PDA

View Full Version : The C String



BBQUKER
11-21-2011, 01:03 PM
I have a Kala and Mainland tenors that on both the C string just sounds dull. There is also very little sustain as the string is played up the frets. On a Lanikai concert I had it was the same. On all of these ukes my strings are Aquila. My question, is this normal? Thanks for your replies.

Dan (sole member of the Wisconsin Rapids Ukulele Group - WRUG)

Ambient Doughnut
11-21-2011, 01:08 PM
Don't know about normal but I do do know that the south coast strings i've just fitted to my tenor in replacement of aquilas do sound much more balanced.

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
11-21-2011, 01:43 PM
If the strings are old (more than a couple months of play), it's normal. Dullness is the sign they're ready to go.

If the strings aren't old, it's still normal. Aquila strings have less "depth" than most brands of strings, so the C string is going to be the first to lose its life. On some ukes, Aquila strings don't have enough depth for the C string to ever come to life. If that's the case for you, it's time for another type of strings. Hilo, Martin, Ko'olau Mahana, Worth Brown, or Southcoast strings should get more bang out of your C string.

BBQUKER
11-21-2011, 01:56 PM
OK, time to change. Even brand new Aquilas have not changed the dullness. May not have time to pick up new strings before leaving for the Big Island next week. So hopefully can find some there. Will be in Hilo at some point of time.

Thanks - Dan

TCK
11-21-2011, 02:58 PM
I found the same to be true on my Kala Tenor and fitted it with Fremont Blacklines and love them- it is a spruce top maple so I like the strings to ring out a little...bright bright bright. On my Spruce top Kala Baritone, I put some SOuthcoasts and they are incredible- going to order them for my tenor as well next round

itsme
11-21-2011, 03:17 PM
With re-entrant uke tuning, C will be your thickest string. I know with classical guitar, the G string is the thickest of the non-would (treble) strings and it is often problematic and dull/thuddy sounding.

As others have said, try different strings. Personally, I'm not crazy about Aquilas on most ukes. Try some fluorocarbons, they just seem to sound "sweeter" to me than nylon or nylgut.

mm stan
11-21-2011, 03:37 PM
I found sometimes the scale is a hint long...try to drop the tuning an to A# or B, the tension may be too high in the string....the string will resonate more..
Fixing the symptom is way more practical, than the root issue itself if possibly worth it..otherwise get another uke..

southcoastukes
11-21-2011, 06:26 PM
Don't know about normal but I do do know that the south coast strings i've just fitted to my tenor in replacement of aquilas do sound much more balanced.

Thanks for the compliment AD.

Among the various string questions posted on the forum, I'm surprised this one doesn't come up more often. As itsme pointed out, in a high reentrant set, the C string will be the thickest, and that naturally tends to make it the deadest.

Different string materials vary in tone more or less according to thickness. The biggest variation is with gut, where the thin strings can be very bright, and the thicker ones dead as a doornail. This is not neccesarily all bad, as the bass notes then die quickly - they can almost never overpower the other strings. Folks who mainly strum can often prefer this arrangement, but when you start picking individual notes, the difference in tone is painfully apparent.

Nylgut strings are designed to mimic gut, and while their tone is a bit more uniform than the natural material, they show much of the same big variation in tone between the thinner and thicker diameters in a set. Also, because they are a low density material, the difference in size is more apparent as well when playing them. You have a relatively large 3rd string.

With Flouros, you get a clearer bass, but one common misconception is that all flouros are the same. They also are formulated with different densities, and though the size difference is not as noticeable from one fromulation to the next, there is a very noticeable difference in tone from one to another.

If you go for the densest formulation, you get the clearest bass, but now, you often find that your thinner strings start to get shrill.

This is the whole point of what we do, and I beleive we are still the only ones fully embracing this concept. Our sets are made of different materials. Even the sets that are all flourocarbon use different formulations. The 3rd strings are always the densest material, and as you work to the outside, the strings become less dense. The result gives a more even tone: 3rd strings are relatively brighter compared to the 1st & 4th, but the outside strings never get overly bright.

"Lagniappe" (South Louisiana for a little something extra), is that the 3rd string is also not as big relative to the other strings, so the set is easier to play.

Win, Win!

mr moonlight
11-21-2011, 06:42 PM
One thing I prefer is a wound bass string. I play Low G, but I feel the same way about having a wound C with Re-entrant. It just gives the bass string that extra power and clarity that it needs to compete with the trebles.

It could also be that you are feeling the limitations of your instrument. As you improve your playing skills you will often find the limitations of your instrument and may want to upgrade to something with better sustain, volume, clarity, tone, intonation, balance...

southcoastukes
11-21-2011, 06:55 PM
One thing I prefer is a wound bass string. I play Low G, but I feel the same way about having a wound C with Re-entrant. It just gives the bass string that extra power and clarity that it needs to compete with the trebles...

True, Moonlight. A wound 3rd is another form of "mixed material" set. It will definitely give the extra power, as you say. Unforntunately, it will also give a lot more sustain, lingering after all the other notes.

It is the same concept as ours - the wound 3rd is a denser material than the other 3 strings. When you vary density with all treble strings, however, you get the clearer bass and avoid the difference in sustain. Better balance.

mr moonlight
11-21-2011, 08:25 PM
True, Moonlight. A wound 3rd is another form of "mixed material" set. It will definitely give the extra power, as you say. Unforntunately, it will also give a lot more sustain, lingering after all the other notes.

It is the same concept as ours - the wound 3rd is a denser material than the other 3 strings. When you vary density with all treble strings, however, you get the clearer bass and avoid the difference in sustain. Better balance.
Coming from a classical guitar background I often prefer the bass to have a longer sustain while I play melodies over it. It definitely helps that i play low G. When playing certain other styles I can definitely see a huge benefit to having a more even sounding set. I'll definitely have to give your sets a try sometime.

AC Baltimore
11-21-2011, 09:31 PM
I just ordered a load of strings, but I am going to try the southcoast on my lanikai monkeypod tenor at some point