Metal to Nylon strings?

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mber
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Metal to Nylon strings?

Post by mber » May 24th, 2011, 8:49 am

Hi.
I was playing Baritone Ukulele now and then.
Mostly finger picking, slow ballads.
Recently got Blueridge Tenor BR-40 T.
To my surprise I found the neck to be narrower than Baritone's and feels crammed.
I also am puzzled by very ringing tone of the highest string.
I'm thinking of changing metal strings to Nylon. Is that feasible? I know that changing Nylon to Metal is the wrong idea, but the opposite shouldn't be the problem. Am I wrong?
Second, are there Tenor guitars with wider necks?
Here's my playing video I did for a friend, to illustrate where I am.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfUfHkmE374
Thanks.

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Blue Jay
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Re: Metal to Nylon strings?

Post by Blue Jay » May 24th, 2011, 1:24 pm

ImageImage

"Based upon classic designs this acoustic tenor guitar features a small " 0" size 14-fret body, solid spruce top, laminated mahogany back & sides, mahogany neck, adjustable truss rod, dot-inlaid rosewood fingerboard, bound top, back & fingerboard, ornate peghead inlay, bone saddle & nut, nickel tuners, black pickguard and full gloss finish. 22-7/8" scale, 1-9/32" nut width. It comes strung with .010, .014, .022W, .032W and these strings work quite well tuned like the top 4 strings of a guitar, or like an octave mandolin (in 5ths)." http://www.elderly.com/new_instruments/items/BR40T.htm

That is a super thin neck at the nut. Try silk wound metal strings before you go with nylon - that's just my opinion. :wink: Silkwounds have only a metal outer winding, I didn't look up what is inside as a core, besides the nice soft silk strands.

Now I know, steel core (not silk & steel). Keep the same gauges. http://www.frets.com/fretspages/musicia ... ngs01.html

Nylon strings don't have a ball end on them, they are tie-ons, so I don't know what you intended to do about that, any plans?

Ha! What do you know... you must have been thinking of these: http://www.stringsandbeyond.com/deanmarbalen.html :lol:
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Alan Green
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Re: Metal to Nylon strings?

Post by Alan Green » May 24th, 2011, 1:49 pm

If you have an acoustic guitar with steel strings, and you replace them with nylon, your sound is going to almost disappear and what you're left with will sound like you're playing a bucket of dog poo.
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mber
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Re: Metal to Nylon strings?

Post by mber » May 24th, 2011, 5:01 pm

Thank you very much for pointing at the nylon with ball ends.
I'll take this to our local guitar shop and ask them.
I've replaced metal strings on balalaika and it sounded OK.
I like the sustain, but it requires quite different technique of playing - surprise surprise!
But that high string. Darn, it's so ringing. Narrow nut width can be gotten used to, I'm sure.
Another batch of questions.
I noticed that frets are quite sharp and not polished. Do they get polished during adjustment process? Can I ask for it?
Or take it or leave it?
My Uke has very smooth feel on the fretboard. This (brand new unplayed) guitar has a feeling of fretboard been covered with rosin or something. Is that normal, is it feel of metal strings vs. Nylon or something else?
Thanks.

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Blue Jay
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Re: Metal to Nylon strings?

Post by Blue Jay » May 24th, 2011, 8:07 pm

You're welcome. The frets can be polished if you ask for it, or fully dressed at sides and levelled horizontally too. Cost is extra. I'm not sure what you mean about the resistance or feeling of roughness, but it could be metal strings grinding on frets due to low quality, sharp or uncoated outer windings (see also Elixirs, Polyweb, Nanoweb) or it may be a rough open grained rosewood board, and you may be right, a possibility it is lacquered, though you won't see it often - a Rickenbacker trait, and is costly.
Like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.

mber
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Re: Metal to Nylon strings?

Post by mber » June 5th, 2011, 8:03 pm

I took my guitar to the shop and we did a few experiments.
First, we found ball end nylon strings and replaced the metal.
Sound was lost. It sounded OK, but slightly less full than on the baritone Ukulele.
So we've switched to old strings.
The guy tweaked truss rod a little and it's easier to play now (no buzz even with strong strumming).
I tried metal picks - very convenient, but tricky to get the sound.
1. Thumb pick always makes buzzing sound.
2. Finger picks have to extend a certain distance from the finger tip to get the good sound. Too shallow or too far - sound is weak and sharp.
The best sound is with plastic picks. I like Alaska picks for my Baritone, but Dunlop picks work the best for Guitar. A bummer! It takes quite a production to shape them right.
With right technique higher string sounds quite OK, but the moment I lose concentration - it begins to ring and sound like electric guitar.
Any suggestions about string brands, esp. for the high string, to tone down it's brightness?

mber
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Re: Metal to Nylon strings?

Post by mber » August 5th, 2011, 11:42 pm

My Tenor with metal strings was picked up by my daughter and she is going to take it back to college. It sounds very well if played in chordal style. Not mine though.
So I thought: what if I remove 2 outer strings from a 6 string nylon guitar and "convert" it to Tenor.
I did.
Low E was removed. A remained. D remained. G tuned half step down to F# and B remained. Same strings.
The fret board is unusually broad, but it doesn't feel bad. Without high E guitar sounds very calm, solemn and in the mellow thoughtful way, not bright. Some tunes suffer, but some win.
I'm sure it has been down before.
Anybody?
P.S
I don't really care if I play out of Key as I use tabs anyways.
P.P.S.
If I had the money, I'd order Tenor Guitar with Nylon strings, but until then...

Delso
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Re: Metal to Nylon strings?

Post by Delso » July 17th, 2014, 8:06 am

I discovered a Pono TG, made by Far East manufacturer licensed to one of the big four Hawaiian uke makers (Ko'olau). Don't know where to find one, though.

http://theukulelereview.com/2013/12/12/ ... -tg-model/

I'm thinking of trying the 'middle' four strings of a classical guitar on a tenor guitar body. Failing that, I'll string it with the top four of a steel strung acoustic. Failing THAT, I'll go with a baritone uke, but I need it amplified.

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