Using my handy string gauge calculator, I figure:

 

G - 13

C - 20

E - 16

A - 12

 

My little Indian Tabac ukes are soooo quiet, I'm contemplating switching out to steel strings.  Currently I have those black GHS nylon ones on there, but I don't think  upgrading to nylgut is going to make that much difference.

 

Opinions?

 

 

Views: 200

Replies to This Discussion

I have used Tenor guitar strings on a baritone uke with excellent results.

Diane,

I haven't built any cigar box ukes but have restored a couple of soprano ukes and due to hand problems have gone through stages of changing my regular guitar strings from steel to ball end classical.  On the ukes I wanted to play them using guitar chords and going from the elastic band like ones to hard tension classical (tuned DGBe and using the thicker guitar string meant for two strings up in the packet so uke D is the thick E guitar string etc) gave a much improved volume and I was able to lower the string action by a long way.  It has lost some of the twang but I prefer the new classical sound.  On my guitars going from steel to classical gave a slightly lower volume and a change in sound from a steel strung guitar to a classical - no surprise really, also it needed a slightly higher string action.

 

Strings are cheap so you could always give them a try and see if you like the new sound.

 

Another option if you want to keep the original sound is the "passive preamp" kit (a passive filter not a preamp) we discussed over in CBG electronics a while ago http://www.cigarboxnation.com/group/cbgwiringelectronics/forum/topi... (about half way down).  These are quick to fit and need no soldering. I tend to buy from whoever has them listed for the lowest price on ebay (search "passive piezo" for most hits with the worldwide option) at the moment the cheapest is http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=1206809833... at $6.99 (£4.37 approx) including delivery.  If you are willing to risk $6.99 to check one out you can set it up with the rod under the strings by the saddle with the amp external and plug it in without drilling any holes and if you don't like the sound your box is still unblemished.

Regards,

David

Hi  Diane

I once built a tenor ukulele and used the bottom four strings from a guitar D G B E if you use them as you would on a guitar but tune them g c e a  you end up with whats called a low  g tuning which is very nice.

 

Phil

Small scale and steel strings will make for a stiffer action  (IMHO) and make playing a bit harder.

Also, it'll take more tension to tune steel than nylon ..... so it could be disastrous on a regular uke build ... I wouldn't do it unless neckt-thru ( again, IMHO).

 

Matt

Definitely quite a bit more sting tension. A standard uke neck and bridge would probably come apart at the seams. It would require bracing in the body like in a guitar and/or a thru body neck. It would sound more like a guitar than a uke I think. Do you put piezo elements under the bridge? Can you plug your Tabac into a small amp? I only made one with out piezos (the first) and the next day I took it apart and added them so I could plug it into my portable battery powered Roland cube.
Some brands of strings have the "tension" listed in foot-pounds. If you can find charts for nylon, (there is a high tension and low tension), D'Adario is one of the brands that charts tension. On "store-bought" guitars there is more bracing on steel string. as you approach "pitch" look for signs of stress. you may need to modify accordingly.
I should say that I built my baritone with the intention of using steel strings, and braced it accordingly.

Diane, I've waited a couple of days to respond as I wanted to contemplate an intelligent answer to your query. First I assume these ukuleles are concert scale hence the findings from your calculator, I however don't agree with the results. For the sake of discussion I would discount the results and go with the light gauge on the strings. 10 for the G and 9 for the A and so forth. My reasoning is you will get to pitch with less tension, giving you more of the feel of a strummed ukulele. I'm not very confident in my reply as only once with an experimental soundboard did I have a muffled poorly projecting instrument. Even trying steel strings were no help. I assume you can not open the box now so thinning the soundboard is not possible. Although what I am suggesting might seem farfetched, is there a design area around the perimeter of the top you could clamp a metal strip to and with an Exacto knife weaken the top by slitting along the permeter, much like a violin top is done? The weaking action allows the top to vibrate more. Drastic I know. Also you might look into resonator uke strings as they possess the greatest tension of all. Good luck.

Don

hi Diane, I would try Aquila's first, high tension, and louder. if you have a concert, or soprano put on tenor strings as the tension will be higher again.  string wise just put on the high 3 of an acoustic set, and double (reuse) the high e string to get the re-entrant string. (so string wise it would be e,g,b,e). tune it like a uke and it should work well. (and you can add a bass 4 pole pickup too just for fun)

 

Don is right about thinning the top too. the other thing to try is ripping off the bracing (assuming you have it) or re adjusting (shaving) the braces if you feel this is too drastic.

 

best of luck and hope it turns out well

 

Cliff 

RSS

The Essential Pages

New to Cigar Box Nation? How to Play Cigar Box GuitarsFree Plans & How to Build Cigar Box GuitarsCigar Box Guitar Building BasicsCigar Box Guitar Parts Store

Site Sponsor


Recommended Links & Resources


Discussion Forum

Gitaulele

Started by Brown Water Jerry (Rice). Last reply by Kigar Mar 21, 2020. 1 Reply

Ukes For Gand kids

Started by Rupe Power. Last reply by Rupe Power Nov 16, 2017. 2 Replies

Semi-Uke Kit Build

Started by Brian Revels. Last reply by Brian Revels Oct 6, 2017. 8 Replies

ideal narrow of the box?

Started by jose garcia paredes. Last reply by Kigar Sep 3, 2017. 3 Replies

Steel string advice sought for a chronic head scratcher (me)

Started by Slow Blues Dani & Ol' Grey Bear. Last reply by Bob Johnston May 1, 2017. 10 Replies

(CB) U bass help

Started by Kigar. Last reply by Ronald Whitford Apr 6, 2017. 1 Reply

Cigar Box Ukulele group on Facebook

Started by Kentucky Mojo Jan 31, 2017. 0 Replies

Classical Ball end strings

Started by John Hopper Dec 30, 2016. 0 Replies

String choices: nylon vs. steel

Started by Lane Martin. Last reply by gary sheldon Dec 3, 2016. 5 Replies

MDF Box Ukes

Started by Scott W. Last reply by Kentucky Mojo Nov 4, 2016. 7 Replies

My Brothers Christmas Present

Started by George Fitzgibbon. Last reply by George Fitzgibbon Oct 26, 2016. 6 Replies

CBU Avo Uvezian Tenor Uke

Started by Kigar. Last reply by Greg Thompson Jul 8, 2016. 5 Replies

Triangular Concert Uke

Started by Kigar. Last reply by Greg Thompson Jul 8, 2016. 4 Replies

First Build

Started by B. Kirkwood. Last reply by B. Kirkwood Apr 13, 2016. 2 Replies

Assembly Order

Started by B. Kirkwood. Last reply by B. Kirkwood Mar 29, 2016. 3 Replies

Neck length

Started by B. Kirkwood. Last reply by gary sheldon Mar 29, 2016. 3 Replies

reversed tuners on a uke - advise wanted

Started by Kigar. Last reply by gary sheldon Feb 23, 2016. 3 Replies

New to Uke!!

Started by jeffrey ross. Last reply by Habanera Hal Feb 17, 2016. 19 Replies

Great little video!

Started by Wade. Last reply by rusty case Feb 8, 2016. 2 Replies

Fretboard attachment

Started by gary sheldon. Last reply by rusty case Feb 8, 2016. 3 Replies

Blog Posts

Prototyping with a big ol' wine box

Posted by Ben on September 23, 2021 at 4:00pm 0 Comments

Mr. Bells

Posted by Stephen Cohen on September 4, 2021 at 12:30pm 0 Comments

Bookie's Poor Man's Dobro

Posted by Steve Bookout on July 18, 2021 at 2:04pm 7 Comments

Get your groove on for free

Posted by François on July 13, 2021 at 3:05pm 1 Comment

Latest Activity

Uncle John commented on A.D.EKER's video
Thumbnail

i could have loved you A. D. Eker 2021

"That is a great sound.  New tuning to me also.  Nice vocals and song. …"
27 minutes ago
Uncle John commented on Doug Thorsvik's video
31 minutes ago
AGP # liked Cigar Box Blues's photo
1 hour ago
AGP # liked Poorness Studios's photo
2 hours ago
AGP # commented on A.D.EKER's video
Thumbnail

i could have loved you A. D. Eker 2021

"I've seen a lot of different tunings pop up on Cigar Box Nation over the years, but I…"
2 hours ago
AGP # liked A.D.EKER's video
2 hours ago
AGP # liked Poorness Studios's video
2 hours ago
AGP # liked Doug Thorsvik's video
2 hours ago
AGP # commented on AGP #'s video
Thumbnail

AGP #441 ''Stuffup Steamer Basket'' - Dave Lynas Tribute

""Thanks Poorness, Randy, UJ, Doug & A.D., I think all of the tributes to Dave I have seen,…"
2 hours ago
Doug Thorsvik commented on A.D.EKER's video
Thumbnail

i could have loved you A. D. Eker 2021

"You definitely achieved that old timey vibe A.D.! Outstanding pickin’ to show case it."
2 hours ago
AGP # commented on AGP #'s photo
Thumbnail

AGP #442 - ''Neck Stuffup''

""THANX PICK"  :-)"
2 hours ago
Doug Thorsvik commented on Doug Thorsvik's video
Thumbnail

Pontoon: 3-String (G1G2D3) Cigar Box Guitar

"I’m not sure what kind of music this is A.D.!  It’s a new one for me too…"
2 hours ago

Music

© 2021   Created by Ben "C. B. Gitty" Baker.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service

\uastyle>\ud/** Scrollup **/\ud.scrollup {\ud background: url("https://storage.ning.com/topology/rest/1.0/file/get/963882636?profile=original") no-repeat scroll 0 0 transparent;\ud bottom: 25px;\ud display: inline !important;\ud height: 40px;\ud opacity: 0.3 !important;\ud position: fixed;\ud right: 30px;\ud text-indent: -9999px;\ud width: 40px;\ud z-index: 999;\ud}\ud.scrollup:hover {\ud opacity:0.99!important;\ud}\ud \uascript type="text/javascript">\ud x$(document).ready(function(){\ud x$(window).scroll(function(){\ud if (x$(this).scrollTop() > 100) {\ud x$('.scrollup').fadeIn();\ud } else {\ud x$('.scrollup').fadeOut();\ud }\ud });\ud x$('.scrollup').click(function(){\ud x$("html, body").animate({ scrollTop: 0 }, 600);\ud return false;\ud });\ud });\ud \ua!-- End Scroll Up -->