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View Full Version : Various questions about Worth Strings?



maikii
02-13-2011, 01:27 PM
Sorry that I have been asking a lot of string questions lately, but they have been on my mind.

On looking at the Worth string chart at: http://www.worthc.to/W-Strings-e.html , I have a few questions.

1. I see that they have the same strings for both soprano and concert, while Aquila has different sets for soprano and concert. As a concert uke has a longer scale, wouldn't soprano strings used on a concert be too tight, too tense?

2. I see different tensions listed for the soprano-concert strings--light, medium, and hard. Whereas for tenor there is only normal (no tension listed) and heavy. (I assume similar to hard.) Do they have no lighter tension version for tenor? Is the regular tenor set (CT) considered normal tension? I find them rather hard.

3. Do the brown strings have less tension than the clears? Or--is the feel on the fingers the same, just different kind of sound? Does one hear more of the fundamental tone, less overtones? How would people compare the tone of the two kinds of Worths with the Aquila nylguts?

4. I notice, that the gauges for the tenor, are larger than that of the soprano. On first glance that might make sense. For instance, a contrabass has much heavier strings than a violin. However, the contrabass plays much lower notes than a violin. In this case, a soprano and tenor uke with the same tuning, are tuned exactly the same. The tenor has a longer scale, however. If one took a soprano string for the 1st string (high A), and (considering if it were cut long enough) put it on a tenor tuned to the same note, trying tune the same note on the same string with a much longer scale, the string would be way too tight. Therefore, one would think that a lighter gauge string would be necessary for the first tenor string, tuned to the same note as the 1st soprano string. (Of course, tension is not only determined by gauge, but by material. In this case though, the strings are made of identical material.) Therefore, I am surprised that the tenor strings for the same note, are a thicker gauge than the soprano string for that note. Can anyone explain? (Is that true for all brands, or just Worths?)

Thank you to anyone who can answer any or all of the questions above. I appreciate it.

johntz
02-13-2011, 02:18 PM
Great questions. I am also looking into the Worth strings and would love to get some feedback on the difference between the tensions on a concert Uke. How noticable are the differences between the light, medium and hard tension?

thanks for any info!

peewee
02-13-2011, 03:04 PM
+1 on What that worth string chart means, esp. in re: to tenor string choices, tensions, etc. I have a set of CT's on a tenor now, and Browns waiting in the wings, but that chart uses a lot of information to not say very much, in my opinion.

http://www.worthc.to/W-Strings-e.html

redheadedali
02-13-2011, 03:53 PM
FWIW:

I had Worth brown medium tensions on my Fluke and liked them fine, but I decided to give the light tension strings a go, just as an experiment. I hate them. Haaaate. It seems like the low tension strings are more responsive maybe? They seem like they have a more precise sound, and that's probably a good thing if you're Jake, but I feel like I have to work a lot harder to make my playing sound good (I strum more than I pick). I am debating whether to put the medium Worths back on or getting some new strings altogether.

Strings are a real personal preference issue, so your mileage may vary, but that's my $.02 :).

hmgberg
02-13-2011, 06:34 PM
I don't play tenors, so I can't help with those questions. I do have sopranos and concerts. On these, I have tried many different sets of strings including Aquilas and Worths. Worth Clear Mediums are my favorite strings on mahogany and koa solid wood ukuleles. I have tried Worth Browns, and although they sound somewhat mellower, frankly, to my ears it's not that much of a difference. I cannot feel any difference between Brown and Clear. I have hard tension Worths on one of my sopranos now. The trade off is: they are a little taut feeling, so that strumming feels less fluid because the strings don't move as freely, but picking sounds great - a little louder and brighter.

I have aquilas on spruce and cedar tops. To me, Aquilas make an ukulele sound more like a small guitar, so they appeal to me on "guitar" soundboards. They sound absolutely fabulous on my Vita uke, for instance. Worths (and Martin fluorocarbons for that matter) have more "ping," sound more "ukey," probably not as loud as Aquilas.

On my concert, the worth strings feel a little tighter than on the soprano, but not especially so. They don't feel as tight as the hard tension srings on the soprano do.

Hope this helps.

SailingUke
02-13-2011, 07:14 PM
Here's my advice and thougt.
You can study, analyze and compare all the stats on strings forever, but until you put them on your ukulele and play them you won't know.
Strings I thought I would never like sometimes have surprised me. Strings I hated on one ukulele sounded great on another one.
I have Aquilas on my solid koa and they are the best. The Worth browns brought my DaSilva to life.
I don't believe you analyze strings on paper, you have to do it with your ears.

maikii
02-13-2011, 09:29 PM
Here's my advice and thougt.
You can study, analyze and compare all the stats on strings forever, but until you put them on your ukulele and play them you won't know.
Strings I thought I would never like sometimes have surprised me. Strings I hated on one ukulele sounded great on another one.
I have Aquilas on my solid koa and they are the best. The Worth browns brought my DaSilva to life.
I don't believe you analyze strings on paper, you have to do it with your ears.

True, but--

A board like this is for talking, so that is what we do.

And--it could get very expensive and time-consuming to try every string in the world. So it is good to discuss with others first.

Of course a question like "what is the best string..?" would be silly, as it is all a matter of personal preference. But none of my questions were anything like that, and I would still appreciate feedback about them.

maikii
02-13-2011, 09:31 PM
+1 on What that worth string chart means, esp. in re: to tenor string choices, tensions, etc. I have a set of CT's on a tenor now, and Browns waiting in the wings, but that chart uses a lot of information to not say very much, in my opinion.

http://www.worthc.to/W-Strings-e.html

Are you saying that that chart is inaccurate in regards to string gauges, tensions available, etc.

Michael_
02-14-2011, 12:22 AM
Regarding question 4) The bridges of tenor ukuleles are designed for about twice the tension as soprano ukuleles. I think they need the extra tension to get enough energy to make the larger top vibrate.

maikii
02-14-2011, 03:34 AM
Regarding question 4) The bridges of tenor ukuleles are designed for about twice the tension as soprano ukuleles. I think they need the extra tension to get enough energy to make the larger top vibrate.


Regarding question 4) The bridges of tenor ukuleles are designed for about twice the tension as soprano ukuleles. I think they need the extra tension to get enough energy to make the larger top vibrate.

Yep, but harder tension also means harder to play, especially to strum.

Are all tenor strings much higher tension than soprano, or only Worths?

SailingUke
02-14-2011, 05:40 AM
True, but--

A board like this is for talking, so that is what we do.

And--it could get very expensive and time-consuming to try every string in the world. So it is good to discuss with others first.

Of course a question like "what is the best string..?" would be silly, as it is all a matter of personal preference. But none of my questions were anything like that, and I would still appreciate feedback about them.

True and I agree, the original question was very well done.
I still believe we sometimes spend too much time analyzing and not enough time playing.
I was a real Aquila fan and had never thought about changing to any other string until I read about how many UU'ers like Worth browns.
The description given by so many as warmer and mellower than Aquilas motivated me to give them a try. The voice and feel on my DaSilva with the browns is perfect for my ears. The clears that came on it just did not do it for me.

This board is a great place to get some ideas and learn form others experiences.

pulelehua
02-14-2011, 10:22 AM
Tenor strings are always higher tension than sopranos. As someone suggested, the problem is not simply string length and density, but the amount of energy which the string must generate. A student of mine just did an extended project on guitar strings, which mostly involved analysing the density, tension and elasticity versus plasticity of nylon strings. So, as you can imagine, this has all been much on my mind.

What MANY people seem to agree is that string choice is essentially a conversation between the string, the ukulele and your ear. My first ukulele was a Kala Acacia Concert. It had Aquilas. They were loud and brash, and good for lots of things, but when I went to record them, they were scratchy. I switched to Worth Browns and they had a nice ringing treble to them, a more delicate tune without losing the high-end.

Then I got my new ukulele, a longneck soprano zebrawood. It, too, came with Aquilas. I decided very quickly that I was going to switch them, mostly as I felt I knew quite quickly what the Aquilas were doing. And I anticipated the coming finger scratches. So, I switched to Fremont Blacklines. Nice. But thin. They didn't seem to be bringing the ukulele to life. Switched to Worth Browns. Nice. But a bit muffled. So, reading around, I decided I would go for some Worth Clear Hards. Two steps brighter, I figured. I actually just got them today and put them on. My initial impression is WOW! Really nice tone. Better volume. I like my strumming to be on the percussive side, and the added tension creates a nice effect. I suspect that the zebrawood soundboard needs a lot of oomph to get it resonating.

So, I would say that YES, getting ideas from others is good, but you DO ultimately need to try things out. But this forum allows you to narrow things down a fair bit, I think. MGM sells a variety pack which lets you try 4 things out. That might be a starting point. Dunno.

southcoastukes
02-14-2011, 11:16 AM
There are always a lot of threads on the general topic of how to figure out what are the best choices in strings. Even though the original question was about Worths, the questions had a general aspect to them, and the replies are moving into a pretty general area. Even though I have had a lot of back and forth with Masaya, I don't feel it's my place to comment on his strings, so I'll keep comments mainly general. I may throw in some plugs for our products, but I'll italicize when I do.

First, maiki's assumptions seem logical, but there are a lot of variables to take into account. Things are never that simple. First, tension needs to go up whenever scale length increases. You can understand this by imagining you are pulling a rope between your hands over a 1' length. Doesn't take much force to keep it straight. Now imagine you and a friend are pulling a 50' length of the same rope between you. You'll have to pull pretty hard to keep it from sagging, if you can manage it at all.

A second factor is simply the prefence of the stringmaker. You could put Masaya, Mimmo and myself in a room, give us the same model instrument and the same graduated material - ask us to pick the best strings for a given tuning, and chances are good they'll be a little different based on what sounds good to us (although in my case, I would have preffered an assortment of materials for the best balance in both tension and sound).

Michael & pule touched on another important factor - that a string may need to generate more energy for a Tenor than a Soprano. This is true to some extent, but what extent. Most people who build Tenors, build for the possibility of wound strings, so they use a heavier construction. Our Tenor, on the other hand, is built expressly for treble material. It doesn't need the extra force, is built as lightly as a Soprano, and we feel it outperforms standard Tenors when your set-up doesn't include wound strings.

In other words, our instrument can use lighter, more responsive strings and get better response. This same variable, however, holds true among instruments built with standard Tenor construction. Some are built halfway close to what we do, while others are built like a brick #*^!house. In this case, you need to have a feel for your instruments' construction to judge the best tension for your strings.

This brings us back to SailingUke.


This board is a great place to get some ideas and learn form others experiences.

This is the reason boards like this exist. Probably the simplest, yet most effective question is to ask others here with the same instrument as you, what their experiences have been. You can throw in your preferences as to tension and sound. That should get you where you want to go.

Of course that question puts new guys like ourselves at a disadvantage. We think the mixed material concept works best over a wider range of situations.

olgoat52
02-14-2011, 12:01 PM
There are always a lot of threads on the general topic of how to figure out what are the best choices in strings. Even though the original question was about Worths, the questions had a general aspect to them, and the replies are moving into a pretty general area. Even though I have had a lot of back and forth with Masaya, I don't feel it's my place to comment on his strings, so I'll keep comments mainly general. I may throw in some plugs for our products, but I'll italicize when I do.

First, maiki's assumptions seem logical, but there are a lot of variables to take into account. Things are never that simple. First, tension needs to go up whenever scale length increases. You can understand this by imagining you are pulling a rope between your hands over a 1' length. Doesn't take much force to keep it straight. Now imagine you and a friend are pulling a 50' length of the same rope between you. You'll have to pull pretty hard to keep it from sagging, if you can manage it at all.

A second factor is simply the prefence of the stringmaker. You could put Masaya, Mimmo and myself in a room, give us the same model instrument and the same graduated material - ask us to pick the best strings for a given tuning, and chances are good they'll be a little different based on what sounds good to us (although in my case, I would have preffered an assortment of materials for the best balance in both tension and sound).

Michael & pule touched on another important factor - that a string may need to generate more energy for a Tenor than a Soprano. This is true to some extent, but what extent. Most people who build Tenors, build for the possibility of wound strings, so they use a heavier construction. Our Tenor, on the other hand, is built expressly for treble material. It doesn't need the extra force, is built as lightly as a Soprano, and we feel it outperforms standard Tenors when your set-up doesn't include wound strings.

In other words, our instrument can use lighter, more responsive strings and get better response. This same variable, however, holds true among instruments built with standard Tenor construction. Some are built halfway close to what we do, while others are built like a brick #*^!house. In this case, you need to have a feel for your instruments' construction to judge the best tension for your strings.

This brings us back to SailingUke.



This is the reason boards like this exist. Probably the simplest, yet most effective question is to ask others here with the same instrument as you, what their experiences have been. You can throw in your preferences as to tension and sound. That should get you where you want to go.

Of course that question puts new guys like ourselves at a disadvantage. We think the mixed material concept works best over a wider range of situations.

Been meaning to try some southcoast strings. Just placed an order for a combo pack. we'll see how it goes. I only have concert and soprano ukes right now.

peewee
02-14-2011, 09:18 PM
Are you saying that that chart is inaccurate in regards to string gauges, tensions available, etc.

I'm not saying that the chart is inaccurate or that the product has any flaws. I do think it would help end users and merchants to have an explanation of what the 33 different types of strings are aimed at. It is full of information, and devoid of guidance.

pondweed
03-19-2011, 09:42 AM
I'm not saying that the (worth) chart is inaccurate or that the product has any flaws. I do think it would help end users and merchants to have an explanation of what the 33 different types of strings are aimed at. It is full of information, and devoid of guidance.
It has no information on tensions, as Aquila give. We all know we need to try things and listen/experience, but its infuriating not being able to try and understand why manufacturers are suggesting particular mixes (e.g. the old question of why Worth strings 2 and 3 are the same gauge throughout L, M, Tenor while others change!) I've read the Southcoastukes advice on strings - very good - but still can't rationalise without a bit more raw data and thought from Worth!