View Full Version : Baritone String Experiment.. need some help

10-23-2010, 12:51 PM
So here is what I did. I have a Pono MBD. I decided to try to firm up my baritone strings and make them sound more like a guitar. I purchased classical guitar D'addario hard tension strings. I used the normal E and B strings. I used the wound A and D strings and tuned them up to D G. (The G string that came with the set was nylon and to fat and floppy.) I think the D G sounds pretty good... the B and E strings sound a bit flat. Anyone know if I can get any wound B and E strings? or have any other ideas? Also worried about the tension on the D G since they are tuned higher than they are supposed to be... any thoughts?

10-23-2010, 02:00 PM
Not sure what you're looking for, but the thing to remember is that a guitar has about 6" more length on it's scale. Even though the tunings are the same, the strings are not interchangeable, if you want to stay in the key of G (DGBE).

10-23-2010, 02:30 PM
The guitar A and D strings in the D G spots sound really good....

10-23-2010, 04:33 PM
That's what I was trying to say. With a shorter scale, you need thicker / heavier strings to play in the same tuning. You moved two thicker strings into the D & G positions. You won't have to use wound strings for B & E, but you will need heavier strings than you'll get in any guitar set.

Your current 4th & 3rd strings may possibly sound better in some ways than what comes in a Baritone set. Baritone strings have a higher density to avoid the situation you probably have now - thick & squeaky. The high mass of Baritone bass strings means they won't have to be so thick (though the sound quality suffers a bit).

If you put heavier treble strings in your 1st and 2nd positions, you'll end up back with a Baritone set, just with thicker, and possibly higher quality bass strings.

The best result from guitar strings is to use strings 1-4, but tune up 1-2 steps to key of A or B flat. The Baritone body is actually better suited to a higher tuning, and you have the advantage of true quality strings. Take a look at our "Guide" below.

10-23-2010, 05:04 PM
Thanks, I actually found the calculator on the Daddario website to calculate the string tensions and stuff. Right now with the mass and the baritone scale the strings have about 20 lbs of tension. Do you know if that is too much tension for the strings or bridge?

mm stan
10-23-2010, 05:37 PM
Aloha Virem,
I experminted with the C tuning..for some time now and I tried it on a high end tenor if I dropped the tuning I could make it sound like a guitar sound and keeping it in
the traditional re entrant tuning..only thing is the strings may be a little floppy....MM stan..

10-23-2010, 07:47 PM
20 lbs of tension would be high. Try your formula again. I come out with 17 - a touch high, but not bad.

I still don't understand what you are trying to accomplish: firm up strings - sound more like a guitar?

10-24-2010, 05:07 AM
Yes, I am trying to firm up the strings which seems to make it sound more like a guitar to me. The unit weight on the D string I am using is .00019521 (.036 thickness) and the G is .00011237 (.030 thickness). I am thinking about using a wound silver strings for B also with a weight of .00006498 (.022 thickness). My strings are not any thicker than a Koolau set which comes with .035 silver D and .036 alum G.

10-24-2010, 03:35 PM
Still confused by your intentions. First, guitars can have a lot of different sounds, as can ukuleles. Tension can effect sound, but high tension usually mutes the sound somewhat. That's the reason many classical players use very loose tension (and have very strong hands).

Are you thinking of a steel strung guitar? Are you also a guitar player?

10-25-2010, 03:34 AM
I was thinking of a steel strung guitar, yes. I am not a guitar player. After playing it for a few days the G string seems to be over-powering the rest.

10-25-2010, 02:32 PM
O.K. Takes me awhile sometimes, but I understand. If you want all wound strings on your Baritone, it can be done. Any wound string, however, will put greater strain on your instrument than the same pitch in treble material. The first thing, then, is to go back to your standard Baritone set for strings 3 & 4. Put higher tension there, along with wound strings in the 1st & 2nd positions, and you stand an excellent chance of damaging your instrument.

After you're back to normal with 3 & 4, LaBella can supply wound aluminum for 1 & 2. Here's the page:


It will take a bit of experimentation to get it right. If this appeals to you, I have some of these on hand, and can give you a rough idea of where to start.

That said, the Baritone was designed to be the smallest possible vehicle for "guitar tuning". In our opinion, it's really already a little small for that tuning. Adding extra volume to the little body, as you have begun to see, does not usually bring pleasing results.

If you really want more of a 4-string steel guitar sound, think about a Tenor Guitar - 4 strings & with steel string construction. Of course, we make one too, but that one is unique in that it's built for classicals.