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View Full Version : String Tensions, What the Heck?



CoffeeMate
05-22-2009, 01:05 PM
What do different string tensions mean? How do they effect sound, playability? Do they feel different? Are some tensions easier to fret with, better for picking?
All of this hard, light, medium, dense business is giving me a headache. :confused:

I broke a string today and find myself with no concert size string sets :(. I am used to Aquila's but thought I would give another brand or two a try.

Thanks All

gp-ak
05-23-2009, 08:05 PM
The higher the tension, generally the more volume. But lower tension strings, for most people, are easier to play.

CoffeeMate
05-24-2009, 06:07 AM
got it, thanks a bunch :)

ichadwick
05-25-2009, 01:10 AM
It also has to do with bending. Strings with greater tension don't bend as easily when you're playing single notes (blues, for example used bending a lot). Not really a lot of uke players I see bending notes, though.

It takes a little more pressure to push a tense string to the fretboard than a lighter string. The tradeoff is more volume and a slightly better tonal range with more tension because a tense string transmits more energy to the saddle>bridge>soundboard.

deach
05-25-2009, 01:17 AM
I like high tension strings on my tenors because I tune them down. I get a lower sound and the strings aren't floppy.

Roy Jovero
05-25-2009, 11:16 AM
I prefer higher tension strings for the volume and sustain. I'm currently using D'Addario Pro Arte strings on all of my ukes. I found that the Aquila Nylgut strings, at proper tuning, attacked a bit too much for my liking, but they were lovely tuned half a step down.

CoffeeMate
05-27-2009, 06:31 PM
Thank you for all the thoughtful replies. I'm really new to all of this. I think I need to spend some time with a lighter string at this point. I'm dealing with some hand injury/ strength issues (not supposed to be putting any pressure on my hands). I did order some D'Addarios along with the aquilas. I figure I'll never figure this out if I don't give a bunch of stuff a try. ;)

seeso
05-27-2009, 06:50 PM
I figure I'll never figure this out if I don't give a bunch of stuff a try. ;)

That's the spirit! Just dive in and find out what you like. :)

ukulelebadass
05-28-2009, 04:50 AM
By far the easiest strings to play that I've found are the KALA reds, they are use a special nylon wrapping for the strings, they sound great and make for really easy playing action.

CoffeeMate
06-01-2009, 02:14 PM
By far the easiest strings to play that I've found are the KALA reds, they are use a special nylon wrapping for the strings, they sound great and make for really easy playing action.

Cool, I haven't heard much about the Kala reds. We have some in soprano size, I may have to try them out on the pineapple just for fun. :shaka:

seeso
06-01-2009, 09:37 PM
Cool, I haven't heard much about the Kala reds. We have some in soprano size, I may have to try them out on the pineapple just for fun. :shaka:

Let us know what you think of them.

ichadwick
06-02-2009, 12:44 AM
There are perhaps a dozen makers of ukulele strings right now - Worths, Hilo, Ko'olau, Martin, Kala and others - so you have a world of experimentation ahead of you.

jdmcnasty
06-03-2009, 05:28 PM
I use concert Aquilas on my soprano. The tension feels perfect.