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View Full Version : Bariitone strings yet again.



ukuhippo
01-23-2012, 12:20 AM
My bari (Makala MK-B) will arrive tomorrow, and I'm already on a search for new strings allthough I will give the stock-strings a chance..
Couple of questions:

1. What is the 'general' difference in sound between wound and nonwound strings on a bari? Less bass, more uke, or is it something else?

2. Other than Worth, who else maken unwound DGBE-strings for the bari?

3. What are considerations when choosing between wound and non-woundstrings?

Bonusquestion: Why is Aquila the only company that understands that white strings look great on a uke?

fernandogardinali
01-23-2012, 02:33 AM
I like the Aquilas more than the Worth strings for bari... And I'm a Worth guy. I use it in all my ukes, except the bari.

1931jim
01-23-2012, 02:46 AM
My bari (Makala MK-B) will arrive tomorrow, and I'm already on a search for new strings allthough I will give the stock-strings a chance..
Couple of questions:

1. What is the 'general' difference in sound between wound and nonwound strings on a bari? Less bass, more uke, or is it something else?

2. Other than Worth, who else maken unwound DGBE-strings for the bari?

3. What are considerations when choosing between wound and non-woundstrings?

Bonusquestion: Why is Aquila the only company that understands that white strings look great on a uke?


Play the new uke with the strings that are on it while you order from Seattle USA. their Fremont Black line fluorocarbon tenor low G set. No wound strings, they are .023, .027, .031 and .036
They are long enough for the baritone, after all it's the sound you want. Not "white that looks great" although I use Aquila on my concert size.
Sounds great.....as far as looks.....who cares.

Bao
01-23-2012, 02:52 AM
I own the same model which you are purchasing and I think that the stock strings are alright. Not exactly the best but they will be good enough while you are waiting for the better strings to come

roxhum
01-23-2012, 02:52 AM
I have a baritone coming this week too. My understanding is the reason the strings are wound has to do with the tension on the lower note strings. If I remember correctly the regular strings would be too loose and that is why the wound strings.

Bonusanswer: What color strings look best is all a matter of opinion. I prefer the look of the darker strings myself and agree with 1931 jim, what it sounds like is what matters.

mm stan
01-23-2012, 02:57 AM
If you don't mind thicker strings...Ko'olau Alohi strings..http://elderly.com/accessories/cat_or_pgc_page?page=4&query_start=61&step=20&cat_or_pgc=STUK&special_links=&sort_on=cat_or_pgc,artist,title&reverse_str=&instock_only=
Martin 630 fleurocarbons...http://elderly.com/accessories/cat_or_pgc_page?page=6&query_start=101&step=20&cat_or_pgc=STUK&special_links=&sort_on=cat_or_pgc,artist,title&reverse_str=&instock_only=

SailingUke
01-23-2012, 03:04 AM
Like 1931Jim, I use tenor low G on my Kala baritone. (tuned DGBE)
I use Orca strings, I was surprised at the sound, deep and rich.

strumsilly
01-23-2012, 03:07 AM
or you could use Southcoast linear tuned GCEA, which is what i have on my bari.

ukuhippo
01-23-2012, 09:41 PM
Thanks all for replying, I will probably get some Worths, Aquilas', Orca's and Freemonts. I do want to stick with DGBE for now.
As for the wound vs. non-wound:
Is it true that it's basically a tension-matter? Or is there a sound difference to?

Flyke
01-23-2012, 09:47 PM
I concur with strumsilly, Southcoast Linear (no wound) GCEA are excellent strings.

kissing
01-23-2012, 09:52 PM
It seems to defeat the purpose (sort of) of getting a Baritone uke though.
Tuning a Baritone to GCEA is a nifty option, but it isn't usually the primary objective of getting a baritone.

Non-wound strings for deeper tunings are overrated in my opinion.
Wound strings are prevalent for a reason. It is a matter of physics.
Strings, when they have to get to a certain thickness for a lower pitched tuning, become rigid.
I have not yet found any set of unwound low-pitched strings that I have found to be satisfactory.
They're either too rigid or too floppy and overall sound dead compared to a wound string.

We don't see classical guitarists obsessing to get unwound strings.


Aquila's baritone strings have usually served me well. It depends on the actual uke, but generally it gives a vibrant, warm tone.

I'm curious to try Martin baritone strings. I really like their fluorocarbon strings for sopranos, and I would imagine that they would have the same effect on a baritone.

D'addario Baritones are quite economic and good quality too - has a crispier, drier sounding tone than Aquilas.

ukuhippo
01-23-2012, 10:07 PM
Thank you kissing, that's a clear answer. I agree with the tuning, I didn't get a baritone to tune it as a tenor, I would have got myself a tenor if I wanted GCEA tuning. I just ordered some Aquila's to start with, we'll see what the future brings.

mds725
01-23-2012, 10:24 PM
It seems to defeat the purpose (sort of) of getting a Baritone uke though.
Tuning a Baritone to GCEA is a nifty option, but it isn't usually the primary objective of getting a baritone.

Southcoast makes GCEA strings for baritone that are an octave lower than the GCEA strings for tenors, concerts and sopranos, so you actually get notes that are lower than those on a DGBE tuned baritone.

ukuhippo
01-23-2012, 11:05 PM
Didn't know that, that's cool.

Sanagi
01-23-2012, 11:25 PM
My favorite use for my bari uke has been to combine strings from GCEA and DGBE to make CGDA - mandola tuning. It's a great tuning for playing melodies, although chords are harder.

ukuhippo
01-23-2012, 11:31 PM
Aren't the Southcoast GCEA-lower-than-DGBE strings 'floppy'?

Raygf
01-24-2012, 12:01 AM
The Southcoast GCEA strings on a baritone are not an octave lower. They are low G. I have a set of the linear flat wounds on one of my baritones tuned to FBbDG and I like them. My other baritone has wound DGBE and I often capo at the second or third fret. Scroll down the page in this link (http://www.southcoastukes.com/index_files/inters.htm) to hear samples of the Southcoast strings in various tunings for baritones.

ukuhippo
01-24-2012, 05:02 AM
I ordered strings at thesouthernukulelestore only to find out later that I ordered the wrong ones. The nice people there cancelled the order and refunded to my paypal within minutes after my email, thumbs up for them.
The uke arrived and I love it, played my Dolphin afterwards and still love that to.

kissing
01-24-2012, 04:13 PM
The Southcoast GCEA strings on a baritone are not an octave lower. They are low G.

That's what I thought too.. :)


Although, you can get octave lower GCEA strings for a Baritone, from Guadalupe.
It does change the playability of the instrument though.

strumsilly
02-01-2012, 07:58 AM
Aren't the Southcoast GCEA-lower-than-DGBE strings 'floppy'?
no, not floppy.they would be in standard bari tuning though.. and because of the larger body size you get more bass even with the higher tuning than with a tenor.

enzymerich
02-01-2012, 08:35 AM
i have a baritone uke and baritone uke banjo.
i tried the worth DGBE unwound strings. The bass string or strings were so loose and floppy it was unacceptable to me and a waste of $14 (you have to buy 2 sets at a time). I went back to Aguila strings for now with the wound 3 and 4th strings. I prefer wound lower strings myself.
Rich

ukuhippo
02-01-2012, 09:54 AM
Thanks all, I installed Aquila's today (wound), and I like them so far.

TheCraftedCow
02-01-2012, 07:20 PM
When one says the preference is DGBE, what does it matter who has what for GCEA?
As an Aquila seller, I have written to Mimmo to ask why we do not have a nonwound #4 string. He said to make one it would have to be 1mm to produce the tone under tension. That would necessitate wider notches, and more people than not would not want to do it, so he stays with metal wrapped around a bundle of nylagut material rather than a solid string. The Southcoast people have good strings. Listen to their soundbites of a low D on #1 and #4. On #1, it is pulled up to E. That tuning is far older than the ukulele. When you watch a cuatro player, they are up and down the center two strings. Kerry Char has used a harp string for a solid string. Same prob-1mm thick. Aquial strings make as much sense as black ink on white paper. When the paper is black, there is no figure-ground discrimination with black on black or white on white. For those of us who look at the fretboard from time to time, it speeds up the process greatly to be able to tell string from ebony. Metal strings can chirp when one slides in contact with the string.

Does anyone use Guadalupe strings?

kissing
02-02-2012, 12:07 AM
Guadalupe have a custom low-GCEA tuning set.

Read all about it here:
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?50244-Never-been-so-EXCITED-over-a-new-set-of-strings-before-YOU-GOTTA-TRY-THIS!-D&highlight=guadalupe


Overall, it's not overly floppy.
But it's not really meant for strumming - the sound gets too muddy. Good for fingerpicking and arpeggios.

southcoastukes
02-02-2012, 02:15 AM
... The Southcoast people have good strings. Listen to their soundbites of a low D on #1 and #4. On #1, it is pulled up to E.

William, you are listening to a sound sample in the key of D. I'll post a bit later on the subject of Baritone strings. It's always an interesting topic. But before one can have any discussion, there's a need for understanding on the basic chord tuning names. The misunderstandings in this area not only make for confusing information, but can cause people to do actual damage to their instruments. I'll copy a post here from a recent thread:


...as far as Cuatro tuning, and the key of D, I'd like to try to clear up some bad terminology I've seen creep onto the forum before. I'm not one to want to jump in and correct people all the time, so in the past, I've just let this pass. If it's going to cause people to damage their instruments, however, I'll change that attitude.

We have a page on tunings, it's here:

http://www.southcoastukes.com/string...es/tunings.htm

On the chart on that page, you'll see that the key of D is "A-D-F#-B". The misnomer I have seen from time to time is that people will call the common Baritone tuning - DGBE - "D tuning". It's not!

Tunings take their name from the chord you have when you strum open. The most common ukulele tuning these days is GCEA. When strummed open, that is a C6 chord. Therefore the true name for that tuning, one you will likely have heard - is C6 tuning. In comon usage, the "6" is assumed, and dropped, so you are said to be tuning to the key of C.

The shortcut to the chord tuning names is to just look at the name of the 3rd string. In GCEA, the 3rd string is C, hence you are tuned to key of C. ADF#B, the 3rd string is D - so key of D - the old "standard" ukulele tuning. Same for "F-B flat-D-G" (B flat tuning) & E-A-C#-F# (A tuning). The common Baritone tuning is D-G-B-E. That means it is key of G. I'm not sure why some people started referring to this as D tuning, but common Baritone tuning is not one step up from C - it's 3 steps down.

Cuatro tuning, then, is actually one step up from C tuning, but with a low 1st & low 4th, it sounds deeper. There's a sound sample here (low re-entrant D):

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

Please don't be the cause of a fellow UUer breaking his Baritone's neck!

C'mon people - this ain't no rocket science!

southcoastukes
02-03-2012, 02:21 AM
I’ve posted before on Baritone tunings from the perspective of the appropriate range of notes for body volume. As it turns out, string properties fall right in line with those parameters (funny, isn’t it, how that always seems to happen). Since this thread is about Baritone “Strings”, though, I’ll keep my post on the subject of strings.

When it comes to Baritone strings, you are somewhat between a rock and a hard place. The predominant Baritone tuning is a linear G. When you put that low of a tuning on that short of a scale you’re facing a series of compromises.

Not using wound strings is a mistake. Worth makes non-wound Baritone sets for those who just can’t stomach a wound string no matter what, but with their thick diameter, the 4th strings are pretty dead, and even with all that girth, they’re still also too loose for decent playability. It’s the best that can be done – I’m not knocking them, but we don’t consider it a high quality way to string a Baritone. The thickest non-wound string we use is the 4th string of our Linear Ukulele set. That string gives a low G note for C tuning on a 20” scale that is both responsive and playable, and a G is about as thick as you can go with an unwound string @ 20”.

Of course that means you actually can tune “DGBE” on a Baritone without wound strings. Hippo, you didn’t say whether you wanted a linear or re-entrant tuning. In a high re-entrant key of G tuning, G is the lowest note – it can be strung without resorting to a wound string. Your D - 4th string is now an octave higher, so of course it doesn’t have to be wound now either. Wonderful Baritone Tuning – very “ukulele-like”. Get it with our Heavy Gauge strings:

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


Here’s the “problem” with standard wound Baritone strings. A wound string consists of metal or metal alloy "wound" around a treble material core. Different companies use different formulae. The metal itself is important to the sound, and also the proprtion of metal to core material.

To get those low notes on the relatively short 20" scale most companies use a high density alloy, and the ratio of the metal component is very high, proportional to the core. These combine to give a thinner string, but also produce a flat metallic sound. If you used the kinds of material and the typical proportions found on a classical guitar string they would have to be extremely thick (at least for an ukulele) and very squeaky.

Sound, of course, is very subjective, but if more people found the sound of the "thin string" formulae to be pleasing, believe me, it would be common on classical guitars as well. Those folks don’t use the 5th & 6th strings they have because they like thick squeaky strings – it’s because the sound is so much more natural than what you get from the alloys and low core ratios in a Baritone string.

Again, sound is subjective, but listening to the recent sound posts here from Baritone players, you can understand how this metallic sound can work for blues, or maybe jazz. On some of the other recordings of more popular or Hawaiian material, however, I hear a lot of harsh, choked tone. To me, then, this tuning limits the Baritone’s versatility.

I know Hippo’s question was about “DGBE”, but if what he was getting at was a deep tuning without wound strings, then excuse me if I mention Cuatro tuning – low re-entrant key of D. The Latins have been at this “big 4-stringed instrument” thing for almost half a millennium now, and know how to get deep, balanced sound out of a Baritone sized body without wound strings. My preferences for this tuning are Latin music (surprise), but also excellent for classical (Leonardo Lozano!!).

And also excuse me for offering one last alternative. If Hippo could use a deep linear tuning with 1st rate sound, one that will work for any style of music, and wants to use 1st rate wound material, then look at the B flat tuning Raygf mentioned up the thread.. The thinner string material there puts you back in the range of 1st quality stuff. Clearer, more resonant, and less metallic sound. Lots of available sources, including, of course, us. We even offer strings for that tuning in flatwound material, which has no squeak. B flat is a great tuning for blues, but the clearer sounding strings will also expand your Baritone repretoire.

Samples on these and more are here:

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

To get back to the standard Baritone set-up, we don’t offer those strings (and won’t), but if those are what suit you best, I’d just go for the thinnest, and therefore most playable option. While it’s been awhile since I tried any, seems like Martin basses were pretty thin.


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