View Full Version : Maximum string tension for tenors & baritones?

04-20-2011, 06:04 PM
Are there any guidelines for what the maximum string tension should be on a tenor and baritone ukulele (in lbs or kgs)?

I know that it can be a matter of personal preference with regards to playability but I'm also thinking that higher tension could increase the instrument's volume. Some players supposedly use the first four strings of a classical guitar set on their tenor ukuleles.

04-20-2011, 09:19 PM
Guidelines would be dependent upon the builder, and the build. I've measured in the past, in the form of torque in inch lbs, and found Ko'olau strings to have the best balance in tension across the strings, at the time.

Higher tension doesn't always increase volume - its theorized that too much tension can actually kill a soundboard, but I think it would explode before that happened.
Not sure of players "supposedly" using Classical Guitar strings, but certainly know they "definitely" use them as the topic has come up ad nauseam, mostly here, and not Uke Talk.

Of course, if you're wanting to increase volume, do what everyone else does (depending on your instrument) and install Aquila's. If its only volume that you're looking for.

I've a feeling you have another question lurking somewhere in there - what is it you're trying to do?

04-20-2011, 09:20 PM
I've not actually calculated what the string tension is on any set that I use. I've gone with the classical guitar strings, high tension Wurht and D'Addario J71's. They are all pretty similar and much higher tension than what many people play. I prefer them over lower tension strings, but it is a different tone and certainly harder feel that you get. Not everyones cup of tea.

I build for that tension as well, so I can't comment on other builders style of building and suitability of high tension strings on their instruments.

04-20-2011, 09:44 PM
I gave a Baratone uke "strung with baratone strings" to a lad...who tuned it to "C" like a Soprano.....It felt like an un-exploded bomb when you played it:eek:..I advised him to wear eye protection when he strummed it.:D

04-21-2011, 01:26 AM
According to this site (http://www.ukuleles.com/Technology/strings.html), baritones have a tension around 53lbs, tenors around 39.

04-21-2011, 02:58 AM
According to this site (http://www.ukuleles.com/Technology/strings.html), baritones have a tension around 53lbs, tenors around 39.
Good information! I should have thought about checking David's site. Thanks for posting that.

04-21-2011, 05:19 AM
Keep in mind that the string diameter and material will have an effect on the tension, too.