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Thread: Tenor string tension

  1. #11

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    I prefer using Concert strings on my tenors.
    I can't stand tenor strings on tenors. Too much tension.

    Tenor strings on Soprano ukes is awesome though. The shorter scale benefits from the tension.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by kissing View Post
    I prefer using Concert strings on my tenors.
    I can't stand tenor strings on tenors. Too much tension.

    Tenor strings on Soprano ukes is awesome though. The shorter scale benefits from the tension.
    Are concert strings long enough to put on a tenor?
    Money can't buy happiness but it can buy a uke which is basically the same thing.

    Ukes are a lot like potato chips. It's hard to stop with just one!

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by kissing View Post
    I prefer using Concert strings on my tenors.
    I can't stand tenor strings on tenors. Too much tension.

    Tenor strings on Soprano ukes is awesome though. The shorter scale benefits from the tension.
    That makes more sense than how most ukulele sets are packaged and sold. I usually used concert labeled strings on tenor too. It is more in line with how it is with other stringed instrument sets for guitars, mandolins, etc.

    The uke is the only instrument I've ever seen where the strings sold for the longer scale length are generally bigger in diameter than for the smaller scales. That's backwards from the norm.

    Example: If you're used to playing a guitar with a 25.5" scale and plan to switch over to a 24" scale, many people will choose thicker strings for the shorter scale instrument to add tension and to get the same feel as the longer. Of course some, like myself, enjoy the less tension.

    Why uke strings are packaged and typically done just the opposite of most others is a mystery to me.
    I would be careful with tenor strings on a soprano though. If it is built only to take what is typically sold as soprano strings, the tenor string tension might overwhelm it and cause issues or damage.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikelz777 View Post
    Are concert strings long enough to put on a tenor?
    Quote Originally Posted by jer View Post
    That makes more sense than how most ukulele sets are packaged and sold. I usually used concert labeled strings on tenor too. It is more in line with how it is with other stringed instrument sets for guitars, mandolins, etc.

    The uke is the only instrument I've ever seen where the strings sold for the longer scale length are generally bigger in diameter than for the smaller scales. That's backwards from the norm.

    Example: If you're used to playing a guitar with a 25.5" scale and plan to switch over to a 24" scale, many people will choose thicker strings for the shorter scale instrument to add tension and to get the same feel as the longer. Of course some, like myself, enjoy the less tension.

    Why uke strings are packaged and typically done just the opposite of most others is a mystery to me.
    I would be careful with tenor strings on a soprano though. If it is built only to take what is typically sold as soprano strings, the tenor string tension might overwhelm it and cause issues or damage.
    I always thought that the differentiation in string sets for the various scales was string length! I wouldn't have guessed the difference was string gauge! I learned something today!
    Last edited by mikelz777; 06-06-2021 at 01:15 PM.
    Money can't buy happiness but it can buy a uke which is basically the same thing.

    Ukes are a lot like potato chips. It's hard to stop with just one!

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikelz777 View Post
    I always thought that the differentiation in string sets for the various scales was string length! I wouldn't have guessed the difference was string gauge!
    Just to clarify, some string companies do make/cut shorter or longer lengths for different scales. That said, the gauge thing stands.
    It just really depends on the string brand. It's something to pay attention to for sure.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by jer View Post
    That makes more sense than how most ukulele sets are packaged and sold. I usually used concert labeled strings on tenor too. It is more in line with how it is with other stringed instrument sets for guitars, mandolins, etc.

    The uke is the only instrument I've ever seen where the strings sold for the longer scale length are generally bigger in diameter than for the smaller scales. That's backwards from the norm.

    Example: If you're used to playing a guitar with a 25.5" scale and plan to switch over to a 24" scale, many people will choose thicker strings for the shorter scale instrument to add tension and to get the same feel as the longer. Of course some, like myself, enjoy the less tension.

    Why uke strings are packaged and typically done just the opposite of most others is a mystery to me.
    I would be careful with tenor strings on a soprano though. If it is built only to take what is typically sold as soprano strings, the tenor string tension might overwhelm it and cause issues or damage.
    I play mainly guitar and this is the first time I have have heard that people with small guitars use thick strings. Usually the specs of big dreadnaught or jumbo guitars with long scales call for thicker medium gauge strings, and smaller sized guitars that use light or thinner gauge. Maybe bigger instruments use heavier bracing to accommodate the thicker strings so they can produce bigger sound.

    Similar criteria apply to ukes. Why bother with uncomfortable tenor size if not to maximize its volume and sound with as high tension as the uke can stand? I use my tenors mainly for performance and jams in noisy environments and with Nylgut strings they are at their loudest and sound best. For comfortable and quiet playing at home I use concert size ukes with fluorocarbon strings.
    Last edited by merlin666; 06-06-2021 at 01:39 PM.

  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikelz777 View Post
    Are concert strings long enough to put on a tenor?
    Yeah, pretty much every brand I've tried so far (D'addario, Fremont, Aquila, Worth, etc).

  8. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by jer View Post
    That makes more sense than how most ukulele sets are packaged and sold. I usually used concert labeled strings on tenor too. It is more in line with how it is with other stringed instrument sets for guitars, mandolins, etc.

    The uke is the only instrument I've ever seen where the strings sold for the longer scale length are generally bigger in diameter than for the smaller scales. That's backwards from the norm.

    Example: If you're used to playing a guitar with a 25.5" scale and plan to switch over to a 24" scale, many people will choose thicker strings for the shorter scale instrument to add tension and to get the same feel as the longer. Of course some, like myself, enjoy the less tension.

    Why uke strings are packaged and typically done just the opposite of most others is a mystery to me.
    I would be careful with tenor strings on a soprano though. If it is built only to take what is typically sold as soprano strings, the tenor string tension might overwhelm it and cause issues or damage.
    I completely agree regarding the 'strange' way ukulele strings come.

    For guitar, you don't usually get different sets based on the size of the guitar. There's no "Travel size guitar strings" and "Parlor guitar strings" or "Dreadnaught strings", etc.

    You get different gauges/tensions, often described across a spectrum of "light" "medium" "heavy".

    Personally I think ukulele strings should come this way too.
    But for some reason the industry seems to believe that Tenors need to have super high tension and Sopranos need to be really loose.
    Maybe there's a historical reason?

    For guitars, you normally put higher tension strings on shorter scaled instruments and lower tension strings on longer scaled instruments to achieve similar overall tension on the instrument.
    By this logic we should be putting higher tension strings on Soprano ukuleles, and lower tension strings on Tenor ukuleles in the pursuit of achieving the "sweet spot" tension that we are after.

    But for some reason, I think tenor ukuleles are treated like they're a higher tension instrument overall compared to sopranos and concerts.

    Like I said before, I find "tenor" strings on tenor ukuleles to be rather unbearable. Putting concert strings on tenor ukuleles achieves the sweet spot of tension I am after.
    Last edited by kissing; 06-06-2021 at 02:44 PM.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by kissing View Post

    By this logic we should be putting higher tension strings on Soprano ukuleles, and lower tension strings on Tenor ukuleles in the pursuit of achieving the "sweet spot" tension that we are after.
    That's what I loved so much about Southcoast's approach (R.I.P. Dirk) - the tension and tuning charts for each string set so you could get really specific in your preference. And the charts never steered me wrong. You could theoretically do the same with any brand but it would take you a lot of time, effort, and money
    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, LW dGBEA
    Southern Cross concert GCEA
    Guitars:
    Jupiter #47, G, TI CF127
    Pelem, B reentrant
    Jupiter #71, E cuatro TI/Oasis

    !Flukutronic!

  10. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hanks View Post
    That's what I loved so much about Southcoast's approach (R.I.P. Dirk) - the tension and tuning charts for each string set so you could get really specific in your preference. And the charts never steered me wrong. You could theoretically do the same with any brand but it would take you a lot of time, effort, and money
    As a general rule one could just view it as

    Soprano = light tension
    Concert = medium tension
    Tenor = hard tension


    What strings I put on which uke is highly dependent on the setup, feel and sound of that uke.

    I currently have tenor strings on my Soprano and concert strings on my Tenor




    As an interesting case study, the "Concert" D'addario Pro-Arte ukulele set strings are the same tension treble strings of their "Normal tension" Classical guitar set, and the "Tenor" D'addario Pro-Arte set are the same as treble strings on the "Hard tension" Classical guitar set.

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