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View Full Version : Bb tuning on KoAloha tenor -- which strings?



DaveY
05-04-2018, 07:37 AM
I'm trying to distinguish my KoAloha tenor more from my other ukes, and figure that Bb tuning is one option.

What strings do people suggest? My guess is that there are some options that could be somewhat universal in application, but also that the specific strings in Bb tuning should match the ukulele, just as they would in other tunings.

I would be doing only finger-picking and easy strumming, if that matters.

I probably would tune it low G.

Thanks . . .

70sSanO
05-04-2018, 08:03 AM
My first thought would be Oasis Warm or maybe Worth CH. I've recently gone to B and Bb tuning and have gone that route, although I do use equivalent fishing line for some strings. The only drawback with CH is that it is so thick.

John

Added: Not sure on the low G.

Barrytone
05-04-2018, 08:04 AM
I tuned a Kala tenor down to Bb with existing strings for GCEA. No problems. It sounds great for jazz and ragtime.

twokatmew
05-04-2018, 08:56 AM
I tuned my Kala solid mahogany tenor down to Bb and used Fretmont Black Lines (tenor). These strings were just too heavy tuned to C. I'll be interested to hear what you decide. I have an Opio tenor on the way from Mim, though it'll be high G with stock strings. :)

Bill Sheehan
05-04-2018, 11:13 AM
Hi Dave, although my comments are in the context of being more of a "re-entrant tuning" guy, I would offer that I had occasion last year to tune my tenor Fluke down a full step, to the F Bb D G tuning, and found that it sounded GREAT in that tuning ("Bb tuning"), and that was just using Martin's regular M-620 tenor-scale strings. Interestingly, doing the same thing on certain other tenor ukes didn't work as well; I guess it's going to vary from uke to uke.

Doc_J
05-04-2018, 11:14 AM
I like SouthCoast Mediums with smooth wound strings on 3 and 4 for a tenor in Bb.

DaveY
05-05-2018, 06:39 AM
Thanks for all your responses. Right now I have Worth Clears and a Fremont Soloist (low g tuned to f), but the Fremont is overpowering -- booming, droning -- on the KoAloha. So I think I need either a calmer low g (Thomastik Infeld?) or maybe a "deeper"/fuller sounding Bb - D - G.

For what it's worth, I tried Worth Clears with a high G, and didn't sound right to me in that tuning. It sounded as if the lower overall tuning agreed much more with the lower bass note.

70sSanO
05-05-2018, 08:21 AM
Have you tried B tuning? Some ukes sound great in Bb and some don't. I have recently gone to a mix of Bb, B and C.

John

twokatmew
05-05-2018, 11:38 AM
"Booming" is mostly an product of faulty technique. Particularly when accustomed to reentrant tuning, uke players are inclined to subconsciously give the 4th string a little extra push, as you have to do to make a reentrant 4th come out more prominently. This is exactly the opposite of what you should do when playing in linear tuning. In addition, most players use chord voicings that leave the 4th string open, so it drones, which is more noticeable (and annoying) when it's the lowest note you hear, already drawing attention. People like to blame instruments or strings when the real problem is them.

This makes a lot of sense to me. Coming from guitar, I can play a low-g tenor or low-d baritone with no booming of the wound strings. But I started on uke with a high-g tenor. I quickly learned that I couldn't hear the notes on the high g string unless I used extra thumb pressure. Now I play mostly high g, so when I go to low g or baritone, I have to take it easy with my thumb. :)

DaveY
05-05-2018, 03:35 PM
"Booming" is mostly a product of faulty technique. Particularly when accustomed to reentrant tuning, uke players are inclined to subconsciously give the 4th string a little extra push, as you have to do to make a reentrant 4th come out more prominently. This is exactly the opposite of what you should do when playing in linear tuning. In addition, most players use chord voicings that leave the 4th string open, so it drones, which is more noticeable (and annoying) when it's the lowest note you hear, already drawing attention. People like to blame instruments or strings when the real problem is them.

I have three linear-tuned tenors now, and have had five others in the past. Right now I play two re-entrant-tuned ukuleles, and four linear-tuned ones, so I am accustomed to that linear tuning. The booming has happened with maybe one or two other ukuleles, but only with certain strings. I don't "like to blame instruments or strings when the real problem is [me]." I just like to fix a problem, sometimes by getting informed help. You are overgeneralizing and apparently ignoring three specifics here: the instrument, the string, the "low-f" tuning. The only specific you seem to think is relevant is the player.

hollisdwyer
05-05-2018, 04:34 PM
I’d also recommend Southcoast and also recommend, that if you are finicky about string tension, that you visit their website where they show string tension charts for all their sets in different tunings. I have found this info, which I’ve never found anywhere else, very helpful.

JJFN
05-05-2018, 05:29 PM
"Booming" is mostly a product of faulty technique. I couldn't agree more ubulele. Through my own experience, I found that whenever there is an unwanted sound coming from the instrument it usually isn't the equipment, it's the player. I've produced plenty of horrible sounds on the ukulele, and the problem was always me, not the ukulele, strings or anything else. Practice, practice, practice.

anthonyg
05-06-2018, 02:42 AM
Tuning a Tenor to Bb tuning "Normalizes" the tension as far as I'm concerned. The string tension in a Tenor at C tuning is too high as far as I'm concerned so try any Tenor strings you like for Bb tuning. I usually tune my Tenors to A tuning which they can handle yet these days I fit Baritone strings to my A tuned Tenors to increase the tension a tad.

I like it a lot but its definitely moving into a Baritone type of sound. I wouldn't recommend taking baritone strings up to Bb tuning. Standard Tenor strings are fine for Bb.