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Thread: Low tension strings

  1. #1
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    Default Low tension strings

    My fingers (like the rest of me) are much older & softer than they used to be. My A-tuned tenor is very comfortable to play, but the strings on my C-tuned tenor seem very tense. They become uncomfortable to play after a while.

    Can anyone recommend a set of lower tension strings for standard GCEA tuning?

  2. #2
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    D'Addario has a string tension calculator where you can calculate the tension for different string materials and diameters. It works best for given D'Addario sets but with a bit of trial and error you can also dial in other material and size combinations.

    http://stringtensionpro.com/SelectInstruments

    For strings that have a "soft" feel I once tried the D'Addario Titanium set on my first tenor, but they were way too soft for me and I replaced them with Super Nylguts quickly.

  3. #3
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    Have you tried just using a concert set? As long as they are long enough, the thinner gauges will give a lower tension.

    Living Water has a custom low tension set. Although I have the standard set on my kiku and I would not describe them as high tension.
    Ukulele:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - A, WoU Clarity
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, cFAD SC LHU
    Kala KSLNG, Eb SC XLU
    Hanson 5-string tenor, dGCEA
    Bonanza SLN GCEA
    Bonanzalele concert
    Guitars:
    Jupiter #47, G, TI CF127
    Pelem, A, EJ45LP

    !Flukutronic!

  4. #4
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    @ merlin -- I checked the D'Addario site. Lowest tension among their strings turns out to be Pro Arte fluorocarbons EJ65TLG -- the LG is for low G. I am going to buy a set.

    @ Jim -- I messaged Ken re the low tension low G tenor strings & will buy them as soon as he replies. I will also buy a set of concert strings & marry them with a Fremont low G. PLEASE recommend a good brand of concert strings

    Ummm... 聞く "kiku" = Japanese "listen." By the way, a kiku is not included on your list of ukuleles.

    @ everyone -- I'm still hoping for more comments &/or suggestions. I have 5 tenors that I want to equip with lower tension strings & I love to experiment.
    Last edited by bellgamin; 01-20-2020 at 03:33 PM. Reason: wording

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellgamin View Post
    @ Jim -- I messaged Ken re the low tension low G tenor strings & will buy them as soon as he replies. I will also buy a set of concert strings & marry them with a Fremont low G. PLEASE recommend a good brand of concert strings

    Ummm... 聞く "kiku" = Japanese "listen." By the way, a kiku is not included on your list of ukuleles.
    Living Water concert are quite nice although the 2nd and 3rd strings are actually the same gauge as the tenor set, so overall may or may not work for this experiment depending on which strings are giving you the most trouble.

    Real kikus are 6-string with the 5th and 6th reentrant. My "kiku" is the Hanson 5-string, equal string spacing with the 5th being reentrant. The top 4 strings are the standard low G LW set and again, I don't consider them to be high tension. When I talked with Ken about this set, I did ask about the low tension set and he shied away from them. My guess is he would prefer you try to standard set first and then if you don't like them, try the low tension. Maybe just order a few sets from him and see what works. If you don't like the standard set, you could try tuning down to Bb (although I know you're trying for C)
    Ukulele:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - A, WoU Clarity
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, cFAD SC LHU
    Kala KSLNG, Eb SC XLU
    Hanson 5-string tenor, dGCEA
    Bonanza SLN GCEA
    Bonanzalele concert
    Guitars:
    Jupiter #47, G, TI CF127
    Pelem, A, EJ45LP

    !Flukutronic!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellgamin View Post
    @ merlin -- I checked the D'Addario site. Lowest tension among their strings turns out to be Pro Arte fluorocarbons EJ65TLG -- the LG is for low G. I am going to buy a set.

    @ Jim -- I messaged Ken re the low tension low G tenor strings & will buy them as soon as he replies. I will also buy a set of concert strings & marry them with a Fremont low G. PLEASE recommend a good brand of concert strings

    Ummm... 聞く "kiku" = Japanese "listen." By the way, a kiku is not included on your list of ukuleles.

    @ everyone -- I'm still hoping for more comments &/or suggestions. I have 5 tenors that I want to equip with lower tension strings & I love to experiment.
    I think these are Nylon strings.
    Last edited by merlin666; 01-20-2020 at 05:32 PM.

  7. #7
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    U R correct! I mis-wrote. I actually bought D'Addario EJ99TLG Pro-Arté Carbon Ukulele Strings, Tenor Low G. For GCEA, lbs. of tension for these are:

    9.91, 10.53, 11.11, 12.3

    I also bought D'Addario EJ65TLG Pro-Arté Custom Extruded Nylon Ukulele Strings, Tenor Low-G. GCEA lbs. of tension are:

    11.01, 9.34, 9.59, 13.18

    I'm planning to try a combo: Fremont Low G , Nylon C, Nylon E, Carbon A. LBS:
    ?, 9.34, 9.59, 12.3

    Will it have balanced sound? Hmm... from long-time use in many combos, I'm sure the Fremont will hold its own. The A should be strong because it's Carbon. The question is: will the middle C&E be overpowered? Time will tell.

    Per Jim's suggestion, I will also try the low tension Living Water Low G tenor carbons.
    Last edited by bellgamin; 01-20-2020 at 07:26 PM. Reason: typo

  8. #8
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    I think that mixing different kinds of strings is weird but you can try and report your experience. I have the D'Addario carbon set on my concert and it is very easy on the fingers for sure. Also considered the low G set for a tenor but I think it includes a wound string which I don't like. Let us know if the low G in the set is actually FC as well.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlin666 View Post
    Let us know if the low G in the set is actually FC as well.
    The low G is Fremont STR-FWG Soloist Low G string which is 40" long & used for soprano, concert, & tenor ukes. It is a polished bronze wound string (squeakless). I couldn't find any disclosure as to what's inside the winding.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellgamin View Post
    The low G is Fremont STR-FWG Soloist Low G string which is 40" long & used for soprano, concert, & tenor ukes. It is a polished bronze wound string (squeakless). I couldn't find any disclosure as to what's inside the winding.
    I see you got your own low G instead of the one that comes with the d'Addario set. I prefer Aquila red because they sound more similar to the other strings and don't change sound over time, and they usually last much, much longer than the silver wound ones I had on my ukes. The only bronze wound one I tried were installed on Kanile'a ukes and they sure sound fantastic, I wonder how long they last before they start to unravel like the silver wound ones.

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