Two semi technical questions (metal strings/piezo pickup)


New member
May 6, 2022
I recently asked a YouTuber what type of pickup he uses for his style of play and this is what he said (attached)

1. Does anyone have a recommendation for this type of pickup in my Pono? I want to achieve a drum sound that gets amplified

2. Also if I want to use two metal strings, wound for my low G and C, can I pick them out of a bag of Elixir brand coated strings meant for guitar? As long as they are of respective gauges and I tune them to the right note and cut all of the excess. How do I know the gauge I should choose if I do this?

Thanks and I hope my questions make any sense 🙏


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Well-known member
Oct 13, 2012
Classic guitar strings with the right gauge will work on ukuleles. What you need to ascertain is are they metal core of classic core strings and only use the right ones. I assume we are talking about classic type strings here.
As to the right gauges, a little experimentation and/or research is called for. If you go heavy on the gauge then by the time you get to the correct string tension, you will be at a lower pitch. A lighter gauge string will go to a higher pitch for the same tension.

If a percussive/drum sound is what you want, then any old cheap piezo pickup will do. One of the major problems with piezo pickups is that they are far too percussive.


Well-known member
Mar 30, 2009
1. You're going to have to experiment with what works for you.
People have achieved percussive effects on either undersaddle piezo or transducer type pickups.
It depends on what amp you use and what kind of settings you have.

Transducer pickups tend to be more percussive than undersaddle piezo.
Two brands worth looking at are K&K and Peterman pickups.

The benefit of the Peterman pickups is that they can either be installed temporarily outside the instrument, or permanently (with help from a professional) internally. This should enable you to experiment with different positions before making anything permanent:

Here is an old, amateurish video I made using a Peterman single pickup with a looper pedal and being a bit percussive:

You can get a wider variety of sounds if you use their dual transducer model.
In the below video I attached the Peterman dual pickup on a small cajon to achieve a "drum" like sound:
You could probably achieve a similar effect if you use the same pickup in some arrangement on a ukulele or guitar.

2. Do not use steel strings intended for Acoustic Guitar on ukuleles that are intended for nylon strings.
Only strings intended for classical guitar should be used on ukuleles if you're going to use guitar strings.
Classical guitars and ukuleles may use metal wound strings, which are not the same as steel strings that acoustic guitars or electric guitars use.

The Elixir coated strings (Nanoweb or Polyweb) are for acoustic or electric guitar, and should not be used on Ukuleles or Classical guitars.

If you are interested in using Classical Guitar strings, the DGBE strings from a classical guitar set become GCEA (low-G) on a soprano/concert/tenor ukulele.
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