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View Full Version : Lipstick pickups and all that jazz!



Flecktarnfisher
12-30-2017, 11:10 AM
Hi all,
I'm loving hving my new uke but I want to play around with one and mod it out a little bit so I've bought myself a cheap Octopus Soprano to fiddle with. I'm thinking of fitting a lipstick type pickup to it along with metal strings to make something different to the usual piezo type pickups. Will I be able to use the existing traditional type bridge and simply push the strings through the holes so the ball-ends g tight against the end or will I have to fit a tailpiece like a mandolin?

Also, will the ukulele need any more reinforcing or will the tension just pull the poor thing apart?

Many thanks,
Lloyd

BlackBearUkes
12-30-2017, 12:55 PM
Cheap acoustic ukes will not take the added tension of steel strings, in fact, no uke will. Maybe you should think about an instrument that is made for the purpose you seek. Plenty of them out there.


Hi all,
I'm loving hving my new uke but I want to play around with one and mod it out a little bit so I've bought myself a cheap Octopus Soprano to fiddle with. I'm thinking of fitting a lipstick type pickup to it along with metal strings to make something different to the usual piezo type pickups. Will I be able to use the existing traditional type bridge and simply push the strings through the holes so the ball-ends g tight against the end or will I have to fit a tailpiece like a mandolin?

Also, will the ukulele need any more reinforcing or will the tension just pull the poor thing apart?

Many thanks,
Lloyd

anthonyg
12-30-2017, 01:07 PM
Steel strings and nylon strings are not interchangeable on the same instrument. An instrument needs to be built from the start for one type of string for 2 important reasons. String tension and string flexibility.

Nylon strings have lower tension and are more flexible. As such the construction is lighter and the saddle compensation is less and more even. Hence the straight, perpendicular saddles. Steel strings have higher tension with a greater range of flexibility. Hence the heavier construction and the slanted saddle.

Booli
12-30-2017, 01:14 PM
Bad idea to put steel strings on a uke or any other instrument not built for steels strings.

Steel strings will likely cause the uke to implode. If you do your research you will see that steel strings have approx 4-5x the tension of nylon-type strings.

Also, you will likely never get anything close to proper intonation unless you remove the bridge and fill and re-cut the saddle slot (likely at an angle) since wound steel strings need a saddle that is NOT parallel to the nut in order to intonate well.

Look at the bridge and saddle of acoustic guitars (google image search is your friend) and you will see.

For an acoustic instrument, you might instead want to look at the premade steel-string variants of the ukulele such as the cavaquinho or charango for they are built for steel strings and can be tuned like an ukulele.

see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cavaquinho

and: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charango

If you really want a steel string uke that is cheap enough to hack on, Mahalo makes a soprano that is in a V-shape that comes in both steel strings and nylon strings and also Vorson has one that comes in an ST, T or LP style (strat, tele, les paul respectively) that can be found on both Amazon, as well as American Musical Supply. I got one of the Vorson 'factory blem' models for $89 shipped and it works ok.

see:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yCwVc6JuZs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yCwVc6JuZs

and:

https://media.americanmusical.com/ItemImages/Thumbnails/VOR%20FSUK1%20LIST.jpg

https://www.americanmusical.com/Item--i-VOR-FSUK1-LIST

https://media.americanmusical.com/ItemImages/Thumbnails/VOR%20FTLUK3BK.jpg

https://www.americanmusical.com/Item--i-VOR-FTLUK3-LIST

https://media.americanmusical.com/ItemImages/Thumbnails/VOR%20FLPUK2%20LIST.jpg

https://www.americanmusical.com/Item--i-VOR-FLPUK2-LIST

Croaky Keith
12-31-2017, 01:01 AM
If you're in the UK, those Vorson steel string ukes come labelled as Clearwater ukes, about 120. :)

M3Ukulele
12-31-2017, 07:20 AM
Thanks for video Booli. I found same model with nylon strings/piezo under saddle pick up. It looks the same but sound more like traditional ukulele sound amplified. Both good I guess depending upon what you re after. I favour nylon myself. Currently not available on Amazon.