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robedney
09-06-2017, 11:58 AM
Hi All,

I know that strings have been discussed to death, and I know about the search function, but I have a very specific question that the searched threads didn't answer for me.

Some of you know that I'm prototyping a carbon fiber hybrid uke. After several iterations and lots of messing about with bracing, I've got something I really like. Other folks seem to like it as well, and some sort of demo will turn up here soonish.

It's got both the volume and sustain that I've been after, as well as a nice round tone. My own ear, however, wants it to be a tad brighter -- more high end on the spectrum. It's currently strung with Worth Browns, and I have a couple of sets of the Southcoast high tension strings with the wound G and C on the way (I love those things).

As a starting point, I'm looking for the brightest set (both low and high G) that I can find -- even if obnoxiously so. I want to find the high end limits of the uke itself. Any suggestions will be much appreciated!

Thanks!

Mezcalero
09-06-2017, 01:27 PM
Assuming you are working on tenor size, I would suggest Oasis Brights or D'Addario EJ 99T. They both come in high G and low G versions. Worth Brown's are one of the warmest strings I have tried.

sam13
09-06-2017, 02:03 PM
I prefer Worth CT Clear strings, or Ko'olau Aho strings ... they are superb.

DownUpDave
09-06-2017, 02:05 PM
South Coast HML-WB have the brightest A string I have used, I have used most everything. They are the low G set with wound G and C string. They are my go to set. I sometimes swap out the two florocarbons for Oasis warms if I find it too bright, retaining the two wounds.
A common trick is to go down in gauge to increase brightness.....thinner is brighter. Worth CM are the clear (bright) medium (concert) set and using them on a tenor is a good way to increase brighteness.

Tootler
09-07-2017, 09:54 AM
Worth clears or Living Water for me. I changed from Aquila to Living Water on my 8 string and it's definitely brighter than it was. A very folky sound which is what I want.

JackLuis
09-07-2017, 01:28 PM
+1 for EJ99T's for bright and clear sound.

robedney
09-09-2017, 02:01 PM
Thanks for the suggestions! I thought I'd update you all:

As with all things, this is somewhat subjective. However, I have been using an audio analyzer to help visualize what I'm hearing. Here are the results to date -- all on my latest prototype, all low G:

Worth Browns: I love Worths, but the brown are a tad muted and lack "sparkle". Spectrum graph shows a lack of overtones up high on the A string.

D'Addario EJ99TLG (Pro-Arte Carbon): Better, but not there to my taste. As I find with a lot of unwound low G strings it's a bit thuddy, but certainly playable. Very good balance string to string. Still, however, not as many high end resonance points as I'd like to see, particularly on the A. These are also pretty stiff strings under the fingers. I've used them before however (on another uke) and didn't have any trouble getting used to them.

Southcoast Heavy Medium Gauge Linear Set: This set features both a wound low G and C. Big difference, nearly all of it an improvement. First set to reveal significant high end resonance (overtones above the fundamental) on both the E and A strings. Full, rich sound with just enough sparkle for me. The wound low G makes all the difference -- no thud -- sounds clearly and plenty of sustain. Good string to string balance.

This particular uke leans toward the "warm" side all on it's own. I like a nice warm sound but with a controllable edge on the high end, and the Southcoast strings provide this. The Southcoasts also provide the best separation, both audibly and visibly on the spectrum graf. What's separation? When you strum it can sound mushy, so that you can't really hear any of the individual strings. I prefer it when you hear a nice, clear blended strum but you can still identify individual strings. This is most noticeable on a slow thumb strum.

By the way, one of our favorite vendors on UU carries Southcoast, that being The Ukulele Site (AKA HMS). Fast shipping from Hawaii to here in California.

DownUpDave
09-10-2017, 04:29 AM
Thanks for the suggestions! I thought I'd update you all:

As with all things, this is somewhat subjective. However, I have been using an audio analyzer to help visualize what I'm hearing. Here are the results to date -- all on my latest prototype, all low G:

Worth Browns: I love Worths, but the brown are a tad muted and lack "sparkle". Spectrum graph shows a lack of overtones up high on the A string.

D'Addario EJ99TLG (Pro-Arte Carbon): Better, but not there to my taste. As I find with a lot of unwound low G strings it's a bit thuddy, but certainly playable. Very good balance string to string. Still, however, not as many high end resonance points as I'd like to see, particularly on the A. These are also pretty stiff strings under the fingers. I've used them before however (on another uke) and didn't have any trouble getting used to them.

Southcoast Heavy Medium Gauge Linear Set: This set features both a wound low G and C. Big difference, nearly all of it an improvement. First set to reveal significant high end resonance (overtones above the fundamental) on both the E and A strings. Full, rich sound with just enough sparkle for me. The wound low G makes all the difference -- no thud -- sounds clearly and plenty of sustain. Good string to string balance.

This particular uke leans toward the "warm" side all on it's own. I like a nice warm sound but with a controllable edge on the high end, and the Southcoast strings provide this. The Southcoasts also provide the best separation, both audibly and visibly on the spectrum graf. What's separation? When you strum it can sound mushy, so that you can't really hear any of the individual strings. I prefer it when you hear a nice, clear blended strum but you can still identify individual strings. This is most noticeable on a slow thumb strum.

By the way, one of our favorite vendors on UU carries Southcoast, that being The Ukulele Site (AKA HMS). Fast shipping from Hawaii to here in California.

Hey Rob, thanks for the review, because of your use of the spectrum analyzer it is very revealing. South Coast HML-WB are my go to strings so I am glad to hear (pun intended) of their good results.

Those strings can also be had direct from South Coast, Dirk is a member here and always gives great insight into various topics when he posts. I am glad to know your instruments lean toward the warm side, that is my preference as well.

Rakelele
09-10-2017, 11:42 PM
Robert, I really like your scientific evaluation of these different string sets. Very helpful.

I'm also excited that you will make affordable Carbon Fiber Ukuleles. I think there is quite a market for this. Just like Dave above, I like to hear that your instruments tends towards a deep and warm sound. Please keep us posted.

AlohaKine
09-11-2017, 10:21 AM
I'd be sure to give the AGxAQ Aquila a try, if you haven't.

http://www.gotaukulele.com/2017/03/aquila-agxaq-tenor-ukulele-strings.html

70sSanO
09-12-2017, 04:45 AM
Generally speaking, going with a thinner string of the same material will produce a brighter, less full, sound. In the guitar world, lighter gauge string sets have a thinner sound than heavier gauge sets. It is similar with fluorocarbon ukulele strings, although I'm sure there are some nuances between manufactures. The easiest way to keep things straight, at least for me, is to know the string diameters. Blindly buying sets can become costly especially if you end up mixing and matching strings.

For example, Oasis Warm and Brights differ because the A and G strings are different diameters. The C and E are the same strings (at least a couple years ago when I measured them). For me, the problem strings (re-entrant tuning) are the C and A strings. Getting the right dynamic between too thin a sound, to too much boom, too a choked out sustain is a balancing act. Low G has to be the toughest to balance out.

What Robert brought up is correct. There are string combinations that will bring out great tones, but they need to fit into a small tension range for the soundboard. For me, knowing gauges does help to guide me to some degree. Although, I have not figured out why there are tonal differences between Worth Brown and Clear for the same gauges. I've just chucked it up to chemical differences in manufacturing.

John

Dionysis
07-14-2018, 09:59 AM
Generally speaking, going with a thinner string of the same material will produce a brighter, less full, sound. In the guitar world, lighter gauge string sets have a thinner sound than heavier gauge sets. It is similar with fluorocarbon ukulele strings, although I'm sure there are some nuances between manufactures. The easiest way to keep things straight, at least for me, is to know the string diameters. Blindly buying sets can become costly especially if you end up mixing and matching strings.

For example, Oasis Warm and Brights differ because the A and G strings are different diameters. The C and E are the same strings (at least a couple years ago when I measured them). For me, the problem strings (re-entrant tuning) are the C and A strings. Getting the right dynamic between too thin a sound, to too much boom, too a choked out sustain is a balancing act. Low G has to be the toughest to balance out.

What Robert brought up is correct. There are string combinations that will bring out great tones, but they need to fit into a small tension range for the soundboard. For me, knowing gauges does help to guide me to some degree. Although, I have not figured out why there are tonal differences between Worth Brown and Clear for the same gauges. I've just chucked it up to chemical differences in manufacturing.

John

This is very interesting to me. When I began playing ukulele, I put Aquilas on most ukes. Then I noticed they made the C string boomy. Now I use mostly flourocarbons but would like to learn to tweak an instrument by mixing strings. Many ukes I have played have a boomy C or E string. I don’t play linear much. I find it really annoying if every strum has one string dominant.

I prefer clean, separate resonant sounds from each string, and no one string dominant.
Then I can make a string blend or stand out as I prefer with technique. I have a very nice tenor with one dominant string like that. I am thinking about sellig it, but otherwise I like the sound and it is a beauty to look at as well. So if I used a slightly thinner similar material string, would that be a good first step to try to tame that string? I should also mention I put a tuner on this tenor and tapped the body. The resonant frequency of the body was close to the low G so that is not why the E is boomy.

kissing
07-14-2018, 11:27 PM
Two bright sounding strings that immediately come to my mind are:

-Aquila Nylgut
-Fremont black fluorocarbon

These strings, to my ears, are almost too bright and brash to use on most of my ukuleles