, and so need a pair that is closely set up that way? Or do you find that a necessary adjustment in order to get the correct diameter and tension for the uke?

Because me personally - I like having the top 3 unwound, and I would like to just try various sets of classicals using the top 4. Is there any reason I shouldn't do that? Will it be a flop?

You have to keep in mind the difference in scale length and how that affects string tension. For example a Thomastik-Infeld CF30 gives about 14lbs of tension when tuned to D on a classical guitar but tuned to D on a bari it's only going to give you about 8lbs of tension, which is going to be way too floppy for most people. A CF35 tuned to D is going to give you about 15lbs of tension - much better :)

WCBarnes
05-26-2017, 03:47 AM
This time I'm gonna use the T-I classical set, using the middle 4 (3 wound, 1 plain nylon). If I hate the nylon, I'll swap it out for a fluorocarb but I'm gonna give it a try first.

This is the set I put on my Kala baritone recently. I really like it, even the nylon (and I am not generally a fan of nylon strings). To me, this nylon string feels incredibly like a FC string. I had to re-check the package to be sure I didn't read it wrong. I didn't think there was anyway it could be nylon.

manfromtexas
05-27-2017, 02:44 AM
You have to keep in mind the difference in scale length and how that affects string tension. For example a Thomastik-Infeld CF30 gives about 14lbs of tension when tuned to D on a classical guitar but tuned to D on a bari it's only going to give you about 8lbs of tension, which is going to be way too floppy for most people. A CF35 tuned to D is going to give you about 15lbs of tension - much better :)

Ok - I swapped out the string I was previously using which was the D from the classical guitar set for the A from the classical set and I do see how that's an improvement. The D did seem fine to me before but I think that was largely due to the fact that I was just fingerpicking very softly to myself with it. I wasn't gigging with it or digging in or really attempting to play it with any volume at all really. I was just picking it softly to myself in my bed - not exactly the best way to test a strings limits. I mean you should at least sit up straight :) I see now that when I put a little more muscle and volume into the playing that the A string is better.

Turning to the trebles, I notice that a lot of the B and E string pairings that you listed above are the actual B and E strings from the classical sets. So it seems to me that if the B and E are a good fit for the uke, you could take that one step further and put the unwound G on there as well. But maybe the top two are more forgiving than the 3rd for the lack of pressure.

Do you have any input on how to do the top 3 unwound set up from a classical set?

I think the reason I like it that way is it feels and sounds more ukulele to me in that set up whereas when I have two wounds it feels and sounds more guitar. That's just speaking strictly for myself and my playing and the way I hear my own playing.

jollyboy
05-27-2017, 03:50 AM
Turning to the trebles, I notice that a lot of the B and E string pairings that you listed above are the actual B and E strings from the classical sets. So it seems to me that if the B and E are a good fit for the uke, you could take that one step further and put the unwound G on there as well. But maybe the top two are more forgiving than the 3rd for the lack of pressure.

Do you have any input on how to do the top 3 unwound set up from a classical set?


I think that most of the trebles Dave listed are available as singles. That's the route I would take when trying to put together my own custom bari set rather than trying to cobble something together from full guitar sets. YMMV

The unwound G is a little tricky in that there can be a little finesse required when balancing gauge and tension. Too thin and it's gonna feel a bit floppy, too thick and it might start to sound thuddy. I've heard people say, for example, that the tension on the Worth bari set G (0.0319") feels a little low, while the tension on the Living Water bari G (0.0358") is better. But, then, the LW string is a little on the chunky side. But, then... there are some big LW fans out there :) I'd probably start with that gauge first if I was experimenting, and would probably grab a Savarez single (https://www.stringsbymail.com/savarez-alliance-kf91-91-mm-0-0358-inches-single-string-3370.html).

DownUpDave
05-27-2017, 11:15 PM
Ubulele's answer above is correct about the numerical label I gave strings. They are the position they are installed at, remember these are all individual strings.

Jollyboy has also done a good job about illustrating the relationship of diameter to tension. We are talking about installing strings for a 25" scale instrument on a 20" scale instrument (approx lengths). The suggestion of using Savarez singles, as well as Pyramid PVF carbon is spot on. As a reference point my examples are based on the typical baritone set of a wound D and G and florocabon B and E.

Looking at what I said in the initial post shows approx diameter range for each individual string position.

Wounds
D = .036" - .032"
G = .031" - .027"
Florocarbons
B = .032" - .0256"
E = .028" - .0216

Doc_J
05-28-2017, 01:03 AM
Thank you very much Dave. Great information for all baritone players.

manfromtexas
05-28-2017, 03:26 AM
Ubulele's answer above is correct about the numerical label I gave strings. They are the position they are installed at, remember these are all individual strings.

Ok - fair enough - it's all good with me! but by way of explanation here is why I was thinking that in the first place. I was going to the strings by mail website and looking up those specific string descriptions that you listed out.

When I look up "NT02" and "NH02" in the Strings By Mail website - the string that comes up says specifically it is the "2nd string". Look up the ones for E and they likewise say "1st string". If you look up the NR1272 it says specifically in the description of the product "B string" - and likewise for the E's. The description for Car2mht which is your Hannanbach B string says "2nd string B" - you can't get much clearer than that, and likewise for the E.

I won't put the links to all of them here - but here is one of them as an example.

https://www.stringsbymail.com/hannabach-carbon-2nd-string-b-medium-high-tension-335.html

That's your B string and it says quite clearly its a B string for a classical guitar too.

DownUpDave
05-28-2017, 03:58 AM
Ok - fair enough - it's all good with me! but by way of explanation here is why I was thinking that in the first place. I was going to the strings by mail website and looking up those specific string descriptions that you listed out.

When I look up "NT02" and "NH02" in the Strings By Mail website - the string that comes up says specifically it is the "2nd string". Look up the ones for E and they likewise say "1st string". If you look up the NR1272 it says specifically in the description of the product "B string" - and likewise for the E's. The description for Car2mht which is your Hannanbach B string says "2nd string B" - you can't get much clearer than that, and likewise for the E.

I won't put the links to all of them here - but here is one of them as an example.

https://www.stringsbymail.com/hannabach-carbon-2nd-string-b-medium-high-tension-335.html

That's your B string and it says quite clearly its a B string for a classical guitar too.

Sorry for the confusion. That's one of the reasons I started this discussion.......because it can become quite confusing. This is why I also gave a typical diamemter "range" for all the string "positions". It is really about trying to match the diameter to tension on a baritone which has about 5" less scale length compared to a classical guitar. I have tried all the strings I have listed in my initial post on one of a number of baritones I have owned.

jollyboy
05-28-2017, 04:15 AM
It can get confusing. As mentioned above, the simplest way to get a one wound/three unwound configuration might be to buy an all fluoro bari set (like the Living Water set) and a single wound classical guitar string (D'Addario for the win) :)

Edit: But... (as also mentioned above) a lot of people prefer the overall tone they get from two matched wound basses.

twokatmew
12-17-2017, 07:23 AM
Many thanks to @DownUpDave for his original post and all who've contributed. Very helpful indeed!

I found the Aquila Super Nylguts that came on my (low action) baritone to be way too floppy. I didn't particularly like the tone, and I was getting tons of buzzing. I know the strings are new, but the basses are so much louder than the trebles, and I'm getting buzzing on the B string up to about the fifth fret unless I play very lightly. Yesterday I ordered a bunch of singles from Strings By Mail. I've started with Savarez (KF64, KF71) and Oasis HT singles (0.25" and 0.28"), hoping they'll sound and feel more in line with the Titanium basses.

The Titanium B string (0.33") provides only 7.110 lbs. of tension (according to D'addario), and it's just not enough. The E string's 9.12 lbs. of tension is better, but I suspect I'd prefer something around 10 or 11 lbs. I just looked at he D'Addario Carbon trebles and see their B string is 0.319" and provides 11.72 lbs. of tension. I'm wondering if I should have chosen the Savarez KF74 (0.0291") or KF77 (0.0303") for the B string instead. Thoughts on this? How do you calculate string tension?

Any idea if the Titanium basses are just repackaged NYL035 (D) & NYL030 (G) classical guitar strings? I also ordered a set of D'Addario HT composites and TI flatwound basses to try.

Edited to add: OK, I found D'Addario's String Tension Pro (http://stringtensionpro.com), and it looks like the NYL035 and NYL030 are the same as the Titanium basses, as their their specs are the same. :)


Thanks so much! :)