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Thread: A Baritone string question

  1. #1
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    Default A Baritone string question

    I'm new to the bari, and looking to experiment with strings a little bit. I've noticed that when others are using nylon guitar strings which are EADGBE, they usually use the ADBE strings from the set and not the DGBE. What is the reason for this? Is it because the G string is a treble string and usually somewhat larger in diameter? If a bari is DGBE, wouldn't you then just use the DGBE strings in the guitar set?

    I have no music theory, so please excuse my ignorance while I try to learn about these things.
    Tenor Ukes
    KoAloha KTM-00
    Pono MTD-(All Mahogany)
    Big Island BI-MO-TR-(All Spalted Mango)
    Compass Rose Style B Tenor-(All Claro Walnut)
    Boat Paddle ML style Tenor-(Red Spruce/Cocobolo)

    Baritone Uke
    Pono MHBSSC-(Spruce/Mahogany)


    Tenor Guitar
    Ibanez AVT1-N-(Spruce/Mahogany)

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by hammer40 View Post
    ... I've noticed that when others are using nylon guitar strings which are EADGBE, they usually use the ADBE strings from the set and not the DGBE. What is the reason for this?....
    It's simply because the Baritone has a shorter 20" scale (vibrating length of string), than the typical 650mm scale of a classical guitar. When you go to a shorter scale and keep the same pitch, if your strings gauges don't go up, your tension is too slack.

    With the arrangement you're suggesting, your 1st and 2nd strings stay the same - now they will be too loose. You could use the 5-2 guitar strings, but making a guitar 5th string into a Baritone 4th string gives a thicker, squeakier string than most ukulele players want to deal with.

    Companies that offer dedicated strings for this tuning take a different approach - they have proper tension on the plain strings, and on the wound strings they use a higher metal to "nylon" core ratio to bring the diameter down. There's a reason this isn't done on guitar strings, however. That's because the high ratio metal strings also have a more "metallic" sound.

    To us this is one of the main flaws of traditional Baritone Ukulele design - the other being that the "guitar 5th string", or "high metal Baritone 4th" is used for a note (d) that is too deep for the resonance of a Baritone body to begin with. A higher linear tuning or a reentrant G tuning (d' g b e') gets you out of that situation with the strings, and gives you a better sounding instrument as well.
    Last edited by southcoastukes; 12-14-2012 at 08:30 PM.
    Dirk Wormhoudt



    website: http://www.southcoastukes.com

    email: sales@southcoastukes.com

  3. #3
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    Save yourself a lot of trouble and expense by listening carefully to Dirk and then buying your bari strings from him. After floundering around a bit, I've settled on Southcoasts on both of my baris. They work marvelously well.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by saltytri View Post
    Save yourself a lot of trouble and expense by listening carefully to Dirk and then buying your bari strings from him. After floundering around a bit, I've settled on Southcoasts on both of my baris. They work marvelously well.
    yep, and the flatwounds are awesome.

  5. #5
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    Which southcoast set are you using for your baris?

    Quote Originally Posted by saltytri View Post
    Save yourself a lot of trouble and expense by listening carefully to Dirk and then buying your bari strings from him. After floundering around a bit, I've settled on Southcoasts on both of my baris. They work marvelously well.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by southcoastukes View Post
    It's simply because the Baritone has a shorter 20" scale (vibrating length of string), than the typical 650mm scale of a classical guitar. When you go to a shorter scale and keep the same pitch, if your strings gauges don't go up, your tension is too slack.

    I have tried a couple of sets that were supposedly baritone strings, I'm going to assume they are just repackaged guitar strings. The first set played ok, just seemed to loose,made quite a bit of noise if strummed hard, clacking though not buzzing. The second set, again baritone, and the B string is buzzing like crazy, all the others strings are fine though. Just to slack I guess, since it fits in the nut just fine.The uke was set up by HMS, so I think that should be fine.

    Dirk, I have been to your website, but it confuses the heck out of me. Can you make it simple for me and recommend something for my Pono. I'm one of the few here I guess that likes wound strings, (and doesn't mind the noise), if that will aid in your recommendation.
    Tenor Ukes
    KoAloha KTM-00
    Pono MTD-(All Mahogany)
    Big Island BI-MO-TR-(All Spalted Mango)
    Compass Rose Style B Tenor-(All Claro Walnut)
    Boat Paddle ML style Tenor-(Red Spruce/Cocobolo)

    Baritone Uke
    Pono MHBSSC-(Spruce/Mahogany)


    Tenor Guitar
    Ibanez AVT1-N-(Spruce/Mahogany)

  7. #7
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    I have been going through the southcoast website, too, and am having trouble figuring out what strings to pick for a baritone if I want to tune it to GCEA without a wound string. What are my options for southcoast strings?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by hammer40 View Post
    Dirk, I have been to your website, but it confuses the heck out of me. Can you make it simple for me?...
    I feel your pain! That Southcoast website gets a little confusing to me sometimes and I wrote it. I've been working on a new site for quite awhile now and will have it up around the 1st of the year. It's taking a long time because there'll be a lot more product there, but also because I'm doing my best to make things simpler.

    Still, with the Baritone, things are a bit more complicated than with the other sizes because when it comes to set-up options, the Baritones are really the most versatile of all. Linear tunings (low 4th) sound great, and both Ukulele and Cuatro reentrant tunings are great as well. For Ukulele reentrant tuning, d' g b e' is excellent - same notes as traditional Baritone tuning, but with a high 4th. For Linear tuning there are several good options, but my personal favorite is linear B flat (a step down from C tuning). It's richer than a dedicated C tuning set-up (although that is a nice bright option as well), a capo behind the 2nd fret puts you in a linear C tuning if that's the key you're used to and with a Baritone, you still have a lot of room on the fretboard. Finally, the B flat tuning is much more vibrant than the traditional linear G - the muddiness associated with that set-up goes away.

    Shoot me an e-mail for specific strings, and let me know what tuning appeals to you the most. The names on our Linear sets will change on the new site, and the heavier ukulele reentrant sets will also have a wound 3rd option.
    Last edited by southcoastukes; 12-14-2012 at 06:56 AM.
    Dirk Wormhoudt



    website: http://www.southcoastukes.com

    email: sales@southcoastukes.com

  9. #9
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    Trust Dirk. He's the man. I cannot praise his re-entrant baritone strings enough. As I've said over and over lately, his heavy gauge non-wound set is pure bliss for me as a baritone player. I just put a set on my 'Savannah' baritone, which - apart from the 'Rogue' bari - is probably the cheapest instrument in the world. That junk uke now sounds wonderfully mellow and sweet. Absolutely marvellous.
    Last edited by drbekken; 12-14-2012 at 08:13 AM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by drbekken View Post
    Trust Dirk. He's the man. I cannot praise his re-entrant baritone strings enough. As I've said over and over lately, his heavy gauge non-wound set is pure bliss for me as a baritone player. I just put a set on my 'Savannah' baritone, which - apart from the 'Rogue' bari - is probably the cheapest instrument in the world. That junk uke now sounds wonderfully mellow and sweet. Absolutely marvellous.
    with the doc.
    Makala Dolphin Black, Aquila reentrant gCEA
    wanted: Ovation Applause UAE20


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