C-string resonates way too much

Erwitt

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Hi everyone!

I have noticed that when playing some chords, the open C-String sounds louder, way more resonanting than the other strings. It has become especially clear when learning D7 chord, but it happens also in other chords.

I have researched a bit and found that this is normal to some extent in some ukes... after all, it's the lowest string. But I think it's too much. I use Aquila strings.

Here is a clip I have recorded (D7 chord): https://voca.ro/11emoYgasVjj

What do you think? Any suggestion?
 

merlin666

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I have the opposite issue with my KoAloha and fluorocarbon strings where the open C is too muted and thuddy, but it's not so bad that I would need to do something about it. As for D7 I assume you refer to the rootless D7 2020. This works for some songs but generally a proper D7 2223 will sound better and may alleviate open C dominance.
 

Wiggy

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I sold my Kala KA-SSEM T Spruce/Mahogany Tenor for that very reason. There was no taming the howl, even after several string changes. In my case, the low G string was overwhelming! Off to Craigslist it went.

<edit> As mentioned below, each acoustic instrument has a natural resonance. Hold it in front of you without touching any strings and tap on the soundboard and on the back. Listen to the pitch of the "drum" tone, and for a sympathetic ringing of the C-string.
 
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Sporky

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Hi everyone!

I have noticed that when playing some chords, the open C-String sounds louder, way more resonanting than the other strings. It has become especially clear when learning D7 chord, but it happens also in other chords.

I have researched a bit and found that this is normal to some extent in some ukes... after all, it's the lowest string. But I think it's too much. I use Aquila strings.

Here is a clip I have recorded (D7 chord): https://voca.ro/11emoYgasVjj

What do you think? Any suggestion?
Is it a concert ukulele? It could be that the resonant frequency of the ukulele itself is right on C (in the case of a tenor it would definitely be lower... Often right on low G leading to unavoidable low G boominess).
I think ideally you'd want a resonant frequency just below the lowest note, or if higher then somewhere between notes. Disclaimer, I am not a luthier but one day I'd be very interested to learn to design instruments using physics. My impression is that few manufacturers are truly dedicated to the scientific aspect of the design.

My first suggestion would be to tune your strings down a whole note and try again to see if the boomy C string gets better. If so, try now playing a fretted C on it and see if you've got the boom back. If that's the case then I don't think any strings will solve the problem.
 
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merlin666

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I listened to the recording and think it sounds ok. With re-entrant tuning the C string provides the root for many chords so having it well audible is an advantage. I think the sound is pretty low, maybe try tuning up a half step to make it sound more lively.
 

Erwitt

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Thank you for all the replies! I will try all your suggestions.

As for D7 I assume you refer to the rootless D7 2020. This works for some songs but generally a proper D7 2223 will sound better and may alleviate open C dominance.
Yes, it's a rootless D7 2020, or Hawaiian D7 as some people call it (I have just learned about it, I though this was the real D7 until you asked).

I think the sound is pretty low, maybe try tuning up a half step to make it sound more lively.
Do you think so? I had tuned it just a while before recording the clip. But I will double check it!

Is it a concert ukulele? It could be that the resonant frequency of the ukulele itself is right on C (in the case of a tenor it would definitely be lower... Often right on low G leading to unavoidable low G boominess).
Yes, it's a concert, an all laminated Tanglewood TWT-3.
 

Peter Frary

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Maybe try a smaller gauge and lower tension C string? You could also adjust your right-hand technique to strum or pluck that string a little more lightly. I do the latter to compensate for wolf tones on my instruments. The note F on the second string really pops out on a couple of my tenors so tread lightly on that note.
 

cyber3d

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It is ok to swap any particular string with another brand/model of string. I have done that with the C on a couple of ukes. What you are searching for is "balance" between the strings. Some uke bodies resonate to certain frequencies. If you do try one or two new C strings just be sure to keep it in the same family. ie. nylon with nylon or fluorocarbon with fluorocarbon.
 

Peter Frary

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Hi gochugogi! Do you mean replacing just the C string? Or trying with an entire new set of strings?
Yes, I mix 'n match strings all the time for the best sound. None of my instruments are strung with a standard out of the box set of strings.
 

Erwitt

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It is ok to swap any particular string with another brand/model of string. I have done that with the C on a couple of ukes. What you are searching for is "balance" between the strings. Some uke bodies resonate to certain frequencies. If you do try one or two new C strings just be sure to keep it in the same family. ie. nylon with nylon or fluorocarbon with fluorocarbon.
Yes, I mix 'n match strings all the time for the best sound. None of my instruments are strung with a standard out of the box set of strings.
Didn't know, I will try that option.

Anyway, I have taken the uke to the store where I bought it and they say it sounds right, as some of you also have said.... I still find it too reverberating in some chords, but at least I know it's not so serious as I thought.
 

Poul Hansen

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Maybe you can "tune" the top just a bit lower by adding weight to it?

I would try to place different weight magnets, different places. Maybe it will move the natural frequency of th e ukelele. You could then glue a weight to the top underneath it, to make it invisible.

Have you dampened the strings above the nut and under the bridge?

It's funny though. When I heard that clip, I felt like 1 (the C ?) was good but the other 3 were lacking in volume and sustain :)
 

cyber3d

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Didn't know, I will try that option.

Anyway, I have taken the uke to the store where I bought it and they say it sounds right, as some of you also have said.... I still find it too reverberating in some chords, but at least I know it's not so serious as I thought.
Your technician is deaf. If you can hear it, if it bothers you, then you should have it fixed. In my case, I put a set of PHd's on my Tiny Tenor which is all mahogany. It is a very touchy uke because of its design and the mahogany. So, IMO, it is very prone to "booming" (what I call over coupled resonance). Whereat certain frequency sound waves bounce back and cross each other slightly offset. That causes the "booming" sound. It is not the fault of the string, more a fault of the combination of a lot of things. Anyway, I had a set of PHd's and the "C" was "booming" The "balance" between strings was not good. So, I switched the "C" to a Living Water string. Now the "C" was too low in volume. Kinda "dead" compared to the others. I changed that "C" out with a Gallistrings "C" and that did the trick. Perfect balance and no "booming." Finger-picking music back to where it should be. My Kala soprano had a similar issue. I tried mixing Fluorocarbon and Nylon. But, that was a disaster. So, now I don't mix string types. Let us know how it goes with your uke.
Oh, I should mention that what people say (while listening to your uke via the internet) about the sound of your uke may not be the best judge. The mic you use, your recording setup, the speakers they listen on, the signal processors, . . . will all color the sound.
 

merlin666

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Suggestions like buying single strings are quite costly and can be time consuming. I looked up your uke and it is a cheap entry level model, where cost of replacing strings can quickly approach the value of the instrument. In this price class you are lucky if you find a uke that is playable and not just a toy and you should not expect too much in terms of sound. I suggest that you don't throw more money at it and instead focus on playing and learning, and then in a few months upgrade to a higher level uke where you can expect better and more balanced tone. And I think it sounds pretty good for the money!
 

Erwitt

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Maybe you can "tune" the top just a bit lower by adding weight to it?

I would try to place different weight magnets, different places. Maybe it will move the natural frequency of th e ukelele. You could then glue a weight to the top underneath it, to make it invisible.

Have you dampened the strings above the nut and under the bridge?

It's funny though. When I heard that clip, I felt like 1 (the C ?) was good but the other 3 were lacking in volume and sustain :)
Thanks for your sugestion! I never thought of weighting the top to change the tuning.

About the dampening, I have not done anything that could provoke that effect, at least intentionally!
 

Erwitt

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Your technician is deaf. If you can hear it, if it bothers you, then you should have it fixed.
LOL! Yeah, he didn't even listen the chords I told him the problem was more clear. But I don't trust much in my own ears either...
 

Poul Hansen

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Thanks for your sugestion! I never thought of weighting the top to change the tuning.

About the dampening, I have not done anything that could provoke that effect, at least intentionally!
Dampening is done to avoid any of those short pieces of string, to vibrate along with some of the played strings. So try to dampen.