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View Full Version : Southcoast Strings - Completely Transformed my Uke!



blue_knight_usa
09-01-2013, 06:27 PM
All I can say is WOW! I decided to put a set of Southcoast MLSW's on my new Tazmanian Tiger Myrtle and Spruce tenor. This was high G which I loved when I got it but after a month of playing it every day, I realized, I'm just a low G guy period. Thus, the High G set of Worth Browns on there were just making me wanting a low G again even more.

The sound was clean crisp and bright. Nothing wrong with that for sure. However I decided I wanted to go to low G and also bring out as many mids and lows as well as tone down the trebles. I had a long discussion with Dirk at Southcoast and since I had not tried SC's yet, I decided to buy various sets to try them all out. I got 4 different sets of strings with an optional wound C on one of the sets to give me an option to try a wound and unwound on the same set.

Tonight I put on the MLSW's and I am amazed at the fantastically rich sound pumping out of my uke. The transformation is so fantastic, I will be making some sound samples and putting them up on my Sound Cloud account (I'll update this posting once it's up in the next day or so). I have never had a double wound set on a uke but I really like it on my Barron River. I do think any of my other favorites would of gotten me close as I do us a low G wound on just about all my ukes, but the wound G and C work very well. They are polished smooth wound bases which are nice.

So, I need to add to my favorites string list now. Savarez, PhD, Living Waters and now SouthCoast. Thanks Dirk if you ever read this for the great conversation and emails on all that great string info!

Cheers,

Dan Uke
09-01-2013, 06:44 PM
Great to see that you found the right set for your uke!!

greenie44
09-01-2013, 07:09 PM
Hey Jay -

Any recommendations for a Collings UT2K?

Hammond
09-01-2013, 08:31 PM
Great share!:D Thank you!
Congratulations your favorites list has grow longer. Nice to see people find joys in ukulele. This one now goes into my 'to try' list.

Newportlocal
09-01-2013, 08:33 PM
Haha glad you like them. That is what I am using on my CR.

blue_knight_usa
09-01-2013, 08:42 PM
Hi Greenie, depends on if you are looking for low G and the sound you want. These SC's would probably work very well but you will have two wounds on the uke (not sure if that bothers you or now. Some people only want unwound but I have learned to look for what brings out the best sound to my ears (volume/clarity/tone). If you don't like a wound C, you can get a set from SC without a wound.

Option #2 and if I had not bought a bunch of SC's (which I believe would work well) I would use Savarez for the UT2K.

I think the Savarez's would work nicely. I use them on several of ukes and my Kanilea Koa sounds incredible with Savarez. I had tried numerous uke sets on that uke and a few years back when a friend turned me on to the Savarez guitar strings (years before they came out with their uke set) and recently went with a Fremont Low G polished squeekless wound. I tend to lean to the Savarez a bit more than other strings on that uke as the Savarez's give just a tad more projection and I really like the tension of those strings. I still would use a wound low G Fremont as I am probably in the minority (just a guess and could be wrong) who has been moving toward a wound low G (and now maybe wound C's as well on several ukes. You have to try the polished wound vs. unwound to feel and hear the difference (I would highly recommend to try it and see if you like it). The cost of the Fremont low G is small for what might be a big return to your ears but it's personal preference. I tend to like a richer sounding uke with more mid and lows vs. the trebles but that's my ears. I gave away several Fremont low G's (no tie to the company, just love those strings) and the folks who have used them couldn't believe the difference they made. My buddy put them on an old vintage tenor from the 40's (I think 40s) he had and it just made it come alive. I was amazed at the difference. Just that one string made a significant difference in the sound it brought out in the lower tons of that instrument. Gave it a real nice richness to the sound but clarity in that sound.

All personal preference at the end of the day for sure, but that's just my .02.
Cheers!




Hey Jay -

Any recommendations for a Collings UT2K?

blue_knight_usa
09-01-2013, 08:58 PM
It will be interesting to see what sounds best on my CR when it gets completed. Being it's a larger scale than a tenor, I have no idea what's going to work well. I am going to send Rick or maybe do it when I get the uke, a set of LLNW's from SC as well as some Savarez as I can use their Alliance Series in a nylon wound, or maybe La Bella Pro's which I just tried today during the shooting of my next review of the "Tiny Tenor". So many strings, so little time. I have to get some Oasis next. Those are fairly new I believe and I have not used those but it will be a good six months before I test those as after about 30 string changes in the last few months on my ukes, I'm done for a while, having found the best sets for them all...that was an expensive experiment!


Haha glad you like them. That is what I am using on my CR.

gyosh
09-01-2013, 09:01 PM
I really feel that you need a wound C to balance the boominess of a low G.

I've used wound C, wound G almost from the start of my playing. Dirk helped to understand what I was hearing and I've been a Southcoast fan ever since. I still have three sets of their old linear sets, but I'm currently using the smooth wound.

For non-wound sets I prefer the PhD's for their balanced sound as well.

blue_knight_usa
09-02-2013, 05:38 AM
I really feel that you need a wound C to balance the boominess of a low G.

I've used wound C, wound G almost from the start of my playing. Dirk helped to understand what I was hearing and I've been a Southcoast fan ever since. I still have three sets of their old linear sets, but I'm currently using the smooth wound.

For non-wound sets I prefer the PhD's for their balanced sound as well.

Tnx Gary. I too am finding the same. I really like the wound C. Dirk is definitely an encyclopedia when it comes to string knowledge and they have great info on their site. I am really digging this new set. I used the PhD too on my KoAloha but use a polished wound Fremont on it and the sond its perfectly balanced. No booming.

It's great having so many options for strings.

We gotta jam soon!

BigD
09-02-2013, 06:31 AM
I just made a post about folks opinions on the southcoast linear sets and this is great to hear! Im excited to order mine and im excited to try the wound c! Maybe im part of the minority as well but i really feel like im going to like wound strings. So do you think the MSLWs are a good choice compared to the other sets? Their site is very informative to the point where i was slightly confused lol

hawaii 50
09-03-2013, 03:49 PM
I really feel that you need a wound C to balance the boominess of a low G.

I've used wound C, wound G almost from the start of my playing. Dirk helped to understand what I was hearing and I've been a Southcoast fan ever since. I still have three sets of their old linear sets, but I'm currently using the smooth wound.

For non-wound sets I prefer the PhD's for their balanced sound as well.


Hey Gary I hear the Low G is a Fremont Soloist polished type string are they gold in color?...on the MLSW's
is the C string polished too? and is this a silver string...

gyosh
09-03-2013, 06:49 PM
Hey Gary I hear the Low G is a Fremont Soloist polished type string are they gold in color?...on the MLSW's
is the C string polished too? and is this a silver string...

Yes and yes

The gold looks pretty cool against the black of my uke.

hawaii 50
09-03-2013, 06:53 PM
Yes and yes

The gold looks pretty cool against the black of my uke.


Haha Gary

that is what I thought...I emailed Takumi Ukulele to see if Fremont might make a gold Soloist Polished C string too...that would be nice...then I can match up with my favorite E and A string...

yes that would be cool if you match up 2 gold strings on your CR...wow

Dan Uke
09-03-2013, 07:24 PM
I think I'm one of the few that likes the squeek of the old round ones better and the tension. However, I agree with everyone about having 2 wounds to balance the boominess of the low G string

Patrick Madsen
09-03-2013, 07:43 PM
I agree about the old SC RW's being my preference also. I find the new Southcoast too soft. I'm getting my Griffin back this weekend after having the neck shaved down and will be trying out the new set Bad Monkey sent me to try out from GHS/ Looking forward to them. THey are Fluros with high tension. Should be perfect for finger pickin'

southcoastukes
09-03-2013, 07:57 PM
Thanks Blue - & gyosh too, for the kind words.

h50 - we can't make the same material we use for the 4th string in a diameter that would work for a third. It is a bit unusual and compared to a normal wound string, it has its limitations.

We do have another more conventional polished "gold" material that would work for a 3rd string, but to our ears it's a lot brighter and more metallic at the diameter that would be required, and so it sounds out of place compared to the "silver" material we have in this set. We'd also like to have both strings "gold", but not at the expense of balanced sound. "Mixed Materials for Balanced Sound" is practically our trademark, but if we can make it prettier at the same time, we'll do it.

Daniel & Patrick - we've heard you as to tension. While this set has been extremely popular (one of our all time top 2), we understand the needs of those whose instruments or playing style require a high tension set-up.

We have three Medium Gauge sets now, and while the SWs are not what I would call low tension by any means, they are the lightest tension of the three. For folks who like higher tensions, we would recommend one of the others.

We're also looking at the possibility of a "Heavy Medium Smooth Wound" set for those who like the sound of SWs but want a higher tension. At the moment, getting our new model Ukuleles going is occupying a lot of time - it will likely be a few more months before we can decide if we can configure something like that to our standards.

Patrick Madsen
09-04-2013, 06:12 AM
Dirk, as usual you are the man when it comes to strings. I've never come across a finer tensioned string than yours. Thanks for listening to we pickers.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
09-04-2013, 06:23 AM
We're also looking at the possibility of a "Heavy Medium Smooth Wound" set for those who like the sound of SWs but want a higher tension.

Now you're talking.

BigMamaJ40
09-04-2013, 02:50 PM
OK, you've convinced me -- I've just ordered a set of ML-SWs for my Kala Marcy Marxer tenor (spruce/acacia slothead). If only it was as fun stringing the uke as it is trying different strings!

I currently have it strung with a Strings By Mail "Custom Customer" Savarez set: the top 3 Alliance strings are nice, but I don't care for the low-G Corom 504R that came with the set; I prefer the Fremont squeakless because it's, well, squeakless!

AndrewKuker
09-04-2013, 03:08 PM
The thing with the wound C is that it's aluminum. If you take the silver or brass up to that pitch it is too much tension for the string and the uke. Aluminum is totally unique to the ukulele, to my knowledge. It's been done for many years but is not used in the guitar world like these other materials used for low G. So finding the aluminum in flat wound ground wound pressure wound or any other way to squeak less is virtually impossible. I asked D'addario a while back how many I would have to order for them to do this and they simply said no. A shame because I really prefer the punch and sustain of a wound C.

southcoastukes
09-04-2013, 04:13 PM
The thing with the wound C is that it's aluminum. .... A shame because I really prefer the punch and sustain of a wound C.

Yes, Andrew, we agree completely on the benefits of a wound 3rd, at least for Medium Gauges. Ours, however, is not aluminum. To us the sound of that material is generally a bit metallic. We use aluminum in only one instance for one string in one of our six string sets.

Our 3rd string is the key to the SW sets. We use that material in varying gauges as a third for our reentrant sets as well. It's a material that allows for a much smoother polish and a much smoother sound than aluminum.

AndrewKuker
09-04-2013, 04:41 PM
Very cool Dirk.

add: just ordered a set of the MU-W3 to try

Dan Uke
09-04-2013, 05:21 PM
Very cool Dirk.

add: just ordered a set of the MU-W3 to try

If you like it, you gotta try a Low G set!

Hammond
09-04-2013, 05:36 PM
Will there be a SMU-W3 set? :cool:
If I want softer warm sound with the wound 3rd

southcoastukes
09-05-2013, 02:50 PM
Thanks for the order Andrew & thanks for the compliment on the Linear sets, Daniel.


Will there be a SMU-W3 set? :cool:
If I want softer warm sound with the wound 3rd

Ham,

I don't know if you've tried this set yet or not. I'm inclined to say no to putting a wound 3rd with those other strings. The reason is for balance in sound, tone & sustain.

The wound 3rds are inherently brighter than a plain 3rd, yet the Soft series sets are designed for a warmer sound. I just feel there would be too much contrast. The better fit to me is with the brighter standard set.

That said, if you haven't tried the SMUs, we actually do a little something like you suggest - as a matter of fact, it's standard practice in all our plain sets. We don't make up our plain sets from a single material. It's a lot more time, trouble and expense, but a 4 string plain set from us will be made up of 2-4 different materials. 3-4 is probably average.

We put higher density material in the 2 & 3 positions, and lighter density on the outsides. It gives more even, and therefore more playable diameters, and the high notes are less likely to come across as harsh, while the bass notes sound clearer, with more sustain - more in character with the highs.

That effect is similar to what you have with a wound 3rd. A wound string, of course, is much higher density than a plain string. That's what gives it more clarity and sustain than a thick plain string in that position.

So while the overall sound of an SMU-NW set can be described as "semi-warm", compared to a "warm" set made from a single material, our bass notes will be much clearer with more sustain. Not as much as a wound 3rd, but as I mentioned, I don't feel you can go too far in that regard without having the 3rd sound unbalanced.

If, however, you want to try it anyway, at the bottom of the Ukulele set page, there is an option to add an extra wound 3rd to any reentrant set. The sets this is recommended for are called out. Go ahead and order it that way, but follow up with an e-mail saying you understand you are going "outside the box".

blue_knight_usa
09-05-2013, 03:16 PM
I am doing a before and after video/audio where I will show an all unwound set on my Collings UC3K and then show it with the MU-W3's. I'm going to be busy at the uke festival this weekend but maybe the week after I'll get the video up on my YouTube channel. I bought 4 different sets to test and test #1 was a fantastic result. This will be test #2.
Very cool Dirk.

add: just ordered a set of the MU-W3 to try

Hammond
09-05-2013, 06:06 PM
Thanks for the order Andrew & thanks for the compliment on the Linear sets, Daniel.



Ham,

I don't know if you've tried this set yet or not. I'm inclined to say no to putting a wound 3rd with those other strings. The reason is for balance in sound, tone & sustain.

The wound 3rds are inherently brighter than a plain 3rd, yet the Soft series sets are designed for a warmer sound. I just feel there would be too much contrast. The better fit to me is with the brighter standard set.

That said, if you haven't tried the SMUs, we actually do a little something like you suggest - as a matter of fact, it's standard practice in all our plain sets. We don't make up our plain sets from a single material. It's a lot more time, trouble and expense, but a 4 string plain set from us will be made up of 2-4 different materials. 3-4 is probably average.

We put higher density material in the 2 & 3 positions, and lighter density on the outsides. It gives more even, and therefore more playable diameters, and the high notes are less likely to come across as harsh, while the bass notes sound clearer, with more sustain - more in character with the highs.

That effect is similar to what you have with a wound 3rd. A wound string, of course, is much higher density than a plain string. That's what gives it more clarity and sustain than a thick plain string in that position.

So while the overall sound of an SMU-NW set can be described as "semi-warm", compared to a "warm" set made from a single material, our bass notes will be much clearer with more sustain. Not as much as a wound 3rd, but as I mentioned, I don't feel you can go too far in that regard without having the 3rd sound unbalanced.

If, however, you want to try it anyway, at the bottom of the Ukulele set page, there is an option to add an extra wound 3rd to any reentrant set. The sets this is recommended for are called out. Go ahead and order it that way, but follow up with an e-mail saying you understand you are going "outside the box".
Dirk,
Thank you for your reply. The SMU-NW set was already in my plan. I ask because of the string set on my uke at the moment is the black nylon with a wound C set. That was designed for warm sound. According to your recommendations I will try the SMU-NW first. I really like the concept that you match more than one materials on a set. Thank you.

**Add**
Both your reply and the web pages are so informative. Million thanks.

blue_knight_usa
09-06-2013, 08:40 PM
Test complete, video has been posted here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jVhplcDLmg&feature=c4-overview&list=UUzjTtZZ3_UAZlTJdY9JFoFw



I am doing a before and after video/audio where I will show an all unwound set on my Collings UC3K and then show it with the MU-W3's. I'm going to be busy at the uke festival this weekend but maybe the week after I'll get the video up on my YouTube channel. I bought 4 different sets to test and test #1 was a fantastic result. This will be test #2.