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maikii
12-05-2010, 11:05 AM
Hello-

I just got my first baritone uke. I was originally planning to buy a Kala laminate, for a little over $100, but someone here suggested the Rogue baritone as a starter bari, so I bought one, it just came, and I tuned it up.

Something that surprises me. The strings feel very stiff, hard to press down. Much more so than other ukes, and much more so than the first four strings of the guitar.

Is that normal for bari ukes?

I don't know what kind of strings they put on it? If I switch to a set of Aquilas, for example, I think it is very likely that the instrument will sound better. But will the strings still be so stiff? Or might that just be the crappy strings that come on it?

One thing that is different, from what I have played before. On a soprano uke, none of the strings are wound. On classical guitar (which I play) the first three strings are unwound, and the lower three are wound. So, with the bari uke, the third (G) string is wound, whereas it is unwound on a guitar. Well, that only affects one string though, and all the strings feel stiff to me.

Could it also be that the action on the uke is too high? Those here who have the Rogue Bari, please let me know if you found the action too high when you got the instrument? It wouldn't seem to make sense though, to pay a repairman a lot to fix the action, on an instrument that only cost $30.

Any input would be appreciated, on the strings feel very stiff, on my new Rogue baritone ukulele.

Thank you.

mm stan
12-05-2010, 11:37 AM
Aloha MaKii,
I guess it's personal preference...stiff strings, I drop my tuning and it releases the tension....Try this tuning...D-30, F#+50/G-50, B-50, E-40...or another one is D-40, F#+30, A#+40/+50, E-40
Let me know how it works out for you...another thing youcould do is go to a lighter string guage...I have two Rogue Baritones and at this tuning they are good pickers..
If those tuning are too low try this one...D-30, G-50, B-40, E-30/-40 and actually your rogue baritone should have Two wound strings...the D and G...I found my action on my two fine,
but then again, these cheap uke may have an inconsistancy problems that I personally have not experienced....LIke anything you need to get used to it..it's not a soprano you know...
Let me know how it turns out....Good Luck!!! as for then tone, you did not mention about it and if it does sounds nice,, you just mentioned playability issues..and comfort..If the tone
is nice, fix the action to your liking..

maikii
12-05-2010, 12:05 PM
Sorry Stan, But the first time I am playing baritone uke, I don't want to start out right away with an alternate tuning, but with the standard one. Furthermore, coming from guitar, one reason for getting a bari is that it is the same tuning, chords already in the same key, just missing two strings. So no, at this time, no interest at all in alternate tunings.

That said, it is strange to me, that the strings of a bari uke should be much harder to press down than the first four strings of a guitar. My original question remains--if I were to change the strings from the stock strings that come with it, to a set of Aquila baritones (EBGD, low D), I am pretty sure the tone would sound better. However, will the strings be less stiff?

Anyone else tried the Rogue bari, with any comments on the action and stock strings?

Thank you.



Aloha MaKii,
I guess it's personal preference...stiff strings, I drop my tuning and it releases the tension....Try this tuning...D-30, F#+50/G-50, B-50, E-40...or another one is D-40, F#+30, A#+40/+50, E-40
Let me know how it works out for you...another thing youcould do is go to a lighter string guage...I have two Rogue Baritones and at this tuning they are good pickers..
If those tuning are too low try this one...D-30, G-50, B-40, E-30/-40 and actually your rogue baritone should have Two wound strings...the D and G...I found my action on my two fine,
but then again, these cheap uke may have an inconsistancy problems that I personally have not experienced....LIke anything you need to get used to it..it's not a soprano you know...
Let me know how it turns out....Good Luck!!! as for then tone, you did not mention about it and if it does sounds nice,, you just mentioned playability issues..and comfort..If the tone
is nice, fix the action to your liking..

mm stan
12-05-2010, 12:38 PM
Aloha MaiKii,
If alternate tuning is not what you're lookin for, maybe you can change the strings to a lighter guage...I believe aquila's are too bright and high tension...and you'll lose the deep and rich sounds..will defeat
the purpose of the uke..but light strings like worths or hilo's may work better for you....Good Luck

itsme
12-05-2010, 01:46 PM
maikii, I did a little searching and didn't find what brand of strings it comes with, but I did find this review at Musician's Friend:


I bought a Rogue baritone uke for a travel instrument. I took the suggestion of many reviewers and bought better strings when I bought the uke. The strings it comes with are terrible.I also tuned it to a baritone or chicago tuning, the proper tuning for this uke. The instructiond thet come with it give a tenor tuning and its apprently too high of oa string tension for this uke.It probbably has alot to do with why the bridge pops off. With the better strings and the proper tuning, it is a dandy little uke for the money. Its fun to play and reasonably well made for such a low price.It plays in tune and was decently finished. Replace the strings though. It really makes a big difference in the sound.
If indeed the instructions that come with it have you tuning it too high, that would make a big difference in the string tension. So, are you trying to tune it like a tenor instead of a bari?

As far as strings go, I don't really care for Aquilas. They feel hard to my fingers. I like Worth fluorocarbons, they have a much more supple feel to them.

maikii
12-05-2010, 02:42 PM
maikii, I did a little searching and didn't find what brand of strings it comes with, but I did find this review at Musician's Friend:


If indeed the instructions that come with it have you tuning it too high, that would make a big difference in the string tension. So, are you trying to tune it like a tenor instead of a bari?

As far as strings go, I don't really care for Aquilas. They feel hard to my fingers. I like Worth fluorocarbons, they have a much more supple feel to them.

I think I was pretty clear in previous posts, that I am tuning it the standard way for a baritone ukulele, EBGD.

What I suspect is going on with the instrument, however, is not that a particular brand of strings is stiffer than another. Because to me this is way stiffer than anyting I have encountered on a nylon-stringed instrument. Not just the left hand. Strumming the strings with the right hand, they feel very stiff. (Perhaps I need to use a flatpick with it, like steel strings.)

I think perhaps they did not put ukulele strings on it at all, but something else, not compatible at all with a bari uke.

Have any other Rogue bari users experienced that, when they first got the isntrument and tuned it? If so, did it help to change strings?

Thank you.

mm stan
12-05-2010, 03:01 PM
Aloha Maikii,
Aha I found your problem maybe.....Your tuning should be DGBE starting from the top string closest to your head..in that order...Stan..
GCEA

maikii
12-05-2010, 03:15 PM
One other thing I have noticed about the Rogue Bari--the distance between strings is much greater than on any other stringed instrument I have played, including full size guitars.

The neck is a similar width to a full-size guitar, but with only four strings, they are spaced very widely. That makes chords somewhat more difficult.

With the width of that neck in my left hand, I feel like gripping a full six string guitar chord. But then I realize, only four strings are there.

Is that true with all baris, or just the Rogue?

maikii
12-05-2010, 06:07 PM
Aloha Maikii,
Aha I found your problem maybe.....Your tuning should be DGBE starting from the top string closest to your head..in that order...Stan..
GCEA

No Stan. I think I was clear that I play guitar, and I know the bari uke is the same as the top four strings of the guitar. I do not string the guitar backwards. I called it EGBD, starting with the string called #1, which seems logical to me, in numerical order.

maikii
12-05-2010, 06:21 PM
I had a set of Aquila bari uke strings (normal tuning), that I had bought for when I need to change strings. So, I changed to those strings now.

Now, it is playable. So no, the other strings were not just a stiffer brand of uke strings. They are not uke strings at all, not correct gauges for the instrument at all. Someone putting the instrument together in China probably had the instruction to put two unwound strings on 1 and 2, and wound strings on 3 and 4, without any attention to their gauges. The strings that came on the instrument were totally unplayable.

No one else who got this instrument experienced that? Or did you change the strings right away, without trying those that came with it?

I do not think that is a very good policy (putting on inappropriate strings), even for a cheap instrument. The low-cost instrument is made for beginners, a starter uke. Well, most beginners, not knowing anything about strings. will try to play the instrument, find it totally unplayable, with a bad sound, put it down, and never pick it up again. (Or return it, although with shipping cost of something that size, probably not worth returning a $30 instrument.) (If they don't make uke strings in China, then Musician's Friend should send them some, even the cheapest brand of uke strings, but real uke strings!)

The strings are too wide apart. I like to have generous string spacing, so that the fingers are not cramped. Similar to the spacing of a full-size guitar. But this instrument, having a neck similar in size to a full-size guitar, but only four strings, has a much wider spacing than any guitar, and it feels strange. (Although one could perhaps get used to it.)

I don't think the action is too good, but not sure.

The sound? Certainly much better than with the previous non-uke strings. Not bad, but not particularly great to me either. (I should try more expensive baris in a store, to see if I like any bari ukes. )Tuned like a guitar, but with a smaller body, it doesn't resonate as well as a guitar, and is missing two strings. I may eventually decide to make it really sound like a uke, by buying bari AECG strings for it (high G), and stringing with those, and tuning it like that, like the other sizes of uke. Then it might sound like a good uke, rather than a limited and less resonant guitar.

My two cents.

maikii
12-05-2010, 09:23 PM
One thing I notice about the uke--the bridge is very uneven. It is much higher by the fourth string, than the first, looks very slanted.

By the fourth string, twelfth fret, measuring from the fret to the string, 3/16 inches, close to a quarter inch!

Isn't that way too high?

mm stan
12-05-2010, 10:32 PM
Aloha Maikii,
That's your preference, I understand that...glad it worked out for you.....I don't mind the stock strings, they worked fine for me in the picking...best...I learned to pick with them rather well..
Maybe you gotta get used to them....another friend of mine who is also a guitar player friend was amazed of my playing with my rogue with stock strings and could not play my baritone....as
for the resonation, let me say this,,,with higher tension you lose the resonation...that's why I suggested you to drop the tuning...My two cents..

Teek
12-05-2010, 11:38 PM
FWIW, I have an old beater Gianinni, I put a set of tenor Worth Brown Mediums on it, and then tuned it up a whole step from DGBE and it is the sweetest sounding and softest string uke I have other than the sopranos with Worth Brown lights. It has actually a too narrow fingerboard, if I try to bend the bass side the string slides over the edge of the neck because there is just no room. So I can't bend hard. But dang what a nice picker. I hate Aquilas on a bari, they seem fine on tenors on down, and I don't like wound strings on a uke but that is just my preferences.

Just tossing out another possibility. Hang in there, it's worth it to take the time to try a few things to get it the way you want it.

lozarkman
12-06-2010, 02:23 AM
well, I own a Rogue Bari and have bought six of them for my grandkids in the past few months, (Christmas gifts) and they have all been about the same. The strings they come with are terrible in my opinion and I immediately changed them out. For teaching purposes to my grandkids I changed the strings to GCEA tuning since most teaching materials are in that tuning. What I found really works for me are the Southcoastukes.com linear strings. They are great on the Rogue Baritone. They are tuned to GCEA in low G, no-wound. And yes, the action is pretty high on the Rogue. The nut is usually pretty rough. and I had one that I had to adjust the nut on the A string as it was buzzing a bit. But overall, for the price, they are an outstanding buy. Personally I would immediately change out the strings out to a better quality, and you will be much more pleased on tuning, fretting, and sound. Good Luck!! Lozark

maikii
02-02-2011, 05:21 PM
FWIW, I have an old beater Gianinni, I put a set of tenor Worth Brown Mediums on it, and then tuned it up a whole step from DGBE and it is the sweetest sounding and softest string uke I have other than the sopranos with Worth Brown lights. It has actually a too narrow fingerboard, if I try to bend the bass side the string slides over the edge of the neck because there is just no room. So I can't bend hard. But dang what a nice picker. I hate Aquilas on a bari, they seem fine on tenors on down, and I don't like wound strings on a uke but that is just my preferences.

Just tossing out another possibility. Hang in there, it's worth it to take the time to try a few things to get it the way you want it.

Why did you put tenor strings on a bari?

imperialbari
02-06-2011, 08:26 PM
Try this tuning...D-30, F#+50/G-50, B-50, E-40...or another one is D-40, F#+30, A#+40/+50, E-40..D-30, G-50, B-40, E-30/-40 and actually your rogue baritone should have Two wound strings...the D and G..

Sorry for my complete ignorance, but what do the numbers next to the note/string names indicate?

Klaus

mm stan
02-06-2011, 10:22 PM
Aloha Klaus,
It's the settings within the note. you have zero at 440 and there's 5 incriments up and 5 incriments down which goes in 10's...above 440 or zero is 441 or +10, then next would be 442 or +20, then 443 or +30,
444 or +40, 445 or +50...and the same way below 440...439 or -10, 438 or -20, 437 or --30, 436 or -40, 435 or -50... essentially every note has 10 incriments...5 up and 5 down... I hope it helps....
I use a Cherub WST-550C digital chromatic clip on tuner which has these settings....google it and now you can get them reasonable priced...$15.99 on-line....

PoisonDart
02-07-2011, 09:21 AM
My rogue bari was a total POS, much prefer the lanikai.

That said, the action is probably half an inch to high.

i would definitely replace the strings and go to town on lowering the action.

SailingUke
02-07-2011, 09:34 AM
My rogue bari was a total POS, much prefer the lanikai.

That said, the action is probably half an inch to high.

i would definitely replace the strings and go to town on lowering the action.

If you don't want to use it as a cheese slicer, probably needs some setup work.
I just put a set of Martin baritone on a friends uke. I don't play baritone, but I really liked the voice and feel of the strings.
Wound 3 & 4, flourocarbon 1 & 2.

ukestang
02-07-2011, 12:27 PM
I bought a Rogue baritone a year or so ago, thinking for the price I could do something with it, wrong. Totally unplayable, action so high that it can't be fixed. Even with the saddle removed the action is still too high. I am no luthier but can usually make anything playable, have a collection of vintage low end guitars, Harmony, Kay, Teisco etc. that I have made playable, not that they sound good, but you can play them, not the Rogue baritone. I wouldn't waste money on new strings but may try to make a Bass uke out of it at some point. That said I also have a Rogue "Beatle" bass guitar which I love, like it better than most Hofners I have played, go figure?

imperialbari
02-07-2011, 09:27 PM
Within the brass instruments world the makers equip new instruments with mouthpieces allowing non-players and beginners making noise right away when trying in the store. Professionals cannot use these mouthpieces.

I have bought an Ovation Applause soprano and an Ovation proper tenor within the last months. The Addario(?) strings coming with them made the soprano very harsh sounding and very uneven between strings. The linear Aquila set in D tuning sounds very much better. The low A string has an amazing sustain and resonance for such a small body.

The strings on the tenor sounded better, but they died very soon probably due to a lot of demo and test playing in the store. The linear set in C tuning sounds much better. Pleasing that is, as there is a little less descant projection compared to original strings.

As for the numbers attached to the string names I now understand them. I never met this terminology before, but I am very well aware of the discrepancies between just tuning and the equal temperament associated with electronic tuners.

With brasses and woodwinds I promote tuning to equal temperament, possibly adjusted for individual instrument tendencies, but then these instruments can have their pitches bent up and down by competent players.

With my soprano uke I tune the strings to the pitch center of the Snark clip-on tuner. Then I take the B string down a shade and the D string up a shade so that the octave between the open D string and the D on third fret of the B string becomes exact.

Klaus

greyghost
02-08-2011, 03:52 PM
I had the exact same experience as the original poster--the strings that came on the Rogue appeared to be guitar strings, of randomly selected gauges. They were MUCH larger than the proper gauges, difficult to play, and sounded like crap. A quick change to Martin fluorocarbons made a massive difference--the tone was much improved, and the string tension far lower, so the stiff feeling went away. Pretty good for a $30 instrument now. Having said that, I should point out that I bought a Kala tenor 3 months later and haven't played the Rogue since...

freckleduker
02-10-2011, 10:53 AM
I changed the strings out mine almost immediately to Martins. There was a noticeable difference in the size of the strings when changing them. The installed strings seemed larger gauge. I'm liking the Martin strings much better and to me, they sound brighter. Overall, I like my Rogue. I know it gets mixed reviews, but for $30, one can't expect a diamond. It'll be nice to use a traveler or just to bang around. Here's a video of how mine sounds with the Martin strings. (end of the video)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpmGyuisWrc

mm stan
02-10-2011, 12:14 PM
I changed the strings out mine almost immediately to Martins. There was a noticeable difference in the size of the strings when changing them. The installed strings seemed larger gauge. I'm liking the Martin strings much better and to me, they sound brighter. Overall, I like my Rogue. I know it gets mixed reviews, but for $30, one can't expect a diamond. It'll be nice to use a traveler or just to bang around. Here's a video of how mine sounds with the Martin strings. (end of the video)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpmGyuisWrc
Aloha Freckleduker,
I have two of them myself and enjoy them alot...glad to hear you like it too....thanks for sharing and the video..Have fun and enjoy, Happy Strummings !! MM Stan