THE Southcoast Guide to Tuning & Strings

 

for discussion of “high re-entrant tunings” and “scale” see the “Tunings & Terminology” page

 

Light Gauge Ukulele String Set

 

Our light gauge ukulele strings are for high re-entrant tunings .  As the name implies, they are of slightly smaller diameter than normal.  This gives them a “light” sound, and makes them best suited to the higher tunings so often associated with the ukulele.  Tunings are dependent on your scale length, and therefore change in key from one fretboard length to the next.  All our string sets are 30” long, and as such, are sufficient for any scale.  Our recommendations for Light Gauge strings are as follows:

 

 

       For the 13” scale  - tune to key of D

       

       For the 15” scale  - tune to key of D - firm tension 

                                      - tune to key of C - moderate tension

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

       For the 17” scale  - tune to key of  C

 

       For the 20” scale  - tune to key of  B flat

 

 

for sound samples of all tunings on most scales, go to the “Instruments” page of our main site (link below). 

then visit any or all of the individual instrument pages - each has samples in a variety of tunings.

 

 

                 Page 4:  Light Gauge Ukulele Strings - high reentrant

© 2008 South Coast Furniture, Inc.

There is sometimes concern with volume on light gauge strings.  The common perception is that higher tension / thicker gauges translate into increased volume.  If the strings are very thin for the size of the body, then it is true that a heavier gauge can increase volume.  In some cases, however, ukuleles - especially in the larger sizes -are played at tensions so high that there is a noticeable loss of vibrato and sustain.  These tensions can sometimes be high enough that they cause the soundboard to vibrate less, resulting in a lower audible volume.

 

Volume, however, is actually not the best way to approach the question of tension and string gauge.  What you hear from your strings is not defined by volume alone.  First, we hear high frequencies better than low ones, and so the higher notes in a tuning tend to stand out.  Second, we hear clearer tones better than muddy ones, and so often reducing the gauge / tension a bit results in a clearer sound, with more sustain and vibrato, and therefore gives a more prominent sound.  In more common terms, light gauges often produce better projection.

 

Therefore, in addition to its’ normal use on shorter scales, this set can be your savior for higher tunings on medium to long scales.  One common situation would be playing in the key of C on a 17” scale.  If you have a standard tenor instrument chances are your strings for high re-entrant C tuning give you a vary hard tension.  To get more response you can drop your present strings to a lower tuning, more appropriate for your gauges, or with our Light Gauge set, you can now play C tuning at proper tension.  An easier feel, and with a responsive instrument, a more defined tone, are both immediately evident. 

 

There is one caveat.  Almost all of the larger ukulele sizes today are built with the use of wound strings or heavy tension in mind.  This heavier construction does not lend itself to the use of Light Gauge strings.  The Soft Lights, with their lower density and slightly more volume are the best chance with these instruments, but it’s likely you’ll need the higher tension of our Medium Gauges.  If you happen to have a lightly built instrument, then a Light Gauge set is well worth a try. 

 

With smaller string diameters, there is always the danger of harsh high notes.  With our Southcoast mixed material sets, however, different string materials are selected individually for each string position.  The results in this case gives a bright, balanced sound, without shrill highs.  In addition we select not only for uniformity in tone, but for more uniform tensions as well (see the “String Selection” page). 

                                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                             Want to try out more than one gauge?  See our page “Combination Packs”.

 

 

 

                                                                                                               

Price per set: $8.00 (includes shipment in the U.S.)

For International shipping click here

Quantity Discount (shipping always included):

2 packs & 3 packs contain 8 & 12 string packets in single packet/mailers (See “Combination Packs” page for example).  To order multiple sets in individual packet/mailers, select “Single Set” and change quantity at checkout.

 

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Soft Light Ukulele String Set

 

Our new “Soft Light” set has tensions similar to the standard Light Gauges and tuning recommendations are therefore also the same.  Light Gauges are bright by the very nature of their thin strings.  Their normal use tends also to be on the smaller, brighter bodies.  Our standard set has a medium bright tone.  This Soft Light set has been formulated to give another option - a “softer” sound for those with very bright instruments, or who simply prefer a mellower tone.  At the same time, however, this “mixed set” provides excellent balance - the soft sound is achieved without sacrificing clarity on the bass strings.  

 

 

 

                     

                                                                                                                                                                    

Price per set: $8.00 (includes shipment in the U.S.)

For International shipping click here

Quantity Discount (shipping always included):

2 packs & 3 packs contain 8 & 12 string packets in single packet/mailers (See “Combination Packs” page for example).  To order multiple sets in individual packet/mailers, select “Single Set” and change quantity at checkout.

 

 

 

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