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Thread: Aquilas better on koa?

  1. #1
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    Default Aquilas better on koa?

    Was watching a Ken Middleton mahogany tenor review from a few years back (pre Living Waters) and he said he disliked the Aquilas (I assume Nylguts) on that uke, but said they were THE best strings for Koa ukes, especially on koa concert and tenors. I don't have much koa experience, but what are your thoughts/experiences on this topic?
    Last edited by Ukecaster; 12-19-2017 at 09:18 AM.
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  2. #2
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    Better on Koa? That's a big call. I think it probably depends more on the build (construction) of the ukulele
    All the best,
    Campbell

  3. #3
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    I had heard that Aquilas bring out the best on a laminate uke (though I'm not sure if that's supposed to be tone or volume).

  4. #4
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    I think it varies depending on your taste and the particular instrument. I was never a huge fan of nylgut, but have heard and played some instruments that sounded great with them. It has caused me to rethink the whole string debate.

  5. #5
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    I agree with Campbell, probably depends on the build. I use them on my kanilea concert- i like them the best on that uke, but I don’t like them at all on my other ukes (one koa one spruce/walnut).

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by EDW View Post
    It has caused me to rethink the whole string debate.
    I don't have the most refined ear but, to be honest, I don't notice a very big difference in sound when I swap strings on my ukes. Maybe a bit but it's not out of the realm of placebo effect. Maybe I just need more time playing and more string changes.

    I DO notice a difference in feel.

  7. #7
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    I like Living Water on my Koa Kanile'a, they used to come from the factory with Aquilas, but I didn't like them at all, living Water brought it to life!
    Just Play

    Sopranos: 1st uke, Lanikai soprano LU-11 - Aquilas | 30's Martin style 0 - Martins | Fender Piha'eu - Worth Browns | Lanikai banjolele - Fremont Blacklines
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  8. #8
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    Koa isn't a bright spruce tone, nor the mellower mahogany, knowing this helps to balance out tones someone is looking for.

    I'm assuming you're thinking about Nylgut too...

    I've played all the Aquila strings on a Kanilea, and the Nylgut were the warmest tone.

    It's always been my understanding with Nylgut, they are just a warmer string, no matter what Uke you play them on, like Nylon strings in general, like D'addario's Nyltech.

    Actually for a bit more brightness and punch, for someone not wanting to go Flurocarbon, the Nyltech might be the way to go.

    Compared to around 12-15 other sets I've played, the most commonly used ones out there you find most Uke players using, Worth, Martin, D'addario, etc., I wouldn't call any of the Aquilas, or the Nlygut better or worse, just a matter of taste and styles...

    Food for thought, the Nlygut is the favorite of Kanilea, Joe the owner himself will tell you, it's the reason Kanileas come stock with them, because they think it gives their Ukes the best tone.
    Last edited by AlohaKine; 12-19-2017 at 12:59 PM.
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  9. #9
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    When it comes to things musical, "best" is a highly subjective concept. Try things out and your preferences will shape your opinions.

    Personally, I really like the feel of Aquila Nylgut strings--fat and taut. Also to my mind they are very responsive to touch, so dynamic variations are a pleasure for me to achieve with Nylgut.

    Are they the best string for koa ukes? If you want a dark and mellow sound, maybe they are. Koa tends to produce a tone that is warmer than many other woods, so there could be some synergy to be had from using a mellow sounding string with a mellow sounding tonewood. Perhaps this is why Ken likes the combination.

    As a rule I have found that fluorocarbon strings always have a brighter, sharper attack than nylon but I don't think of this as a negative, per se. It all depends on what sound you like and what sound you want to produce.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ukecaster View Post
    Was watching a Ken Middleton mahogany tenor review from a few years back (pre Living Waters) and he said he disliked the Aquilas (I assume Nylguts) on that uke, but said they were THE best strings for Koa ukes, especially on koa concert and tenors. I don't have much koa experience, but what are your thoughts/experiences on this topic?
    I can't imagine a dude like Ken dropping a carpet-bomb statement like that.

    This-or-that debates get beaten to death. The bottom line is that on the same uke, a good player tickling "bad" strings is still going to sound better than a bad player tickling "the best" strings. Which is to say: try some strings, but don't forget that only practice makes you a better player!!!

    I've been using Worth strings for over a decade (a lot of that time on a koa uke, FWIW). Not because they are the "best", but because they are a good quality string and even the 15 year old me could see the black hole of "best" out of the corner of my eye. So I drew a line in the sand, got hooked up with the guy at Worth, and put in a lot of practice time. No regrets at all. You NEVER regret just practicing.
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