View Full Version : Review: GHS bari-tenor re-entrant dGBe strings (Craig Chee signature)

06-15-2019, 01:17 PM
Hi everyone.

I have just been through a life cycle of the GHS bari-tenor re-entrant dGBe (or D4 G3 B3 E4) strings (Craig Chee signature) for tenor ukulele so i thought i might review. My set came from strings by mail who gave me a very good price (US$9.70 including international postage) and also enclosed a nice card. Lovely service, would use them again.

I played these on an Ohana tenor ukulele with solid Mahogany top and laminate mahogany and sides.

The D B and E strings are nylon and I think they are standard GHS classical guitar strings. The low G is a silvered copper string.

This is the big plus of these strings, the tension is symmetric across the set which is important for anyone who has tried mixing and slackening strings to get dGBe tuning. With other sets i have used i get string buzz slackening a C string to get the B and it feels odd having some spongy strings (D and B) and some standard tension (G and E). Overall tension was slightly slacker than Living Waters strings but not Loose and slightly tighter than if you took LW or Aquila strings and dropped them a semitone.

Initially they were slightly powderey but after a few days they felt nice to the touch. They were larger in diameter than i expected (previously used living waters and aquila) but i got used to it very quickly

edit: Volume:
Nice and loud, maybe not as loud as expensive aquilas which i find too loud. Low G was not boomy.

Sound (excluding resonance and sustain):
Nice when strummed, odd brushing sound when playing finger style. In the end they sounded like nylon strings.

I have not tried these amplified and given the sound modification you can make with amplification they may be good here.

Oh dear. When these first arrived there was no sustain. It was like playing a weird electronic instrument. I nearly took them off immediately but forced myself to let them break in. It took weeks 4 weeks at 15-30 mins per day of regular playing for the strings to break in and develop some resonance and sustain. It was really frustrating and quite impractical.

Life time:
I have had these on for 6 months and they have just started to age. I think i could get another 1-2 months out of them if i liked them. I have started to play guitar in the meantime so they got 3 months of hard work and then 3 months of occasional use.

Would i buy again:
No, took weeks of playing to get bearable tone and even then it was a nylon sound and i much prefer other brands. At the end of 6 months i took them off because i wanted a nicer sound. On the plus side the tension was really good and they were really long lasting (twice as long as my usual). Price was good.

Jim Hanks
06-15-2019, 01:24 PM
Interesting. I ordered a set but haven't installed them yet. You are right about the thickness, especially the B string. I think either of my tenors would need some work on the nut to fit well. One has a bone nut so I'm not touching that. The other I thought I might just put on and let it ride on top for a while to see if I like it.

That's very strange behavior with the sustain. I don't think I've ever heard of that.

06-15-2019, 01:40 PM
I don't think I've been able to play strings on any of my instruments for more than a month or so. They get really scratched where I pick and wear on the frets so much they won't play in tune up the neck. But I have noticed certain string materials do sound better after being played for a few hours. Nylon doesn't seem to matter much other than more stable tuning but the composite core wound strings are horrid for the first couple hours—dead and lifeless—and sound great thereafter. But, yeah, I do a lot of string changing...

10-11-2019, 11:24 AM
I've been playing this set for a few days on a Wunderkammer tenor. So far I like them. The low G lacks many of the hazards of wound strings - it doesn't overpower the nylon, and doesn't have too much buzz and boom. I could imagine it blending even better with unwound strings - maybe titaniums or fluoros - that are louder than these nylons. Though this set still sounds good and I prefer it to the all-carbon tenor dgbe sets I've played. I generally like them but due to what the OP said about them improving after about a month, I am defintiely even more optimistic about them.

10-11-2019, 11:42 AM
I tried a set of the Chee strings but found that Fremont Blackline Bari-tenor's were much nicer sounding. Next time I'm going to try the Fremont Black Baritone strings to get a low D. A Soloist low G string works well for a Low D.

Worth Brown Fats Tenor's are another set that works well, to my slightly deaf ears. Not too slack but last a long time.

10-11-2019, 12:41 PM
What is the wear on the wound GHS after 6 months? I had a wound Aquila on a Tenor and it was worn out after maybe 10 to 15 hours of playing time and broke.

10-11-2019, 12:59 PM
thanks for the great in-depth review Davoravo. I've been so curious about those bari-tenor strings and now I can confirm I won't need to buy them. I bought their regular tenor nylons and I know exactly what you mean about the weird brushing sound when played fingerstyle. To me, the brushing noise was too intrusive and got in the way and too noticeable. I took mine off very soon after. Just didn't feel and sound good. So i can only imagine a similar experience with the bari-tenor. And like JackLuis said, I also very much prefer the Fremont Blackline Bari-tenors. I've bought 3 of those already, and have one installed dGBE on a Caramel CT500 tenor and it sounds amazing. and the other sets I've put on a Boulder Creek Riptide Mahogany Tenor for Low DGBE tuning. It sounds amazing once i had a custom saddle shaped for that tuning. But even better, i have it tuned up to Low E, so it's my jazz uke.

but JackLuis, there exists Fremont Black Baritone Low D strings??? I didn't think they made them. Where can i find those?! Anyone know?

10-11-2019, 04:54 PM
Thanks for the information on the GHS strings!!

I have been experimenting with tenors strung dGBE and REALLY enjoy the sound!

Right now, I have a KoAloha KTM-00 with dGBE Living Water strings and an Enya EUT-70 with dGBE Fremont Blacklines. I am using the Fremont Soloist low G for both ukes. Each uke sounds AMAZING - deep, resonant, loud and articulate. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to gCEA for tenors again!

On a side note...that laminated Koa Enya is a WONDERFUL tenor for LESS THAN $100!!

I’ve been thinking of sharing my excitement about the dGBE tuning and the Enya uke. This was the perfect thread to throw in my two cents!!

10-24-2019, 09:41 AM
I have a KoAloha KTM-00 with dGBE Living Water strings

Do you have the LW dGBE baritone set or did you get a customized tenor set? Either way I'm really curious to hear more about Living Waters for dGBE tenor tuning.

10-24-2019, 04:41 PM
but JackLuis, there exists Fremont Black Baritone Low D strings??? I didn't think they made them. Where can i find those?! Anyone know?

Funny you should ask, I went up to my local shop just today, to get some Fremonts but the only baritone string they had in stock were PHD's. I bought some to try on my Caramel CB-103, its been running D'Addario Flurocarbon tenor strings with a Worth Brown low D string. I was running Hi d, but wanted to change and had a worth brown set in my previous strings mess.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNS55uyHfvw here is my Bari-Tenor string comparison review for those who care. I did a whole lot of string changing and it was interesting but I wouldn't do it again. I got sick of string changing.:wallbash:

A good low D is the Fremont soloist. ONe advantage of just detuning tenor sets is they last a lot longer and are softer on the fingers.