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Thread: Strings with highest tension

  1. #1
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    Default Strings with highest tension

    When tuning a Sopranino to std GCEA (all I can play right now) the string tension is very low/slack.

    Best results I have had are from Worth BM's.

    Can anyone suggest other strings that would result in higher string tension while sticking with GCEA tuning.

    I have tried the Aquila mini use strings which give GCEA one octave high but I find these hard to play.

  2. #2
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    Hi Robin, I hope you won't think I'm being a "Mister Know-It-All" or in any way over-stepping, but I noticed your reference to the standard GCEA tuning as being "all I can play right now", and I just wanted to offer that if you were to tune your sopranino two semi-tones higher, to ADF#B, you'd have a nice non-floppy string tension, and I'm betting the uke would sound better too; all of your chord shapes would be the same as you're accustomed to, except that the things you'd play would sound "two frets higher" than they do now. So if you sing while your uke accompanies you, you'll have to stretch that voice just a little. Again, I totally apologize if I've misapprehended your situation, and no disrespect is meant! Perhaps some of our Forum friends can explain the above a little better than I did!

  3. #3
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    Try Worth clear strings. They have higher tension options than the browns. You're probably looking for the CD set.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Sheehan View Post
    Hi Robin, I hope you won't think I'm being a "Mister Know-It-All" or in any way over-stepping, but I noticed your reference to the standard GCEA tuning as being "all I can play right now", and I just wanted to offer that if you were to tune your sopranino two semi-tones higher, to ADF#B, you'd have a nice non-floppy string tension, and I'm betting the uke would sound better too; all of your chord shapes would be the same as you're accustomed to, except that the things you'd play would sound "two frets higher" than they do now. So if you sing while your uke accompanies you, you'll have to stretch that voice just a little. Again, I totally apologize if I've misapprehended your situation, and no disrespect is meant! Perhaps some of our Forum friends can explain the above a little better than I did!
    There used to be a page from South Coast strings where he explained how we get too worked up about the tuning and that 50+ years ago they would just tune to their voice instead of worrying that ADF#B for instance wasn't right and worrying that they'd have to learn things anew. You are right. It plays the same way.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Sheehan View Post
    Hi Robin, I hope you won't think I'm being a "Mister Know-It-All" or in any way over-stepping, but I noticed your reference to the standard GCEA tuning as being "all I can play right now", and I just wanted to offer that if you were to tune your sopranino two semi-tones higher, to ADF#B, you'd have a nice non-floppy string tension, and I'm betting the uke would sound better too; all of your chord shapes would be the same as you're accustomed to, except that the things you'd play would sound "two frets higher" than they do now. So if you sing while your uke accompanies you, you'll have to stretch that voice just a little. Again, I totally apologize if I've misapprehended your situation, and no disrespect is meant! Perhaps some of our Forum friends can explain the above a little better than I did!
    Good advice, Bill.
    TomtheBaptist

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomthebaptist View Post
    Good advice, Bill.
    Thanks, Tom. I hope I'm not muddying up the waters too much. There was a time when I was determined to always stay with GCEA tuning on my soprano and sopranino, because it was more comfortable (i.e., lower) for my vocal range than ADF#B. But, the string tension with GCEA always seemed kind of "squiggly". So I searched for strings that would enable me to stay in GCEA while having a tighter "feel", such as Fremont Blackline Hard Tensions; those are great strings, but I still felt (in GCEA) that I wasn't getting the resistance I'd hoped for. Finally, I just went back to my trusty old Martin M-600's and cranked the soprano and the sopranino up to ADF#B. Both ukes responded beautifully to their "new reality"-- better volume, better intonation, better tone, and better feel. Vocal-wise, yes, it makes some songs a little bit of a challenge (if I use the same chord shapes I'm used to, instead of re-learning the songs in a lower key), but I've learned to "kick it up a notch" when I sing, and I've developed workarounds for the occasional situation where I'm getting up there a little too high in the vocal register. Now, I'm not trying to re-ignite a debate about which tuning is "better", but I can say that, for me, boosting my tuning to ADF#B for soprano and sopranino has been a really beneficial move.

  7. #7

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    GCEA strings designed for tenor should theoretically give the highest possible tension for a smaller uke

  8. #8
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    Hi, robinfowler!

    Extra hard tension sets of classical guitar strings may work. I've checked D'addario pro arte ej44TT (see the photo below) on string tension pro site. The tensions are about 2.5kg on 12 inch scale GCEA, they are similar to soprano's tensions.


  9. #9
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    I don't have experience in alternate tuning. I've always just gone with the standard re-entrant tuning and have found no benefit in doing otherwise. I have tuned one of the strings to something that sounds good and then tuned the rest off of that string, but when it gets right down to it I see no advantage to doing that either. But my question is, when you go to these alternate tunings, doesn't that screw you up when you play with someone else who is not tuned the same? My thought would be that if there is a standard and everyone sticks to it, then everyone can play together. As soon as you leave the standard you've eliminated yourself from the game. If you like playing with yourself that is fine, but if you want to play with others, don't you need to either stick with the standard tuning or learn different chord shapes? I'm just asking.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

    I just want everyone to understand that I am not a ukulele expert, even though it may look at times like I'm pretending to be.

    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_n...tective+Agency

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rllink View Post
    I don't have experience in alternate tuning. I've always just gone with the standard re-entrant tuning and have found no benefit in doing otherwise. I have tuned one of the strings to something that sounds good and then tuned the rest off of that string, but when it gets right down to it I see no advantage to doing that either. But my question is, when you go to these alternate tunings, doesn't that screw you up when you play with someone else who is not tuned the same? My thought would be that if there is a standard and everyone sticks to it, then everyone can play together. As soon as you leave the standard you've eliminated yourself from the game. If you like playing with yourself that is fine, but if you want to play with others, don't you need to either stick with the standard tuning or learn different chord shapes? I'm just asking.
    In my rather limited experience I find that when tunings are a fourth apart they harmonize really well together. I learned that playing cross harp harmonica. I suppose it applies to ukes as well. Even though I am avid alternate-tuner (currently basking in the glory of a E A C# F# tenor) I agree that for a group setting it would definitely be easier. However it is an intriguing thought to split a group into two groups whose strums would harmonize versus being static.

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