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Thread: Boomy C

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Default Boomy C

    I have a Kala cedar top tenor, which I like, usually tuned down to B or Bb. I've tried Martin M620s on there, and now have Fremont Blacklines installed. Both sets sounded good, the Fremonts a bit better to my ears. But, on both, the C string dominates, which sometimes requires caution while playing to avoid big boom. I noticed that both sets' C strings are about the same size, with larger diameters than some other sets. Worth and Living Water both have smaller C strings, so I guess I'll try one of those sets next to see if the C will be less dominant. Both of those also have fatter A strings. I've also seen some posts about using concert flouros, to reduce a dominant C string, which I can also try later, if needed.
    Last edited by Ukecaster; 06-03-2020 at 08:00 AM.
    John

  2. #2
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    I’ve never noticed a booming C on my cedar top Cordoba 24T tenor, whether strung with Martin 620s or the Aquilas it came with, but everything booms on my Cordoba 24B cedar top bari. That’s why I seldom play it.
    Sopranos: aNueNue Khaya Mahogany 1, Bruko No. 6; Kiwaya KS-1; Kiwaya KTS-4; Kiwaya KTS-4K; Martin S-O
    Concerts:Cahaya CY-0112; Kiwaya KTC-1; Kiwaya KPC-1M; Kiwaya KCU-1, Takumi TC-1M, Takumi TC-3K, Musicguymic’s Kolohe
    Tenors: Cordoba 24T; Kiwaya KTT-2K
    Baritones: Cordoba 24B

  3. #3
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    Boomy C - I though that was a band name!

    John Colter

  4. #4

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    Do all fretted C-notes on every string sound boomy, too?

    I have that on a Martin clone. On the A-string even the neighboring notes boom somewhat in addition. Makes most songs I play where I use C-chords, G-chords and so on, very percussive and barking. Even sentimental songs and slow Jazz sound happy and funny. I guess the whole instrument has it's renonance around B or C. I could find some youtube videos of even old Martins that have this, while others sounded mellow and sweet.

    I don't think it has so much to do with the strings. I have read, that a small weight attached using blue tack to certain places on the top, mostly near the bridge, can find a sensible spot to reduce resonance far enough to diminish booming notes..

    On my specific uke I can live with it, because I decided to only use it for fast and happy rhythms. For all sweet songs I use a very cheap laminate with Worth browns Low-G. Though it is cheap, it sounds very balanced and good to my ear. But these are sopranos. Don't know if you could live with a tenor that only can play happy songs
    Last edited by Christian Schlichting; 06-06-2020 at 01:38 AM.

  5. #5
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    Feb 2019
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    So, if I understand correctly, your third string is tuned a whole step lower and is actually a B-flat string and not a C-string? If it’s tuned to C does it boom? I’ve not heard a woof tone on Bb on any of my instruments—F and E on the 2nd string were booming like crazy on my first cedar soundboard Cordoba. The wolf tones faded a bit with time—wood flexed and adjusted to the Honolulu humidity—but I learned to hit those notes a little lighter to avoid them popping out.

    I experimented with different string materials and gauges and it helped but didn’t remove the woof tone. I found coupled with a thinner fluorocarbon string and lighter touch those those notes only I made it sound almost acceptable. Eventually my best solution was to carefully play every note on a new instrument and make sure there were no woof tones before buying (or send it back).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
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    I've been reading about tuning at the Southcoast Ukes site. One of the things they talk about is the (body) resonance of different ukuleles, which is determined by things such as shape, size, build, and materials. Each ukulele has a resonance, and when a note is played that matches that resonance, it creates an "artificial overtone" sometimes also described as a "wolf note," "boom," or "thunkiness." Usually ukes are tuned above resonance, which helps avoid this issue. When they're tuned at or below resonance, as with low G, sometimes it creates this problem. Builders can compensate for this in their construction, and sometimes just using different strings can help.

    I don't know that this resonance issue is causing the boomy sound you're hearing, but I happened to be reading about this and thought it might apply.

    Apparently, you can find your uke's resonance by stuffing a piece of cloth between the strings and fretboard to dampen the strings. Then, according to the site: "hold your Ukulele with two fingers under the headstock and tap it at the bridge (all sides must be free to vibrate)." This should create the resonance. You need a non-clip-on tuner that can pick up the note.

    Edit:
    For reference, the site gave these notes as resonance for different sizes:

    Soprano: C'
    Concert: A
    Tenor: g
    Baritone: D#

    But these were based on one luthier's instruments and meant as a guideline, not a standard.
    Last edited by snowdenn; 06-03-2020 at 11:48 AM.

  7. #7
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    I had that with an A string on a soprano and a thicker string took care of it. Might work.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
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    Interesting, snowdenn. Running off to find a cloth...
    "So many ukes, so little money..."

    Kanile'a KSR-T premium koa tenor
    Rebel Double Cheese spruce/mahogany tenor, my BFF.
    Kala KA-ASFM-T-C flame maple tenor
    Pono MT-SP tenor
    Cocobolo concert #467
    Pono ASD acacia soprano deluxe
    Pono MGS mango soprano

  9. #9

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    I agree with Peter, this could very well be wolf tones.

    And as snowdenn said, by tapping one can find the body resonance pretty good. I used a simple smartphone app tuner for this purpose on my uke with success.

    If the result is slightly below C, which is what it should be for a soprano as far as I understood, then wolf tones typically surround Bb, B or even C... depending on how vibrant the instrument is built.

    If this is the case, and you tune to standard C tuning, all fretted B and/or even C notes on all strings will be booming also, more or less intense, though...

    If so, than there is not much one can do exept tuning around the wolves or putting a weight to the top near the bridge after trial and error.

    If the other fretted Bb, B or C notes are fine and it is only the unfretted string's note, then it does'nt matter how it is tuned. If the unfretted string booms all the time, I'd suspect the nut slot. Or a high fret somewhere up the fretbord.

    You can also tune this string up and down while you agitate it at the same time, just to hear if it starts booming at a certain frequency (refering to body resonance). Using a tuner set to chromatic mode can show, what frequency it is.

    If not, than it's maybe pure bad luck with two bad strings from two different sets.

    Or the instrument is sensible to exact this gauge vibrating at exactly this frequency. You could then try a wound 3rd string.

    This is the list of things I have been through myself on my instrument.
    Last edited by Christian Schlichting; 06-06-2020 at 01:37 AM. Reason: sausage fingers, as we Germans say...

  10. #10
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    Aug 2019
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Schlichting View Post
    I agree with Peter, this could very well be wolf tones.

    And as snowdenn said, by tapping one can find the body resonance pretty good. I used a simple smartphone app tuner for this purpose on my uke with success.

    If the result is slightly below C, which is what it should be for a soprano as far as I understood, then wolf tones typically surround Bb, B# or even C... depending on how vibrant the instrument is built.

    If this is the case, and you tune to standard C tuning, all fretted B# and/or even C notes on all strings will be booming also, more or less intense, though...

    If so, than there is not much one can do exept tuning around the wolves or putting a weight to the top near the bridge after trial and error.

    If the other fretted Bb, B# or C notes are fine and it is only the unfretted string's note, then it does'nt matter how it is tuned. If the unfretted string booms all the time, I'd suspect the nut slot. Or a high fret somewhere up the fretbord.

    You can also tune this string up and down while you agitate it at the same time, just to hear if it starts booming at a certain frequency (refering to body resonance). Using a tuner set to chromatic mode can show, what frequency it is.

    If not, than it's maybe pure bad luck with two bad strings from two different sets.

    Or the instrument is sensible to exact this gauge vibrating at exactly this frequency. You could then try a wound 3rd string.

    This is the list of things I have been through myself on my instrument.
    Haha, I kept getting confused when you said B# and C.

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