Strings String tune and tension? Can a floppy string still be in tune?

Eggs_n_Ham

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As a yearling I'm always reading about new ukulele things and wanting to try them out. For example, I decided to put a set of Fremont black low g strings on my little Aklot concert uke. Can a string be in tune but floppy? Is that the difference between high and low tension strings? It sounds okay but I'm wondering if a higher tension string would improve the sound. I'd appreciate suggestions for low G strings; the fremont blacks are all in tune nicely but a bit "bongy". I attribute that to low tension- am I correct in that attribution?
 
Yeah, a string can be borderline floppy and still be in tune. String tension is a personal preference thing. "Traditional" ukulele is reentrant with pretty tight strings. Some of us like things loose and bendy.

The "bongy" could just be Low G on a small-body instrument. You can play with different string tensions and see if it helps.

I use standard concert strings rearranged for Low G. C string = G, E string = C, A string = E and the high G string = A.

Works for me. But, if you like "tight and plinky", you'll want something different.
 
Yeah, a string can be borderline floppy and still be in tune. String tension is a personal preference thing. "Traditional" ukulele is reentrant with pretty tight strings. Some of us like things loose and bendy.

The "bongy" could just be Low G on a small-body instrument. You can play with different string tensions and see if it helps.

I use standard concert strings rearranged for Low G. C string = G, E string = C, A string = E and the high G string = A.

Works for me. But, if you like "tight and plinky", you'll want something different.
I really like low g; my AMM3 is low g and sounds moody and heavenly. The Aklot low g (concert) sounds good but a little rubbery. My UC10 Anuenue has the bright chimey reentrant sound.
I see what you did there with rearranging...gonna try it! I have a spare pair of Martin 600's could I use those? Thanks!
 
You can try the string-swapping trick with any set of standard uke strings. It's just going to give you a thinner string for each position. That equates to lower tension for the same note.

I'm slowly learning... better ukes will sound better with Low G. The cheaper ones I've had were very boomy. And I think lower string tension also helps reduce the boominess.

Of course, a lot of it is just learning to manage how hard you hit that G-string. A lighter touch on that string helps A LOT.

It all comes down to how you play, what you play, what you want it to sound like, and what kind of feel you like.
 
I really like low g; my AMM3 is low g and sounds moody and heavenly. The Aklot low g (concert) sounds good but a little rubbery. My UC10 Anuenue has the bright chimey reentrant sound.
I see what you did there with rearranging...gonna try it! I have a spare pair of Martin 600's could I use those? Thanks!
Believe it or not (in terms of relevance to the OP), the only strings I’ve used on my soprano are Martin M600s and Fremont Blacks. The Martins definitely felt tighter / less floppy. As LorenFL mentioned, some of us prefer floppy, LOL. Also, I changed from Martins to the Fremonts b/c the Martin A string had prematurely frayed, but that’s off subject.
 
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For any given string there is a tension range within which it will work well. This is based on the density and diameter of the string, and to an extent the scale length (very thick strings on a very short scale are too stiff to intonate well over the narrow fret intervals, unless a different and more elastic material is used, as for bass ukes).

Apply more tension to that string and it is likely to break early.

As you apply less tension the performance of the string degrades - you start to get poor intonation when it is fretted, and eventually it won't play a consistent note when played open. You can test this last point by detuning a string to the octave below - it will probably sound a bit like you're using a wah-wah pedal when played open.

In practice I find that ukulele strings tend to have around a 5 semitone range where they work best. At the top of that range they feel stiff, at the bottom end floppy, but they still play true.

Floppier strings are easier to pull or press out of tune when playing, as others have said, but that's a separate issue. If the string intonates well then it's within its working tension range, but your technique might mean you can't easily play it in tune.
 
Floppier strings are easier to pull or press out of tune when playing, as others have said, but that's a separate issue.

If you're picking in a bluesy style, this is not an "issue", it's a feature. This is the major reason why I like my strings "floppy". I can bend and vibrato notes easily and consistently.

Mind you, I've not really learned to DO anything with that. But, I can make really cool sounds whilst noodling around various scales!
 
If you're picking in a bluesy style, this is not an "issue", it's a feature. This is the major reason why I like my strings "floppy". I can bend and vibrato notes easily and consistently.

Mind you, I've not really learned to DO anything with that. But, I can make really cool sounds whilst noodling around various scales!
I'm on the same blues train but am basically trotting along beside the tracks trying to find a way to board, LOL. I definitely lean toward chokes, slides, hammer-ons and pull-offs. Sounds fairly violent when you type it. . .
 
Believe it or not (in terms of relevance to the OP), the only strings I’ve used on my soprano are Martin M600s and Fremont Blacks. The Martins definitely felt tighter / less floppy. As LorenFL mentioned, some of us prefer floppy, LOL. Also, I changed from Martins to the Fremonts b/c the Martin A string had prematurely frayed, but that’s off subject.
I'm a Fremont blacks fan. I have a set on my UC10 concert and the low g on the aklot. My limited experience with Martin 600's is they seem to "age" quickly- but that could just be my lack of experience with stringed instruments.
 
I just bought a UBass talk about floppeeeeeeeeeeeeee strings... a giant rubber band is now my E string... Egads!
Ubass are so cool. Albeit the strings are a bit bizarre and rubbery looking..
 
Ubass are so cool. Albeit the strings are a bit bizarre and rubbery looking..
Modern bass uke strings are much better at this than older ones, and there are metal-wound alternatives for those who prefer those. I have a set of ThunderBrowns and a set of flats ready to upgrade the strings on two mini-basses.

The difference in feel of Thunderguts on a 20" scale bass and on a 25" scale bass was dramatic. Tuned to the same pitches (bass standard EADG) the 20" scale was frustratingly floppy, while the 25" scale was tighter and much more playable. In that case, the higher tension of the same strings on the longer scale was better to me across the board. It's still getting the browns though!
 
I'm a Fremont blacks fan. I have a set on my UC10 concert and the low g on the aklot. My limited experience with Martin 600's is they seem to "age" quickly- but that could just be my lack of experience with stringed instruments.
CF Martin's current generation of management won't be reaching out to seek my opinion but here it is: They should get out of the non-metal string business and concentrate on what they do so well.
Back to the OP - I practiced my intended entry in this week's SOTU during today's lunch break and am increasingly impressed with the feel, sound and sustain of the Fremont blacks. The Martins felt unpleasantly tight and sounded brittle in comparison. The word @bazmaz recently used to describe the Fender Avalon tenor seems close, if not entirely accurate: "Strident".
 
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CF Martin's current generation of management won't be reaching out to seek my opinion but here it is: They should get out of the non-metal string business and concentrate on what they do so well.
Back to the OP - I practiced my intended entry in this week's SOTU during today's lunch break and am increasingly impressed with the feel, sound and sustain of the Fremont blacks. The Martins felt unpleasantly tight and sounded brittle in comparison. The word @bazmaz recently used to describe the Fender Avalon tenor seems close, if not entirely accurate: "Strident".
I am not a fan of the Martin 600s either. I think several other brands just sound better, to my ears.
 
Just want to leave this here in a string related thread: I recently installed d'Adarrio titaniums on my little Ohana soprano- and they sound so weird, when tuning them they make all this weird metally plasticky sound. I'll use them for a while then replace them. Not a fan.

Recently installed pHd high density strings on my (anuenue) UC10 concert. So far they sound quiet compared to the worth browns they replaced and they are also fussy for finger placement and a good tone. I'm hoping I just need to get used to them.

Any experience with either of these string sets?
 
My son swears by D’Addario Titaniums for his fiddle but I’m sticking with Nyltech or Fremont on my soprano uke.
 
... sure is a good thing we don't have a dedicated strings forum for threads like this. :sneaky:
Ah jeesh! Sorry! I looked for the right place to put the post...there's a strings forum? How'd I miss that...smh...
 
Generally high (hard) tension strings give better tone than lower (softer) tension strings.
 
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