Shima Soprano Original Custom Strings Question

Jimpro

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Hi all. I also posted this in Uke Tech Support but looking for greater exposure to my questions.

I own a Shima (longneck wide neck) soprano and have been very happy with its warm harp-like chime and complex mids. However I needed to change the strings and unfortunately the folks at Shima have not been helpful to identify the custom combination of D’Addario nylon strings they put on it originally. Bruce did email me to say “get Pro Arte” and to not use fluorocarbons because they are boomy.

I tried the standard EJ65C strings but they are way too thick and don’t fit in the nut slots. I tried Uke Logic but found they lacked sustain. I now have Ton Man’s new fluorocarbon strings and they are pretty good but still a little boomy

so I thought I would reach out to the community to see if:
A) does anyone know the custom configuration originally put on the Shima Soprano? Or
B) does any Shima owner have suggestions based on your experience with different strings?

I didn’t see much. In the history that was any help and recently search feature on this site hasn’t been working.
Thanks for any assistance

Jim
 

EDW

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They have been pretty closed mouthed about these, other than to say they are a custom configuration of the D'Addario strings. I was told that they are close to the stock ones, but could not get any further info. You mention that you tried the EJ65C, which I believe are the concert strings. Did you try the soprano version?
 

Jimpro

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They have been pretty closed mouthed about these, other than to say they are a custom configuration of the D'Addario strings. I was told that they are close to the stock ones, but could not get any further info. You mention that you tried the EJ65C, which I believe are the concert strings. Did you try the soprano version?
They have been pretty closed mouthed about these, other than to say they are a custom configuration of the D'Addario strings. I was told that they are close to the stock ones, but could not get any further info. You mention that you tried the EJ65C, which I believe are the concert strings. Did you try the soprano version?
not yet. The concert diameters are (A-G): 28, 32, 40, 28; while the soprano version is 24, 32, 34, 28
 

Jimpro

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I find it very strange that a company would not disclose its strings, especially when it is carrying such a big name as Jake’s. The ukulele becomes quasi single use, because you can’t get replacement strings so easily. A buyer can’t replicate the sound that is so wonderful. Doesn’t seem like good business sense to me.
 

EDW

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Yeah, quite odd. At the very least, make the sets available for purchase from the Shima site. It would turn me off from buying one
 

Dohle

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Maybe you could try the D'Addario black nylon set for concerts, the EJ53C. That set has thinner gauges for some of the strings compared to the equivalent clear nylon set. Although, the G and E string gauges are the same so if those didn't fit from the clear nylon set then it's of no use.

I agree that it's very silly not to disclose the exact strings or even the gauges of the strings. It's pretty easy to source D'Addario single nylon strings so you could easily just order the strings separately if you knew what to order...
 

actadh

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My Shima has Worth Browns on it. I will probably go with Living Waters next.
 

rainbow21

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I find it very strange that a company would not disclose its strings, especially when it is carrying such a big name as Jake’s. The ukulele becomes quasi single use, because you can’t get replacement strings so easily. A buyer can’t replicate the sound that is so wonderful. Doesn’t seem like good business sense to me.
This is similar to what KoAloha does. They buy spools of fluorocarbon (fishing) line that they use to string their ukes at the factory. It may be that it is a proprietary secret or it may be that they are not consistent with what they use and do not want to tell you something that may or not be correct. On inquiry, they did tell me to get Worth Clears if I wanted close to the same. Three years ago, they also sold me a set for $8 that came loose in a standard envelope and they warned me it might take weeks before they actually got around to sending it (which it did). Now you can get them through UkeSA which is Pops Okami's site for his hand built ukes.

For Shima, they may not know since they have it built in Asia and maybe they vary from uke to uke or from month to month based on whatever the factory chooses to do, especially with the current supply chain issues.
 

badhabits

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Wife has a Shima long neck. I replaced strings with EJ65c clear nylons, told they are the closest thing by Bruce (same as others). Didn't have any problems with nut slots.
 

kissing

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I have found that the D'addario Pro-Arte concert ukulele set (or the 4th-1st from Pro-Arte normal tension classical guitar set for a low-G tuning) have been pretty much identical to the stock strings. Never needed to adjust the nut slots.

If you are having nut slot issues, it's a very easy (literally takes seconds) to file them ever so slightly. If you don't feel confident doing it yourself, any local guitar tech could do it. Heck they might do it for free since it's so ridiculously easy.

If the D'addario Pro-Arte concert set is a bit thick, you can use D'addario Pro-Arte Light tension classical guitar strings.
They are the same, but a bit thinner. Maybe that's Shima's "secret" formula?
 
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Jimpro

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I appreciate the comments from everyone and before I go the route of filing the nut, Does anyone think there would be a problem using the Pro Arte soprano strings even tho it’s concert scale?
 

EDW

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I don't imagine there would be any issue
 

kissing

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I appreciate the comments from everyone and before I go the route of filing the nut, Does anyone think there would be a problem using the Pro Arte soprano strings even tho it’s concert scale?
No issues.
Although string manufacturers label the strings "soprano" "concert" and "tenor" strings; in my view those are arbitrary labels.

I prefer concert strings always on tenor ukuleles. I have put tenor strings on soprano ukuleles with no issues. Concert ukuleles can handle whichever, depending on your preference of tension and gauge.

Looking at it from a guitar strings perspective; soprano, concert and tenor strings ought to be called light, normal and hard tension.
And the great irony is that shorter scale instruments (like sopranos) actually benefit from harder tension strings, and longer scale instruments (like tenors) should have lighter gauge strings to achieve the same equivalent tension for the same gauge on a shorter scale instrument.

But for some reason (maybe due to convention? history?) the status quo seems to be stringing up tenors to have really high tension compared to sopranos. Personally I do not like putting tenor strings on tenor ukuleles because the tension feels a bit much for my play style. Soprano strings often feel too loose on soprano ukuleles, so I prefer putting concert or tenor strings on sopranos. Maybe I'm the minority, but that's how my preferences have developed over the years.
 

EDW

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Great points. Years ago when I played tenors I never liked the feel or tension, unless I tuned it down. In retrospect, I should have just used soprano strings!
 

kissing

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Great points. Years ago when I played tenors I never liked the feel or tension, unless I tuned it down. In retrospect, I should have just used soprano strings!
You may have to check whether the 'soprano' set would be long enough for a tenor.
Concert strings tend to work though :)