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View Full Version : tenor strings for concert uke?



merlin666
04-02-2018, 06:31 AM
I have an older (2000) Koaloha concert uke on the way and am considering string options. It's pictures show that it is strung with some black strings, but the seller does not know the specifics and I doubt they are original. I currently play a low-G tenor that has a mix of super nylgut and red low G, and I really like this combination and found it after some trial and error. For the concert I want a completely different and "typical" Koaloha sound, i.e. bright and punchy so I guess fluorocarbon will be first choice. I already have a set of Martin strings for the Tenor that I never used, and I wonder if I should try it on the concert. The strings are considerably thicker than in the Martin concert/soprano set so I am concerned that strings might snap with additional tension, or that this older instrument might get damaged.

Should I try this or rather order some other strings and just stick with what's on for now? What are/were the Koaloha stock strings?

Gary52
04-02-2018, 07:51 AM
I believe the stock KoAloha strings are Worth clears.

I have a KoAloha concert strung low G with PhD strings. It sounds great, bright & punchy.

Thick tenor strings might require widening the nut slots.

DownUpDave
04-02-2018, 08:02 AM
Use concert gauge strings on that Koaloha concert. They have a very different bracing system then other ukes and I have been told they don't handle high tension well. You will bet a great sound from Worth CM (clear medium) that come stock, I owned two of these.

Booli
04-02-2018, 03:06 PM
Use concert gauge strings on that Koaloha concert. They have a very different bracing system then other ukes and I have been told they don't handle high tension well. You will bet a great sound from Worth CM (clear medium) that come stock, I owned two of these.

Worth CM are great strings, and I like them a lot too, but if you cannot get them (OP), the D'Addario EJ99SC are the exact same gauges and tension for the full set as per my hands-on testing.

Also, they (D'Addario) are taking a page from Oasis and the EJ99T strings for tenor scale are ALSO the same gauge, only about 4"/100mm longer than the SC set.

merlin666
04-03-2018, 05:00 AM
Thanks for all the suggestions. I have also read a few threads and there is mention of "Fremont Blackline" that some people seem to like on concert ukes. How do they compare to Worth and d'Addario? They are also available in medium and hard versions, and I would probably prefer "hard" as I also play guitars (12 string and six string with medium gauge steel strings), so with softer strings I sometimes make them go sharp.

Ragtop232
04-03-2018, 05:17 AM
KoAloha is one that you really don't want to use high tension strings. I would only use concert strings on the concert. YMMV

Jim

Booli
04-03-2018, 06:15 AM
Thanks for all the suggestions. I have also read a few threads and there is mention of "Fremont Blackline" that some people seem to like on concert ukes. How do they compare to Worth and d'Addario? They are also available in medium and hard versions, and I would probably prefer "hard" as I also play guitars (12 string and six string with medium gauge steel strings), so with softer strings I sometimes make them go sharp.

Ukulele responds differently to string tension than guitar. A 12-string acoustic guitar has over 200 lbs of string tension on the neck.

A concert ukulele with fluorocarbon strings has about 33-35 lbs of string tension on the neck and EVEN with this little string tension compared to your guitar, intonation can be fixed down to no more than 1-2 cents sharp all the way up to the 12th fret. I know because my ukes are setup this way (by me) as I cannot PLAY anything that it farther out with intonation.

Most folks lake the hearing perception to tell if the intonation is off unless they check with a tuner.

If you persist in looking at 'hard' or higher tension uke strings, it will not end well on your Koaloha, as you've been told already by others here in this thread.

The Fremont soprano/concert strings are heavier gauges than most and higher tension than most, and the Fremont 'hard' strings are heavier gauges and higher tension still.

Unless your action at the 12th fret is ~2.5mm (which is considered low), most folks will otherwise feel it harder to play with the 12th fret action normal zone of 2.65-2.7mm using the Fremont strings.

What you do is up to you, but you are taking a risk of damaging your instrument if string tension is too high.

You will not 'feel' the proper range of string tensions under your own fingers until you experiment and test more and different sets on ukulele. I have tested over 100 sets of strings hands on and this ability did not come easy.

Also, D'Addario is typically the only string make that actually publishes the string tension on their web site FOR EACH SET of strings.

merlin666
04-03-2018, 06:57 AM
The Fremont soprano/concert strings are heavier gauges than most and higher tension than most, and the Fremont 'hard' strings are heavier gauges and higher tension still.

Unless your action at the 12th fret is ~2.5mm (which is considered low), most folks will otherwise feel it harder to play with the 12th fret action normal zone of 2.65-2.7mm using the Fremont strings.

Thanks, I did not realize that they simply make strings thicker to accomplish harder feeling. The seller said that action is around 3mm so will see if I like that, my current low-G tenor is at 2.5mm. It's actually out for delivery right now, and if it's not too bad out of the box will take it to my luthier's shop this evening for a performance. There I can also get some feedback from our local uke group, and it's possible that he has the d'Addarios in stock so can pick some up if I don't like what's on now.

Is there away to tell if the black strings that are on now are made of Nylon or Fluorocarbon?

merlin666
04-06-2018, 08:48 AM
Just an update: I received the uke on Tuesday afternoon and took it out to play on that evening. As expected it arrived tuned down, and the strings were losing tension and I was wrestling with friction tuners, so it didn't get much play that evening. I (and also my luthier) am not able to tell if the black strings on it are Nylon or Fluorocarbon, but I don't think I like them. So I am eagerly waiting for the d'Addarios that I ordered from S&B, and in the meantime trying to get used to the small concert size. I will decide if I post it for sale or not once the new strings are on, but so far unfortunately I am finding it difficult to get used to it.

Booli
04-07-2018, 02:39 AM
Thanks, I did not realize that they simply make strings thicker to accomplish harder feeling....

Increasing string diameter, i.e. making them thicker is but one of the several ways to increase the linear density of the string.

It is not the thickness itself that makes more tension, but the molecular/linear density that does.

Strings that are nylon, fluoro or some other blend of polymers will all have varying degrees of density, and varying tension and varying tone, all completely dependent upon both their composition of materials, their thickness, AND their linear density.


Is there away to tell if the black strings that are on now are made of Nylon or Fluorocarbon?

Maybe by the tone and feel under the fingers, but not by eye. I do know that there is lab equipment that can do it, but I have no access to anything like that.

Nylon tends to sound warmer and duller than fluoro, and has significantly less sustain, and is usually THICKER because of having lower linear density than fluoro strings.

Fluoro tends to sound brighter than nylon, has significantly longer sustain and is usually THINNER because of having higher linear density than nylon strings.