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Flea Market Music offers an on-line community for ukulele players, informative books on the ukulele, ukulele CDs,songbooks, videos and information on our instrument manufacturing of the FLUKE ukulele. Brought to you by "Jumpin" Jim Beloff.
Roy Smeck Concert Ukulele


Original Post By: J Boy Shyne Date: 4/2/2018 9:43:51 AM
A buddy of mine from the UK recently contacted me about replacing his C (3rd) string, which keeps breaking, on his tenor Fluke. It turns out he bought the uke new directly from MFC and it came with reentrant tuning (gCEA) Aquila Nylgut strings, but the C string (no, NOT low G), was wound. Look, I understand the use of a wound string for low G tuning, but a wound C string, especially on a new uke for a novice player, um NO!

I don't even understand why uke string manufacturers (like Aquila) would even make wound C strings. First time I bought strings for a banjo uke, I bought the Aquila Banjo uke strings. Man was I pissed the C string in the banjo set was wound. I quickly learned to get the regular concert Aquilas for my soprano banjo ukes. Indeed, since I usually tune reentrat C6 (gCEA) on all my sopranos (banjo or non-banjo), I use the concert sets for all of them.

Anyways, what's the deal with putting a wound C on a new Fluke? Why not just use the Aquila 10U Tenor strings?
Posted By: karl Date: 4/3/2018 5:08:41 PM
To get volume on a low note, on a longer scale, you need mass. You can get that through metal windings, adding copper powder (Aquila's reds) or by going for thicker gauges. Each method has different effects on the sound, the tension, the feel and even has a different durability.

Tenor Cs can benefit in my opinion by such a 'loading' although it's not especially needed. I only have two tenor, one with a wound string and one with a red - none with a regular C. I do like the wound string - running your nail along it give some cool hip hop scratch sounds - but it is prone to breaking.
Posted By: Dave Means Date: 4/5/2018 3:40:01 PM
Ideally, you want all the strings in a set to have roughly the same tension for proper "feel" when you are playing. For a given scale length -- and desiring the same tension as the other strings -- the one variable left to play with is mass. That is, you need a certain amount of mass in the string to get it to sound a "C" when the tension is similar to the other strings. Given that the 3rd string is the lowest on a reentrant-tuned uke, the problem is that it is difficult to achieve the amount of mass you need with low-density nylon strings without making the 3rd string overly thick and stiff, which negatively affects intonation. There are two commonly used solutions to this situation: one is to use a higher-density string compound such as fluorocarbon; the other is to use a wound string.

This is why proper intonation on the 3rd string can be troublesome. If the bridge saddle is properly compensated to play in tune with a wound 3rd string, it will likely play a bit sharp with a thick, stiff nylon string. Conversely, if the bridge is set up for all nylon strings, the 3rd will likely play flat with a wound string.

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Flea Market Music offers an on-line community for ukulele players, informative books on the ukulele, ukulele CDs,songbooks, videos and information on our instrument manufacturing of the FLUKE ukulele. Brought to you by "Jumpin" Jim Beloff. -