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View Full Version : GCEA Baritone tuning--Any structural problems?



Bigwave101
06-18-2012, 07:54 AM
I ordered a Pono baritone and planned on using the southcoast linear strings for GCEA tuning. I was told by HMS that using any strings other than the standard DGBE tuning would void the warranty.
I know that many of you out there use GCEA tuning on your baritones.
Has anyone suffered from structural problems from the supposedly higher tensions? Are the southcoast, aquila or Guadalupe GCEA strings higher tension?

thanks,

spookefoote
06-18-2012, 08:52 AM
Guadalupe's are fine for me, no problems at all.

WhenDogsSing
06-18-2012, 09:02 AM
I don't understand why using a GCEA tuning on a baritone would void the warranty. To tune a baritone ukulele to GCEA, you can buy a set of DGBE strings, discard the wound D, and use the G, B, and E strings for the G, C, and E strings. Add a smaller diameter non-wound string for the A string and you're ready to go. The overall tensions on each tuning (DGBE and GCEA) are nearly the same and proably a little lower with the GCEA because you've dropped a heavier wound string (the D) and added a smaller non-wound string for the A.

ukulelecowboy
06-18-2012, 09:14 AM
I don't get it either. For what's it's worth, I perform with Pono Baritones (Solid Mahogany, Solid Acacia, and Macassar Ebony with Spruce top) I use Southcoast linear strings exclusively tuned GCEA. The combination is wonderful all around. The addition of the adjustable truss rod helps in many ways, and the whole experience, especially with the Mahogany, is always a pleasure.

Never, ever a problem with tension, tone, etc. The Southcoast strings are exemplary.

Mike

southcoastukes
06-18-2012, 09:31 AM
It's somewhat understandable they might take this position. For sure, there will be some fool who will simply take a set of Baritone strings as is, and try to pull them up to C tuning. Then, yes - potential for structural damage.

Bigwave101
06-18-2012, 10:00 AM
Dirk, do you know how the tension on a regular DGBE tuned baritone differs from one strung with Southcoast linears in GCEA?

Bigwave101
06-18-2012, 10:02 AM
I don't get it either. For what's it's worth, I perform with Pono Baritones (Solid Mahogany, Solid Acacia, and Macassar Ebony with Spruce top) I use Southcoast linear strings exclusively tuned GCEA. The combination is wonderful all around. The addition of the adjustable truss rod helps in many ways, and the whole experience, especially with the Mahogany, is always a pleasure.

Never, ever a problem with tension, tone, etc. The Southcoast strings are exemplary.

Mike

Mike, did you make any changes to the setup, nut/saddle?

southcoastukes
06-18-2012, 10:20 AM
Dirk, do you know how the tension on a regular DGBE tuned baritone differs from one strung with Southcoast linears in GCEA?

To tell the truth, I can't be exact on that. It's been too long since I played a set of standard Baritone strings (don't particularly like them). Even if I had, the tension on them would vary a bit from one maker to the next.

When it comes to tension, we select our strings by feel (and the effect of tension on sound), so from that, I would say they would be similar. I'd guess a little less on 4 & 3, simply because they're not wound.

One thing to watch for on Baritones is the scale length. It varies more than on any other size. We do 20 1/8", and that is fairly common, but many older and some newer models are closer to 19". That could lead to a loose feel.

In general, string sets designed for different tunings on the same scale should have the same tension. That's about what you should get from ours.

TheCraftedCow
06-18-2012, 09:21 PM
Aquila strings are the same tensions for baritone strings tuned either way. The diameters of each string is how the difference in pitch and the "sameness" of tension is maintained. I have one Giannini bari tuned one scale, and the other to the other scale.

Listen to Dirk's cuatro tuning on his website to see what you think of a low note on each outside corner,please.

G Hill
06-18-2012, 10:17 PM
I canīt see there being any problems with your idea. When I bought my baritone it came
with Southcoast linear GCEA strings fitted. I am now using Suarez Aliance High Tension DGBE strings
with a wound īDīwith no ill effect.Should I wish to return to GCEA on the uke I will fit Southcoastīs again
without a worry.
So, I donīt get where Pono are coming from.
Cheers
Gary

Raygf
06-19-2012, 01:35 AM
I ordered a Pono baritone and planned on using the southcoast linear strings for GCEA tuning. I was told by HMS that using any strings other than the standard DGBE tuning would void the warranty.
I know that many of you out there use GCEA tuning on your baritones.
Has anyone suffered from structural problems from the supposedly higher tensions? Are the southcoast, aquila or Guadalupe GCEA strings higher tension?

thanks,

I would suggest contacting HMS or maybe Ko'olau for clarification. Maybe the person you spoke with misunderstood you or maybe you misunderstood them. I do not understand why strings formulated for a baritone would void the warranty.

I string my Koloa solid mahogany baritone with Southcoast G650 Linear string set w/flat wound basses tuned to Bb and there are no problems.

I have owned a Pono solid mahogany tenor for over 5 years and it is well constructed, plays well and I use it as a my low G performance instrument. It's a keeper!

I just read through their warranty. Here are a few excerpts;

Ko'olau and Pono instruments are warranted to the original retail purchaser to be free from defective materials and workmanship. All Ko'olau Guitars and 'Ukuleles have a limited lifetime warranty to the original owner. All Pono brand instruments are warranted for one year from the date of purchase.

It is important to note that when bridges or seams come loose due to "faulty craftsmanship" this is usually obvious upon the initial examination at the time of purchase. We will honor such claims (bridges and seam seperations) for 30 days from the date of purchase. Any separations, including bridges after 30 days from the day of purchase will not be covered under warranty. This is NOT a revision of our Warranty Policy, but instead a clarification.

If you have any questions please feel free to call or email.
Ko'olau Guitar and 'Ukulele Company

Bigwave101
06-19-2012, 05:59 AM
I want to thank everyone for their input. I ordered my Pono and there is an update. HMS spoke to the owner of Pono again, apparently, he was not aware that Aquila, or probably anyone else made strings for the baritone for GCEA tuning. I will still have the warranty.