View Full Version : My Martins sound dead on "C" string

03-28-2018, 05:34 AM
OK guys, I'm going to cross post this looking for an answer:

I have 2 old Martins, a <1920 Style 2 and a ~1948 Style 3.

Currently, one is strung wit Martins (M600) and the other with Oasis Brights.

On both, the "C" string sounds dead - doesn't ring as well as the others - above around the 8th fret.

Any suggestions?
Different strings maybe?
Anyone else notice this issue on their Martins?

03-28-2018, 07:52 AM
I think you should just send them to me and I'll figure it out! :shaka:

How old are the strings?

03-28-2018, 08:00 AM
The C string always seems to be an issue with GCEA tuned ukes. With the risk of getting flamed by soprano lover anything above the 8th fret with a soprano on the C string is going to have the odds stacked against it.

The C strings that you have tried are .034" with Martin and .030 with Oasis. Go to Strings by Mail and order .032" .031" or .029" single florocarbon string by either Pyramid or Savarez. With some experimenting you will find a solution. Good luck

03-28-2018, 09:30 AM
My two best ukes are a Kamaka Tenor and a Kanilea Tenor. I use re-entrant tuning. The Kamaka sounds fine on the C string but the Kanilea was very dull. Both have Fremont Black Line Strings. A few weeks back out of curiosity I tuned the Kanilea down one whole step and the sound just opened up. I rarely ever play with other musicians so I'm going to leave the Kanilea tuned this way. I sometimes play solo ukulele at church. Certain pieces sound better on the Kamaka and some sound better on the Kanilea. If I have to play with other musicians I'll use the Kamaka.
Try tuning everything down a step and see what happens.

03-28-2018, 03:15 PM

BTW, in case anyone is wondering, they are new strings.

03-28-2018, 03:31 PM
Well I have been going through creative stringing for 10 years. Generally, at least for me, you are getting a thud it is because the tension is too high. C strings seems to be the toughest as that string will either thud or boom, but hard to find that ring. It's like the 30 bears, wish I only had to go through 3... lol. Tuning down effectively reduces string tension. Sometimes reducing tension across the board is needed sometimes, just a single string.

The Martin C is .034" diameter and Oasis is .029" (just like Worth). As a test, take the Oasis E and use it for the C, use the Martin E for the E. It will probably be too loose, but right now you just want to see if you can get some ring out of a C string. If you get better tone but it's too loose, then you just have to get lighter strings. If it still thuds, you may have to take the long way and just try different strings, maybe even Reds.


03-28-2018, 03:45 PM
More... FWIW, right now I am in a massive fight to get a particular ukulele dialed in. I have a box of string sets and individual strings and even fishing leader. I use a digital caliper to measure the diameter before and under tension. Under tension is important because some strings stretch more and get a little thinner. I can tell you that sometimes even .001" will make a difference. It depends on how far you want to go.

That said, I've had some ukes that is can just string up and forget about them. I pretty much use flouocarbon strings. I do want to try Aquila black carbon since that is made specifically as a ukulele string.


03-29-2018, 02:30 AM
Yep. I thought about using the E strings. May give it a go...

03-29-2018, 04:28 AM
It will at least give you a starting point if you eliminate the thud. I'm thinking it might be too loose to actually be playable long term.