Switch to Low G - wound or unwound?

andymunro73

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Hi folks,
I like the sound of my 'school' Uke strung in what I believe to be standard GCEA tuning (with the 4th string as Hi G ).
I'd like to try the sound of a Low G but I might like to switch back. This may be problematic as in order to fit the extra thickness of the Low G at the nut, a certain amount of slot widening may be necessary. there's no going back from this. So as I see it, I can....
Keep my existing Uke (fairly cheap model) and try it with a low G?
Find a Uke specifically designed for Low G (ie with a wider 4th string slot)?
Also, what's the general opinion about Low G strings? Wound, or unwound.

Thanks for replying. This is my first Uke post so if this has been dealt with on another thread, please post the link here.

A
 
Welcome to the UU forums! I have found that wound G usually doesn't require the nut slot to be enlarged, at least, it should be good enough for you to at least try. You may not like the feel of wound, but try to ignore that part to just get a feel for the difference between playing with high vs low G.

Personally, I prefer flatwound (e.g. Fremont Soloist) because I don't like the physically large diameter of unwound. That said, I actually really like my unwound low G Aquila Red with the rest of the Aquila set, but that's on one of my ukuleles, and it is fatter than the wound equivalent, but not as far as the unwound fluorocarbon version.
 
thanks for the swift reply! In your experience do players usually have more than one instrument? ie so they can switch between low and hi G?
If so can you recommend a brand/model that is made with Low G in mind?
 
Hi folks,
I like the sound of my 'school' Uke strung in what I believe to be standard GCEA tuning (with the 4th string as Hi G ).
I'd like to try the sound of a Low G but I might like to switch back. This may be problematic as in order to fit the extra thickness of the Low G at the nut, a certain amount of slot widening may be necessary. there's no going back from this. So as I see it, I can....
Keep my existing Uke (fairly cheap model) and try it with a low G?
Find a Uke specifically designed for Low G (ie with a wider 4th string slot)?
Also, what's the general opinion about Low G strings? Wound, or unwound.

Thanks for replying. This is my first Uke post so if this has been dealt with on another thread, please post the link here.

A
Like Amie said, easiest way to try is get a wound low G. Fremont Soloist is a readily available one. If you like the sound, try some low g string sets. I really like Worth Clear and Uke Logic soft tension fluorocarbon strings but there are tons of different sets out there. Those particular sets didn’t require any widening of the nut slot on my tenors. Plus nylon etc. Finding your string preference can be a deep hole to fall in lol. Welcome!
 
There are many threads on this already to read rich discussions. If it's a cheap uke and you just want to give it a try then the most economical approach (free) is to find a classical guitar player and ask if they have any spare used strings and then ask for the guitar D string. If you like this better than high G then invest in a whole set that can be expected to work together as trying to mix and match can be costly and time consuming.
 
thanks for the swift reply! In your experience do players usually have more than one instrument? ie so they can switch between low and hi G?
If so can you recommend a brand/model that is made with Low G in mind?
Lol that's an entirely different flavour of response! Yes it's worth doing some searching on the forum, many many discussions covering these questions. LOTS of opinions. Many people feel that only tenors have the chops to support a low G but that isn't necessarily true. Really, it depends on the sound YOU want and what style of music you want to play. Any chance you're somewhere near a store where you can try some instruments? Here, there's no way to try low G, because none of the stores string their ukuleles that way, so I totally get it if you're in the same boat. You can listen to sound samples and look at online reviews (our own BazMaz does reviews on gotaukukele.com). Also depends on your price range. Plus check out our Marketplace and ask sellers there questions about their instruments if any interest you.

For now, I'd suggest just trying low G on what you've got and see if you are even interested. If you hate that sound, you'll have your answer. If you like it, and you like it better than high g, then that'll be an answer, too. And if you like both and see the value in having two different tunings available for different music, then that gives you another answer. All that from a cheap string change test!
 
Welcome to UU, and thanks for posting such a clear and specific question. I think it would help to know what ukulele you are playing now (mostly the size, but other info like what kind of strings you have would help too). I would also be interested in what kind of ukulele music you like to play and/or listen to.

I am 90% of the time a low G player; I prefer fluorocarbon strings; and these days I mostly play chord melody on a concert size ukulele. It all started with listening to Kimo Hussey and in no time at all progressed to buying a tenor with low G. While I don't know whether there are ukuleles specifically designed for low G, I believe it is harder to find just the right low G on a soprano, compared to a tenor and the concert is kind of in-between. On the larger instruments I prefer fluorocarbon low G though flat wound low G strings work pretty well too. With a soprano, the fluorocarbon low G is just too floppy for me. I prefer wound, but it is difficult to get the right tone and volume balance with the other strings. I'd also recommend the Fremont Soloist low G as a good place to start. That is what I use on my soprano. It won't be a problem with string width on most ukuleles, and it doesn't sound boomy.

Alan
 
In my experience, unwound low-G strings are more likely to fit and sound good on tenors than sopranos. An unwound string on a soprano may not give you enough volume or resonance on a small-body ukulele. Most of the wound strings that are sold as low-G ukulele strings are really classical guitar D strings that you can buy at music stores for around $3 (La Bella 908 is frequently recommended in this forum).
 
Based on a one time experience, a wound G "booms" more than an unwound.

Also, I have gone to a high g on an ukulele that was made for low G and did not have to worry about the slot being too wide. If you order an ukulele for high g on one that works for low G, they usually do not have to rework the slot to avoid buzzing. So if you widen the slot, do a minimum amount and you should be okay.
 
I have one ukulele with gCEA re-entrant strings and one with GCEA linear strings. I use unwound low G string for the linear mostly because of the feel. I don't like the texture. Plus, since I am not primarily a strummer, I don't like how the wound string responds to my demands for certain dynamics and ornamentation. Obviously that is completely personal but I offer it for your collection of data.
 
I like wound low G strings, actually on my tenor I have a guitar 4th string (D) as a low G.
On the smaller sizes (concert and soprano) instead of guitar D string I use the specific concert ukulele Low-G strings.
Wound strings are usually thinner than unwound ones and I never had to adjust the slot in all the ukes I put wound low G.

If you are mostly a fingerpicker, you have to get used to the wound string and learn that require a different picking touch, as it can easily overpower the others.
If you are mostly a strummer it blends in more easily.
 
Wound vs plain also depends on how long you expect it to last. The wound string will sound more crisp and lively initially but then as it gets dirty and corroded will start to sound dull and windings will unravel after some months or sooner. A plain string will sound consistently dull and may last longer.
 
Wound vs plain also depends on how long you expect it to last. The wound string will sound more crisp and lively initially but then as it gets dirty and corroded will start to sound dull and windings will unravel after some months or sooner. A plain string will sound consistently dull and may last longer.
I think all strings will start to sound dull after a few months. Maybe it is not so obvious when the strings are not clearly dirty and corroded. I know many people do not trust Aldrine's change your strings every 2 months recommendation, but the more that I keep track of my string installation dates, the more I think he is correct.
 
Firstly ... widening a nut slot is never a problem.
The slot can be refilled using the "baking powder and superglue" trick that you'll find plenty of reference to.
Once that rehardens, usually no more than a minute or two, you can recut the slot to suit.
Repeat as required ;)
I use Aquila "reds" for my lo-G ukuleles, both soprano "pine-apple" and conventional concert.
Fitted correctly, ie. following the instructions, they've lasted for years, but I'm not a "heavy" strummer and the action is low, so there's no need for a "death grip" to keep the strings on the frets!
Just my tuppence worth ... invariably YMMV ;)
 
I have a wound low G Fremont Soloist put on my Anuenue AMM3 and I had no issues with the nut. This is really well done and the diameter is not much than the original high G string.
 
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