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View Full Version : First string change: sounds "sloppy" and "buzzy"???



lifereinspired
04-21-2018, 07:55 PM
Hi!

I just changed my strings for the first time. I wanted to try to Aquila Red strings in my OU Carbon Soprano. I purchased the soprano specific strings in the standard Aquila Red - the reentrant tuning package and the Soprano Low-G, as well.

I watched several videos to learn how and feel like I did at least a passable-to-decent job for my first try at changing strings. I don't see anything glaringly wrong that I might have done. I decided to use the Low-G first, just to see what it's like. But it's been almost two weeks now, and while the strings finally seem to be settling in from stretching (the E & A stay pretty close to in tune now, though the G & C still need to be tuned up each day), they don't sound right to me. I'm not exactly sure how to best explain it but the strings sound "sloppy" and "buzzy". There's almost a slack or slapping like quality to them (hence using the sloppy term). It's not just the difference from the Low-G. I was expecting some additional "boominess", so to speak, just from the addition of the lower tones in the Low-G. In fact, there is probably a bit less than I expected of that. But I'm really noticing these other issues with the CEA as much or even more than I am with the G string.

Is this normal? Are these the "qualities" of the Aquila Red strings? I expected them to be brighter from the descriptions I've read. But I don't notice that much. I also know this is one of the specific brands and type of strings that OU uses so it should be a decent pairing. I don't understand what might be happening with this. I don't know if there might be "user error" somewhere? But I can't think of what that could be or how it would be effecting the sound. Any ideas why these strings might be sounding sloppy and buzzy? I would SO appreciate any thoughts, advice, or knowledge you could share. I'm hoping someone might be able to shed some light on why these strings are sounding this way. Thanks so much in advance!

Croaky Keith
04-21-2018, 09:17 PM
If they are all 'sloppy' feeling, it could be that they are tuned an octave down. :)

Did you swap them over one at a time, or all at once - I'm guessing all at once. ;)

robinboyd
04-21-2018, 09:40 PM
The Reds do tend to feel a little slacker than other options, but what you are describing sounds a little extreme.

DownUpDave
04-22-2018, 02:24 AM
If they are all 'sloppy' feeling, it could be that they are tuned an octave down. :)

Did you swap them over one at a time, or all at once - I'm guessing all at once. ;)

This sounds (pun intended) like the reason you are getting "sloppy and buzzy". If you are tuned one octave down the tension on the strings are less. This would explain the strings taking one week to finally settle.

Here is how you can confirm this. If you have a smart phone down load a tuning app that shows the octave of each note, most do. With a low G here is what you want. G3, C4, E4, A4. In high G it would be G4, low G is one octave down. Clip on tuners do not tell you what octave you are in so it is easy to make this mistake if you dont have a trained ear. I don't so I use the tuning app on my Samsung phone all the time when changing strings.

maki66
04-22-2018, 02:30 AM
Same guess here, one octave low.
Is this the low G Red set with no wound strings?
I just want to be clear because a wound string is going to chew up the plastic fret board quickly.

Lapyang
04-22-2018, 02:33 AM
I recently changed to Aquila Red on my Soprano also. It too felt slightly sloppy. Most strings actually felt great (I prefer lower tension on the fingers), but the A string started to buzz. I then tuned it up a half step to g#C#FA# and it sounded GREAT! You may want to tunes it up a half or whole step to experiment.

lifereinspired
04-22-2018, 09:02 AM
Thanks so much for all your suggestions! I had already downloaded a couple of tuner apps to try & this was the perfect excuse. It also helped me decide which ones were worth considering since only a few of them actually showed which octave the notes are on. :)

I did change the strings (one at a time) but all at once, if that makes sense. I didn't actually remove all the strings at the same time but didn't check to see of the octave was correct. Just didn't occur to me. Having said that, after using the apps to check, all the strings are tuned to the correct octave. G3, C4, E4, A4.

Perplexing. I don't understand why it's not sounding better. I suppose it's marginally better as the strings have finally settled a bit but only barely. I'm really puzzled by it, especially given that it's a known combination that the manufacturer uses.

Any other thoughts? I think I'm gonna switch to another type of strings, probably back to the fluorocarbon that it came with but swapping out the High-G to a fluorocarbon Low-G to see how that sounds. Maybe I just don't like the sound of the Aquila Red or maybe it's not as well suited to the OU Carbon Soprano?

I really thought maybe you had it with my being an octave low. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. If anyone has any other ideas, please, please share! Thanks again!

lifereinspired
04-22-2018, 09:05 AM
I recently changed to Aquila Red on my Soprano also. It too felt slightly sloppy. Most strings actually felt great (I prefer lower tension on the fingers), but the A string started to buzz. I then tuned it up a half step to g#C#FA# and it sounded GREAT! You may want to tunes it up a half or whole step to experiment.

I just had an interesting thought based on your comment here. Since tuning up seemed to help,I wonder if the Aquila Red are simply low tension, especially in the soprano or concert sizes. If so, perhaps a tenor set would sound better on this uke - assuming that the tenor strings have higher tension? Is this a crazy way to think or am I beginning to understand how string tension works? :)

lifereinspired
04-22-2018, 09:12 AM
Same guess here, one octave low.
Is this the low G Red set with no wound strings?
I just want to be clear because a wound string is going to chew up the plastic fret board quickly.

No! Most definitely, no wound strings. :) Exactly for that reason - and the fact that it voids the OU warranty. Knowing that I have no use for the wound Low-G string, instead of purchasing the Red Low-G set, I chose the reentrant set in Soprano and purchased the unwound Low-G separately. That way I have two possible ways to tune my uke & don't have to waste the wound Low-G that I can't use. ;)

FWIW, I can't find the comment again but someone mentioned that Aquila will be coming out with a new Red Low-G unwound string sometime in 2018. It supposed to be an improvement on the current one. The commentor has been beta testing the strings for Aquila and seemed to be favorably impressed. I'm half wondering if they deleted the comment due to not being able to talk about the new strings yet. Anyway, perhaps something else to look forward to. :)

maki66
04-22-2018, 10:46 AM
Well since you seem to be doing everything right....
It could be that your OU action is low enough to get buzz/vibration from a very low tension string.
If you have a string gauge you can measure the height at the first fret and 12 fret.
If you have no gauge perhaps you could shim the nut or the saddle under low G?

Choirguy
04-22-2018, 04:29 PM
I’m interested to see what you think with fluorocarbon strings (are the original D’Addarios ship with these days fluorocarbon?).

bunnyf
04-22-2018, 04:44 PM
Could it be that the nut slots are a bit too narrow for the new strings? Fluorocarbs are pretty thin and if if had reentrant on originally, that G and C slot might be too small for the Aquilas to sit properly. The low G unwound can be pretty thick. Just a thought

lifereinspired
04-22-2018, 08:55 PM
I’m interested to see what you think with fluorocarbon strings (are the original D’Addarios ship with these days fluorocarbon?).

Definitely seems to be less buzzy going back to the fluros (yes, the original D'Addarios that the OU ships with are the fluoros). Although, now that I've heard the buzzi-ness of the Aquila Reds, I can hear a little in the fluoros. I think some of it is normal simply normal string sound but after it being so pronounced using the Reds, it's kind of stuck in my mind. Thus far, I'm preferring the fluoros. One thing I noted. The fluoros tend to seem more "clarion" in how they tune, meaning that it's quite easy to get a solid, perfectly tuned note. Whereas in contrast, the best I could get with the Reds is finding the closest point to perfectly tuned but the tone would go slightly above then below (or vice versa) the point of perfect tuning. Not that it exactly matters but I think the notes seem to be "truer" throughout the point of being played through the sustain on the fluoros. Also, I did go ahead and use the originals D'Addarios but switched the High-G to the Worth Clear Low-G. I also like it better than the Red, thus far. It tunes truer (the Low-G in the Aquila Red was particularly hard to get tuned just right as it would go above and below perfect tune as the note was played, as described above). Now, I'm wanting to try some of the other strings out there with Low-G like the Living Water, PhD, and there are a couple other that I can't remember just now. :)

lifereinspired
04-22-2018, 08:59 PM
Could it be that the nut slots are a bit too narrow for the new strings? Fluorocarbs are pretty thin and if if had reentrant on originally, that G and C slot might be too small for the Aquilas to sit properly. The low G unwound can be pretty thick. Just a thought

I'm told by OU that they've used the D'Addario Tenor Fluoro Low-G set on some of their soprano ukes but since the diameter is larger on some of the tenor strings in that set vs the soprano (and since the D'Addario Tenor Low-G is larger in diameter than the Worth Clear is), it might be a tight fit in either the nut slots and the bridge slots. In fact, I'm not sure the Low-G is actually sitting fully down in the nut slot. They said no mods were necessary to use the Low-G (unwound, since wound shouldn't be used at all) due to their horn shaped nut slots. Again, since they have setup their own soprano ukes using the larger tenor Low-G set mentioned above with a much larger diameter Low-G, I'm assuming they know what's needed. I may give them a call nevertheless, at some point, just to make sure. It's a good thought about the slots being narrow for the Low-G and wondering how that might affect the sound. Thanks for mentioning it. :)

Uke Don
04-23-2018, 04:57 AM
One of the downsides to the Outdoor ukes is that they have a hollow neck. The smallest string buzz caused by misfretting is going to be transmitted down that hollow neck.

stevepetergal
04-23-2018, 05:22 AM
Everyone responding seems to be focusing on string tension. (It's not an octave low. If it were, it would be unplayable and you'd know it.) What you're describing though is sound, right? ("Sloppy" may be the wrong word to describe a sound quality) From your description, I'd say you don't like the sound of the strings themselves. I say lose this first set, try the high G set, and order some florocarbons, because you will likely be disappointed with the reds either high or low G.