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View Full Version : Fatter strings usually equals more volume?



Ukecaster
01-29-2019, 05:58 PM
I have a solid mahogany tenor, strings are old and need replacing. Came with Nylguts, but not a fan, at least on this uke. The old strings on there now are Living Waters, with a Nylgut A (original A snapped, had a spare Nylgut A). The Nylgut A sounded great mixed with the LW set, I assume the Nylgut was fatter, and I hate a wimpy sounding A string. However, like I said, I didn't like a full Nylgut set on this uke. Wouldn't mind a bit more volume, and usually prefer flouros.

I have a set of Worth CT here, but was also considering trying Martin M620, since I've liked Martins on sopranos. I noticed that the Martins are larger gauge on all except the A: G is 5% thicker, C is 16%, E is 8%, but the Martin A string is 3% thinner than the Worth set. I know, the Martins are inexpensive to try, but just wondering if these differences in string sizes can translate into more volume, or is it just a miniscule difference, if any??

Any thoughts welcome.

70sSanO
01-29-2019, 06:45 PM
It all comes down to how well the soundboard handles higher tension. Technically higher tension with thicker strings are louder but a ukulele soundboard is pretty small. Too much tension can choke the sound especially on a C string and result in a thud on some notes. Over the years I have found that you just have to try it to see how it works.

John

bazmaz
01-29-2019, 11:46 PM
I think generally speaking that is true - i.e - thicker will mean more power driven into the ukulele. However, there are also a multitude of other things at play - how the soundboard is tensioned and braced itself, the rest of the build, the string material too.

Personally, i find thinner strings can create more volume. More zing and punch.

Jerryc41
01-30-2019, 01:53 AM
I think you're confusing fatter strings with fatter fingers. :D

EDW
01-30-2019, 02:01 AM
Unfortunately, I think the concept above that you may just need to experiment and see how they respond for you and your instrument is right. I have sometimes found completely different results than what I read in reviews. As some mention, at times I have found certain strings to seem completely dead. FWIW- I think the new Martin premium strings may be worth adding to the list of things to try.

hendulele
01-30-2019, 07:09 AM
Unfortunately, I think the concept above that you may just need to experiment and see how they respond for you and your instrument is right. I have sometimes found completely different results than what I read in reviews. As some mention, at times I have found certain strings to seem completely dead. FWIW- I think the new Martin premium strings may be worth adding to the list of things to try.

Strings can vary a lot instrument to instrument. I have a set of the Martin premiums on my el cheapo Makala and they sound and feel so much better than the Nylguts that came with it. Now I pick up that beater all the time.

Same story with my Famous, which I bought used but (I think) had the stock strings, which are somewhat like D'Addario Titaniums. The Martin premiums have added an extra dimension to an already delightful uke. I have Living Waters on my Lanikai ... excellent. And I have fishing line on my Flea and Ohana sopranos, and they're terrific.

The variety of sound and feel among instruments and strings can be stunning.

EDW
01-30-2019, 07:41 AM
The variety of sound and feel among instruments and strings can be stunning.

Yeah, it is surprising, which is why it is best to see what works best on your instrument, your tastes and your playing.

spookelele
01-30-2019, 09:08 AM
volume = force.
force = mass x acceleration.
volume = mass x acceleration.

longer string = more mass
denser string = more mass
thicker string = more mass

higher tension = higher acceleration
more mass has higher tension to get the same frequency, which also increases the force.

If the uke isn't changing, the way to get more volume is thicker string of the same density or denser string. Or get more acceleration, which requiires longer travel of the string, which is plucking harder.

That said, I like m600, but I don't like 620's. There's more to the quality of a sound than volume.