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aquila
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[*] posted on 4-22-2015 at 05:49 AM
what about the string tension balance?


hello guys,
working to improve the oud setups i have done a deep investigation about the oud sets of other brands. I saw that most of them have the 1st of .22 inch; i.e .56 mm Nylon gauge. THis is same for GHS, Daddario, La Bella etc. In short it seem pretty good the same set
this mean some 3,0 Kg tension for the 1st and 2nd strings.
what is intrigue me is that the 3rd wound string tension raise up to 5.5 Kg, 5.3 tension for the 4 and 5 wound strings....
I have seen this thing happen on almost all the brands.

So my question: have you guys never felt that the tension of the wound strings is pretty higher than the 1st and 2nd strings? Is it ok?
I wonder what happen if I calculate all the strings with the same working tension as it is right....
Thanks:)
Mimmo
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Brian Prunka
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[*] posted on 4-22-2015 at 06:14 AM


Mimmo,

I do think this is an issue. The strings you mention are all for Turkish tuning.
Obviously many people are fine with the sets, but I think it is mostly a question of what happens to be available.

The main reason for this seems to be the difficulty and expense of making the wound third string as thin as would be ideal.

However, equal tension rarely seems to work well. My own experience is that the second course generally seems to take a bit less tension, as does the 5th course.

I recall that you wrote an article about non-equal tensions on lute strings; it was informative.




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aquila
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[*] posted on 4-22-2015 at 06:20 AM


YOu are right about the equal tension
I saw that just to make thing easier.
In practise a scaled tension is suitable.
I wonder if make sense to have: 3,0 ; 3.0; 5,5; 5.3; 5.3 etc Kg tension. No scaled tension at all. and in any case the scaled tension should work higher on the thinner strings and down towards the thicker.,...
....
all turkis sets?
ah! I saw the informations on Juststrings and other places... and also on the envelopes.
Thnaks
Mimmo
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[*] posted on 4-22-2015 at 06:24 AM


At what scale length (vibrating length of the string) are you calculating these tensions?

And at what pitch?

also: Many oud players would find .56mm too light for a scale of 60 cm or less when the first course is tuned to C for the older (non-F) Arabic tuning. And some would find it too light at slightly longer scales.
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[*] posted on 4-22-2015 at 06:45 AM


calculations?
the pitch strandard was of a-440Hz; the scale 62 cms. No flotating bridge. density of the material: 1.30 ( Nylgut)...
you are right about this .56 mm nylon. too slack tension. The problem is that on these sets i found written on suitable for 'arabic tuning' and not just turkish..
I think that I will address me to a normal ternsion set with 1st of 58 gauge nylgur and a ligth set withy is 52 Nylgut gauge ( equivalent to .56 nylon)
ciao
Mimmo
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[*] posted on 4-22-2015 at 01:09 PM


Yes, the .022in string is too light for Arabic tuning c' at any normal scale length. More typical would be somewhere between .024 and .028in.
The .028 is pretty light for g, but it is usable on ouds 61cm and longer. Normal range is .028-.032in.

Obviously many factors go into the wound strings, from the size of the core to the size of the winding (side from various materials), but even so, the normal range for the third course seems to range from .022-.025in wound.

The issue is that from a practical standpoint it is difficult to deal with the third course, most companies don't seem to be able to make a good wound string that is low enough in tension, and nylon has to be very thick to get to an acceptable tension.

For what it's worth, I recently tried your rectified nylgut on the third course and was mostly pleased with the results.

By the way, I received the sample sets you sent and am in the process of testing them and getting them to others for testing. They are very interesting! I am curious to hear the results.




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[*] posted on 4-22-2015 at 02:00 PM


Dear Mimmo,

For 1st and 2d course I usually prefer individual nylgut lute strings rather than those of your oud sets that are too high tension for my taste, I think that 3kg is really fine.. (with nylon I would take slightly higher).

Dan

PS: I still wait for an answer to my messages regarding out of tune strings... thanks
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[*] posted on 4-22-2015 at 02:47 PM


regarding general tension questions, my preference is in the 3Kg to 3.5Kg range as well, mostly on the lower end of that spectrum.

assuming 1.04Kg/m3 nylon, a .56mm string, at 610mm length, tuned to c', yields 2.66Kg of tension
To yield 3Kg of tension, you need an approximately .60mm string.

I like ~3.3Kg for the first string and ~2.8Kg for the second string, going up to about 3.2Kg for the third string. I don't know why, but for some reason the second string balances better usually with less tension, at least with nylon. To me, the tonal qualities of a narrow string vs. a thicker string have to be taken into consideration, not just the absolute tension.




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[*] posted on 4-22-2015 at 10:39 PM



Hi Guys,
a lot of suggestions here....
Great.
Considering your racomandations, I would like to introduce some changes on the Aquila oud sets:

-arabic normal tension set (the 1st is .58 nylgut, it is equivalent to a .63 nylon, i.e.= 24,8 inches): in practise no modifications on the actual 9O set
By the way, guys, are you happy with the tension of a such set?

-Arabic ligth tension set (1st .53 Nylgut equivalent to .22 inch nylon string). The gauge of the 1st string will drop from .56 nylgut of the old light tension set -that is equivalent to a .24 inches nylon- to a .22 inches nylon. Of course, al the string will drop their tensions in the same proportion.

-Arabic flotanting bridge iraqui set f,c,g,d,A F tuning: I am going to study the 'rigth' tension. :)
In my feel 1st f should be around 53 Nylgut, i.e. .22 inches nylon string
Any suggestion here? In practise this set will be aquila version of the La Bella OU80A having the same tension

-Turkish Oud with the 1st string 53 nylgut rquivalent to a ,22 inches nylon. In practise same of GHS 2420, Daddario J95, La Bella OU 80. all these has .22 inches for the 1st nylon string

single strings available:

-single C: for the flotating iraqui oud set if you want the 7th
- sigle ff normal tension
- single ff ligth tension
- single cc normal tension
-single cc light tension
- single gg normal tension
-single cc ligth tension

With all these single cc and gg people can use the 1st & second aquila on other brand set replacing just the nylon strings

with the single ff one can add these to the 6 string oud sets

well, I think to have covered all the necessity, guys

Brian, the strings I sent you has iron powder inside the nylgut. The sound is brigther than nylgut. My goal is also to see if there is a chance to have a plain unwound 3rd. On guitars they are amazing.

well, I bought a cheap oud: I would like to test the sets just to see what to do with all these different tensions between the strings i found out on all the sets i checked.

Brian, you are rigth about the manufacturer problem concerning the 3rd. But i think that the Oud deserve a better service from us stringmakers . So I will do a more even equal feel tension just to see if you guys will like it better!

Sorry for the long post
I really want to improve things

greetings from Italy
Mimmo


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[*] posted on 4-23-2015 at 04:04 AM


Hi Mimmo

Could you provide more information about your new iron powder filled Nylgut monofilament composites - material density etc. Is the iron powder uniformly distributed throughout a nylgut matrix or is it arranged as a core material? Does the presence of the filler material significantly affect tensile strength (dependant upon the proportion of filler to nylgut)? Are the strings more elastic/flexible than plain nylgut?
Thanks
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[*] posted on 4-23-2015 at 04:55 AM


Sure John
the iron powder is indeed of a few micron diameter. It is in to the nylgut in omogeneous and even way. I mean that this operation is made during the extrusion of the polymer
On classical guitars the quantity of iron is in proportion 1,3,5 for the upper three strings. this assure a great eveness of performances because higher the density brigther the sound.
the strings became a bit stiffer but there is no significative lost of stength. I mean no any string breackage. On Ouds this is not a problem however, considering the scale in relation of the 1st string frequency.
Just to say the sound on a guitar is powerful, even and in between nylgut and a wire string.
The surface is not raf, it is smooth.
My goal on oud is to have unwound 3rd strings
I wonder if the 1, 2 strings are too bright for oud players.
What it is pretty sure is that this sound was never heard before.

here is a few examples I have available:
ukulele
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URSi4fPDVqA

banjo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1bd1Y5QAxg

no oud of course.!

Ciao
Mimmo
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[*] posted on 4-23-2015 at 06:41 AM


Dear Mimmo,

I would ask you to please not change the composition of the oud set at this time . . . everyone's preferences are not the same and I've found that a tension that works for one material may not be ideal for another material.

I think we need more time and feedback to reach a consensus on what the majority of players want. The old Aquila sets had a lot of fans, and the newer ones haven't even really had enough feedback yet. To change yet again, so soon after the last change will be very confusing. People like to have consistent expectations so they know what they are getting. If we had enough feedback to be sure of a consensus on an improvement, then that's different.


It would be great if people would post here with their experiences of the Aquila sets on their ouds and how they felt the tension worked out.

I strongly suspect that .53 Nylgut will be too light. .024 Nylon is a normal "light" 1st course, .027 is a more "medium" or "heavy" tension course.
So it sounds like you have it right already if .56 Nylgut ~= .024 Nylon.

I will also reach out to my customers and solicit feedback about those particular sets.

The one piece of feedback I have gotten from a lot of people is that the new third course (aluminum, correct?) being the same diameter as the second course is bothersome. People are used to the third course being very thin.
Personally, I think this is just a prejudice based on experience that isn't necessarily a big deal, but I have gotten a lot of comments and confusion about it.




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[*] posted on 4-23-2015 at 06:58 AM


Thanks Brian,
I will take these decisions with a grain of salt
what it is sure at present is that the Turkish set has too much tension if comparate to the La bella OU 80.
In fact a big distributor from Instambul told me that many and many prefere the La bella OU80 because there is the rigth tension for many guys
so at the end of the day the only open question concerne the arabic oud light tension set: at present the 1st is 58 nylgut while I am investigate if it is better drop to 53 nylgut and so on with all the rest of the strings.
.Mimmo
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[*] posted on 4-23-2015 at 08:46 AM


Quote: Originally posted by Brian Prunka  


It would be great if people would post here with their experiences of the Aquila sets on their ouds and how they felt the tension worked out.


My experience with Aquila Nylgut oud strings is as follows:

I've used the "white" set (13o) several times on a 61.5 cm scale Arabic oud tuned CFADGC and was happy with the sound and the response and playability. This supposedly "light" set was as tight as I'd want to go on an oud with a scale that long.

I've used the unwound trebles from this set on an Arabic oud whose scale is 58.5 cm and was very happy with the sound and the tension. I would not want higher tension.

I was particularly happy with the sound of the trebles on both Arabic ouds but I discovered that *more* than 50% of the time the tuning of the two members of both cc and gg courses did not match. By this I mean that when the two were in perfect unison when played open, they produced different pitches at the same spot on the fingerboard. This problem has been discussed on this forum. Sometimes I could solve the problem by reversing the peg side and bridge side of *one* of the strings and leaving the other as it was. That worked 50% of the time. I was disappointed that replacements were not offered by Aquila. Not only were they not offered for free but they were not available for sale either. To obtain the treble courses a customer had to buy an entire set. I am happy that Mimmo has now decided to to sell individual treble strings for oud.

I would not want a brighter treble sound or a more metallic treble sound, so the red nylguts are probably not an option for me. I would like there to be reliable "white" nylguts instead. Because I have found them unreliable I have gone to Savarez Alliance KF synthetic strings for my trebles. The sound and feel is different but good.

I would be afraid to use any Aquila Turkish set on a Turkish oud, Too much tension.

In short I think the "light gauge" Aquila Arabic strings are a high quality product that should be labeled medium gauge. I think the wound strings need no improvement. They are very good. I like the third course as it is. I think that the sound of the treble strings needs no improvement. I would be sorry to see a change in sound. But a great sounding string that plays out of tune is a problem.
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[*] posted on 4-23-2015 at 09:13 AM


Jody, and others:

For completeness and accuracy, it would be helpful to note the following:

1- roughly when was this set purchased?
2- what was the color of the package? (off-white, or brown)
3- what were the color of the wound strings, if referring to the 13o set? (older sets were plain copper, newer sets are silvered copper)

There have been essentially 3 incarnations of the sets:
A- 1st nylgut formulation, white packaging
B- 2nd nylgut formulation, brown packaging, copper strings on the 13o set
C- 3rd nylgut formulation, brown packaging, silver strings and aluminum 3rd on both sets.

I'm glad to see that Mimmo has decided to make the individual plain courses available again. I know that replacements for tuning issues were a concern for many, and that some prefer to use the nylgut with different wound strings or compose their own hybrid sets.

Mimmo— thank you for all your time and effort on this. It is very much appreciated by us oud players that you are attempting to solve some of the vexing issues with oud string sets. You are probably right about the iron-filled strings not being necessary for the first two courses, but it may prove to be a good third course and work well paired with regular nylgut for the first two.
Most interesting is that you are able to get as low as the 4th course with a plain string! Since the first 4 courses comprise 90% of oud playing, it is really something to have the possibility of an essentially homogenous set of strings.






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[*] posted on 4-23-2015 at 09:40 AM


Good questions Brian. I have used incarnations A and B. I purchased the A sets with the first formulation in 2011. The packages were off white. I purchased the B sets in late 2012 or maybe early 2013. These had brown packages. If there was any difference between the copper wound strings in sets A or B I did not notice. I cannot say for certain whether the intonation problems I had with the treble strings came only from A or B. My impression is that I had trouble with both. But I don't think I always used a set of strings in the order that I bought them. Sorry I can't be more accurate and therefore helpful.
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[*] posted on 4-23-2015 at 11:28 AM


Thanks Mimmo for the information about the metal filled polymer strings. A very interesting development - no doubt inspired by your earlier work on loaded gut lute strings.
I wish you every success with these strings.
All the best
John
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[*] posted on 4-23-2015 at 02:47 PM


Hello,

I am not a player as you all know, but I did compose uncountable sets for different tunings and scales over the last years. The result can be found in my shop. Doing this and due to the satisfaction of the clients i make the the following conclusions:

  • nearly all of my composed sets are of equal tension, equal as far as the available diameters allow that, and differences in the tensions are in the range of .2 Kg
  • standart/medium tension:
    (1) 3,5 - 3,7 - (2) 3,5 - (3) 3,5 - (4) 3,5 - (5) 3,5 - (6) 3,7 - 3,8 Kg
  • low tension ( may be good for a vintage oud ):
    (1) 3,3 - 3,4 - (2) 3,2-3,3 - (3) 3,2-3,3 - (4) 3,2-3,3 - (5) 3,2-3,3 - (6) 3,4 - 3,6 Kg


But of course sometimes corrections are necessary due to special situations in the instrument, action, playing styles, preferences ...

But I would say before any discussion about diameters it should be clarified that we have 2 groups of arabic ouds:
(A) 60 - 63 cm scale, starting normaly with a c
(B) 57 cm scale, mostly tuned with a high f but not rarely also in the traditional arabic c-tuning
!! and not to forget that both, (A) and (B) can have a fixed or floating bridge, what makes it different.

We must take care about the fact, that this scale difference of 3 - 5 cm is 1/2 note or more and causes a tension difference of .3 - .4 Kg. So it is not enough to speak only about a diameter. There must always be the junction to the scale. So my proposual is:
c(60): ny 58 = 2,9 Kg
c(57): ny 62 = 3,2 Kg

But looking at the discussion before it shows that due to different preferences, instruments, tunings ... it will be nearly, not totally impossible to create fixed sets, and absolutely impossible to have the ideal set. So what can be the result? I think we can find out here a range of tension a oud string should be from to, which can result ca. 3 diameters for each tone, and the medium diameter will be the one of a "standart" set?
Any set will always be a compromise!

A solution of a plain string for the d3 would be great. Having a thin wound string will always be a problem.

Best regards

Matthias





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[*] posted on 4-23-2015 at 04:16 PM


These are all good points by Matthias. Any precomposed set is necessarily a compromise.

It is particularly worth noting that floating bridge sets are typically higher tension, though not always. And that a large proportion of "high f'" players have shorter scale ouds.


There are a number of things to consider, I will post some thoughts later when I have time.

A big thing to take into account is how to accommodate the most people, not just the theoretical range of possibilities—the number of possible ouds, tunings and tensions are not evenly distributed throughout the range of possibilities in reality. As a brief example, I sell about 5 sets of 'light tension' Aquilas for every 2 sets of 'normal tension' Aquilas—clearly there is more demand for the lower tension set.







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[*] posted on 4-30-2015 at 07:50 AM


Hi guys,
Here is a first photo of the upgraded version of the Turkish aquila set.
There are: 1st & 2nd gut -colour nylguts: 3rd: loaded nylgut ( finally no wound strings here, a densified Nylgut make the sound brigther and even that the normal nylgut); 4th; 5th; 6th: deep red wound strings. There is a prevalence of core over the metal wire so there is less sustain, deeper sound & warmer tonality
The balance of tension is pretty good, I think. :).
I mean: no too high tension of the 3rd over the 2nd ( like i found out on almost all the sets!).
The ist string gauge is of .52 Nylgut, that is equivalent to a .56 nylon same of the La Bella OU 80 set.
Mimmo

[file]35155[/file]
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[*] posted on 4-30-2015 at 08:47 AM


Very interesting, Mimmo!




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[*] posted on 5-1-2015 at 07:13 AM


Just wanted to point out that many turkish players including Yurdal Tokcan use more tension on the treble than the wound one.
Yurdal' set is about 3,3kg on third course E( Pyramid 1008) and 3,7kg on second course A ( Pyramid PVF 0.63)

Cinucen Tanrikorur's set was even a little more for the second course.


The first time i tried, i was a bit disappointed, but finally afetr a few days i found this tension perfect for the modern turkish oud.
I always felt bad with the lower tension on first and second course.
Luthier Wolfgang Fruh tried to convince me to have a equal tension on all the strings but i never liked it.




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[*] posted on 5-1-2015 at 08:30 AM



Excellent observation. Turkish style uses different ornaments, which 'speak' better with higher tension, particularly on the treble strings. It is not surprising that tension preferences are different between Turkish and Arab musicians.

For what it's worth, the values that I get for those strings are 33N and 35N (3.37Kg and 3.57Kg). Also, it is difficult to get equal tension in this range with PVF from Pyramid, as they do not offer a gauge between .59mm and .63mm. You could get equal tension by increasing the tension of the 3rd course using the 9085 string. So it may not so much be that the 3rd should be less tension as that the options for trebles are somewhat limited. It may be that were a PVF .62mm available, that would be preferred.




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[*] posted on 5-9-2015 at 05:50 AM


Hello
I was wondering about this matter of equal tension.
After all, it seems recognise that for the oud making we can go toward an asymmetric soundboard. For ex stiffening the soundboard in trebles area.
so why not also in the matter of tension ? I mean higher tension in trebles for example. It makes sensein my mind and I feel comfortable with those asymmetric tension.

I think it may meet the style of playing. But when I seek toward "modern" style I still keep the kind of tension I get when I get my turunz oud (turkish maker I precise to Mimmo, as you noticed asymmetric tension on turkish sets).
As it was calculate by Wolfgang fruh in Paris tension of this set were:
1st course (trebles) : 4.8 kg
2nd 3.8kg
3rd 3.4kg
4th 3.6kg
5th 3 6kg
6th (bass) 4.2 kg




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[*] posted on 5-9-2015 at 06:31 AM


Hello
I was wondering about this matter of equal tension.
After all, it seems recognise that for the oud making we can go toward an asymmetric soundboard. For ex stiffening the soundboard in trebles area.
so why not also in the matter of tension ? I mean higher tension in trebles for example. It makes sensein my mind and I feel comfortable with those asymmetric tension.

I think it may meet the style of playing. But when I seek toward "modern" style I still keep the kind of tension I get when I get my turunz oud (turkish maker I precise to Mimmo, as you noticed asymmetric tension on turkish sets).
As it was calculate by Wolfgang fruh in Paris tension of this set were:
1st course (trebles) : 4.8 kg
2nd 3.8kg
3rd 3.4kg
4th 3.6kg
5th 3 6kg
6th (bass) 4.2 kg




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