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View Full Version : My opinion on Aquila vs. Worth strings



deschutestrout
12-14-2014, 09:29 AM
Hey gang! I'm new to the forum and expect this topic has been beat to death, but thought I'd chime in with my opinion.

Aquila NylGut ... over-rated, and none of my ukes will see them again. I found them stiff, and they quickly lost their sustain.

Worth Clear and Brown (mediums) ... love 'em. I've had subtly different results vs. the two ... depending on which uke I put them on. Tried both on my new Kala solid spruce / figured maple concert (I love this 'lil uke by the way) and I think I like the tone of the brown better.

Also tried both on my Kala travel soprano ... and I believe I like the clears better ... a bit punchier on this sweet little instrument.

Last night, on my Lanikai LM-TCA tenor, I replace low-G Aquila's (the set that has 2 wound strings) with a set of Worth low-G browns (all strings are fluorocarbon, i.e., none wound ... and WOW! I've never heard this uke sound SO sweet! I'll try the clear version of these too for comparison, but if they beat the tone of the browns, I'd be surprised, pleasantly surprised as I'd be improving on something that is already awesome. I really like that none of the strings are wound ... always sounded my guitar-like to me.

So, I'm a Worth believer. If you haven't tried them, please do! And experiment with clear vs. brown ... they are different.

I'd love to hear feedback from those who've tried Worth, and prefer Martins (I've heard good things about these as well)

Thanks for listening...carry on.

pritch
12-14-2014, 10:47 AM
Just for balance. I tried Worth Browns and didn't like them but I'm new to ukulele. They sounded nice but I didn't like the feel. Mostly have used Aquila Supernylgut but have reds on the tenor and am most impressed by the sound and the sustain of the latter. Currently I'm trying to resist the onset of SAS and plan to stick with what I have for the next year or so.

You will also hear good justifiably things about South Coast, Living Waters, Savarez and others, and there was a recent thread in which people discussed filing systems for string sets!
Maybe one day when I can play well enough I'll try some others but...

Recstar24
12-14-2014, 10:55 AM
Also new, and recently made the switch to worth clears on my mainland cedar. Won't go back to the aquilas, they felt rough and scratchy compared to the worths. Sound is more clear and focused on the worths as well, though I'll give the aquilas having a more rounded tone, and seem to be very durable.

I've got a mainland mango coming on Tuesday - contemplating either putting a pack of martins on them I have lying around, or ordering some worth browns to experiment.

UkeCan1
12-14-2014, 10:56 AM
I'm a fluorocarbon believer too. Didn't care for D'Addario Nyltechs (which are supposed to be pretty similar to Nylguts) on my (bought used) soprano Flea ... I suspect the strings it came with were Nylguts, possibly original (not new) Nylguts. I liked those better than the Nyltechs, but loved the Martin M600's ... until my worn fretboard snapped one. Magic Fluke replaced the fretboard, and strung it with Fremont Black Lines, which I love even more than the Martins.

Those are all I've tried so far, so I too am eager to hear from folks who've compared the Martins to Worths, LW's, or other higher-end strings.

PhilUSAFRet
12-14-2014, 11:29 AM
Is a "non argument". There are instruments that Worth sounds better on, and there are instruments that Aquila sounds better on. "Better" is pretty subjective to begin with. I had some worth clears on a mahogany soprano I couldn't get off fast enough, and a mahogany tenor I couldn't get Aquila's off soon enough. No such thing as one string sounds best on all. If overgeneralize, you will miss out on trying strings that may well make your uke sound way better. Just my take on it.

Gary52
12-14-2014, 11:41 AM
I'll second what Phil said. I had Aquilas on a mahogany tenor that I took off, mostly because of a prejudice against them. Tried three other kinds of strings, including Worth browns. None sounded great, so I put the Aquilas back on, and they sound the best of the four I tried. On the other hand, I have another mahogany tenor that sounds great with the Worth browns. There are so many variables at play that unbiased experimentation seems to be required to find the right combination for any instrument.

deschutestrout
12-14-2014, 11:44 AM
Great point, Phil and Gary. I won't write off Aquila's on future ukes. And, I'm anxious to try the Martins ... may wake things up even more...on certain ukes. It was interesting to get such different results with different ukes and strings. Sort of like "these laminated sides prefer this ... this solid spruce top prefers this, but only if the sides are maple" I believe many would benefit from experimenting a bit ... I know I did ... amazing how different an instrument can sound with different strings ... guitars too for that matter.

Paul December
12-14-2014, 11:47 AM
Funny, I used to love Aquilas, then disliked them...
...now I like them again! :p

Kayak Jim
12-14-2014, 11:53 AM
Funny, I used to love Aquilas, then disliked them...
...now I like them again! :p

For me it was just the opposite! :rolleyes:

Recstar24
12-14-2014, 12:20 PM
Somewhat on topic, but what tension of worth strings would be the equivalent to the aquilas? I have the medium tension clears on my mainland, and I definitely feel they are more tense than the aquilas. If I liked the sound of the worth, but wanted a lighter touch similar to the aquilas, would I try the worth lights?

Maguwa
12-14-2014, 01:53 PM
I use Worth Browns on my ukes. I would have to agree, each instrument is different, so try it for yourself. For me, the Browns are thinner, which helps the intonation up the neck, which in turns helps the resonance. For low G, I really like the Aquilla Reds. It takes awhile to stop stretching, but they blend really well with the higher Brown strings. Has a better sound than the wound strings, without all the string rub noise too. The Worth low G sounds dead and thuddy in comparison. My two yen...

Laouik
12-14-2014, 03:57 PM
I have to +1 the "depends on the uke, depends on your fingers, depends on your ears" sentiment. Worths on my Kiwaya were awesome. On my LFdM I could only frown. Aquila have been decent to me but now I'm trying different ones and slowly edging towards something I'd call ideal... for this instrument.

Doc_J
12-14-2014, 04:09 PM
If the uke isn't set up for the thicker strings of Aquila then it can effect your sound and finger pressure. Things can go sharp or buzz with a high setup at the nut. Thinner Worth stings may sit lower at the nut and not have those issues. So, it might be the setup and not the strings, sometimes.

Recstar24
12-14-2014, 04:15 PM
If the uke isn't set up for the thicker strings of Aquila then it can effect your sound and finger pressure. Things can go sharp or buzz with a high setup at the nut. Thinner Worth stings may sit lower at the nut and not have those issues. So, it might be the setup and not the strings, sometimes.

Is the opposite true? If a nut is setup for the thicker aquilas, and you put thinner more tense fluorocarbons like worth on them, is that an issue? So far I haven't heard that to be the case on my mainland.

molokinirum
12-15-2014, 06:23 AM
Is a "non argument". There are instruments that Worth sounds better on, and there are instruments that Aquila sounds better on. "Better" is pretty subjective to begin with. I had some worth clears on a mahogany soprano I couldn't get off fast enough, and a mahogany tenor I couldn't get Aquila's off soon enough. No such thing as one string sounds best on all. If overgeneralize, you will miss out on trying strings that may well make your uke sound way better. Just my take on it.

I agree 100% with Phil.....lots of fun in trying different strings and then the joy when you find the right set for your uke!!

Cornfield
12-15-2014, 06:51 AM
I pretty much put Worth Clears on everything and switch out if I find them lacking. I've used them on Kamaka Tenor, 8 string and Soprano. Also had them on Mya-Moe tenor, Mya- Moe tenor resonator, Big Rusty tenor Resonator, cheap Chinese resonator, Fluke and who knows what else. I have also used Worth Browns on a couple of Baritones.
I currently have Aquila reds on a baritone but that's because I had a couple packs and no browns when it was time to change strings.
Nothing wrong with Nylguts though. I used to have them onan Oscar Schmitt concert and they sounded great.

bennyhana22
12-15-2014, 08:44 AM
Aquila Reds
Aquila Reds
Aquila Reds
Aquila Reds
Aquila Reds
Aquila Reds

I REALLY like Aquila Reds!

They're squeaky and slightly sticky and rough and take forever to stop squeaking and give just the best tone imaginable on my Pete Howlett cherry soprano.

I'm getting a new uke next year. Guess what it'll be strung with?!

Ben

UkerDanno
12-15-2014, 09:03 AM
I replaced the Martins on my C1K with Worth CM's and quickly switched back to Martins, just sound better to me, not to mention I just like having Martins on my Martin! Using Worth BM's on my Ohana, they are the best I found for that uke. Prefer Aquilas on several of my laminate sopranos.

70sSanO
12-15-2014, 10:45 AM
I will echo the sentiments of different strings for different ukes.

Strings are truly a love-hate relationship. It never ceases to amaze me how I could really like a certain string and then look back and wonder what I was thinking.

In my experience with strings from Aquila to Worth to Southcoast to classical guitar to fishing line and back again. It sometimes only reflects the best compromise at the time. I have even mixed brands and textures, but I not a fan of that.

Those who have found the mythical grail of tone with a particular string are very fortunate.

I have moved from Nylgut, but I still use Reds on a concert. My current Tenor setups, at the moment, are with Worth CH, except I use a Worth Brown BS for the C (3rd) string as it balances the volume. I have purchased individual BS C strings directly form Worth.

John

Redeyejedi
12-15-2014, 08:59 PM
i agree, different threads for differnt heads. whats sounds good to you might sound great to me but just so so to elaine and barnaby.
x2 on the fremont blacklines. i got a lowG set for the kala tenor but did not like the lowG so put the highG aquilla back on.
will be trying living water, worth, savs, and aquilla reds over the next year to find that paring my ears are seeking.

kissing
12-16-2014, 12:54 AM
Really depends on the uke.. some ukes hate Worth while they love Aquila and vice versa..

Recstar24
01-03-2015, 04:04 PM
Recently switch back to Aquila on my mainland mango due to nut setup issues - the worth c string was buzzing due to the nut being too wide for the width of that string, and I opted to not bother doing a DIY fix and just put the aquilas back on.

I'm surprised at how good they sound and feel, whereas on the mainland cedar the worthy have been a clear step up. It's cool to see that even within the same brand, different woods can cater specifically to different strings.

I also am finding I'm doing more fingerpicking, and the fatter softer feel of the aquilas is nice to have.

Is there a string out there to check out that would have a similar thickness and feel to the aquilas?

Rllink
01-03-2015, 04:23 PM
So all I heard for a long time here was that Aquilas were the wonder strings that made even a cheap ukulele sound great, so I got five sets at a bulk price. Silly me.

Recstar24
01-03-2015, 04:43 PM
So all I heard for a long time here was that Aquilas were the wonder strings that made even a cheap ukulele sound great, so I got five sets at a bulk price. Silly me.

I think the main point I've gathered is that there really isn't one golden string that will sound good on all ukes. It truly depends on uke but also listener. The setup of the instrument especially at the nut also plays into it - some ukes won't have nut slots wide enough to accommodate the fatter aquilas, and others may have slots too wide for worths and other fluorocarbons.

ohmless
01-03-2015, 05:03 PM
I like Aquilas for volume. I like Martin M600s due to comfort and because it helped the nut a bit with playability and improved intonation on my concert. I am trying out Worth browns on my risa and am impressed with them also.

phil_doleman
01-04-2015, 02:59 AM
It very much depends on the sound you have in your head! I hate it when I see people saying Aquilas are not good strings (not particularly talking about this thread, but they do seem to get bad press). Aquilas, for years, were all you could get in the UK (apart from maybe the odd pack of Martin strings, not the newer ones, but the earlier ones that were truly appalling, or maybe some generic black nylon ones). I've tried pretty much everything over the years, but I always came back to Aquilas and have them on everything. To me, they help make the sound that I want to hear from my ukes, which is what they were designed to do- they are supposed to be a substitute for less reliable/ consistent gut strings (which would have been what the likes of Roy Smeck and other from his era would have been using). I like that sound, so Aquilas are always my first choice. If you're into a more modern, 'high-tension' sound, then maybe a string designed to sound like gut strings isn't the right choice for you.

strumsilly
01-04-2015, 05:59 AM
I think the main point I've gathered is that there really isn't one golden string that will sound good on all ukes. It truly depends on uke but also listener. The setup of the instrument especially at the nut also plays into it - some ukes won't have nut slots wide enough to accommodate the fatter aquilas, and others may have slots too wide for worths and other fluorocarbons.
Ko'olau gold strings. ok, they are more yellow
see http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?39969-FYI-Uke-Strings

Tootler
01-05-2015, 12:10 AM
When I started playing ukulele, Aquila strings were a revelation. They made the awful cheap uke I started with sound at least reasonable. Then I heard about fluorocarbon strings and I got some Worth Strings and tried them on one of my ukes and there was a clear improvement. They made the Aquilas sound harsh on the others so I changed all my strings, some to Worth and others to Living Water which I found similar to Worth Clears but maybe a little more mellow. The one uke where I have stayed with Aquila is my banjo uke and they sound just great on that. However I recently got a new soprano (won it in the draw at a festival) and it came with Aquila strings - I think the New Nylgut type - anyway it sounds great so I am leaving them on. It's also made me think that I need to reappraise Aquila strings though I think for most I will stick to fluorocarbon. They give me the sound I want.

Phil Dolman above makes a good point. It's not just what suits the instrument but also the sound you're after. If it's the traditional gut sound then Aquila strings - or maybe D'Addario Nyltech - are the ones to go for. In fact, I am coming to the view that it's not just what suits the instrument but the sound you are after that decides what strings you use and, I suggest, the latter more than the former.

As an aside, I was sent a 1930s ukulele tutor and they were recommending using D and A violin strings. Presumably because they were much better quality than the gut strings sold for ukuleles, guitars etc. at that time.

Rakelele
01-05-2015, 04:02 AM
I quickly removed the Aquila strings from all the ukes they came with, and I don't think that I'd give them another try... except, listen to this DeVine Uke and how rich it sounds with Aquila strings (altough that may say more about the instrument than the strings):

http://vimeo.com/87796691

cdkrugjr
01-08-2015, 11:36 AM
IMO, you'd have a hard time choosing a pair of more dissimilar strings. I don't care for redlines, nor the wound Nyguts, but I like the non-wound sets, even though MOST of the time I prefer Flouros (currently Southcoast) better.

My biggest beef with the Nyls is how long they take to settle, but even that has workarounds.

SteveZ
01-08-2015, 12:08 PM
The great string debate..

My usual choice is Aquila NylGut, and if I'm out for any reason, then whatever else is available.

I use a pick most of the time. NylGuts take pick use well, much better than anything else I've used. Granted, I haven't used them all, but so far the A's have it.

Jim Yates
01-08-2015, 01:06 PM
I seem to like Worths on reso-ukes and banjoleles, but Aquila nylguts on wooden ukes. I wonder if it's my imagination or if they really are different.

How often do you all change your strings?

SteveZ
01-08-2015, 01:38 PM
I seem to like Worths on reso-ukes and banjoleles, but Aquila nylguts on wooden ukes. I wonder if it's my imagination or if they really are different.

How often do you all change your strings?

Unless one snaps, only when the string won't tune up. I've gotten better life out of the NylGuts than I expected, and even better with the Reds. Occasionally, I'll remove a perfectly good set of strings from an instrument and retune to something different (there's a lot of tuning formulas out there) just to hear how it sounds.

Tootler
01-08-2015, 01:49 PM
How often do you all change your strings?

So far; when I wanted to try something different or when one snaps and the latter has only happened once to date.

As long as the strings hold tune and sound OK, I'm quite happy to leave them on.