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View Full Version : low-g on my 14 3/4" scale concert



annod
10-15-2010, 05:51 AM
According to southcoast ukes, small body instruments are best suited for re-entrant tuning. In fact, they don't recommend linear tuning unless you have a long-neck concert or tenor.

Well, I like the concert scale length, but is it really difficult to make it sound good with low-G tuning, or should I just mix up brands?

Anyway,
I bought my Mele Mahogany concert in August with Hilo strings with wound low-G (C tuning). I actually liked the G, C, E strings, but hated how plucky the A string sounds.

So I switched to Worth clear (medium tension) (low G, unwound). It sounds different, not sure if I would say it's better.
Now the A string sounds much better, especially in 7-15 frets. but the low-G, as well as the C, E strings in higher frets sounds boxy.

What to do?

Ukulele Dave
10-15-2010, 06:33 AM
According to southcoast ukes, small body instruments are best suited for re-entrant tuning. In fact, they don't recommend linear tuning unless you have a long-neck concert or tenor.

Well, I like the concert scale length, but is it really difficult to make it sound good with low-G tuning, or should I just mix up brands?

Anyway,
I bought my Mele Mahogany concert in August with Hilo strings with wound low-G (C tuning). I actually liked the G, C, E strings, but hated how plucky the A string sounds.

So I switched to Worth clear (medium tension) (low G, unwound). It sounds different, not sure if I would say it's better.
Now the A string sounds much better, especially in 7-15 frets. but the low-G, as well as the C, E strings in higher frets sounds boxy.

What to do?

I made a thread about getting the right low g for concerts last week - http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?36624-All-the-talk-about-Tenor-Low-G-strings-help-me-solve-my-Concert...
Read up in there. So far there's been really no consensus, we're pretty much on our own to experiment with different strings see what works best. I'll tell you my thoughts on some I have my eye on:

Before I researched anything, I was looking at Worth CD-LGHD(46" Sop/Concert Clear Hard tension Low G<Hard> set).
Emailed Worth - to clear up some things:

the <EX> tag does NOT mean there will be more tension
the <FAT> tag is fatter strings and does have the highest tension
The CH- series(Clear Heavy) and the CF- series(Clear Fat) have higher tension b/c they are made of a special different material then for example worth CT's, BT's, CD's, CM's..etc

They recommended I try CH-LGHD(63" tenor Clear Hard Low G<Hard>).

So I'm looking at getting a set of:
Worth CD-LGHD
Worth CH-LGHD

Figure even if the Low G strings themselves aren’t the best, with the higher tension I should be able to use the C strings in place of the G(I once had a good C string I used for a G but it needed more tension it was only CL's)

LoMa
10-15-2010, 06:58 AM
There's no hard and fast rule, in my experience. I have had several sopranos that sounded great with a low G (two different small bodied LoPrinzi's, an Ohana, a Larrivee, and a laminated KSL Kiwaya). I've also had several sopranos that require re-entrant tuning. It really does depend on the individual uke.

I've had only one concert that sounded really right and responsive with a low G - my Larrivee concert uke - on the others I've tried a low G on, the string jus wasn;t responsive enough or was overpowering. On the Larrivee, the tone is perfectly balanced.

So the scale length is NOT the determiner of whether a low G is right for the uke or not. The interior cubic dimansions of the instrument probably does have some affect on whether the Low G will sound right, the bracing I would imagine too, and the particular properties of the pieces of wood used in the uke as well as their thickness. It might be true for some builder's designs that the low G won;t work, but I think that's due to the size and depth of the body, and all the rest I already mentioned.

I'd take the plunge and see if the low G sounds good and responsive on your uke. You can never tell until you try it.

southcoastukes
10-15-2010, 10:03 AM
Hello all,

You're right about the recommendations we made, annod. And you're right LoMa, that body size and construction are more important than scale length.

What we probably should have said in those recommendations are that we don't recommend those tunings for small bodied ukuleles. When we use the "U" word, however, we are making the assumption that the builder is actually taking strings into account when he builds his instrument. This is obviously not a good assumption to make.

With traditional light ukulele construction, which after all, was developed for the little bodies, a wound string set-up is not a good fit. You build light to get good response from light strings.

Scale length does come into play at this point. We recommended a long scale concert as the small end starting point for linear tunings, because a longer scale means any given tuning can use thinner / lighter strings. The 17" scale length happens to be where your can first use a linear tuning without a wound string (we make these sets). It won't set up in key of C, however. A treble string that thick is too dead. To get decent response, you use a thinner 4th and tune to the key of D.

Tune lower, or go to a shorter scale, and you are using wound strings. At this point I'll say something that may get me into trouble. At the least it will get a discussion going. If your're building a ukulele, especialy a small one, that sounds good with a wound string - Stop Building Ukuleles! I am not saying you should stop building instruments altogether. There are, after all, small bodied instruments for wound strings, metal strings, and linear tunings. These would be the mandolin and cavaquinho.

annod
10-16-2010, 06:03 PM
Hi, thanks all for replying.
Dave, I did read your thread. It got a little too technical for me...

guess I just have to experiment. I am interested in just switching out the low-G worth string for the La-Bella classical guitar 4th D string (like Ohta-San did, from what I read). I will try both medium and hard tension.

mm stan
10-16-2010, 06:30 PM
myself I like lighter guage strings on my concert and drop the tuning a half step or so and keeping the my dog has fleas tune, Keeping the same string to string relationship.....MM Stan..

annod
10-23-2010, 09:30 AM
I just switched from Worth clear to Orcas-low g-medium tension. Really really like it. Overall slightly brighter/ more clear than the Worth Clear, and the low-G sounds nicer, and overall more sustain.

I have to say though, the Worth clear A-string just sound a tad sweeter. I guess I can't have it all.
The Orcas' tension is higher than that of the Worth clear, strings are thinner, so not as comfortable for the fingers, and they are expensive!! $10+$2.75 shipping for one pack that's only enough for one concert.