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Appalachian picker
02-27-2013, 04:12 PM
2 bari questions.....

1. Does wound strings necessarily mean steel strings? Are these terms synonymous?
2. With all the recent interest in baritones.....both modern and vintage, I was wondering about internal bracing and neck bracing and wondering how the instruments would hold up with wound or steel strings? Should I be concerned and base vintage vs modern choices on durability for handling these strings?

Thanks!

OldePhart
02-27-2013, 04:22 PM
wound strings doesn't mean "steel strings" even though the windings are sometimes chrome steel.

What establishes the tension is the core the winding is on. "Steel strings" are metal winding over a metal core and intended for high tension. "Classical" or "nylon" wound strings generally have a rope core and in any case they are lower tension.

Never put "steel strings" on a baritone uke - but on my linear baritone uke I use Thomastik-Infeld "chromium steel flat wound" classical guitar strings for the basses and they work quite nicely.

John

HoldinCoffee
02-27-2013, 04:28 PM
I wouldnt put steel guitar strings on a baritone uke. And I wouldn't recommend anyone else doing it either. Wound uke strings are not the same as steel strings.

If thats where you want to go, try http://www.southcoastukes.com/linear.htm : ML-CM: Medium Gauge Linear Set w/ classical metal (formerly G650 Linear w/ classical metals). You`d tune it to bflat.

Appalachian picker
02-27-2013, 05:50 PM
Thanks. I obviously don't know the difference between steel guitar strings and wound strings. Now I do!

pdxuke
02-27-2013, 06:01 PM
Thanks. I obviously don't know the difference between steel guitar strings and wound strings. Now I do!

Go into your local Guitar Center and look at the Martin acoustics and Yamaha guitars--almost all will be steel strings. Then go into the little room they have for "classical" or "folk" guitars. The first four strings will be nylon, and I think the 5th and 6th strings are wound and not steel. Any way, ukes use nylon, fluorocarbon, and other non-steel materials for the strings. The only scale that uses nylon wound in some sort of metal is the low g strings on a tenor uke, and the baritone tuned with "traditional strings" and DGBE tuning.

Hop in folks if I've got this wrong, but I think that's about the size of it.

Teek
07-23-2013, 02:59 PM
I was looking for a tenor guitar but the scale is a little long for me. I love the sound of steel string acoustics and in my travels via Google I came across this (http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/showthread.php?94568-Baritone-Uke-steel-string-conversion-results), from a player who did a pounds of tension for nylon vs steel strings, and came up with a very light steel set for a cheap baritone experiment. His theory was to match the tension.

I thought "Hmm". I hate the thought of steel strings on a uke causing damage! But. I found a bari for $55 (best offer) from Butler Music on eBay. Add shipping, I'm into it $69. I got a set of D'Addario 12 string guitar light steel strings (EJ36) because there were multiple of light strings and a better selection of sizes than say a regular 6 string light or extra light set. I used the .010, .014, .023, and .030 according to the aside about modulating the two bass strings. I could not find a string tension calculator on StewMac's site but did find one here (http://www.mcdonaldstrings.com/stringxxiii.html) at McDonald Strings. I set the scale at 51cm and came up with approximately 57.2 pounds after converting from kg.

I adjusted the saddle down to about half its original height which leaves it at a medium action with a little room for adjustment on the nut, but a good height for both picking and using a slide, then strung up this cheap little bari and compared to the Aquilas it came with it went from dead and dull sounding to a baby tenor guitar, with a lovely zing and a lively personality. I can see minor top deflection of the same degree as when it had Aquilas on it. I figured it was a cheap experiment, and if it pops it's bridge and doesn't take any top with it, I will bolt the bridge back on. I will detune it a little when not messing around with it, and see how long it lasts. It is a kick in the rear! Remember this is using very LIGHT steel strings made for guitar but also that you are tuning a much shorter hence lower tension scale.

I AM NOT ADVOCATING STEEL STRINGS, JUST SAYING IT CAN BE DONE. I strung up a cheap Lanikai of mediocre but playable quality. I would NOT put steel strings on a uke I cared even a little bit about. A tiple yes.

strumsilly
07-23-2013, 03:29 PM
Go into your local Guitar Center and look at the Martin acoustics and Yamaha guitars--almost all will be steel strings. Then go into the little room they have for "classical" or "folk" guitars. The first four strings will be nylon, and I think the 5th and 6th strings are wound and not steel. Any way, ukes use nylon, fluorocarbon, and other non-steel materials for the strings. The only scale that uses nylon wound in some sort of metal is the low g strings on a tenor uke, and the baritone tuned with "traditional strings" and DGBE tuning.

Hop in folks if I've got this wrong, but I think that's about the size of it.

actually, some sets use a wound string for the C on a tenor

Cornfield
07-23-2013, 03:31 PM
Try a tenor guitar. There are some inexpensive newer ones on the market, such as Blue Ridge. There are also vintage and other older tenor guitars. Some are a great bargain.
I recently got a 1928 Martin 2-18T. It's in the shop getting a neck reset. It is quite a bit smaller than my O size Martin parlor guitar. It's bigger than a baritone but not much.
It's also built for steel strings.

strumsilly
07-23-2013, 03:42 PM
I've bought a few vintage tenor guitars on the bay, and even when I asked if the neck was straight , they weren't ,and were unplayable. unless you wanted to play them with a slide. so I would go with a Blueridge or other new , unless I got to play it 1st.

connor013
07-23-2013, 04:06 PM
Don't have much to add, except:

1. Scored an eBay vintage (1960's) tenor guitar with a straight neck -- sorry strumsilly! And...

2. A brief inspection shows how much beefier the tenor guitar bracing is compared to my baritone.

So, I wouldn't try steel strings on a uke (unless you're willing to do some repairs down the road), but if you're really after that steel string twang (and sustain), I would absolutely recommend a tenor guitar. They're lots of fun.

Patrick Madsen
07-23-2013, 07:14 PM
I bought a Favilla baritone last winter. The guy had a steel string on the 1st and 4th, Must have been on a long time and eventually bowed the neck a bit. It's going to need a neck reset from the steel strings. I spoke with Tom Favilla, third generation Favilla instrument maker. He was really surprized the neck was bowed abit because their instruments are such good quality.

THe Favillas are a breed of their own,deep smokey bluesy sound. I have strung left handed for a couple of buddies to play as they are left handed. Perhaps this winter i'll get it done. No steel strings on a baritone. why take the chance,

Patrick Madsen
07-23-2013, 07:17 PM
I bought a Favilla baritone last winter. The guy had a steel string on the 1st and 4th, Must have been on a long time and eventually bowed the neck a bit. It's going to need a neck reset from the steel strings. I spoke with Tom Favilla, third generation Favilla instrument maker. He was really surprized the neck was bowed abit because their instruments are such good quality. Course when I mentioned the steel strings, he shook his head and said a kot of people did that n the '60s trying to get a guitar sound,

THe Favillas are a breed of their own,deep smokey bluesy sound. I have strung left handed for a couple of buddies to play as they are left handed. Perhaps this winter i'll get it done. No steel strings on a baritone. why take the chance,[/QUOTE]

mds725
07-23-2013, 10:04 PM
I've bought a few vintage tenor guitars on the bay, and even when I asked if the neck was straight , they weren't ,and were unplayable. unless you wanted to play them with a slide. so I would go with a Blueridge or other new , unless I got to play it 1st.

I have a Blueridge tenor guitar, which has steel strings, tuned DGBE (aka "Chicago tuning") and I play the heck out of it and love it. Keep in mined if you go the tenor guitar route that "steel strings will beat up your fretting fingers more than nylon strings and because tenor guitars evolved from tenor banjos, the most popular tuning of a tenor guitar is not DGBE. When I bought mine, I specifically requested DGBE tuning.