A group of teenagers around here want to form a uke orchestra, starting with a trio.  I'm making them two sopranos and a baritone, and we will make more as the orchestra grows.

Here is the question:  can nylon strings work for the baritone?  I worry they will not have enough volume.  I"m using a vintage Royal Jamaica cedar box, solid top and sides, thin ply bottom.

I've made tenor guitars 19", and the low strings really drop off with such a puny soundbox as is the cigar box.  I am thinking that I will find the nylon strings drop off even more.

Baritone builders, please advise!

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Hi Diane, I'm a bit confused with your question as baritone strings can be a combination of wrapped silver plated copper over a plastic core and the others also plastic. Some sets the two lowest are wrapped and the higher non wrapped. Some sets just the D string is wrapped, depends on the maker. Some are all plain. Most are the later if memory serves me right. Here in Mexico I just buy a classical guitar set and use the DGBE. One wrapped, three plain. I would keep my sound hole small to make up for the lack of volume in your box. Good on the young people! I wish them all the best. Keep us posted on your progress Diane.
Saludos, Don
Oh, I thought they'd all be nylon! Well that solves that problem -- I was thinking of substituting wound strings anyway.

Yes to the small soundholes! I generally have pretty small ones.

I was going to put a pickup in this one just in case, but might not after all.

These instruments have jumped to the front of the line, don't want to lose the enthusiasm just because I am a slow builder.
Hi Diane,

I play in a ukulele orchestra of 14 instruments and as a builder of a couple of baritone ukuleles, I thought I'd reply to your subject.

I usually use an under saddle electric pick up for ukuleles. These cost about £17 or (I guess) about $30. They work really well with nylon soprano/concert strings and also work well with wound tenor/baritone strings.

I you want to use an electric guitar type pick up, don't forget that a baritone ukulele is usually tuned D G B E. This is the same as the top 4 strings on a guitar, so you could use guitar strings and a guitar type pick up.

You might be interested in our ukulele orchestra website. Not quite the ukulele orchestra of great britain (we played with them last year) but interesting non the less.

orchestra
Thanks, that is very helpful!

There was no link in your post, can you put it up again? My trio would really like to see your orchestra!

edited: wait, i found it embedded in the html!

http://www.myspace.com/sleafordukuleleorchestra

Yellowbelly Flatt said:
Hi Diane,

I play in a ukulele orchestra of 14 instruments and as a builder of a couple of baritone ukuleles, I thought I'd reply to your subject.

I usually use an under saddle electric pick up for ukuleles. These cost about £17 or (I guess) about $30. They work really well with nylon soprano/concert strings and also work well with wound tenor/baritone strings.

I you want to use an electric guitar type pick up, don't forget that a baritone ukulele is usually tuned D G B E. This is the same as the top 4 strings on a guitar, so you could use guitar strings and a guitar type pick up.

You might be interested in our ukulele orchestra website. Not quite the ukulele orchestra of great britain (we played with them last year) but interesting non the less.

orchestra
Here's another question then: are baritone uke strings plain end, ball end or loop end?
Diane, They can be plain and you tie a knot or they come knotted.

Diane in Chicago said:
Here's another question then: are baritone uke strings plain end, ball end or loop end?


Yellowbelly Flatt said:
Hi Diane,

I play in a ukulele orchestra of 14 instruments and as a builder of a couple of baritone ukuleles, I thought I'd reply to your subject.

I usually use an under saddle electric pick up for ukuleles. These cost about £17 or (I guess) about $30. They work really well with nylon soprano/concert strings and also work well with wound tenor/baritone strings.

I you want to use an electric guitar type pick up, don't forget that a baritone ukulele is usually tuned D G B E. This is the same as the top 4 strings on a guitar, so you could use guitar strings and a guitar type pick up.

You might be interested in our ukulele orchestra website. Not quite the ukulele orchestra of great britain (we played with them last year) but interesting non the less.

orchestra
Not sure I would recommend steel strings on a ukulele that was designed for nylons. Last year someone brought a baritone they had put steel strings on for repair and the whole instrument bowed badly at the neck and body joint. the truth was it wasn't worth fixing but I clamped the body down and hung some weight over time on the neck. Over some time it did straighten out somewhat. At least playable. I would have removed and reset the neck but that was more money than he wanted to spend. If a bari was built from the beginning for steels then it would work.
Don





Yellowbelly Flatt said:
Hi Diane,

I play in a ukulele orchestra of 14 instruments and as a builder of a couple of baritone ukuleles, I thought I'd reply to your subject.

I usually use an under saddle electric pick up for ukuleles. These cost about £17 or (I guess) about $30. They work really well with nylon soprano/concert strings and also work well with wound tenor/baritone strings.

I you want to use an electric guitar type pick up, don't forget that a baritone ukulele is usually tuned D G B E. This is the same as the top 4 strings on a guitar, so you could use guitar strings and a guitar type pick up.

You might be interested in our ukulele orchestra website. Not quite the ukulele orchestra of great britain (we played with them last year) but interesting non the less.

orchestra
My son and I just finished a couple of Tenor Ukes, we did find that the standard nylon strings were not so good. I needed new strings as we broke one and went to the local acoustic shop. They had tenor uke strings in stock and I thougth they were expensive at around $9.00 a set. When I got home, i realized that they were Nylgut strings. They really do have a better sound. Teddy can add more to the dicussion. This is the only Uke he has been playing now..
I"ve got some mandolin nylguts on order. It will be interesting to see the difference!



herb berwald said:
My son and I just finished a couple of Tenor Ukes, we did find that the standard nylon strings were not so good. I needed new strings as we broke one and went to the local acoustic shop. They had tenor uke strings in stock and I thougth they were expensive at around $9.00 a set. When I got home, i realized that they were Nylgut strings. They really do have a better sound. Teddy can add more to the dicussion. This is the only Uke he has been playing now..

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