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View Full Version : Heavy gauge strings -- an issue?



Nicko
12-22-2012, 11:23 AM
Noob here. I just ordered and rec'd a "combo" sampler pack of strings from Southcoast. Light, medium, and heavy. Just checkin' out the stringville landscape.

Will I be presenting a stress and strain challenge to my Martin S1 if I strap on these heavies? Any advice will be appreciated -- and especially any experience-based advice.

46628

strumsilly
12-22-2012, 11:32 AM
probably not a good idea. each set has it's page on SC website. I'd follow the recommendations and you can't go wrong. btw, I have SET OF THOSE ON A BARI
http://www.southcoastukes.com/stringuide_files/hvuke.htm

Nicko
12-22-2012, 11:48 AM
Thanks. Yup, I agree. Follow the instructions on the tin!

Captain Simian
12-22-2012, 12:29 PM
I just strung up a baritone with a set of Southcoast heavy strings with a high D. They sound great and the tension is perfect. I think you're risking damage putting those on a soprano.

Nicko
12-22-2012, 01:06 PM
Guess I'll set them aside until I get a baritone someday.

ukuhippo
12-23-2012, 12:39 AM
IIRC Dr.Bekken put them on a soprano, and allthough it's still in one piece he was reaaly worried about them snapping the neck/bridge of. Don't do it.

Nicko
12-23-2012, 01:54 AM
You can replace a Martin S1 anyway, its not like a vintage uke that is not made anymore.
I'd sure prefer not to, though. :eek:

drbekken
12-23-2012, 02:39 AM
IIRC Dr.Bekken put them on a soprano, and allthough it's still in one piece he was reaaly worried about them snapping the neck/bridge of. Don't do it.

I put the heavies on a cheapo soprano. The tension is VERY high. Do not put them on a ukulele that you are concerned about. The sound, however, was beyond belief. Still, I would not do it again. The heavy gauge strings are just right for a baritone; maybe a tenor in Bb tuning.

cahaya
12-23-2012, 03:10 AM
I remember on Southcoast website, it actually alert owner not to use heavy gauge strings on soprano. I am glad nothing happen to your instrument.
I just checked but I am not able to access their website at the moment (23rd Dec, 10.00pm Western Australia time)

PhilUSAFRet
12-23-2012, 03:16 AM
Any doubts, I'd check with Southcoast and follow their recommendations. Great customer service and info.

OldePhart
12-24-2012, 07:22 AM
OK, I'll be odd man out... :)

I haven't tried Southcoasts yet so I don't know how their "heavy" strings compare to Worth heavy (CH) strings but, assuming they are similar I'd go for it as I have had very good results with CH strings on my Mainland mahogany soprano. I've been using them on it since June of 2012. I also had them on my Mainland mango soprano until I decided to try some KoOlau gold strings on it about 2 months ago. No problems so far on either uke and the heavy strings made both of them cannons! Both sounded good with CM strings but they are amazing with the CH strings. Very good intonation all the way up the neck (that surprised me more than anything) - huge volume and great tone.

I've been keeping an eye on the bridge, top, and neck but so far no issues. The sound is so good that I decided even if it did end up eventually pulling the bridge loose I would simply repair it with dowels and keep using the heavy strings!

Again, that is Worth CH strings and I don't know how they compare with the Southcoast heavy strings. These are definitely higher tension than most ukes - being closer to a tenor than your typical soprano. For me that is perfect as I dislike the wimpy feels of most sopranos (my fingers feel like they are going to get tangled in the strings on most sopranos). As for the tension being too much, I don't think it's going to be an issue. When you think about it the total tension is still far less than what you find on a typical classical guitar and most of those have simple glued bridges - albeit ones with a little more contact area.

I guess in the end it all depends on how much risk you are willing to take for better tone. Myself, I'll take quite a bit especially when the "risk" results in a uke that I wouldn't trade for any other I've played, not even my KoAloha.

BTW, YMMV - I tried CH strings on the KoAloha longneck soprano and couldn't get them off quickly enough - it had a very pinched sound with the high-tension strings.

John

anthonyg
12-24-2012, 11:50 PM
I'll just add that while I'm certainly NOT recommending fitting heavy strings and tuning them up to standard pitch you could experiment with fitting heavy gauge strings and tuning them to a lower pitch than standard thereby reducing the tension of the heavy gauge strings to something the instrument could handle. Maybe not as low as DGBE but somewhere in between they should probably feel right.

I've fitted baritone strings to a tenor and I certainly wouldn't want to take the tenor up to GCEA with the baritone strings on it.

Anthony

hmgberg
12-25-2012, 01:29 AM
"I'm not entirely convinced that it is possible to polish a turd. However, I am sure that if one were to accomplish that feat one would still have a turd, and one all the more noticeable for being shiny."

Buying a turd because it is shiny is like buying a painting because it is big.

Another interesting statement, John. Happy New Year!

drbekken
12-25-2012, 12:32 PM
Just a comment to John/OldePhart:
It is interesting to notice how heavy gauge strings actually bring about better intonation on various ukuleles. I have three baritones, all of them cheap. One of them had such awful intonation when I took it out of the box that I almost threw it away. I filed down uneven frets, and did other adjustments....to little avail. However, when I put heavy gauge strings on it, the intonation problems became minimal. Now, I really like the instrument! It's a JOHNSON - a low end cheapo easily available through various web outlets. Don't buy it if you're not prepared to do some work, though... But OldePhart is right: Good strings can do wonders for intonation.

OldePhart
12-26-2012, 09:30 AM
"I'm not entirely convinced that it is possible to polish a turd. However, I am sure that if one were to accomplish that feat one would still have a turd, and one all the more noticeable for being shiny."

Buying a turd because it is shiny is like buying a painting because it is big.

Another interesting statement, John. Happy New Year!

BWAAA-HAAAA - I love people who notice silly sig-lines. :)

John

OldePhart
12-26-2012, 09:34 AM
Just a comment to John/OldePhart:
It is interesting to notice how heavy gauge strings actually bring about better intonation on various ukuleles. I have three baritones, all of them cheap. One of them had such awful intonation when I took it out of the box that I almost threw it away. I filed down uneven frets, and did other adjustments....to little avail. However, when I put heavy gauge strings on it, the intonation problems became minimal. Now, I really like the instrument! It's a JOHNSON - a low end cheapo easily available through various web outlets. Don't buy it if you're not prepared to do some work, though... But OldePhart is right: Good strings can do wonders for intonation.

Cool! I hadn't strung up enough of these to notice it as a general trend. Physics is way outside of my expertise but I wonder if maybe at high tensions the relative variations in tension between fretted and unfretted become less significant.

John