Unfortunately, I had to dump the Aquila wound 4th string - when I came down stairs tonight, I found it had snapped (at the tailpiece again), and despite using a button, it snapped again, this time in the middle when tuning up to pitch.
So I threw the old bronze string back on. So I'm using a metal 5th (so it'll fit under my railroad ties, which you see here, the little dots under the 5th string) and a metal 4th and 3 more Aquilas.
I've still got to stuff a towel under the head - this thing rings too much and sounds reverby in a cheap sort of way without something muting the head a bit. But overall, it sounds decent.
It's not as loud as my regular banjo or even my Taylor--I'd say it's about regular guitar volume. And surprisingly articulate, but plunky.
One of the other things I've been wanting to try, now that I've got functional railroad ties is a sort of uke tuning on the long neck.
I'm capoing on the first fret, moving the 5th up to G and then tuning the 3rd string down a half step. That gives me the same notes as a ukelele on the 4 strings closest to the ceiling. And the top string (the one closest to the floor) is the same as the bottom string on the uke, which makes for some real mind bending chord shapes (not hard, just confusing!)
Also, the frets on the long neck are a LOT farther apart than they are on my soprano uke - reaching out 2 frets is HARD!
The idea is to have a way to take advantage of the arrangements I've put together for uke when I'm out busking (I don't need to haul ANOTHER instrument), but I don't know if it's gonna work out - it's so confusing and different than it's going to take a lot of practice to get used to, which is exactly the thing I'm trying to avoid.
I should post a video of this... Maybe a different day--right now, it's bed time!