View Full Version : Question for MGM: Why wound 3rd string?

04-17-2008, 04:03 AM
I was going to shoot off an email to MGM, but I thought maybe this is a good question to ask publicly since we newbies are clueless, and the oldies have lots of opinions, it might make for a good and educational discussion. :)

I got my Pono PTO today and it's teh hawesome. I'm still deciding on that low G. It's got its plus points, but right now I'm leaning towards high. Anyway, I know there was some question about Pono, and the first one apparently did have some buzz, so luckily MGM was on the case and got me one buzz-free. :) It's stunningly beautiful and fun to play, and sounds great.

I know I know, http://homepage.mac.com/plainsong/ttiwwp.gif but I'm under the weather right now. I'll get it when I get well.

In the meantime, the question of the day:

MGM supplied me with some security blanket strings, should I chicken out on Low G. His directions say to change the wound G obviously, but to also switch out the unwound C for a wound C. I was just wondering why that is, since my set of aquila high G's don't have a wound 3rd.

Is it a personal preference, or something to do with the vibe of the Pono, or a cardinal rule I'm not aware of. Or is it something to do with Koolau golds? I didn't think MGM would mind if I asked this publicly, since it's not some life or death thing, and it's educational for all the kids. :D

04-17-2008, 04:06 AM
Curious to see replies to this. I have my PTO on the way from MGM also. This will be my first tenor. All I have played is a concert with high G tuning. Glad to hear you liked it. I bought it on a whim and still need to tell the wife about the purchase.

04-17-2008, 06:34 AM
I bought it on a whim and still need to tell the wife about the purchase.

This man lives dangerously!

04-17-2008, 06:59 AM
Wound strings allow for a larger vibrating mass in a smaller diameter string.

So, what does this mean as it applies to instruments? You can get away with potentially lower action on a wound string, and, you can potentially swap out strings to a "larger gauge" without cutting the nut (as is the case with low G - but you probably need to re-cut the nut anyway).

Wound strings also tend to add more sustain, and have a different "sound". Some players don't like the squeak, especially when they're chording up and down the FB. Personally, especially on a Tenor (okay, some Concert's too), wound strings can make the instrument sound "bigger".

Just my $.02.

04-17-2008, 07:03 AM
The person who sold me my Koa Works tenor also recommended that I keep/use the wound 3rd string on it. I think it's to ensure good sustain and depth of sound. I don't like the feel of the wound strings though, so I switched it to Worth CT set. The uke still sounded great to me so I kept using those strings. I think it's more of a personal preference thing. If you switch it to a plain 3rd string and still like the sound, you should keep it that way.

04-17-2008, 07:07 AM
the projection is really good with the wound strings, jus dont like that squeak when i do slides, it kinda annoyin and has a continuous buzz when u play it. So the only time when i play with a wound is when i use a low G, which is only once and awhile.

04-17-2008, 08:48 AM
So it is just personal preference then. I like the idea of the "bigger" sound and my fingers don't like idea of a wound string. My husband can't believe I un-low G'd it. The low G actually had him playing it! I told him he should get his own. ;)

04-17-2008, 10:20 AM
having that wound g string does make it seem like a guitar and i think in previous posts you said he was a guitar kinda guy. What he should get is probably a baritone, they pretty much emulate a guitar and u can get two wound strings for the top two strings, they are really fun to play.

04-17-2008, 10:23 AM
I was thinking 6 string tenor might be his thing. He likes that size. The problem is, would he notice that the Kala I have in mind probably isn't solid wood?

I was able to make my loop twist for restringing and it took seconds. Somewhere MGM is pull his hair out. :D

Although ya know, now I kind of regret it. I mean that was an interesting sound... but, I likes my high G.

04-17-2008, 10:33 AM
well for a 6 string uke, its nothing really like a guitar its practically like a 4 string uke with a high C and Low C and a High A and Low A string. like this:


goes the same for a 8 stringer, that comes with a low g and high g and low e and high e.

04-17-2008, 12:08 PM
Ah, then perhaps a Low G'd spruce top 4 string tenor. If nothing else, I could rationalize it by sneakily playing it when I had that low G kind of feeling. ;)

04-17-2008, 02:41 PM
My Kala tenor from MGM had Aquilas installed and came with a wound C string. Other Aquila tenor sets I've bought have an unwound C string. I asked Michael why my Kala had a wound C, and he said that it eliminated a problem buzzing that the Aquilas had. That Aquila Tenor C string is not quite an Achilles tendon, but it's pretty darn thick.


04-17-2008, 04:42 PM
I wonder if it's worth wasting a string just yet when I don't yet have a backup set....

Nah, I'll wait for my tenor aquilas to arrive. I want to compare brands on the new uke. :)

04-17-2008, 07:24 PM
Well with all the great answers i don't have to chime in. Its all still a matter of preference My suggestion specifically for Plainsong was beacuse i felt if they went to both wound c and g it would be to guitarish for them and that is why i syggested the plain c. One of my favorites is a worth flourocarbon set with a wound c string. Try it and see. I also have wound c sets for concert and soprano which make a unique sound...sure spices up those cheap sopranos

04-17-2008, 08:07 PM
Hey I didn't get a cheap soprano, I got a "budgetly-minded tenor." :D Nah, just kidding, but now I have an understanding of where you're coming from. I have to slow myself down on the string craze. I mean, I need to get to know this uke first, but now that I tasted the dark path of string switching on my Fluke, there's no going back. ;)

I forgot to mention one thing I like about this uke - is that I'd like to give a shout out to geared tuners. So much easier than the friction kind! I know I know, the uke purists hate them, but geared tuners are great.

When I get the koa flea (concert scale) , I think I'll just leave the Pono on Low G. It means my husband might yet be converted, and is a little bit of variety.

It's funny how you get attached to instruments. With my Buffet E45 (clarinet) I knew I'd never sell it even if I got something better, and I never have. And I have the same feeling about this Pono. Will I get a better uke? Most likely (Kanilea I'm looking in your direction). Will I sell this one? Well never say never, but I'm very strongly on the side of no. There are too many tunings and options that mean that it can always have a place.

04-17-2008, 10:17 PM
I wish i had a place for every uke i own. i got um in the bedrooms in the kitchen, in the bathrooms, on the dryer. on the washer, on my desk, in front of my tv. on the tv sitiing on top rubbish cans, on my piano, in boxes, on my dresser , in my dresser, hanging on walls , in cabinets, on my bed under the bed ,in the closet. Well i guess i do have a place for every one LOL

04-18-2008, 12:11 AM
Admit it, your wife went to put a load of laundry in, found a uke in the washing machine, and screamed. I bet ukes chase after her in her nightmares, to the tune of Tiptoe through the Tulips. :D

You need a plastic uke for in the shower!