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Thread: Soprano Owners: Sustain

  1. #1
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    Default Soprano Owners: Sustain

    I've played quite a few sopranos in the past couple of months but didn't focus on sustain until now. Two questions for soprano owners:

    In many ways I'm loving the sound of my mahogany soprano (not the lowest end, but not a K brand either), but I'm noticing it has a lower sustain on the A string, particularly when fretted. It almost sounds stubby in comparison to the other strings (rings for two seconds tops). I've swapped out the strings from Aquila to fluorocarbons and it's helped, but I'm curious what causes lower sustain in one string and whether there is a remedy. It doesn't sound bad, and I realize sustain is not usually the strong suit of a soprano...I just notice it (my husband maintains he doesn't detect it).

    And, a random poll just for fun: what is your soprano's sustain in seconds?

  2. #2
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    That is the soprano sound. Punchy, bright and happy.. though some sopranos have more sustain than others.. the sopranos are meant to sound that ways. It has to do with the size of the instrument.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for your input Kerneltime. I thought it was interesting for sustain to be noticeably different on one particular string.

  4. #4
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    My sopranos all ring for 5 to 8 seconds on the A string, with my ear to the sound hole.

    I think I heard Aldrine once say that nylon strings have more sustain and Aquila Nylgut has the least, with fluorocarbon in the middle. I forget where he said that, though. Higher tension strings can give you more sustain, too.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by man0a View Post
    My sopranos all ring for 5 to 8 seconds on the A string, with my ear to the sound hole.

    I think I heard Aldrine once say that nylon strings have more sustain and Aquila Nylgut has the least, with fluorocarbon in the middle. I forget where he said that, though. Higher tension strings can give you more sustain, too.
    Thanks man0a, that's pretty good! Mine isn't bad played open, but once I fret it, it drops from about 5 seconds to 2-3, whereas the others ring out more (it's a bit longer than I thought now that I too have put my ear directly to the soundhole).

  6. #6
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    I may just be nitpicking...it makes sense for the sustain to drop a bit with fretting because the string is essentially shortened...but the dead-ish sounding A string has been something that has stood out to me as a curiosity so I thought I'd reach out to see what others think :-)
    Last edited by Farkvam; 04-27-2021 at 12:40 PM.

  7. #7
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    Maybe put a new A string on and see what happens. Could be the string ? Just a newbie guess / suggestion.

  8. #8
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    Does the A string's stubbiness occur regardless of where you fret it? I ask because I let my uke get too dry and it got wonky on the 16th fret, and I had to go get it serviced. Maybe you also have a naughty fret.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ripock View Post
    Does the A string's stubbiness occur regardless of where you fret it? I ask because I let my uke get too dry and it got wonky on the 16th fret, and I had to go get it serviced. Maybe you also have a naughty fret.
    It's mostly the lower frets. It seems to get better once you hit the fifth fret. So...several naughty frets I guess. I wonder if it's too dry in that case.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tin Ear View Post
    Maybe put a new A string on and see what happens. Could be the string ? Just a newbie guess / suggestion.
    Thanks for the suggestion Tin Ear. I did change the strings from Aquila Supernylgut strings to fluorocarbons and it helped a bit, but the issue (if you can call it that) persists.

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