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aarondminnick
07-11-2017, 03:58 AM
Sarah Maisel and Craig Chee were talking up dGBE (re-entrant baritone) tuning for tenor at the recent Midwest Uke Camp. The ever-amazing Dr. Bekken has posted several demos of this tuning on YT. I also learned that Lyle Ritz recorded his seminal jazz album "What About Uke?" in this tuning.

Who has experience/recommendations for string sets? Sarah and Craig recommended the GHS set that they helped design, but curious about others' experiences.

Osprey
07-11-2017, 04:08 AM
I just ordered the GHS set from their website. I'll let you know how I like them once I have given them a try. Southcoast has a couple of sets I was tempting to try. I am not sure who else makes them. I am sure there are some.

aarondminnick
07-11-2017, 04:17 AM
I'll mention that I tried the Aquila Nylgut dGBE set and hated them. The B string was thick and thuddy, and overall they seemed dull and lifeless -- and this is on a koa laminate tenor that is VERY bright in timbre with GCEA tuning.

I did a bit more searching and found several threads related to dGBE tenor (linked below), but not many comparisons between string sets (most are "how-to" regarding chords, etc.). I found mentions of Southcoast, GHS, and Aquila sets.

Prior threads:
http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?118404-DGBE-strings-for-a-Tenor
http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?105713-Tenor-DGBE-tuning
http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?119295-GHS-dGBE-strings-for-tenor

WCBarnes
07-11-2017, 07:09 AM
Living Waters makes an excellent re-entrant dGBE set for baritone. You can get them directly from Ken or from Mike at Uke Republic.

Edit: Oops... I just re-read the title... OP was looking for dGBE tenor strings. Sorry, I haven't experimented in that tuning for a tenor.

Croaky Keith
07-11-2017, 07:37 AM
If you just want to try it out for yourself, you can re tune a gCEA set of strings, several of us on here have done it. :)

Tootler
07-11-2017, 07:38 AM
I tried the Aquila dGBE tenor set and wasn't keen. I'm currently using Worth Fats (Worth CF). Although they are styled as high tension strings (presumably for GCEA) they work well as dGBE tenor strings at a reasonable tension. I will probably try Living Water dGBE strings next.

Tootler
07-11-2017, 07:41 AM
If you just want to try it out for yourself, you can re tune a gCEA set of strings, several of us on here have done it. :)

That's how I started but the tension was too low, though it does give you an idea of whether it's worth going ahead and getting a specific dGBE set. Generally, you can tune a tenor down to Bb and, possibly with higher tension strings down to A but down to G is a step too far for standard tenor strings.

Mezcalero
07-11-2017, 11:31 AM
I have experimented a lot with buying single strings. Based on my experience and preferences in strings (I generally like wound basses), I would recommend trying the following:

d ~ Savarez Alliance KF 74A
G ~ Fremont Soloist or Thomastik Infeld CF30
B ~ Savarez Alliance 543R
E ~ Savarez Alliance 542R

SailingUke
07-11-2017, 11:41 AM
Here is what I did with flouro carbon strings.
An e string to down to d
A low g
A c string tuned down to b
An e string.
Works well on my tenor Ohana rosewood/cedar.

EDW
07-11-2017, 11:44 AM
Southcoast has a couple of sets I was tempting to try. I am not sure who else makes them. I am sure there are some.

At some point I need to post a mini review of the Southeast strings that I have tried. In short, they are some of the best strings I have used. They are well balanced with great sound and nicely matched tension. They sell SO many different sets that you might need to try a couple types to find your preference or contact them for their help. I would strongly recommend trying those.

JackLuis
07-11-2017, 01:44 PM
I did a review of some strings Here http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?124671-dGBE-DGBE-for-a-Tenor-Eight-options&highlight=dGBE+Tenor

and Here http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?120705-Two-Zebra-Tenors-dGBE&highlight=dGBE+Tenor

Standard Tenor Strings work pretty well, detuned.

3j0hn
07-11-2017, 02:25 PM
I might be alone in liking the sound of the Aquila re-entrant G6 string set. Of course, I have them on a Kala thin body "travel" tenor, so that might keep it from being quite so "boomy". Or maybe I like the boom.

jer
07-11-2017, 03:44 PM
I've considered trying this tuning on a tenor uke too. I get so much warmth out of the D'addario Pro Arte nylon strings in standard tuning though I may not. I did find a set from Fremont I had considered:
https://www.elderly.com/fremont-blackline-fluorocarbon-high-d-tenor-ukulele-set-re-entrant-or-bari-tuned-tenor.htm

Jim Hanks
07-11-2017, 04:08 PM
I had the Southcoast HU-NW set on a tenor banjo uke. Worked well but if I tried it again I'd probably also try the LHU-NW set. I'd also like to try the Freemont set.

Booli
07-11-2017, 07:37 PM
I have a set of the Martin M620 strings on my tenor Fluke, tuned to E4-A3-C#4-F#4, i.e., e-A-C#-F#

The key is to NEVER tune up past that point, otherwise you will burn the elasticity of the strings and they will be stretched too far, and then after, if you tune lower it will sound and feel like old rubber-bands.

Start with a NEW set, and tune to the pitches. I had not tried as low as dGBE since I just do that on a baritone anyway.

The Fluke is quite resonant even at this low tuning, and with less tension there is much greater sustain. I use this tuning because it is better suited to my lower vocal range, and I do not bother to transpose anything for myself, I just play the normal C6 chord shapes. If I am playing with others, I can use a standard tuning, or put a capo on the Fluke, and still have the comfort of the lower string tension.

JackLuis
07-11-2017, 10:16 PM
I have a set of the Martin M620 strings on my tenor Fluke, tuned to E4-A3-C#4-F#4, i.e., e-A-C#-F#

The key is to NEVER tune up past that point, otherwise you will burn the elasticity of the strings and they will be stretched too far, and then after, if you tune lower it will sound and feel like old rubber-bands.

Start with a NEW set, and tune to the pitches. I had not tried as low as dGBE since I just do that on a baritone anyway.

The Fluke is quite resonant even at this low tuning, and with less tension there is much greater sustain. I use this tuning because it is better suited to my lower vocal range, and I do not bother to transpose anything for myself, I just play the normal C6 chord shapes. If I am playing with others, I can use a standard tuning, or put a capo on the Fluke, and still have the comfort of the lower string tension.

I keep aa A tuned tenor tuned this way, like having a capo on the second fret of a bari. I tend to think of my chord forms as Baritone though as I play dGBE a lot.

I agree that starting low and not over stretching is great for longevity of the strings. I went from G to C tuning, back to G and it took a long time for the strings to adjust to G again. I've been looking for some Martins, but not very hard. :p

I too was surprised at how much volume this dGBE tuning has for thin Ukes. My Rubin Travel Tenor is only 44 mm thick and pretty light. Fremont Black lines drive it just fine for parlor work. I tried the Bari-Tenor set and liked the standard Tenor stings just slightly better. The Bari-Tenor set did show a bit more tension and it was hard to tell the difference between them.

D'Addario EJ99T's work well too, if you like brights.

Booli
07-11-2017, 11:06 PM
... great for longevity of the strings. I went from G to C tuning, back to G and it took a long time for the strings to adjust to G again. I've been looking for some Martins, but not very hard. :p...

That's great Jack! and glad you also had a chance to try the lower tunings....

Please make note, specifically that the problem with tuning UP, and then DOWN more than 2 semitones, is that once you tune UP, the strings are basically ruined for down-tuning once they stretch enough, even if they are only on the instrument and tuned higher, for as little as 24 hours...

...the elasticity does not return to the factory-fresh level of string tension, and while it 'might' sound ok in 1st position chords, (IMHO and after testing over 100 different sets of strings) once you tune UP, and then DOWN more than 2 semitones, your intonation is basically shot, and sharp about 10 cents after the 2nd fret, and that's all up the neck....

I play all the way to the 15th fret on some songs, and have seen the intonation destroyed by lack of string tension from going UP and then DOWN. Basically if you dont want to have to throw the strings out, you have to tune back UP to within 2 semitones of whatever what the highest pitch.

Maybe if you remove the strings and place them in a bowl of ice water for a few hours they might contract enough to be usable again, but I have not tried this. YMMV. :)

Martin uke strings are available EVERYWHERE, but the EJ99's are sold at a reasonable price by only a few vendors that I've seen, like on juststrings.com ($7) and stringsbymail.com ($8) - some other sites have them, but at $12/set plus shipping of like $6 - I find that to be pretty steep.

At $12+ per set, you are better off getting some Worths, or Oasis which are double-sets in one string pack.

JackLuis
07-12-2017, 03:22 PM
That's great Jack! and glad you also had a chance to try the lower tunings....

Please make note, specifically that the problem with tuning UP, and then DOWN more than 2 semitones, is that once you tune UP, the strings are basically ruined for down-tuning once they stretch enough, even if they are only on the instrument and tuned higher, for as little as 24 hours...

...the elasticity does not return to the factory-fresh level of string tension, and while it 'might' sound ok in 1st position chords, (IMHO and after testing over 100 different sets of strings) once you tune UP, and then DOWN more than 2 semitones, your intonation is basically shot, and sharp about 10 cents after the 2nd fret, and that's all up the neck....

I play all the way to the 15th fret on some songs, and have seen the intonation destroyed by lack of string tension from going UP and then DOWN. Basically if you dont want to have to throw the strings out, you have to tune back UP to within 2 semitones of whatever what the highest pitch.

Maybe if you remove the strings and place them in a bowl of ice water for a few hours they might contract enough to be usable again, but I have not tried this. YMMV. :)

Martin uke strings are available EVERYWHERE, but the EJ99's are sold at a reasonable price by only a few vendors that I've seen, like on juststrings.com ($7) and stringsbymail.com ($8) - some other sites have them, but at $12/set plus shipping of like $6 - I find that to be pretty steep.

At $12+ per set, you are better off getting some Worths, or Oasis which are double-sets in one string pack.

Well I found that retuning the strings worked pretty well but took a week to set up again. Not that I'd do it again. I just play first position chords, cause I'm a noobie.

My local shop carries the EJ99T Carbons for $7.99 but despite having Martin Guitar strings have no Martin Uke Strings! I have used SbM but I don't buy strings in bulk often. I want to try Worth Clear Fats, the Browns are Okay but thought the clears might be brighter. I just put the Brown Fats dGBE on a rosewood tenor and it sounds nice, like liquid chocolate, but my Zebrawood ones like the EJ99's.

jer
07-13-2017, 08:18 AM
Before I got my last tenor I had decided to try various strings as well as the dGBE tuning. I had been putting it off and enjoying standard tuning, but I decided to go ahead and give it a whirl with the D'addario pro arte nylon strings already on it just to get an idea....I really like the tuning a lot. Coming from guitar originally, the chords and how certain chord progressions sound, are more familiar to me. I don't even own a guitar right now, so after this test I'm really leaning towards sticking to this tuning.
The D'addario I have on are warm sounding for sure. The low tension feels great. It's sort of like playing a tenor with more of a soprano feel....or the feel of an electric guitar compared to acoustic.
I just want a bit more tension (mainly on the C string) and to try something a bit more crisp maybe. As noted by Booli, tuning down does cause some issues when you've already had a set in GCEA tuning for some time...In my case, my strings haven't been on long so they were still stretching anyway. The strings want to sharpen when left alone for a while still.. That said, once I get it in tune the intonation is okay until the tuning starts climbing again... I definitely 2nd the advice of starting with fresh strings for this tuning.

After a lot of research (mostly on the tension of various sets), I just ordered some Martin M620 tenor strings to try in this tuning. They have about 10lbs total more tension than what I have on now...Of course the sound will be different and the strings are thinner too. I think they may be a good fit for me, so I'm going to try and see. I might try the D'addario carbons at some point too, but their tension isn't that much different from the nylons I have on.

I uploaded a quick sample of just some random strumming with the current strings to filedropper. I'll link below..
**Please note, do not click that first big green button that says "download". That's for something else the site is trying to push. go to the gray button below that says "Download This File".
http://www.filedropper.com/lbbt-proart-dgbe
Uke is one of the new Lanikai BB-T bubinga tenors (laminate).


Thanks for all the info being shared here! This thread came at just the right time for me.

13down
07-14-2017, 12:06 PM
This is a difficult tuning, for sure. I want to second some of the suggestions you've already received as well as offer a few of my own.

Ken Middleton's Living Water Strings does indeed offer tenor dGBE strings but he doesn't produce them normally so they cost a bit more. He no longer lists them on his website but I think you can order them if you email him: ken@livingwaterstrings.com

Southcoast strings I have not tried for tenor dGBE tuning but I can vouch that they are good strings for unconventional tunings. I'd try the strings that Jim Hanks recommended.

Worth strings - brown or clear, though I prefer the feel of the brown strings - can be good for this, too. You can get a low G tenor set (I think it is a "heavy" one; in any case, it is the set where the low G string is .035 inches thick) and then use the second half of the E string as the high D string. I say "second half" because Worth strings are extra long and are designed to make two sets, so you can cut the E string in half and use one half for the E, one for the D.

If you are into nylon (I am), you can use Gamut strings: https://shop.gamutmusic.com/strings/custom-gauged-strings/nylon-strings/

As you will see once you look at the site, the gauges are offered in millimeters and they are all very close together. The typical gauge for nylon (GHS and Aquila both use these gauges) dGBE strings are .040 for the B string and .032 for the D and E. I think those are a bit thick. However you still do need pretty thick strings - as I believe you said earlier, regular tenor strings are way too thin. With the Gamut strings, you can try as many variations as you want on strings that are less thick than the GHS or Aquila strings, but thicker than standard tenor strings.

I've found that even the thickest strings don't work well for the G, so I'd advise using a wound or fluorocarbon G string.

I mention Gamut because not only do they sell nylon gauges that the bigger companies don't sell, they also have a slightly unique feel. They, like GHS, use the original industrial nylon material that the first nylon strings were made of. But they sand/polish the strings more than GHS does, and in fact I'd say they feel smoother than some of the bigger brands' strings do.

And last (and also least) you can try the thickest of tenor nylon strings - Ko'olau. Ko'olau strings are so tense that, for me, they feel just right in dGBE tuning at first, but after you play for a bit, they soon become too lax.

Jim Hanks
07-14-2017, 01:30 PM
I just ordered a Fremont set off eBay:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Fremont-Bari-Tuned-Tenor-High-D-Set-Blackline-Fluorocarbon-Ukulele-Strings-/172772873242?hash=item283a10d41a:g:jHsAAOSwnHZYapy V
$10.50 shipped and went out next day. Hopefully will be here mid week.

Can't decide which uke to try them on. Either the Iriguchi or the Imua chambered. Probably the Imua.

JackLuis
07-14-2017, 02:46 PM
I just ordered a Fremont set off eBay:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Fremont-Bari-Tuned-Tenor-High-D-Set-Blackline-Fluorocarbon-Ukulele-Strings-/172772873242?hash=item283a10d41a:g:jHsAAOSwnHZYapy V
$10.50 shipped and went out next day. Hopefully will be here mid week.

Can't decide which uke to try them on. Either the Iriguchi or the Imua chambered. Probably the Imua.

These worked well for me. Not a bright as the standard Tenor strings but pretty good. I think you'll like them Jim.