View Full Version : Tenor Strings on a Soprano

08-02-2013, 07:43 AM
Hello all!

So, I successfully performed my first restringing last night as the strings on my new (used) uke were pretty yucky sounding. And I must say, I don't think i've ever cursed so much in my life! haha.

When I was done, I noticed on the package that they were tenor strings! They sound great on my soprano, so I should be ok, right?

Thanks for any input!

Radio Flyer
08-02-2013, 05:34 PM
i'm kind of new here but i'll offer one opinion....i'd call someone on one of the uke site here and ask if the tension is O.K. for a soprano. the tenor strings might be a little heavier gauge and when tuned to the correct notes might be pulling a little harder on the bridge than is safe. i don't know for sure so wait for a competent answer and maybe loosen the strings a tad.

Johnny GDS
08-02-2013, 05:43 PM
The tension should be fine, the diameters are different between soprano and tenor strings, but it won't be structurally dangerous for the instrument. They might be a little clunky sounding, but I'd leave them on and get the use out of them since you already strung it up. Just out of curiosity, what strings are they?

08-02-2013, 05:48 PM
On a modern soprano I will run the heaviest strings that don't squish the sound (as you increase tension the volume and tone increase to a point, then go back down if the tension gets high enough to over-stress the top). I run the equivalent of Worth CH strings on some of my sopranos (that's a heavier set than the Worth tenor strings). There is some risk that it will pull the bridge off - oh well, I don't look at it as an heirloom anyway. It's a tool and I want it to perform to its maximum and if something happens where I need to repair or replace it that's fine.

Where I don't run Worth CH strings on a soprano I will usually run concert strings. FOr example my mango soprano is kind of piercing with the Worth CH strings so I use a concert set of Ko'Olau gold strings.

On my Kiwaya longneck I run CH strings, but my KoAloha longneck soprano won't handle the tension (clamps the sound down) so I run a tenor Alohi set.

Higher tension usually intonates more evenly up the neck, too.

That said, tenor strings on a soprano might need to have the nut slots widened a little. Otherwise the strings will might not sit fully in the slots which will ruin the intonation at the first couple of frets.


08-02-2013, 09:11 PM
Where I don't run Worth CH strings on a soprano I will usually run concert strings.
Some sets are sold as soprano/concert using the same diameter. So a tenor set couple be more like one jump than two.

08-02-2013, 10:20 PM
John, as usual, has an insightful and well-thought answer.

I, personally, wouldn't do it at standard GCEA tension. Sopranos, by definition, have lower tension strings than concerts and tenors. A dishing or bellying soundboard in front of the bridge or a yanked off bridge that needs professional regluing is a possibility. Why take the chance when restringing takes, what, five bucks and ten minutes? Maybe nine minutes if you can ditch the cursing. Lol.

I might try downtuning the uke a step or two, say to B tuning, just to see if lower tension still sounds good ( just tune each string down the same amount with your tuner), but then, as John said, the strings may rattle as they will be slightly more " flabby" in the nut slots, which are cut for thinner soprano strings. Your tenor strings will sit higher in the nut slots.

Conversely, if it's a cheap soprano, then what the heck. Lol. Let 'er rip with the fat, high tension strings, at least until you can get some baritone strings for it next. Lol.

08-03-2013, 07:24 AM
Thanks everyone for the input!

They are D'addario Black Nylon. They seem to fit fairly well in the nut slots. You all did get me pretty nervous about the tension so I ordered some new strings! (I had to order another set for my previous uke, anyway!) I ordered D'addario T2's (my buddy has them on his and they sound super bright, which I liked) and Aquila Nygluts. Just have to figure out which set to put on which uke!

I probably won't be cursing as much next time cause there won't be so much extra string to contend with. Haha.

You all have been very helpful and know how to make a Dude feel welcome :)