Commercially available reentrant sets of strings for baritone

imperialbari

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One very frequent effect of my chord figures is about close dissonances between the outer strings, so I tune most of my ukes with a high 4th string in various keys upwards from C. A couple of Kala Pocket ukes are tuned in Quatro tuning with low 1st and 4th strings.

I am very close to buying a good baritone uke, as I have found a sound I like in the Pono BN series, which are larger and with longer necks, because they really are tenor guitars braced for nylon strings.

The catch is that I haven’t yet found a commercially available set of reentrant baritone strings. Preferably fluorocarbon for strings ## 1, 2, & 4 plus a wound G-string.

The supplier of the baritone suggests combining two sets Martin M630.

You may call me cheap, but it would be against my oldfashioned approach to the world to buy 8 strings, where it is pre-planned to scrap 4 of them. Yes I know that it would give me spares for the 1st and 3rd strings, but the most expensive strings, the low D’s would be scrapped.

So please point me to commercially available high end reentrant string sets for the baritone ukulele.

Klaus

PS: Some of you may have seen me write, that I scrap the Aquila strings on incoming ukes. That’s true, but that is only once in the lifetime of a uke.
 

jollyboy

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Do you mean a reentrant DGBE set? If so then Living Water supply such a set - they are all fluorocarbon, no wounds.
 

JackLuis

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Worth Brown Fat Tenor Strings high G will work fine on a 20" Bari for Re entrant dGBE. They are the same as the Baritone set but with a high g/d string. No wounds though. I don't know if Worth Clears are the same.
 

imperialbari

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Thanks for the replies!

The baritone I have cast my eyes and ears on is this not so standard one:

http://www.southernukulelestore.co....id-Acacia-Big-Baritone-Ukulele-with-hard-case

There is no sound sample at this site, but Corey at The Ukulele Site (my absolute favourite uke player, because the THINKS ukulele - it sounds so natural, when he plays) plays the BN-1 which is a non-gloss version of the same model.

What I like about this model, is its immediacy, where I find that many even very good baritones have a slight hesitation in building up the full sound. The standard term for what I like may be presence, I am no native English speaker.

The scale is 23". Southern Ukulele Store says that non-wound G strings will be flappy on this model. I have no firsthand experience about that myself. If the Worth strings are long enough to provide 2 sets for the 23" scale I wouldn’t mind at all if the optimal pitch would be Ab or Bb (A is not so useful for my purposes). I use Worth soprano strings on my sopraninos, and I like them.

As for the Living Water strings: I have enjoyed Ken Middleton’s very musical playing and his review, but I haven’t first hand experience with his strings. I have looked at his string sets, and honestly, I wonder about his baritone reentrant set. Not because of the plain G string, but because he uses the same gauge for the 1st and the 4th strings. I have experimented a lot with various string set-ups, and my experience says that if the same gauge is used for two different pitches, than either the higher pitched string will be too tight for comfortable barring the first fret, or the lower pitched string will suffer in the balance. I wonder even more because the tenor set actually uses a string of a gauge between the gauges of the baritone 1st and 2nd strings. So a more optimal gauge for the high D string already is available to Ken Middleton.

I don’t doubt the quality of the Southcost strings. Importing from the US to DK isn’t foreign to me at all. I have imported low brass instruments, a uke, and even a 36 string harp from there. Only the now law allows our postal system to put a fee on handling the custom process, which equals at least two sets of strings for even importing one set of strings. That is a lot to pay before even the price of the strings, the shipping, and the duty+VAT (30%) are added up.

My ideal solution would be that Martin or Worth, preferably both, made reentrant versions of their linear baritone sets.

Klaus (old & quirky after a long life with music)
 

jollyboy

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You could send Ken Middleton an email - explain what you are looking for and ask about custom sets. He might be able to suggest something that suits your requirements. His strings are IMHO very close to Worth clears (you will see he uses a lot of the same gauges). You could even specify a custom set with a 0.66mm 4th string - you may have to tune down though. But he might be able to suggest a set that will allow you to tune dGBE at 23 inches. It seems like the most economical option if you are in mainland Europe and don't want to go to the trouble of buying single strings to make up your own set.

Edit: I can't understand why an unwound G string would be floppy. Maybe thuddy if it was really thick.
 
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Tootler

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I've not found Fluorocarbon low G strings to be thuddy. Overall, fluorocarbon strings are thinner than equivalent nylon/nylon composition strings. I think the reputation for thuddiness comes from nylon strings. My baritone currently has two wound strings and I am not all that happy with them. I intend replacing them with Living Water in the near future to see how they perform.

I use Living water strings on other ukuleles and I've not found the difference in tension between the g and a strings particularly noticeable.
 

imperialbari

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Tootler mentions the option of buying single strings. That is what I do with my steel string guitars, that I tune reentrant (A & D octave up, 6th string E two octaves up). There I buy them in quantities that give discounts.

Who sells uke strings as singles. Or rather in rolls that I could cut to the needed lengths. There would be overlaps between the gauges for sopraninos, sopranos, concerts, tenors, baritones, and even my nylon/fluorocarbon string guitars that I also tune reentrant. Wouldn’t need 4 rolls for each category.

Interesting approach, if I could realise it for ukes also.

Klaus
 

jollyboy

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Tootler mentions the option of buying single strings.

Klaus

Actually I think that was me...

You originally stated that you were looking for an 'off-the-peg' set so I did not mention this option. I currently make up my own baritone sets using Savarez Alliance KF fluorocarbon singles matched with D'Addario silver wounds. The Savarez singles are sold for use on 'Early Period Instruments' (I believe they were originally designed for use on harps) and are a bit tricky to track down. I buy them from this supplier in Germany. IMHO they are very good strings. They come in three different lengths and cover a wide range of gauges. If you wanted to use a wound G string I would recommend trying the D'Addario Nyl031W (available to buy as a single) - this should give you decent tension at 23 inches.

Another option - if you want to invest in spools - is to look at Seaguar fishing line.
 
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imperialbari

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Sorry for mixing up names!

Yes, I looked for a readymade reentrant set, as I didn’t know of the option of getting wound nylon singles. And about the option of buying fishing lines, then I have run into some dead end roads.

I will look at the given hints now and see how far I get.

Thanks!

Klaus
 

Tootler

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I believe classical guitar strings are widely available as singles and quite a few people here on UU suggest classical guitar strings as an alternative for low G & even C strings.

I didn't actually say anything about single strings in my post though I have bought single low G in the past but it was a Worth Low G to go with other fluorocarbon strings on my Brueko concert.

What I actually said was that I was unhappy with the wound strings on my Baritone (D & G strings) but that's because they're showing signs of wear after a fairly short time - a much shorter time than either fluorocarbon or nylgut (or similar). However, in that case I will replace the entire set as I want to try Living Water Baritone strings to see how they compare. The wound low A on my 6 string seems to be holding up much better.
 

Ken Middleton

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Klaus has asked me why I use the same diameter string for the 1st and 4th on my re-entrant Baritone set of Living Water Strings. The answer is because I personally prefer it. In my opinion it is great to have a slightly slacker 4th string for clawhammer. For campanella, the 4th doesn't come through quite so loudly when played with the thumb. Also the slightly lower tension quietens the 4th string when being strummed.

However, by popular demand I will, from today, supply a 4th string with a slightly higher tension for the regular re-entrant (high D) Baritone set. The set with the same 1st and 4th string will now become a custom set, available by email and for the moment at the same price.

Hope this helps.
 

Tootler

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To the OP. As someone has just said in another thread, opinions on strings are very subjective and about personal taste and you will really need to try a few out to find what suits you best.
 

Jim Hanks

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Klaus has asked me why I use the same diameter string for the 1st and 4th on my re-entrant Baritone set of Living Water Strings. The answer is because I personally prefer it. In my opinion it is great to have a slightly slacker 4th string for clawhammer. For campanella, the 4th doesn't come through quite so loudly when played with the thumb. Also the slightly lower tension quietens the 4th string when being strummed.
See this is why I like to support Living Water and Southcoast. Because they've done the research and practice and there are good reasons behind these design decisions. They've got solutions to things I didn't even know were problems. :D
 

tonyreynolds57

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I have Aquila Nylgut 23U reentrants for my Cordoba Baritone, purchased from the shop where I bought it on the Big Island. I purchased a low G string for it from a local music store here in town, using a wound nylon classical guitar string of similar gauge to the high G I was replacing. Works very well.
 

frianm

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I set up a tenor banjo (1924 Gibson Jr.) as a re-entrant baritone using a set of Aquila Reds for a 5 string banjo and used the fifth string as the re-entrant D. I love it. There again these are not fluorocarbon.
 

Mivo

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I set up a tenor banjo (1924 Gibson Jr.) as a re-entrant baritone using a set of Aquila Reds for a 5 string banjo and used the fifth string as the re-entrant D. I love it. There again these are not fluorocarbon.

Interesting approach! I really love the Reds. (Didn't know they made a banjo set also.)
 

imperialbari

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Thanks to all posters for their replies!

Yes, string tastes are individual. As mentioned I am no longer so hot on Aquila strings after my playing has developped. I know the standard chord figures at least to some degree. Could replicate them, as I kind of consider the four uke strings as an ensemble, with which I as an arranger and an instructor have quite a bit of experience. But I started out making chord figures as simple as possible, which is easier with 4-part chords than with triads, because there are more parameters to juggle around.

On my brasses and even on my recorders I strive to be fluent in scales all around the circle of fifths. On the ukes I know the figures in all keys now, but some shifts are still far from stable enough. One of the worst is from C#m7 to F#9 in Bnatural major.

One immediate benefit of 4-part chords is that there are no unisons to clash, if the tuning of the strings fluctuates, but another problem arises, as fifths inside the chords have to be perfect, not tempered.

A digression maybe, but it is the explanation, why I don’t like Aquilas. They have a strong percussive chiff (attack sound), which covers the nature of the chord. Good for rhythm, less good for the experiencing of the harmonic progression.

And as I wrote to Ken Middleton, I often hear the 4th string as the weakest in the balance. There is kind of explanation for that. Even in fast strumming downstrokes, the 4th string already has started decaying, when the 1st string is hitten. With chords like C13, C#13, and D13 the 7th is on the 4th string and the 13th on the 1st string. If the 4th string fades in the balance these chords sound like Am, A#m, and Bm.

I never would be able to tell Ken anything, he didn’t already know about the ukes, but looks like I have had it my way with the composition of his reentrant baritone set. Thanks!

Nothing is going to happen over the Easter days, but after them I will order my Pono BN-10 from Southern Ukulele Store. It will be delivered with strings made out of 2 Martin linear sets, where I will ask for the 4th string being the same as the 2nd rather than the same as the 1st. I will play with these strings to get a feel for them. I then will try out a couple of Ken’s revised sets to get a sense of them over their lifetimes. If I feel for further experiments, I will start out testing constellations of single guitar strings. Potentially in combinations with some of Ken’s strings, as he has the smaller increments in gauges between his selection of strings.

My late mother was a fan of George Formby. She didn’t understand one word of what he said, and I don’t think she had any sense for his playing on the banjoleles. But she could brag about having seen his movies when they were released in DK after WWII.

As I have read about George Formby, he preferred playing in a not so wide selection of keys. Hence staffers on the film sets placed retuned banjoleles around on the set according to his actual musical needs during the shooting of films.

I strive to have ukes in all twelve keys. I am not quite there, as I am missing Ab, A, and Bb. My solutions for Bnatural and for high (octave) C are not entirely happy. So I will be back asking for string solutions.

Thanks!

Klaus
 
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