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View Full Version : Kamaka - Baritone - string experience



arktrav
03-03-2012, 04:56 AM
Hello all: I'm relatively new but have really enjoyed reading and watching and learning on UU. I have a Kamaka baritone on its way to me and was wondering what strings to focus on. I really have no baritone experience. I've tried to look through the archives and havn't seen anything particular to Kamaka's, Maybe I missed it.

Anyway, if you are a baritone player, if you play or have experience with the Kamaka baritone or if you have some thoughts on the best strings for them I would be most appreciative. Blessings, arktrav

saltytri
03-03-2012, 05:02 AM
It sings with the Southcoast linear GCEA set. To my ears, much better than the standard set (assuming that you want to play GCEA rather than DGBE).

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

arktrav
03-03-2012, 06:13 AM
Thanks saltytri. What set would you recommend? I've read a lot on the South Coast site and would assume that the G23 is the right set to try, with itws longer scale. Right? (BTW, I plan to play CGEA on the Baritone). Thank you for your reply.

mm stan
03-03-2012, 06:25 AM
I have the old white label kamaka baritone...it is much different design from the new ones... You know that is a presonal choice...strings do improve the sound though...do you
want the traditional old sound as it was built to be? or have your baritone a more brighter, cleaner, clearer, more substain and resonation... the original strings are warmer, at least try
them so you know the difference before you change them....Good Luck

southcoastukes
03-03-2012, 06:48 AM
Thanks saltytri. What set would you recommend? I've read a lot on the South Coast site and would assume that the G23 is the right set to try, with itws longer scale. Right? (BTW, I plan to play CGEA on the Baritone). Thank you for your reply.

arktrav,

The key to picking strings from our site is to know the scale length of your instrument. The scale is the distance from nut to saddle. Since our strings are long enough to use on any size ukulele, once you know your scale length, you'll know what tuning any given set will give you. Since a lot of instruments today (including most of ours) have "long-necks", or in other words, longer scales, that's the best way to explain things.

A standard Baritone has a scale length of about 20". You'll see that the Linear Ukulele set gives key of C on the 20" scale. Key of C is GCEA. A simple shortcut to understanding key names is to just look at the 3rd string. In this tuning, that's a C string - so a GCEA set-up is tuning to the key of C. These are the strings saltytri was referring to. There are no wound strings in this set, and I'm pretty sure we are still the only people making a low 4th set for this tuning. Aquila does make a set with a reentrant 4th string. Personally, I think a Baritone needs a low G - a low note to access the resonance of the big body.

The tradtional tuning for a Baritone is key of G (D G BE), and the normal arrangement has two wound strings. You'll find we don't offer strings that work for key of G @ 20". It's a long story but in short, we don't like the density of the material to put that low a tuning on that short a scale - not crazy about the sound it produces (or even that tuning on a Baritone - traditional though it may be).

We do get close. You'll see the G23 strings you mentioned are for key of A @ 20". That's just one step up from G, and there, you don't have to resort to the high density material. You'll see the G650 strings (there are 4 sets) set up another step higher at B flat. Now you are just one step below C tuning. This is a great Baritone tuning - a traditional jazz tuning.

Hope that helps clear things up.

In the end, as with any new instrument, it's best to try a few different set-ups when you first get it. As Kamakas are great ukuleles, it's only a matter of a short time before you come upon the perfect trifecta (you, the Kamaka, and your strings).

p.s: maybe I shouldn't mention this, since it's not quite final, but looks like we will soon also offer a string set for C tuning @ 20" with double wound strings.

saltytri
03-03-2012, 09:41 AM
What Dirk said! Let us know how you like it.