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View Full Version : Heh, heh, my KoAloha is beginning to show the love...



OldePhart
03-25-2013, 04:09 PM
I changed strings on the KoAloha longneck soprano today. Whenever I do that I always get out the Renaissance wax and wax the soundboard, fretboard, and headstock. Today I noticed that the shiny spots in the first position are now more than just shiny and have just begun to show the dimples that Koa fretboards tend to develop with a lot of play. And here I was feeling almost guilty over neglecting the KoAloha this past several months because I've spent most of my playing time on the Mainland mahogany soprano. LOL

BTW, I'm trying Ko'Olau Alohi's for the first time. I'd tried Ko'Olau Gold strings on it and hated them (love them on both of my mango ukes, though). Actually, this might not be completely the first Alohi strings I've tried - I think that is what was on my Pono baritone when I first got it - the trebles on it were the same color anyway.

So far I like these, the tone is lovely, though the volume and brightness are both way down from the medium gage Seaguar clear fluorocarbon leaders I had on it. Intonation up the neck seems to be a little better, which I'm hoping means maybe when they settle in it will be a lot better.

These are also settling in a lot faster than Golds. Typically I don't even try to play a uke the day I restring - I just tune it a step high and then keep checking it and retuning it a step high. This time I did that four or five times then left the uke sit while I read for an hour or so. Surprisingly, when I picked it up it was still a half step high and when I tuned it normally I played for probably twenty or thirty minutes without needing to retune.

I think I like the tone of the clear fluorocarbons slightly better, but if the intonation of these does end up significantly better I'll probably keep the Alohi strings. I think it's mostly the wonky intonation of the clear fluorocarbons that is the main reason I've spent so much time playing the Mainland because it intonates much better up the neck.

Interestingly, the KoAloha is the only uke I've got that doesn't intonate all that well with those clear fluorocarbon strings - go figure. :)

chrimess
03-25-2013, 04:19 PM
How about some brown fat Worths?

OldePhart
03-25-2013, 04:28 PM
This uke really hates high tension strings. I put some Seaguar leaders in the same gages as a Worth CH set on it and it clamped the sound right down to absolutely nothing. I think the thin, very lightly braced top just can't deal well with that much tension. It really disappointed me because those same strings are mahvelous on a couple of other ukes I have - having incredible volume and tone and wonderful intonation, but those ukes aren't so lightly built.

John

chrimess
03-25-2013, 04:32 PM
Makes sense, how about Living Water strings, then? They are pretty low tension.

stevepetergal
03-25-2013, 04:57 PM
I'll be very interested in your final analysis of the Alohis. I tried the Golds on my Koaloha and hated them, too.

coolkayaker1
03-25-2013, 05:13 PM
"Today I noticed that the shiny spots in the first position are now more than just shiny and have just begun to show the dimples that Koa fretboards tend to develop with a lot of play. "


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H22t-tiWiLw

Frax
03-25-2013, 08:09 PM
This in interesting.
My ksm-02 has worth clear and I wouldn't change them ;)
Makes me wanna try your other strings...

Could you tell me what kind of wax you use in that case please ?

OldePhart
03-26-2013, 08:14 AM
I'll be very interested in your final analysis of the Alohis. I tried the Golds on mt Koaloha and hated them, too.

The Golds were very lifeless on my KoAloha which really surprised me because on both of my mango ukes (tenor and soprano) they are lovely.

So far I like the Alohi's - not enough to rave over them but enough that they'll probably stay on until they're getting worn out - the intonation is a little better than with the clear fluorocarbons, but still not as good as I think I could get if I could just put high-tension strings on it. I think I'm going to order some saddle blanks and actually glue up a thick saddle so I can properly compensate it. If I do that I'll probably go back to the clear fluorocarbons as the tone is a bit clearer and more "sparkly" with them.

The Alohi's do exhibit some of the temperature sensitive thing (going slightly sharp when you first start playing) that the Golds do, but not to as great a degree. It's really not a problem if you know it's going to happen, but I've never seen that happen with fluorocarbon or Nylgut strings.

John

OldePhart
03-26-2013, 08:17 AM
This in interesting.
My ksm-02 has worth clear and I wouldn't change them ;)
Makes me wanna try your other strings...

Could you tell me what kind of wax you use in that case please ?

I use Renaissance Wax. It's expensive but the small tin I bought years ago is still half full and I've used it on flutes, firearms, guitars, and now ukuleles for years.

As for changing the strings - I'm not necessarily recommending these unless you're not happy with the intonation of the clears. The intonation is a little better with these but the tone is not quite as nice - unless you're trying to bring the "sparkle" factor down a little, in which case they might suit you well.


John

OldePhart
03-26-2013, 08:19 AM
Makes sense, how about Living Water strings, then? They are pretty low tension.

I haven't tried those yet. I keep meaning to order some but haven't gotten around to it. Maybe I need to do that.

John

OldePhart
03-26-2013, 08:22 AM
My Koa uses like low tension worth browns or hilos.
In golf they always replace divots. Do you carry a tin of sawdust around?

Hah, hah. Nah, I was actually a little happy to see those divots (though they might be indicating I need to be more diligent about keeping my left-hand fingernails trimmed back). Still...those divots mean I'm managing to still get some serious uke playing time in in spite of the current pressures at work!

John

OldePhart
04-03-2013, 11:25 AM
It's been over a week now. The strings haven't fully settled in but they're getting close. The intonation up the neck is significantly better than with the clear medium fluorocarbon strings, so I have the feeling these are going to be the strings for this uke unless I get up the gumption to glue up and carve a proper compensated bridge.

The volume is noticeably less than with the clear fluorocarbon strings, but KoAloha ukes deliver volume in buckets so that's not really a problem.

The tone is a little more mellow than the clear fluorocarbon strings, but not "dull" like it was with Ko'Olau golds. The KoAloha "openness" and "richness" remain. I guess if I could get the intonation of these with the tone of the clear fluorocarbons that would be even better. But, the tone of these is good and I have to pay attention to the fact that for the past week I've been playing this uke a lot more, and farther up the neck, than I was with the other strings.

I guess that's one of the curses of playing really "tightly intonated" instruments and developing your ear...you become less tolerant of anything out of tune no matter how good it may be in other respects. I have to smile when I think about all the times over the years that my blind friend with perfect pitch complained about the intonation on my guitars and I just couldn't fathom what he was talking about... LOL

Anyway, these strings have brought back the fun of the KoAloha for me so, yeah, unless you wish your KoAloha strung with clear fluorocarbon strings was even brighter and louder :) then the Ko'Olau Alohi strings might be worth trying.

Edit: Oh...and I meant to mention. Since the strings have stretched in they seem to have lost most, if not quite all, the tendency to go sharp as you begin playing. I still think they have a little of the temperature sensitive characteristic of the Ko'Olau Gold strings, but nowhere near to the same degree.

John



I'll be very interested in your final analysis of the Alohis. I tried the Golds on mt Koaloha and hated them, too.


The Golds were very lifeless on my KoAloha which really surprised me because on both of my mango ukes (tenor and soprano) they are lovely.

So far I like the Alohi's - not enough to rave over them but enough that they'll probably stay on until they're getting worn out - the intonation is a little better than with the clear fluorocarbons, but still not as good as I think I could get if I could just put high-tension strings on it. I think I'm going to order some saddle blanks and actually glue up a thick saddle so I can properly compensate it. If I do that I'll probably go back to the clear fluorocarbons as the tone is a bit clearer and more "sparkly" with them.

The Alohi's do exhibit some of the temperature sensitive thing (going slightly sharp when you first start playing) that the Golds do, but not to as great a degree. It's really not a problem if you know it's going to happen, but I've never seen that happen with fluorocarbon or Nylgut strings.

John

hibiscus
04-03-2013, 05:38 PM
What did you think of the original strings? Thanks.

OldePhart
04-04-2013, 12:31 PM
What did you think of the original strings? Thanks.

I love the tone of the original strings; very clear and bright without being at all harsh. The intonation up the neck isn't great with them, though, and my tolerance for that out-of-tunedness is less than it used to be. :)

mm stan
04-04-2013, 03:07 PM
Yup I like the alohis the best out of the Koolau line strings..no doubt about that...hated the golds and mahana's....

808boy
04-04-2013, 03:56 PM
+1 on the Alohis also. Use them on all sizes of ukes tuned re-entrant. Low g's on my tenors has Southcoast exclusively, so does my 5 and 6 string tenors. Oh, that reminds me, gotta order a set for my newly aquired 8 string Nahenahe waiting for me in Maui...........................Bo................. ..