View Full Version : String tension on soprano vs. tenor?

11-07-2013, 06:37 PM
I have a Kala travel soprano (KA-SSTU) which I got so that I could take it with me when flying, and compared to the Kala tenor gloss (KA-TG) that I have, I actually like the soprano more. It's easier to play and it's a bit louder, maybe due to the arched back and solid top. The tone is pretty good too.

The action is about the same on both as measured by the distance from the string to the 12th fret.

Can I make the tenor easier to play by changing strings? They currently both have Aquilas. All tenor ukes should have about the same string tension, right?

11-07-2013, 07:41 PM
You can make your tenor easier to play by tuning it down a semitone or two. I'm a fan of tenor ukes tuned down a step to FBbDG. Mellow.

11-07-2013, 07:42 PM
The string tension is one reason why I generally do not like tenors; at least not in the GCEA tuning. I'd rather put some Southcoast Heavy Gauge Strings on it and tune it re-entrant dGBE. But then, of course, I could make do with a baritone... Maybe you need to follow Dirk at Southcoast's advice and tune the tenor FBbDG. That would ease the tension some, I guess.

11-07-2013, 09:37 PM
+1 for tuning down. My tenor is tuned FBbDG. Sounds better that way.

11-08-2013, 12:03 AM
Smaller guage strings would make it easier to play- some regular nylon ones would be more flexible than nylgut-
you'd lose some volume, but maybe gain some warmth.

I just restrung my Rogue baritone and lowered the action by filing down the bridge- I didn't like the baritone much at first until I did this.-
The original thick wound strings squeaked and were way too heavy. With a high action it was just not pleasant to play it.

So I put two classical guitar .26 guage E strings on the outsides,

and then nylon B and G strings- sold as Daddario Concert J92 Uke strings, they are inside, actually in packages marked Pro Arte Classical guitar-
so lots of length.
The strings are all smaller guage clear nylon now except the top A which is nylon, but the same guage as originally.

I tuned it up to regular High G C tuning, but the strings were still too stiff for my liking,
It had a decent tone, and good volume, but not outstanding compared to soprano or concert,
so I took it down to baritone tuning again, but still with a thin high D on the bottom-
it's very comfortable now- kinda nice and I'll probably leave it that way

I can still play all the uke chord forms- they're just in different keys and pretty recognizable since I play classical guitar

11-08-2013, 06:24 AM
Thanks for the replies! As a steel-string guitar player, I actually play the uke by transposing the chord shapes in my head so tuning down is an interesting idea. I think I'm just trying more ambitious chord shapes on the uke and using my pinky more which is why I find the tension high.