View Full Version : Sourthcoast XXL Strings + Mainland Mango = New Soprano!!

01-26-2013, 05:52 AM
I ordered the Extra Light Gauge Linear strings (new item) from Southcoast and put them on my Mainland Mango, and it sounds fantastic!! The upshot is: My arthritis is preventing me from playing anything larger than a soprano right now, and I wanted to play linear (low G) songs. I haven't like the sound of any low G string on a soprano, so I ordered these strings which basically make each string 5 notes higher. I love the bright sound and I can play songs written for a low G by using the same tabs as usual. (I wouldn't be "in tune" with a group tuned in C) I'm very pleased as you can tell!

Here is a copy of what Dirk from Southcoast wrote here earlier:

"For those who like key of G, and for those who like linear tuning for small ukes, this set does both. It's d' g' b' e", or an octave up from what is traditional on a Baritone.

Believe it or not, a variant of this tuning, d' g' b' d", or open G was likely the original tuning for the Machete, or early ukulele. You can either relax the 1st string to try it that way, or we offer an additonal 1st w/ a little more tension. It comes from our new dedicated Machete Ukulele set.

It's a beautiful fit for a Soprano, as the low note in either of these tunings (d'), is the same low note from the old "Ukulele Standard" Key of D tuning. Cavaquinho players never lost the open tuning, but now a lot of them play the linear "guitar" set-up as well.

You could say it's a great new sound for a Soprano, or you could say it's kinda like the great old lost sound of the Soprano - either way you'd be right."
Last edited by southcoastukes; 01-17-2013 at 05:18 PM.

01-26-2013, 01:24 PM
Should I move this to the review thread?

01-26-2013, 02:39 PM
Interesting, I'd be curious to hear a sound clip if you have any... thanks !

01-26-2013, 06:08 PM
Many thanks for the review, hibiscus - am pleased to hear the strings worked out well. (BTW, you are growing all over my yard). A couple of slight adjustments - it's the XLL set (Extra Light Linear), and "low G" might be a bit confusing, as g' is the 3rd string, and an octave above a Baritone tuning.

It's funny in a way - the mainland boys have tried all these years to turn the ukulele into a "Little Guitar", and if they'd just dug into the history of the instrument a bit, they'd have seen the Angeline Nunes Method book from 1915 -she claimed the original tuning for the Ukulele as: d' g' b' d". We have strings for that tuning as well, calling them the Machete Ukulele set, and you can get an extra 1st string with the XLL set to try both ways - the original Machete tuning or "guitar style": d' g' b' e".

xyz: We don't have a sound sample, as hardly anyone has played an ukulele in that tuning for 100 years. I'll post a nice instructional video that will give you a taste. You don't have to speak Portugese to follow along.

The Cavaquinho started out as pretty much the same instrument as the Ukulele. It developed differently - they kept the open G tuning, although now a substantial number play "guitar style". Their instruments got bigger, however, and they went to steel strings. The sound is therefore brighter than what you would hear on a nylon strung Soprano, but you'll get a rough idea.

At the same time, you can learn a beautiful composition by Antonio Carlos Jobim, the beloved Carinhoso.

(correction: covered by Jobim - wrtten by Pixinguinha)


01-27-2013, 05:44 AM
Thanks for clearing things up, Dirk~ I love this sound sample, and my uke sounds very similar. I'm excited to have a new sound so easily and highly recommend these strings!

01-27-2013, 07:01 AM
Thanks Dirk ! Beautiful composition !

01-27-2013, 07:02 PM
Thanks Dirk ! Beautiful composition !

Glad you liked it! It's one of my favorites - - and soooo - - completely off topic: that melody is so lovely it can really work as an instrumental. The Cavaco duet shows that - Jobim's version was instrumental as well - but I just can't resist posting this version with vocals.


01-27-2013, 07:16 PM
Wow, that's a nice rendition of a beautiful song. I've been a Bossa Nova fan since my college days.

01-28-2013, 05:36 AM
Magnificent !

01-28-2013, 04:58 PM
Thanks guys -

It is a very pretty song, but I'll get back on topic, now.

Of course, all kinds of guitar sheet music is available for use with the standard XLL strings, but friend James Hall in Hawaii reminds me that the open G (Machete) tuning is also a traditional favorite for blues picking (yes, there are even blues players in Hawaii).

d' g' b' d" also of course, are the notes of the banjo (with an octave difference & minus the 5th string), so there's a lot of sheet music available there, and coming from that background, you can see how it's a great choice for clawhammer stylings.

Here's an actual ukulele (not cavaco or guitar) video in open G. It's one of a series of clawhammer instructions, but this 1st one talks about the tunings more than the technique. Soprano players, I'm sure, will forgive him for playing that big giant Baritone Ukulele, and playing an octave low.


We're very exited to bring back these old Soprano sounds, not solely for their pure historical sake, but because they extend the possibilities for the Soprano with viable, appropriate and fully resonant tunings. We would like to think that Ms. Angeline Nunes would approve.

I'm sure she's smiling down on Ms. hibiscus.


mm stan
01-28-2013, 05:21 PM
I also like to tune my first sting a whole step down too...for me I enjoy it that way....combined with drop tuning is gives me I sound I prefer...

01-29-2013, 06:08 AM
You have added some great clips, Dirk! Still lovin' my Soprano with XLL strings:o

01-29-2013, 03:55 PM
I also like to tune my first sting a whole step down too...for me I enjoy it that way....combined with drop tuning is gives me I sound I prefer...

Stan, I didn't know you were a slacker!

Demo video maybe? One where you speak / sing clearly into the camera? I always understand better when I see the face and the lips moving.