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View Full Version : Self-flagellation with ukulele strings



Strumdaddy
05-28-2019, 05:12 PM
Well, not as you probably pictured it - but I did torture myself...
My favourite strings were Southcoast mediums for tenor. I acquired a Gibson tenor after Dirk sadly passed (great guy). I suspected that SC Mediums would sound great on it - BUT didn't go there because I knew they might sound great, but were unavailable for future restrings.
I tried a few strings and found that Living Waters were fantastic on there and was a happy little strummer.
I went through my string stash recently and found a set of SC Mediums... After a few days of resistance I put them on the Gibson and...
Well, you know what happened, they ARE great!! Dohh!!!
I tend to keep strings on for a while so I will enjoy them while I can. And re-stringing with something else in the future will still sound great.
Just made me appreciate Dirk's work again.
If anyone out there is hoarding some Southcoast Mediums, let me know.

Jim Hanks
05-28-2019, 05:33 PM
I know exactly what you mean. I'm still kinda kicking myself for not stashing a few of the SMU/SLMU sets from the sale Dec/Jan. They were the first to sell out. I did keep a few linear sets but now I hate to use them. But I'm gonna have to do it. It'd be crazier to just let them go unused.

Strumdaddy
05-29-2019, 12:37 AM
"You never miss your water till the well runs dry" applies to some extent Jim.
"If I'd only known I'd have bought 10 sets" definitely applies.

70sSanO
05-29-2019, 10:24 AM
Dirk definitely had his sources. I think it is somewhat accepted that uniquely formulated fluorocarbon just for ukulele strings would be too cost prohibited, especially for a fairly small enterprise. Those strings are out there, but I’m fairly certain they are not generic Seaguar. I suspect Dirk did a mix-n-match based on his years in the instrument industry. Unfortunately it could take a lifetime trying to figure it out and track it down.

John

AQUATOPAZ
05-29-2019, 10:33 AM
Since he didn't produce his own strings, but put together strings that were already out there, any chance that his wife or estate would give out what the makeup of his sets consisted of?

Jim Hanks
05-29-2019, 01:13 PM
Since he didn't produce his own strings, but put together strings that were already out there, any chance that his wife or estate would give out what the makeup of his sets consisted of?
I don't want to speak for her, but I would say there is little chance of that. Back when we were doing the string sales, it seemed she just wanted to clear out the remaining stock and then concentrate on her own business.

Mezcalero
05-29-2019, 01:23 PM
I know exactly what you mean. I'm still kinda kicking myself for not stashing a few of the SMU/SLMU sets from the sale Dec/Jan. They were the first to sell out. I did keep a few linear sets but now I hate to use them. But I'm gonna have to do it. It'd be crazier to just let them go unused.

The Southcoast wounds were my favorites for baritone. I wish someone could sort out where the source for those was. I prefer the Thomastik Infelds for tenors, but the Southcoast smooth wounds had the perfect tension for baritone, at least to my taste. The Thomastik 35/30's are just too much tension for the longer scale baritones to get up to pitch. I do love them tuned down a step (C F A D), and I like the 30/27's on baritone tuned up a step to (E A C# F#). But nothing worked better for me than the Southcoast's for standard D G B E tuning.

kerneltime
05-29-2019, 01:38 PM
FYI: His wife was open to selling the business..

Strumdaddy
05-29-2019, 06:05 PM
UPDATE
The SC strings continue to be a wonderful balance of warmth/sparkle, excellent intonation, and a nice fatness without too much tension - (un)fortunately??!!??

Graham Greenbag
05-29-2019, 09:55 PM
FYI: His wife was open to selling the business..

Iíd have thought that actually selling that business would be quite difficult to do and, given all the other things going on to settle an estate plus maintain an independent income stream, beyond what was possible at the time. The market for these strings is rather specialised and limited to a relatively small group of individuals. Any serious buyer would already know much of what Dirk knew and be wanting access to the results, records and supplies that allowed string sets to be put together. However those results and records might not be in a marketable condition and hence effectively meaningless to even a well informed buyer - not many buyers would want to take that risk.

That said maybe Dirkís Estate might consider letting what records and supplies there are go to some local enthusiast whoís interested in a part-time business. Perhaps a small handover fee and a share of the profits for a few years, thatís maybe not what the business could once have been sold for but a whole lot better than the current zero (which is the current default alternative).

70sSanO
05-30-2019, 06:12 AM
I would probably urge anyone who has Southcoast strings to hang onto whatever leftover remnant as a sample.

As far as Dirkís business and whatever documentation that is available, one person who comes to mind that might be interested in acquiring some of that documentation is Ken Middleton. Ken is such a gentle spirit and has been such a wonderful ambassador for the ukulele; and he sells his own line of strings. I donít know Ken and have no idea if he has any interest, but he strikes me as someone who could preserve Dirkís legacy.

John

Jim Hanks
05-30-2019, 11:00 AM
Ken is doing pretty well all by himself. For me, I'm usually for "all unwound" and in that regard, SC and LW have always been neck-and-neck. I've never been disappointed with either. SC was usually my first choice because of price and the research behind all the configurations. I knew if tuning and tension was in the SC charts I could count on it.

Strumdaddy
05-30-2019, 06:08 PM
I'm an "all unwound" man myself, and have found Living Water to be comparable to Southcoast - with a preference for SC. In fact I bought a few sets of LW and was very happy to strum into a post-Southcoast world, until I gave in to my curiosity about what SC might sound like on the Gibson...

70sSanO
05-31-2019, 07:13 AM
Ken is doing pretty well all by himself. For me, I'm usually for "all unwound" and in that regard, SC and LW have always been neck-and-neck. I've never been disappointed with either. SC was usually my first choice because of price and the research behind all the configurations. I knew if tuning and tension was in the SC charts I could count on it.

I was only suggesting Ken as someone who could possibly add a few of Dirk’s most popular sets, not replace what he has. If there some market for those Southcoast sets, it might be worth his time. The Worth, Martin, D’Addario, etc. guys are probably more about quantity.

John