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Thread: Lower tension florocarbon strings?

  1. #1
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    Default Lower tension florocarbon strings?

    Anyone have a recommendation for a lower tension TENOR strings. I usually use Worth Clears (hight G)—but they are sounding and feeling rather tight on my uke. Living Waters lower tension? I used to have SouthCoast strings, but I think they are not available anymore.
    Currently playing: Martin Style 2 (c. 1940s)

    Once upon a time: Kinnard walnut concert; Kamaka koa soprano; Pohaku cedar/Cuban mahogany soprano; Collings UC1; Martin Style 0 1920s; Brüko long neck soprano; Martin 1-T 1940s;Pohaku cedar/mahogany concert

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by cogfasser View Post
    Anyone have a recommendation for a lower tension TENOR strings. I usually use Worth Clears (hight G)—but they are sounding and feeling rather tight on my uke. Living Waters lower tension? I used to have SouthCoast strings, but I think they are not available anymore.
    I remember seeing a Mya Moe video where he explains that the reason they string with fluorocarbons is the higher inherent tension of the strings. For lower tension, maybe try nylon.

  3. #3
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    Or use Worth concert strings - should be the same density material in a lighter gauge.

  4. #4
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    Thanks. I do have a set of Worths Browns Concert on hand. I can give that a try
    Currently playing: Martin Style 2 (c. 1940s)

    Once upon a time: Kinnard walnut concert; Kamaka koa soprano; Pohaku cedar/Cuban mahogany soprano; Collings UC1; Martin Style 0 1920s; Brüko long neck soprano; Martin 1-T 1940s;Pohaku cedar/mahogany concert

  5. #5
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    The first string on the Worth CT (Clear 63") is .0224" and the Concert/Soprano sets have .0185 and .0205" first strings. Oddly the 2nd and 3rd strings are the same—.026 and .0291"—in all Worth sets save for the Heavy series. With that said I prefer the .0205" on the first string of my tenors but .0291 is too thin for the C string (need .031"). I suspect Worth sets are derived from Seaguar fishing line since the measurements are exactly the same...

  6. #6
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    From Strings and Beyond: A E C g
    Worth concert sizing:
    Clear
    Fluorocarbon Medium CM 46 in .0205 in .0260 in .0291 in .0224 in

    Worth tenor sizing:
    Clear
    Fluorocarbon Tenor CT 63 in .0224 in .0260 in .0291 in .0244 in

    Looks to me like the C and E strings are the same diameters in the two sets, but the g and A are a little thicker in the tenor set. The concert g diameter is the tenor A diameter. I think the browns are the same diameters. So, you may end up with the same tension on the middle two strings with your browns.

    Yes, unfortunately when Southcoast's founder passed away we lost a wonderful friend and resource.
    Richard from Reno
    soprano and concert guy

  7. #7
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    Here is my take on it. Most (All?) fluorocarbon ukulele strings are based on fishing line (leader). There are real cost drivers to developing ukulele strings and then lot size that impact a from-scratch formula or unique size.

    The overly simplistic rule I have found for the past dozen years is string tension of fluorocarbon string is directly related to string diameter. But a thinner string tends to produce a thinner sound.

    I did buy some cheap fluorocarbon fishing leader, GT brand, off eBay almost 10 years ago that was a little thicker but not higher in tension, probably a cheaper formula for it’s intended purpose. I use it on one of my ukes; I almost tossed it out.

    There is one option not typically made and that is Aquila “non” Nylgut strings. Reds are typically lower tension as well as Martin Premiem Polygut, which are probably an improved version of Carbon Blacks and made by Aquila. Aquila is one of the few that develops their own strings. But with Nylgut supplied as OEM on so many lower end ukes it helps a lot.

    Nylon is an option, supposedly Martin and D'Addario make nice nylon strings, but you’ll need to try them and see if you like them.

    My advice is to do specific string searches on google adding “forum” or here on UU. Get specs... string diameters.

    John

    Edit added: I have 8-10 rolls of Seaguar Premier and Blue Label that I use almost exclusively. I’ve used digital calipers on the fishing leader and some popular ukulele strings.
    Last edited by 70sSanO; 04-19-2019 at 10:30 AM.

  8. #8
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    I have found that the tenor Fremont medium Black Line Fluorocabon strings to be "stretchier" and easier on my fingers than any other fluoros I have tried. I'm not sure how that relates to the tension.

    They come in a "medium" and a "hard." It is not clear to me if that refers to the diameters or there is a difference in the polymer formula. Nor am I sure how the tension differs. The hards only fit soprano & concert. The mediums fit all three.

    From Uke Republic's website:
    FREMONT FLUOROCARBON BLACK LINE HARD GAUGE UKULELE STRINGS
    (Made in Japan)
    Black Fluorocarbon for Soprano/Concert (STR-FH)
    SPECS:
    Length (24.5 inches / 62 cm)
    1st - 0.022; 2nd - 0.027; 3rd - 0.031; 4th - 0.023

    FREMONT FLUOROCARBON BLACK LINE MEDIUM UKULELE STRINGS
    (Made in Japan)
    Black Fluorocarbon for Soprano/Concert/Tenor (STR-FM)

    Living Waters strings are my go-to strings. 1st: 0.57mm; 2nd: 0.66mm; 3rd: 0.74mm; 4th: 0.62mm (Low-G 4th: 0.91mm)
    Martin M620 strings are hard on my fingers. 1st: 0.56mm; 2nd: 0.72mm; 3rd: 0.86mm; 4th: 0.64mm

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pirate Jim View Post
    Or use Worth concert strings - should be the same density material in a lighter gauge.
    ^This^
    Tenor 'ukuleles tend to have "higher tension" (feel more difficult to fret). A common remedy is to use concert strings on the tenor and feel "less tension" as a result.
    We all refer to this as "tension" when we are actually talking about how difficult or easy it is to fret.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Futurethink View Post
    We all refer to this as "tension" when we are actually talking about how difficult or easy it is to fret.
    This is correct. Tension is basically has to do with string composition over a particular scale length tuned to a certain pitch. The other half has to do with string compliance which is the tension “feel” when we fret a note. Obviously strings that are tuned down will have less true tension and easier to play.

    Other than comfort, too much real string tension may surface as notes that seemed to be choked out or thudding because the soundboard can’t vibrate enough. In extreme cases the soundboard will dish out in front (sound hole side) of the saddle and bulge behind the saddle.

    In addition to lighter strings, the action can be lowered for easier fretting. Another technique I have used is winding up the tuning machine post to effectively reduce the break angle at the nut. Polishing the nut slots or using a little graphite powder might help. These are very minor tweaks, but they may help.

    John

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