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View Full Version : Tenor strings on a Soprano, will the soprano implode?



Booli
12-23-2013, 08:21 PM
Ok, so I needed to replace the GHS Black Nylon strings on my Mahalo U-30 soprano.

All I had on hand was a set of Aquila Nylgut hi-G for TENOR.

Throwing caution to the wind and not wanting to wait for something to come in the mail like 10 days from now, I installed them on the soprano, and


HOLY high water -


wait for it....


Nothing bad happened...yet.

So, I am now just waiting for the 'OMG and INSANE' tension of the tenor strings to rip the bridge from the soprano's soundboard? Ha!

Or is the only real difference the length of the string in the package?

Please, tell me true - should I worry or change anything from here or is it 'ok' what I did?

I should add that it seems to play just fine, and I am really looking forward to when the strings are done stretching.

Thank you,

-Booli

Manalishi
12-23-2013, 11:17 PM
Can't answer for Aquila Tenor strings,but following someone
whose opinion and knowledge I respect,I have always strung
my Sopranos up with Worth Brown Tenor strings.The difference
in tension is next to nothing and the sound is improved to my
ears.
So long as your uke is not showing any 'dishing' of the soundboard
or neck warping you ought to be okay. But I am sure someone with
more knowledge than myself will be along soon to tell you!

kwokkie
12-23-2013, 11:24 PM
Wouldn't the tension of the strings be lower when you put them on a soprano?
If you'd tune the string up to have the same tension as on a tenor, then the sound the strings will make will be too high because the soprano is shorter, so to get the same tuning, the tension of the strings should be lower on the soprano.

I'm thinking it's more a problem if you try to put soprano strings on a tenor, because then, you'd have very high tensions on your strings.

anthonyg
12-23-2013, 11:28 PM
Personally I wouldn't leave them at standard tuning. I would detune them to reduce the string tension. I haven't done the string tension calculations but I suspect that it is asking for trouble in the long term to leave the tenor strings on a soprano tuned gCEA.

I have baritone strings on a tenor and there is no way that they will go up to GCEA.

Anthony

Booli
01-19-2014, 06:44 PM
Well, after 3 weeks of having the TENOR strings on the SOPRANO, nothing bad happened.

Either the bridge was firmly fastened well when the uke was built or the tension was just not as bad as everyone thought.

I now have Worth Browns mediums on the soprano and they are much tighter than the Aquila Nylguts, and the clarity and projection is much better. It's been a week, playing it every day, and there is no sign of any ill effects to the instrument. The neck is perfectly straight and the bridge is the same as it was on day one.

Next I plan to try the D'Addario T2 titanium strings on the soprano.

Stay tuned...

anthonyg
01-19-2014, 10:51 PM
Well, after 3 weeks of having the TENOR strings on the SOPRANO, nothing bad happened.

Either the bridge was firmly fastened well when the uke was built or the tension was just not as bad as everyone thought.

I now have Worth Browns mediums on the soprano and they are much tighter than the Aquila Nylguts, and the clarity and projection is much better. It's been a week, playing it every day, and there is no sign of any ill effects to the instrument. The neck is perfectly straight and the bridge is the same as it was on day one.

Next I plan to try the D'Addario T2 titanium strings on the soprano.

Stay tuned...

I had fitted some steel strings on a baritone ukulele that wasn't built for steel strings. They worked just fine for quite a while. After 6 months they were still good. I hadn't played the instrument for a while so I pulled it out after 12 months and the neck had bowed up too far and there was a crack in the back.

It takes a while sometimes but ukulele's just aren't built to handle excessive tension. If they were built for excessive tension then they WOULD'T be good instruments.

I would detune the tenor stings on a soprano down a semi-tone or 2.

Anthony

fernandogardinali
01-20-2014, 12:16 AM
Aquila Strings are low tension strings. I don't think using tenor strings on a sop would affect anything. Oasis strings (my favourite strings nowadays) fits all sizes.

One interesting thing is that the tenor strings, even given the longer scale lenght of the tenor, is that they are thicker strings. Maybe mimmo can chime in and explain why.



According to Elderly Instruments:

Gauge, 1st to 4th, about:

Ten: 0260, 0315, 0378, 0273
Con: 0243, 0305, 0373, 0265
Sop: 0238, 0298, 0358, 0253

UkerDanno
01-20-2014, 03:15 AM
Wouldn't the tension of the strings be lower when you put them on a soprano?
If you'd tune the string up to have the same tension as on a tenor, then the sound the strings will make will be too high because the soprano is shorter, so to get the same tuning, the tension of the strings should be lower on the soprano.

I'm thinking it's more a problem if you try to put soprano strings on a tenor, because then, you'd have very high tensions on your strings.

yeah, seems the tension would be lower on a soprano and the strings would be almost floppy...do you feel they are tighter???

OldePhart
01-20-2014, 03:19 AM
It depends on the uke. The Mahalo I wouldn't worry about. I've strung my Mainland sopranos with CH-gage sets, which are higher tension than most tenor sets, with no bad results. I wouldn't put tenor strings on a soprano KoAloha, though - none of my KoAlohas have liked high tension.

John

coolkayaker1
01-21-2014, 04:58 AM
Cracking around the bridge is a common issue with soprano ukuleles over time. I would use soprano strings on a soprano ukulele to avoid any potential for this costly repair.

Booli
01-21-2014, 08:07 AM
yeah, seems the tension would be lower on a soprano and the strings would be almost floppy...do you feel they are tighter???

yes, the Worth Browns mediums are VERY tight (high tension), such that the A string cuts into my callused fingertip when I fret it, like a razor wire.

The tension is now MUCH MUCH higher than the Aquila strings, which were like rubber bands by comparison

Booli
01-21-2014, 08:20 AM
Cracking around the bridge is a common issue with soprano ukuleles over time. I would use soprano strings on a soprano ukulele to avoid any potential for this costly repair.


Thank you for the concern, the advice and the warning. I will keep this in mind.

However, as this Mahalo U-30 soprano only cost me $26 shipped from Musicians Friend, if the instrument implodes and the body is damaged beyond my ability to repair, I will probably just take the parts left (like the neck) and make a cigar box uke from it, or glue it to a short 2x4 plank and make it like a RISA stick uke (with a passive rod piezo that I already have), as I have thought about doing this anyway for a while now and CB Gitty sells a package with a neck, fretboard, tuners, nut and bridge in concert scale for $37+shipping, so this would be cheaper since I would already have the instrument (in parts).

Also, if the Mahalo dies, it gives me an excuse to replace it with either a Makala Shark or Dolphin from Uke Republic where they to the setup on these for like $48 on sale right now.

Despite the soprano scale fret-spacing being a bit tight, the sound from such a small resonant sound box definitely has a certain charm that I can not deny, so even though soprano is not 'my size', I would always have one around, even if just as a beater.

I have some new strings expected to be delivered today (despite the foot of snow on the ground) which includes a set of the Worth Brown LIGHT strings, which will go on the Mahalo when they arrive, since they should be fine on the soprano scale with the lower tension.

-Booli

peaceweaver3
01-21-2014, 09:36 AM
Haven't tried that, but my gut says no. Or it could just be I had too much coffee. Anyway, I did use a concert string on a tenor once, it was a 1st string I took right off the concert and put on the tenor, and ping! It broke. Nothing else happened. LOL I have no experience with strings meant for a larger size, on a smaller uke. Interesting though, if anything does happen, let us know!