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View Full Version : Bringing a Black Bear out of hibernation...



Hippie Dribble
09-25-2012, 08:00 PM
WOW!!!!

The best thing I've ever done to any ukulele happened today.

I have a lovely lil Black Bear soprano made out of macadamia wood...kinda like mahogany but without the loudness and bark...well...

danged if I didn't change the worth browns that were on it for a set of Southcoast Lights...oh Lord, it's now come to life...I mean it sounds like a totally different instrument.

Before it was just a little dull but it now sings like a bird. MUCH better volume, clearer note separation, more dynamic, and the sustain is forever. It now will take pride of place alongside my beloved MM soprano. The transformation is a bit hard to get my head around to be honest. The sweetness and smoothness of the tone before and after just isn't on the same page. Not that it sounded bad at all, but I just had a feeling there was a more sympathetic set of strings for it. Tried a couple over the past week or so and none quite fit...til today. It's made a very nice uke sound like a million bucks and it's just a set of strings...whooda thunk it.

Anyone else have a similar experience from a mere change of string sets???

Look out Dirk, the email will be coming. I needs me some more of them Southcoast strings mate. Only got one more set left and they're going on my Covered Bridge concert tomorrow. They're truly amazing. I realise this has been talked about before, but just wanted to share and add my voice to the list of Southcoast string lovers :)

Patrick Madsen
09-25-2012, 08:23 PM
I hear you on the Southcoast strings Jon. Man, they are so cool. Completley changed the sound of my ukes for the better. And Dirk is such a treasure trove of info regarding strings and the resonance of different sized instruments needing to be in a certain tuning. Before, It was kind of hit and miss choosing a string. I'd like one but not really know why other than the standard reply "that they felt good.". Dirk spent the time freely explaining the "why's and how comes" of string characteristics. I learned more from him in three days of correspondence than I have the 53years of playing stringed instruments.

They are wonderful strings, I'm glad that little Black Bear has found it's growl again.

Ben_H
09-25-2012, 09:18 PM
I hear you on the Southcoast strings Jon. Man, they are so cool. Completley changed the sound of my ukes for the better. And Dirk is such a treasure trove of info regarding strings and the resonance of different sized instruments needing to be in a certain tuning. Before, It was kind of hit and miss choosing a string. I'd like one but not really know why other than the standard reply "that they felt good.". Dirk spent the time freely explaining the "why's and how comes" of string characteristics. I learned more from him in three days of correspondence than I have the 53years of playing stringed instruments.

They are wonderful strings, I'm glad that little Black Bear has found it's growl again.

I have 3 different sets of Southcoast strings in the post along with a new capo (more on that in a bit.)

Dirk was extremely helpful by email and once he got his head around what I was after made some excellent suggestions. I'm waiting on re-entant baritone DGBE and Linear baritone in Bb tuning, as Dirk felt this would suit the baritone scale very well. With a 2nd fret Capo it makes it easy for me to play in company without learning a third tuning! Genius! ;) So there is a Shubb capo in the parcel too.

The third set of strings is a low re-entrant C tuning cuatro set for messing around with. These aren't listed on the current Southcoast website though I understand a new one is due to go live soon with many more options than presently available. Worth talking to Dirk as he may have something you really need waiting in the wings.

All these strings to try is another good reason to get a second baritone, not that I was really struggling to justify it! :)

The strings of the moment do seem to be both Southcoasts' and Ken Middleton's Living Water Strings. I have the High D living Water's on my baritone at present and they are great so I am really interested to see how these Southcoast's compare.

Enjoy the new lease of life of you're reawoken Black Bear!

mm stan
09-25-2012, 11:35 PM
Aloha Eugene,
Wow your BB next to your MMM...from the right pairing of Black Bear and southcoast...yes I am a big believer of both of them too..and Mr Helman certainly makes some nice sounding ukes too ...
I know that is a big statement because your Mya Moe Mango is your holy grail uke....certainly the "One" thank you for sharing..

kaizersoza
09-26-2012, 12:33 AM
always good to see a 'EUREKA' moment, they are the only type of string I haven't tried on any of my ukes yet, as soon as I am ready for more strings I will be ordering a few sets of these bad boys, thanx for the heads up Jon

Linho
09-26-2012, 01:37 AM
That reads interesting. Can anyone tell me where to purchase these strings in Germany or at least Europe? Or a shop who ships to?

Thanks


Edit: Ah, southcostukes.com seem to ship to europe. I made an order about a Light and Medium Gauge Ukulele String Set, can't wait to try them out! I'm curious if these strings can replace my prefered Martin Flourocarbons! :)

manapualabs
09-26-2012, 04:38 AM
I put Southcoast strings on my KPK and I was shocked at the difference it made in the sound quality of the ukulele, it was like playing a completely different instrument. I'm never going back. However, we tried the Southcoast on the Big Island and the `Oiwi and they didn't quite seem to work for us as well. We've since put Ken's Living Waters strings on both of them and are much happier.

Sound and touch are so subjective, aren't they?

NatalieS
09-26-2012, 04:48 AM
I ordered Southcoast strings a few days ago for my uke and my mom's uke. I can't wait to see what the fuss is about! They certainly seem to be highly regarded here on the forum. :)

saltytri
09-26-2012, 05:04 AM
I've put Dirk's strings on several instruments from baritone to concert. The results have ranged from "Great" to "Downright Exciting." The trick is to order a selection of gauges and maybe some of the "softs." The combination packs of three different sets are a screamin' deal. There are also gauges that aren't yet on the web site, such as "medium light." This gives the opportunity to select strings that are well-suited to each instrument. Dirk has always responded to emails asking for recommendations so don't be shy about asking.

No affiliation, of course.

CTurner
09-26-2012, 01:33 PM
I have to chime in here as well: I have only Southcoast strings on all my ukes. The variety of sets gives us lots of choice and I always recommend folks give Southcoast a try. saltytri is right about the new softs as well, they really add interesting qualities to the sets.