View Full Version : Best strings to use on DGBE tuned Tenor Guitar for a long time baritone uke player.

02-18-2018, 08:54 AM
What im really asking here, is what strings can I put on a tenor guitar, that firstly wont rip my damn fingers to shreds because im used to wound nylon and not steel, and secondly, im used to pressing lightly to hit a note or hold a chord, i dont want high tension steel, hard steel, so that im having to press so much harder to get the same effect.

What lighter gauge, or perhaps, wound type of strings are there available for a DGBE chicago tuning, on a tenor guitar

02-18-2018, 09:29 AM
contact Soouthoast. They made tenor guitars for nylon strings, so should be the best source

02-18-2018, 09:34 AM
I use light steel strings on my chicago-tuned cigar box-ish guitar. Nothing special, just a set from my local music store for $5 or so, and leaving off the E and A. The particular set in question is https://www.long-mcquade.com/8185/Guitars/Strings/Long_McQuade/Light_Acoustic_Strings_11-46.htm but I'm sure any light set would be fine. See some videos of tuning options at https://hackaday.io/project/26034-cigarbox-ish-guitar (scroll down a bit). I experimented with a low D but didn't like how it sounded.

Even with light strings, it is harder on my fingers than nylon strings. While I do prefer nylon, the bright sound of steel can be a nice change for certain songs.

What is the scale length of your guitar? Obviously if it is shorter than 25" or so, any set of strings will be lighter than they would otherwise be on a full scale guitar.


Edit: Of course the above is assuming you want to use steel strings. If you prefer nylon then try some classical guitar sets and just use the top 4 strings.

02-18-2018, 10:15 AM
I don't have a tenor guitar, but I do have a tenor banjo (22.5" scale) in Chicago tuning. I use the four high strings out of a light electric guitar set (Ernie Ball super slinky 9's, in the pink package). Works just fine.

02-18-2018, 12:54 PM
If you are asking about steel strings give the Martin Silk and Steel a try. They are an extra light gauge string with a nice folksy tone. Just use the first 4 strings out of the set of course.

You can also swap out the "guitar wounds for either classical wounds or baritone wounds. I have done this on a tenor guitar tuned DGBE with the steel trebles remaining. It makes a big difference in tension, much softer.

02-18-2018, 09:57 PM
From my experience, any set of light to medium acoustic steel string set should work. The set I liked best, so far, is Pyramid Silver Plated Wound Medium Tension, with the first string starting at .011. Pretty easy on the fingers, while still providing a full sound.

Robin Harrison
02-19-2018, 04:13 AM
Newtone strings do custom orders....https://www.newtonestrings.com/......and thus different tensions.

john bange
02-19-2018, 06:53 AM
I'm not sure about the volume on a tenor guitar made for steel strings but strung with nylon but try it. as to choice...not sure you can buy a tenor set of nylon, long enough for a tenor guitar unless you use a classical guitar set.
I would recommend using nylon banjo strings or all-nylon harp strings. I buy mine from Robinson's Harp Shop on west coast but their site shows east coast outlet also.
for a 25.5" scale, I would start at .045, .040, .032, and .028. No wound string. They will last for a long time. If a little more tension is needed, a .050 can be used for the D string. I have used these on my banjos for 2 or 3 years without removing them.
The biggest advantage is that you can buy 25 yard spools and they are cheap. You end up with years of string supplies.

I keep thinking of more harp string advantages...they stop stretching in a couple of days and are very stable from then on.

Jim Yates
02-20-2018, 05:50 AM
How your guitar is set up is as important as the type of string you use. Make sure you have a low action.
DownUpDave's suggestion of a silk & steel set will make playing the lower strings easier, though my wife tried them for a while and found that they went dead very quickly. You could try a set of medium 5 string banjo strings which would give you a spare E string. Banjos are tuned many different ways with the same set of strings, but bluegrass players use gDGBD as standard tuning. The 1st string will easily go up to an E without breaking and the 5th string is usually the same gauge as the 1st.

Patrick Madsen
02-20-2018, 07:25 PM
I'm having a custom big body baritone made now; probably more like a nylon tenor guitar. I wrote Dirk (Southcoast Strings) asking for string recommendations. He thought the LHL-WB set would be good for a longer scale length of 20 to 23". His strings are 33" long with this set having 2 wound basses. I've tried classical guitar strings on my baritones and always went back to Southcoast strings.

I've had steel string acoustic ukes and always found them a bit too bright and lacking in bass. They did make me realize I missed the bottom two strings of a guitar so am having a parlor guitar, almost done, made by the same luthier making my big body baritone

02-21-2018, 10:33 AM
I picked up Living Waters dGBE custom tenor strings....and they sound nice and balanced. I never played a baritone but every review lead me to these strings.

02-25-2018, 03:51 AM
It appears there are multiple threads asking the same question.

The answer is:

1. The tenor guitar is just a guitar. Furthermore, you're tuning it the same as a guitar (DGBE).
Hence the solution is painfully obvious. Just use a guitar string set, and use the DGBE strings to tune it to DGBE strings.
Guitar strings come in many, many, many different tension sets. Use a lighter tension set than the current... to reduce string tension.

No, you don't need custom strings. No, you don't need strings specific to ukuleles. No, you don't need to order individual strings that don't already come packaged in a guitar string set.

2. Ensure your instrument is well setup.
Setup can make or break an instrument. If you're not well practiced at guitar setups, get the local luthier/guitar technician to set it up.
Ideally, take the new string set you want them to install for the setup, as the setup depends on the string set for intonation.

02-26-2018, 03:12 AM
I'd try the Worth Brown or Clear Baritone strings if you want unwound strings. They should work on a longer scale.

02-26-2018, 03:19 PM
I'd try the Worth Brown or Clear Baritone strings if you want unwound strings. They should work on a longer scale.

Tenor guitars use steel strings.