PDA

View Full Version : NUD: Rogue baritone



Jim Hanks
07-30-2017, 04:11 AM
These have been posted here before so I won't go into too much detail on the uke itself. As some have written, whaddya want for $36? Well, basically I wanted a cheap 19" (-ish - I think it is 19.5") scale uke that I could do some odd string experiments on without surgerizing my good ukes. I almost bought Nickie's Harmony bari, but I think it's for the best all around that didn't pan out.

On the "cons", the fretboard is pretty rough on the edges, the nut is slanted forward and has gaps around it, the tuners are kinda gritty, and the intonation is pretty bad.

But on the "pros", the action doesn't feel that bad, the body is pretty cleanly done, the neck seems straight, and the geared tuners do work.

The stock strings are - curious. I think they are nylon classical guitar strings. The 3rd and 4th are wound as is fairly typical of DGBE baritone sets, but I'm afraid to crank them up anywhere close to DGBE. The strings were extremely flat out of the box - the 4th string was somewhere around A2 - but not that loose. I think a low GCEA tuning (i.e. octave lower than tenor low G) would work pretty well with these strings. As I started turning up the 4th, by the time I got near C3, it was already tighter than I like, so I backed it off to Bb2. Tuning the rest of the strings up from there, they all felt pretty good, yielding a linear Eb tuning! How does that sound? See the video below to find out.

Now, one thing I wanted to try on this uke was the Fremont dGBE tenor string set. I bought this to put on one of my tenors but the 3rd string seems too thick to fit the nut slot on either the Iriguchi or Imua and I don't want to muck with them. It would fit the slot on my Ono bari but it sounds too good linear to "waste" it on reentrant. My hope is that the set will do well at cFAD on the longer scale or even a step lower for reentrant Eb. How ironic that the
stock strings come in at linear Eb which I've never heard of.

But I think I'm going to try some different linear strings first. I have some extra Southcoast LL-NW strings that are supposed to give GCEA (linear C) on this scale, but maybe I'll try to stop at FBbDG(linear Bb) or F#BD#G#(linear B).


https://youtu.be/oRtJRBN8cnk

Tenor
07-30-2017, 06:13 AM
Great review/comparo, especially for such an inexpensive ukulele. Thanks!
It's not a Pono, obviously, but then again, for a total of $36, delivered to your door..

Indeed, I think with a set-up, quality strings, etc., you'd have, at the very least, a halfway decent beater baritone, and at worst, maybe a nice canvas for some wall-art.

Yours looks better than the orange-colored ones I've seen pictured in ads, IMO.

DownUpDave
07-30-2017, 06:44 AM
Jim you are the ulimate experimenter when it comes to tuning and strings. As you say this should be a good platform to experiment on. Congrats and have fun

Jim Hanks
07-30-2017, 07:51 AM
It's not a Pono, obviously...Yours looks better than the orange-colored ones I've seen pictured in ads, IMO.
Just to be clear, my other bari is a custom Ono, but yeah, the Rogue can't touch a Pono either. :D


Jim you are the ultimate experimenter when it comes to tuning and strings.
Haha! I don't know about that, but I'm giving it a good try. ;)

Booli
07-30-2017, 10:55 AM
I agree that this is a great instrument to hack on.

I got one too (about 2.5 yrs ago), and if you are going to experiment on it, a setup is in your future any way, and if you damage it beyond repair, you are only out the ~$36...

I've had mine string/tuned as an octave uke in both re-entrant and linear, as a piccolo bass, both CGDA mandola and GDAE octave mando, and currently as an octave mandola CGDA in 5ths.

I had originally bought the Rogue bari in order to convert it into a U-Bass copy, but once the Hadean Omega bass ukes came available for ~$160, the cost of the tuners for the poly strings, new bridge, nut and saddle and the preamp/pickup system it would have cost MORE than the Hadean, and other than the DIY factor, would likely have been a disappointment.

What these cheap instruments are most useful for to me, is a platform for testing the viability of other ideas, or to test different things to see if you have the interest for a more expensive 'premade' version of what you want...

having said that, I find that despite the cheap price, the Rogue is built pretty strongly, without being overbuilt, and actually has a decent tone and enough volume once you have strings with enough tension, otherwise, it's pretty quiet and dead sounding, as you need more tension to 'drive' the top.

Jim, I am glad that you got one to play with, and I am looking forward to following your adventures.

Thanks for sharing! :)

Jim Hanks
07-30-2017, 01:20 PM
I've had mine string/tuned as an octave uke in both re-entrant and linear, as a piccolo bass, both CGDA mandola and GDAE octave mando, and currently as an octave mandola CGDA in 5ths.
Ha! Now that's what I call the ultimate experimenter. I won't venture outside transpositions of GCEA. Too chicken. :p

Booli
07-30-2017, 01:59 PM
Ha! Now that's what I call the ultimate experimenter. I won't venture outside transpositions of GCEA. Too chicken. :p

FYI:

- The octave uke strings were figured out with singles from extra-hard tension Savarez classical singles in discussions with Rick Turner and Ukulele Jay here on UU a few yrs back...

- The 'piccolo bass' were also extra-hard tension classical single strings, just all wound lowest pitched four strings tuned E-A-D-G same octave as a normal guitar, i.e., one octave UP from standard bass guitar octave

- The fifths tuning strings were a bit tricky and I spent a lot of time reading threads on banjohangout, mandolincafe, and messing with the D'Addario String Tension Pro web app, and I'm still not be perfectly happy, but it's close now (dont recall which strings from memory, but I have notes that I could share)

I must have spent about $85-100 in strings overall in pursuit of all of the above...and it has been a lot of fun and I've learned a hell of a lot of things, most specifically how linear density (in laymans terms, string diameter) relates to string tension, and how string tension relates to INTONATION....

and at some point you reach a point where the string might intonate perfectly but has too much tension for the build of the instrument (excessive bellying/dishing of the top is visible), OR that the string has just too much density in relation to the resonance of the sound box, and there is very little volume or sustain...

I have also experimented with all kinds of weird modifications to the saddle and bridge, even removing the bridge completely and using 3/8", 1/2" and 5/8" height 4-string banjo bridges after I had added a home-made tail-piece to the butt end.

All of the above efforts I refer to as 'instrument hacking', and I find it is as much an education, as it is a fun process to see what I can DIY with my own hands based upon my own curiosity....
.
.
.

Nickie
07-30-2017, 02:40 PM
Very interesting, although mostly over my head. mm stan says his Rogue is his fave.

drbekken
08-06-2017, 08:16 AM
For some reason, I absolutely LOVE the Rogue baritones. I have two of them, and I have done various set-up work on both; nut/saddle/tuners...and I put a cheap piezo pickup in one of them. The instruments have a real down home feel. Wonderful.

Jim Hanks
08-06-2017, 08:18 AM
Dr. b - your prior posts and videos were the main reason I decided to give the Rogue a chance. :shaka:

Booli
08-06-2017, 08:50 AM
Dr. b - your prior posts and videos were the main reason I decided to give the Rogue a chance. :shaka:

Ha Ha - same for me too.

Dr Bekken has influence far and wide and really great videos that demo the virtues of these low-end instruments.

:)