PDA

View Full Version : Non-standard tunings and string supplies



imperialbari
01-10-2011, 12:07 PM
I had heard the name of George Formby from my late mother, but I only remember one short TV-glimpse of his playing decades back. So I recently read about GF and listened to a number of YouTube samples of his playing, which I find very efficient in driving the music.

One text tells GF used several non-standard tunings, which gave me some ideas for my own ukuleles, which I also want being tuned in different keys. It belongs to the story that a banjo player some thirty years ago told me about the existence of a string pluckerís bible telling the right gauge to pitch relation for just about any imaginable size of instrument.

I have searched the web for string suppliers within the EU and have found some, but having single sets shipped isnít exactly cheap.

If the said information on good gauges for given pitches were available on the web, then I could imagine buying rolls of strings and cutting them myself according to my actual needs.

Anybody here already using this approach?

Klaus

mm stan
01-10-2011, 01:37 PM
Aloha Klaus,
On the top right in the advanced search...type in..fishing line for strings......Good Luck, MM Stan

imperialbari
01-10-2011, 01:47 PM
Than you Stan, buch I am not entirely sure I am hooked on that idea. I simply fear these lines being too high tension for my wishes.

Isn’t it Worth selling their strings in double lengths?

Klaus

mm stan
01-10-2011, 02:14 PM
Aloha Klaus,
Check out the elderly music website http://www.elderly.com/brand/STUK_worth.htm or the Worth strings and comes in double lengths..for a little more money..Good Luck!! MM Stan
also http://www.southcoast.com/stringuide_files/linuke.htm

Kanaka916
01-10-2011, 04:56 PM
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?40176-Which-Japanese-fishing-line
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?39411-Heh-just-ordered-40.9-sets-of-strings...
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?18975-fishing-line-ukulele-string-recipe

southcoastukes
01-10-2011, 07:49 PM
This is the approach we take with our strings. We do not sell "Soprano - Concert - Tenor" sets, for example, but Light, Medium and Heavy Gauge. Each set has a page telling what key to tune to depending on the scale length.

We're not in the U.K,. but do ship oveseas. Still, I imagine Savarez, for example, are readily available, and their KFs are available in graduated diameters as well as longer lengths. Look up their Normal guitar tension gauges, then you can use our Guide (link below) and they should correspond roughly to the tensions on our Medium Gauge (though Savarez are known for being a bit on the high side). Go up one gauge from their 1st string diameter for a high re-entrant 4th string.

If you have a string calculator (something like StringCalc), you can then use it to adjust and fine tune your tensions.

P.S: Don't accept other people's "standard".

TCK
01-10-2011, 08:02 PM
I was going to recommend Southcoast Ukes for this problem, looks like I got beat.
Now I am just going to say you said you weren't "hooked" on the idea of using fishing line, and that is brilliant

Lori
01-11-2011, 06:29 AM
You might try talking to these people... Guadalupe Custom Strings in Los Angeles. They probably know everything you want to know.
http://www.guadalupecustomstrings.com/

–Lori

imperialbari
01-11-2011, 11:16 AM
Aloha Klaus,
Check out the elderly music website http://www.elderly.com/brand/STUK_worth.htm or the Worth strings and comes in double lengths..for a little more money..Good Luck!! MM Stan
also http://www.southcoast.com/stringuide_files/linuke.htm

Going for all the replies: Thank you very much!

I am not especially bad with numbers, but following some of the links has lead to a, hopefully temporary, overload of my brain.

I am sure the southcoast link would have lead to something good, but I canít make it work.

Klaus

Kanaka916
01-11-2011, 11:20 AM
I am sure the southcoast link would have lead to something good, but I can’t make it work.

Klaus
See post #6 for the correct link http://www.southcoastukes.com/stringuide.htm

imperialbari
01-11-2011, 11:32 AM
I was going to recommend Southcoast Ukes for this problem, looks like I got beat.
Now I am just going to say you said you weren't "hooked" on the idea of using fishing line, and that is brilliant

Due to my upbringing in a foreign, to me, country I was trilingual already from the outset. English was only my sixth language, but is now my second. Despite some aphasia (dropping of words) and increasing problems with controlling my dyslexia I cannot help making bad jokes in English also. I was a teacher, and a major teaching method of mine was saying things that made the student stun or even protest. All against their will they started thinking, which isnít bad at all.

And sad to admit so, but I am increasingly hooked on the fishline idea. A set of strings has been on its way from the UK to Denmark for over a week by now, so it may have gone lost.

Klaus

imperialbari
01-11-2011, 11:35 AM
See post #6 for the correct link http://www.southcoastukes.com/stringuide.htm

Thanks!

Saw it, but only after posting.

Klaus

imperialbari
01-11-2011, 12:04 PM
This is the approach we take with our strings. We do not sell "Soprano - Concert - Tenor" sets, for example, but Light, Medium and Heavy Gauge. Each set has a page telling what key to tune to depending on the scale length.

We're not in the U.K,. but do ship oveseas. Still, I imagine Savarez, for example, are readily available, and their KFs are available in graduated diameters as well as longer lengths. Look up their Normal guitar tension gauges, then you can use our Guide (link below) and they should correspond roughly to the tensions on our Medium Gauge (though Savarez are known for being a bit on the high side). Go up one gauge from their 1st string diameter for a high re-entrant 4th string.

If you have a string calculator (something like StringCalc), you can then use it to adjust and fine tune your tensions.

P.S: Don't accept other people's "standard".

This posting along with the Seaguar reference looks promising. I actually found this string calculator:

<http://www.cs.helsinki.fi/u/wikla/mus/Calcs/wwwscalc.html>

And I have started setting up a spreadsheet. Current problem is that I donít know the desirable string tension. Whether it is expressed in pound or kilograms doesnít matter. The conversion is easily done in Excel.

I guess there are at least three factors determining the desirable tension:

Respect for the instrument, as the ukuleles that I know of donít have a steel bar through their necks like at least my Ovation bass and guitar have. I donít want to warp the neck.

Respect for my fingers. Even if I set my little Ovation UAE-20 into D tuning these strings are easier on my fingers than the low tension Addario nylon strings on one of my guitars.

Sound and response. On my brasses I am a freak about response, but not at the cost of sound. With the electric ukes and guitars it would be possible to attenuate an overwhelming brightness, but hardly possible to amplify high overtones not sounding from the strings. So I would lean towards a fairly bright sound as more as it is the fast response of the upper overtones, that makes an instrument feel alive.

Klaus

mm stan
01-11-2011, 01:07 PM
Going for all the replies: Thank you very much!

I am not especially bad with numbers, but following some of the links has lead to a, hopefully temporary, overload of my brain.

I am sure the southcoast link would have lead to something good, but I canít make it work.

Klaus
Aloha Klaus,
Sorry for the bad link, I see that southcoast has replied with the correct one.......Good Luck and let us know what you decide and hown it turns out for you....Stan

imperialbari
01-11-2011, 01:47 PM
Aloha Klaus,
Sorry for the bad link, I see that southcoast has replied with the correct one.......Good Luck and let us know what you decide and hown it turns out for you....Stan

No reason for saying sorry. Odd link behaviour happens all the time. I only hoped the correct one would surface, which it certainly did.

I like the dexterity I see and hear from good players, but I have to work around the fact that I will not be as good with my fingers.

From playing brasses, arranging, and directing ensembles I am used to thinking in transposition and in instruments of just about any pitch. I own wind instruments in C, B natural, Bb, A, G, F, E, and Eb. I could imagine having soprano ukes in D and in Db tunings. Tenors in C and Bb. And then a guitar in standard tuning, which would be G in uke terminology.

Using fishing line in various gauges would lead to some overlaps, where one gauge would double for different pitches on different instruments. In that context the investment in rolls of fishing line soon would be written off compared to buying specialty strings one by one. If my concept doesnít work, I could send the fishing lines to friends in Pitcairn Island.

Using fishing line also would end my consideration about reentrant tuning or not. Only reentrant would be possible on the ukes.

Klaus

southcoastukes
01-11-2011, 04:44 PM
Hello Bari,

If you have downloaded the StringCalc program you can work backwards, although it won't be exact. Take my example of the Savarez KF. The program already has an "average" flouro density as one of it's options. Use that, enter your scale and pitch, then it will give you a diameter. At that point, you can adjust the recommended tension up or down. When your adjustment gives you what the Savarez diameter actually is, then you know their tension on your ukulele.

Work through a set of strings like that, get some Savarez to make sure those tensions are what you like and you'll have a rough starting point.

Don't assume, however, that those tensions will work well on any scale. Put them on an instrument with a different scale, see what pitch they feel comfortable at, then notate your tension / pitch for that size. You'll find tension needs to rise a bit as the scale gets longer, and tunings will drop as well.

P.S: On the fishing line thing - remember there are also different densities among various flourocarbon and nylon formulations. That's why diameters vary and the sounds are different. Too many people look at diameters and forget they don't mean much without knowing density.

imperialbari
01-14-2011, 11:22 AM
My head has bee full of ideas about uke strings because I of course are very interested. But the only thing counting is what sounds well.

I had tuned the original strings of my Ovation Applause (said to be Addario by a tubist friend playing the same uke model) into the D tuning because I found the sound in C tuning too dead. The response became more lively but the D string still was on the dead side.

After 10 days in the post a set of C-tuning/wound-low-G string arrived today. They certainly proved the uke having a greater potential of fullness. For the fun of it I tuned this C set to D. At that gives the sound I want without the tension being too hard on my fingers. Of course I can equalize the sound when plugging in the uke, but I mostly play acoustically, so I want the sound being right unplugged also.

According to the online T&T info an Ovation tenor will arrive from Hawaii on Monday. It is followed by, maybe even strung with, an Aquila C-set with low G. So I will have to hear what I find about that set-up before speculating to much more.

I am very glad about all the info provided so far. This is a new field to dig into for me. The instrument I have owned the longest is the one behind my screen name. It is a 1967 Boosey & Hawkes Imperial-model baritone, a brass baritone that is.

Klaus

southcoastukes
01-14-2011, 07:20 PM
Hey Klaus,

One more comment. When you metioned your D tuning being brighter, but the D string still being dead, this is a function of any string set made from the same material (just about everyone).

As strings get thicker,they lose response. Your D string was the thickest, so ...

We do something a bit different for this very reason. "Mixed Material Sets" - link here:

http://www.southcoastukes.com/stringuide_files/selection.htm

imperialbari
01-14-2011, 08:11 PM
Again thanks for the reply! And looking at your contact info I learned you are not far from the NO and New Iberia environments told of by one of my absolute favourite writers, James Lee Burke.

Your mixed string sets sound interesting. As do your various gauge styles. I will read more about them.

And I am glad not being weird in hearing the varying levels of liveliness in the strings. My ears have been used in selecting instruments for students and colleagues, because I am a freak about balance and integration of overtone patterns. In my main areas of brasses and of recorders the main problem is about instruments having dead notes, but it is equally bad when some notes respond unexpectedly much. It happens in some student brass instruments, where there have been saved on bracing and bow guards for weight and cost reasons. And one soon tires of a common fault in alto recorders, where the second Bb has prominent and out of tune overtones. Despite my age a recent
test showed me still hearing up to 14KHz.

Of course walking tangents, but my main references are outside the uke world.

Klaus

imperialbari
01-15-2011, 01:54 PM
Now I have read your texts on tuning and strings

http://www.southcoastukes.com/stringuide.htm

And most of the other texts on your site also. All really worthwhile.

And I have played more on the Aquila C-tuning/low G set on my Ovation Applause soprano. I have gone back to C (from D). I have tried C#. And now am back in D. Oddly enough it is not the wound low G string that makes the scale feel too short and the body too small. The problem still is the 3rd string-intended-C-but-taken-to-D which comes out slack and less alive.

I have heard guitarists complain about their G strings, and now I maybe tend to understand why a wound G string was introduced at some point of time. Never tried it myself.

And then this instrument appears being very interesting also in the linear tuning, which is what I know best:

http://www.southcoastukes.com/index_files/cuatro.htm

What is the delivery time for that one?

Klaus

southcoastukes
01-15-2011, 03:45 PM
Drop me a line, Klaus:

southcoast@inbox.com

imperialbari
01-20-2011, 03:00 PM
Since last Dirk of southcoastukes and I have had an exchange of private emails about his current and new design and production concepts, which certainly inspired me. Maybe also to some ideas, which Dirk find somewhat wild. But then I am not a schooled uke person, so I am almost by definition thinking out of the box ukewise.

Also a factor was the arrival of my Ovation tenor from Hawaii Music Supply. I may possibly write on it in a separate thread, but its very beautiful sound made it less interesting to use my Yamaha guitarlele, which had its 4 top strings tuned like the Ovation tenor, albeit not reentrant.

The Yamaha guitarlele wasnít sounding very alive compared to the Ovation. Pricewise it also was a much cheaper instrument, but I would hate to scrap an instrument, which after all has pretty well tuned frets.

Dirk reminded me about part of the guitarlele concept being that it can be strung with light guitar strings, which in turn made me remember having a small supply of spare guitar strings.

So I put new ##1, 2, & 3 strings on the guitarlel. Moved old 1st to 6th, old 2nd to 4th, and old 3rd to 5th. Making 4th and 5th reentrant and 6th reentrant by two octaves (and identical to 1st).

And then tuned the whole set to Bb tuning in ukulele terms, which in real life means, I have to treat this instrument as a transposing instrument in Eb, if I want keeping a unique relationship between chord symbol and fingering pattern (my reference for chord patterns is the guitar, not any of the more common uke tunings).

So far I like this set-up with all chord notes usually staying within an octave. Despite the Bb tuning, the lowest note has been moved up at least a minor 9th. The effect of the reentrant tuning is more brightness and a more lively resonance between the strings. That is about non-plucked strings vibrating in sympathy whenever there is a common pitch denominator.

I will see if I can attach a .jpg showing the tuning in music notation.

Klaus, who after all didnít find out how to upload a .jpg from my desk

imperialbari
01-22-2011, 04:17 PM
Discovered the option of creating a personal album, so here is how I retuned the guitarlele:

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/album.php?albumid=1237&attachmentid=19593

Klaus