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View Full Version : Baritone Strings! Which to get?



BBJohn
08-14-2013, 01:45 PM
Hi everyone,

So i just bought my first baritone and I'm not sure what is going to sound good on it. It's a Pono all solid mahogany bari, and these are the strings i found on HMS.

Koolau Alohi/ Mahana/ Gold
Worth Clear
D'Addario EJ88B
Aquila Nygut

Which one is the best in you opinion? Any o there suggestion?

Also, if it says "plain" is it the regular DGBE (low D)? or do i have to choose the "wound 3rd + 4th" option to get a low D set?

Sincerely,
John

PhilUSAFRet
08-14-2013, 01:53 PM
Please read to see why you should seriously consider Southcoast strings for your baritone. Lots of good string sets out there that folks are happy with, but there's been a lot of feedback on UU re: marked improvement in all areas when switching from other strings to Southcoasts. It's all very subjective.

http://www.southcoastukes.com/philosophy.htm

Jim Hanks
08-14-2013, 02:38 PM
If you want all unwound, Living Water is your best bet, IMO. Maybe your only option for unwound low D. If you want to tune a little higher, you can use most "low G" tenor sets if they are long enough.

BBJohn
08-14-2013, 02:52 PM
I have started to use classical guitar strings, the high four, check out your local music store and see what they have. Red augustines are my current favourite.

Does it make the baritone sounds like guitar a lot more than other uku bari strings?

BBJohn
08-14-2013, 03:03 PM
Please read to see why you should seriously consider Southcoast strings for your baritone. Lots of good string sets out there that folks are happy with, but there's been a lot of feedback on UU re: marked improvement in all areas when switching from other strings to Southcoasts. It's all very subjective.

http://www.southcoastukes.com/philosophy.htm

hi Phil,
Thank for the reply!
I was reading the description on the website but i got a little confused about these strings.
So what i want is a set of Low d, DGBE set, so it is in Linear set, Key of G, i guess?
But i could only find Key of G for 23 inch...

Can you tell me which string is for the baritone for Low d, DGBE??
Thx!

Jim Hanks
08-14-2013, 04:48 PM
My reading of Southcoast is that they do not support linear G for 20" scale. If you don't want to try the Living Waters, there are a few cheaper options here - http://www.stringsandbeyond.com/ukelele.html

BBJohn
08-14-2013, 05:26 PM
My reading of Southcoast is that they do not support linear G for 20" scale. If you don't want to try the Living Waters, there are a few cheaper options here - http://www.stringsandbeyond.com/ukelele.html

Thx for reply Jim,
Did you experience any loose low d with your living waters string?

jackwhale
08-14-2013, 05:31 PM
After trying a bunch of different strings, I like Worth clears with a wound guitar string for the 4th string.

mm stan
08-14-2013, 05:52 PM
Aloha John,
There is no one overall string for a uke.... I would listen to my uke with the current strings you have on now, then think if you want it to be brighter
or warmer...the playability(strings too stiff) and more comfortable.... as for strings the softer compound and thinner it will play thinner but be more
comfortable and and be higher toned....the thicker strings harder strings will give it a better intonation and clearer sound, but may be stiff for comfort
in playing and your fingers may get sore...it a trade off to find the happy medium for you....
Aqula is brighter tone, worth clears depends on the tension you get....Daddario, don't like them and Koolau alohi is a thicker string from more warmth
Maybe martins or southcoast would be a better choice......good luck...keep trying until you find the perfect match for you
hey even my harmony I love, get this hilo on it.... it was the only string set I had and I was surprised when I slapped them on....

Jim Hanks
08-14-2013, 06:51 PM
Did you experience any loose low d with your living waters string?
I don't find it too floppy. I have it on the Lanikai which is the longer scale like your Pono so I think it would work fine. It will be a little thicker than a wound string but I much prefer the feel and the warmer tone of the unwound.

igorthebarbarian
08-14-2013, 07:58 PM
Ken at Living Water can also make a high D re-entrant set dGBE. Living Waters are good strings if you don't want any wound strings. Ken ships fairly quickly to the USA; he's in the UK I believe.

I prefer the Living Water baritone all fluro over the Worth Clear Baritones. The D on the Worth's was way too floppy and loose.

As jackwhale said below, you can swap out the low D for a regular old guitar string D if you like Worth Clears on the GBE. But then you're mixing and matching and frankly I'm kind of lazy...


Does it make the baritone sounds like guitar a lot more than other uku bari strings?

Teek
08-14-2013, 09:20 PM
+1 for Southcoasts. I have a set of all unwound linear C tuning Southcoasts on my Martin baritone and it sounds lovely. I just got an order from Dirk (who provides awesome customer service) at Southcoast today of a medium gauge smooth wound set for standard baritone tuning which I will try when it gets back from a luthier because of a bridge issue. The wound strings have a nice feel and I think I will be very pleased with them when I put the bari back into standard linear tuning.

I just strung my Kanile'a all koa tenor deluxe with new Southcoasts today, I previously had Worth clears on it which I also recommend, and it sounds awesome. The Southcoasts have a little less tension than the Worths so are also very responsive, with a lot of ring on this uke, and make hammering on, sliding and bending very silky and easy. I also have a set on a koa Maui Music 6 string, and I have Worth clears on a Pono 6. Very happy with both.

I'd suggest contacting Dirk at sales@southcoastukes.com with any questions and he can probably make suggestions based on what you are looking for as far as tuning and tension. From my personal experience on many different ukes over a couple of years I would say that Southcoast strings should definitely have a prominent place in your string drawer.

BBJohn
08-14-2013, 10:35 PM
+1 for Southcoasts. I have a set of all unwound linear C tuning Southcoasts on my Martin baritone and it sounds lovely. I just got an order from Dirk (who provides awesome customer service) at Southcoast today of a medium gauge smooth wound set for standard baritone tuning which I will try when it gets back from a luthier because of a bridge issue. The wound strings have a nice feel and I think I will be very pleased with them when I put the bari back into standard linear tuning.

I just strung my Kanile'a all koa tenor deluxe with new Southcoasts today, I previously had Worth clears on it which I also recommend, and it sounds awesome. The Southcoasts have a little less tension than the Worths so are also very responsive, with a lot of ring on this uke, and make hammering on, sliding and bending very silky and easy. I also have a set on a koa Maui Music 6 string, and I have Worth clears on a Pono 6. Very happy with both.


Hey Teek,
Worth Clear and PHD are my current favorite strings! Since you have experienced both worth and southcoast, can you share a little more about it?
How are they differ in tone / clarity ...etc?

Strumdaddy
08-15-2013, 12:21 AM
Thx for reply Jim,
Did you experience any loose low d with your living waters string?

I have a Pono mahogany baritone..... I actually got a baritone for the lowest uke experience I could have, so wanted to stick with (low)DGBE - even though a higher tuning would suit the body size/resonance (as Southcoast Dirk rightfully says). So the choice ends up being wound versus unwound. I have tried various wound bass strings and just prefer the feel of all plain - though, in order to get the low D and G, wound strings give a better balance of tension with the plain B and E. All plain means that the thick D and G strings do have less tension than the other two (especially the D). I have Living Water low D's on there now, and find that the lower strings have just enough tension to keep it playable. Another way to go would be to just have a wound D string - it doesn't get as much action as the others, and when it does, it has a nice, tighter sound.
If - however - you are not attached to the "lowness" factor then try a Bb or C tuning.
You will probably have to go on a string journey for a while to see what feels right... it can be fun!

BBJohn
08-15-2013, 12:38 AM
You will probably have to go on a string journey for a while to see what feels right... it can be fun!

Haha ya, just like I found my favorite tenor string - PHD after like 8 other sets of strings( Koolau gold/alohi/ mahana, Aquila nygut/red, Worth Clear/ Brown, Fremont black), in 3 weeks XD
Hopefully i find the right string sooner this time so i dont waste money!

Strumdaddy
08-15-2013, 12:51 AM
Yeah! I ended up at PHD for one of my tenors - via several other brands, then got a package in the mail.... I had kind of forgotten about the Saverez strings I had ordered (takes a while to get to Australia). I put them on yesterday. They are THE ONES!!! Till the next ones. (No , really they are) (??).......

fierobeach
08-15-2013, 02:04 AM
I really suggest you read the tunings section on the Southcoast website: http://www.southcoastukes.com/tunings2.htm
Having just ventured into the baritone ukulele format with a Lanikai (gambler's special from Butler Music), I tried the Southcoast medium flat wound strings tuned to bflat, and they did indeed make that uke sparkle.
I just bought a Pono MB and have installed Southcoast smooth wound mediums tuned to bflat, which give a very resonant and clear projection vs the Koolau's that were on it.
All subjective, I know, but Dirk knows his stuff when it comes to resonance and tuning imho.

Jon Moody
08-15-2013, 02:41 AM
Does it make the baritone sounds like guitar a lot more than other uku bari strings?

The tuning and larger body have a greater effect on having the bari uke sound more like a guitar than the actual strings. I wouldn't be surprised if there is a set of bari strings that IS a repackaged classical guitar set.

I'm currently using a prototype set of fluorocarbon/classical guitar strings and my bari sounds great. It has a sweet tone to it, while still warm.

ralphk
08-15-2013, 03:07 AM
I am using the Southcoast HU-W3 set on my Pono baritone (cedar/acacia), tuned G with a high D. This sounds very nice to my ears. I am using the wound 3rd string, but have an unwound that I can try later. The sustain is very impressive and Dirk's wound strings are very smooth and polished -- not like most wound strings. I believe extra manufacturing processes necessary to get the polished feel is very valuable. I am kind of a string junkie and I think I will stick with these.

bnolsen
08-15-2013, 06:16 AM
I'm using cuatro C tuning but I would be tempted to also vote for reentrant dGBE type tuning. A bari is supposed to still be a ukulele right? I tried low 'D' fluorocarbons (I think worth browns) and wasn't too pleased with the tension before string swapping over to cuatro C.