View Full Version : Anyone try fluorocarbons and go back to nylgut? Nyltech?

02-01-2015, 09:05 AM
I've done more than my fair share of string experimentation, and like many, started with Aquilas (since they did a great job of becoming the factory strings on so many ukes). But also like many, I kind of "wrote them off" as good for "cheaper" ukes but the real action was in fluorocarbon territory.

While I always had some ukes that sounded better with nylgut, (two out of a dozen or so) the rest have been fluorocarbon only (Worth and SouthCoast mostly) for a couple of years now.

Lately I seem to be going back the other direction though, even with my more expensive ukes. I never liked Aquila Nylgut Baritones, too thick and the wounds too dead, squeaky, and unbalanced to my ear. Then I tried D'Addario's Nyltech strings. Supposedly it's a formula worked out with Aquila, and maybe it's the same formula as theirs, maybe it isn't, but I like them a lot. Their baritone EJ88B string set has thinner gauges and I like their tension, balance and warm sound. Even the wounds don't seem to be as squeaky when sliding.

Now I've got my tenor back on Aquilas with a Fremont Soloist Low-G, and I'm liking that a lot too. Strumming and finger-picking both.

I still have a bunch of other string set experiments in the queue, but I just thought I put it out there. Anyone else "write-off" Aquila and go to fluorocarbon? Have you tried going back? Have you tried Nyltechs? Anyone rocking nylgut on expensive ukes?

02-01-2015, 09:19 AM
I had floro strings on my tenor and took it to colder weather for the holidays, and stupidly left it on the window seat of a bay window, I came back to find that the bridge had been pulled completely off. I believe the cold weather caused the strings to contract and because there was so much tension on them it caused the bridge to be pulled off. (But it could have been a number of reasons combined for that to happen. *The uke wasn't in the best shape when I bought it. ) So I am considering going back to nylon strings maybe aquila.

02-01-2015, 09:27 AM
I replaced the stock Aquila on my Gretsch G9121 with Worth CT and it immediately sounded better. I did the same with my Lanikai quilted ash that was dull, but the CTs didn't make a difference so I went to Worth browns, which at first didn't do anything, but a few weeks later, I noticed a big improvement. My Kala cedar top stock Aquila strings sound great so I'm not touching them. My gypsy jazz is very subdued (which may be due to the heavier curly maple top, or just needs to open up) and came with Aquila, which I also changed to Worth CT, that didn't help, so I recently bought D'Addario t2 titanium advertised with more "projection" but when I received them, they just look like a little heavier fluorocarbons.

02-01-2015, 10:03 AM
Depends on the uke. I have Aquila on my vintage Martin O and it sounds amazing, but they are often not the best choice for all mahogany instruments.

02-01-2015, 10:37 AM
Nope. Not yet. Don't like 'em, and haven't found that any of my ukes like 'em either. Still open minded though :-). I give them a whirl on any new uke I get, and they typically quickly come off :D. I'm a Worth man, except on my new-to-me Martin C1K ... came with Martin 600's, changed to Worth CM (excited for the "improvement") ... played a bit and went right back to the Martins ... back to a sound I really like out of that uke.

02-01-2015, 10:45 AM
Depends on the uke. I have Aquila on my vintage Martin O and it sounds amazing, but they are often not the best choice for all mahogany instruments.

I second that. I've tried Worth Clear strings on my Kanile'a Concert and wasn't happy with them. Went back to Aquilas which seems to be the right choice for this uke.
Put the Worth Clear strings on the Tom Sopranino now - a big improvement compared to the Aquilas.
Pukanala Tenor - Aquila.
Pukanala Concert - not quite sure yet, tried Martin M600 and Aquilas but neither is perfect. Will try Worth and Galli.
My wife's Korala PUC-30 - Martin strings.
Brüko Soprano - Aquila.
RISA Soprano Stick - Worth Clear.

I wrote off D'Addario, although I might give them one last try in case I buy that Nalu ukulele I've been flirting with lately.

02-01-2015, 10:46 AM
my new C1K sounds so good with the stock Martin strings i dont see a need to change.

my Kala tenor has been strung with Worth Brown for a few years now, but I switched to Ken Middleton's Living Waters yesterday - going to try this combo for a while and see how i like it.

i have always found Aqulas a bit flat and dull - and very thick...i dont really like the way they feel.

02-01-2015, 11:47 AM
I have Aquila Nylguts on four of my five ukes including my most expensive one: my LFdM tenor. I've tried fluorocarbons on all and have gone back to Aquila on two of my tenors and two sopranos, including my 1920's Martin 2M. I love Aquila strings!

My Boat Paddle ML-Tenor on the other hand sound best with Fremont Blacklines and a Soloist Low-G.

02-01-2015, 12:19 PM
I've got to say that I've NEVER found, Genuine Aquila strings to be dull. I suspect that MOST original equipment Aquila strings are actually fakes. Aquila was having BIG problems with fake Aquila strings.

I have Aqula Nylguts on my Wise tenor, my Copley tenor and other hand made instruments. I love the attack for picking. I have an 8 string Mele Koa tenor with Hilo strings which sound MUCH sweeter for strumming yet a little subdued for picking.


02-01-2015, 08:26 PM
Aquila was having BIG problems with fake Aquila strings. - Anthony

You can test if the labeled Aquila strings are real by shining a black light on them, the strings will glow if they are real. I bought a small black light at my local hardware store just to test Aquila labeled strings. So far all of mine test out to be real.

02-02-2015, 05:19 AM
You can save a lot of time and money on strings by realising tbat you can make your right hand create almost any sound you want on the Ukulele. There are several string questions today. Maybe the threads should be titled "How can I vary my right hand technique to get different sounds?" Tne first thing you could practice is alternating between playing as softly as you can and as loudly as you can. Two extremes. Play the tune once really softly, then again as loud as you can. Another thing to try in the first seven frets, is to concsiously place your fretting finger(s). First place it right next to the headstock end fret for each note or strum in a tune, then repeat with your fretting finger right next to the soundhole end fret, two extremes again, but a little harder in the finger gymnastics.

While I'm not willing to write off all the effects of strings on tone (my Pono MT was dead without higher tension strings), this approach where most of the tone is in the player suggests something interesting to me. That rather than thinking so much about tone we should be looking for strings that feel good, and I very much prefer the feeling of Aquila strings over most fluorocarbons I've played (and I like Aquila reds even better than their standard nylgut strings).

02-02-2015, 05:44 AM
You can save a lot of time and money on strings by realising tbat you can make your right hand create almost any sound you want on the Ukulele.

On the one hand (no pun intended), that is clearly true.


On the other... if Kris was playing crappy chinese nylon strings... would he still be able to do that?
I dunno.. maybe he could.. because he's incredible...

Patrick Madsen
02-02-2015, 05:52 AM
I tried fluros on my vintage Martin and Favilla Baritones. Didn't have near the soul as they do with nylon.

02-02-2015, 07:15 AM
Almost every uke I have purchased came with the Aquillas.

For me, they sound dull. Every uke has been changed over primarily to Martin M600's which sound so much better.

They cause the uke to sing and the sustain seems improved.

I have also put the Oasis Bright high G strings on my LoPrinzi soprano and Blackbird Clara with similar results. Much better.

03-06-2015, 04:56 AM
The D'addario Nyltech baritone strings mentioned by the OP are the most underrated ukulele strings in the world. Not only are they the only bari strings with a gauge that I like, the wounds are also more polished and smooth than any other bari wounds, and also have the least squeak.

As for nylgut in general, I've found the same thing that many others have, which is that it tends to make all ukes sound the same. This is a good thing when it comes to laminate ukes, but not a good thing when it comes to ones where you really want to hear the sound qualities of the wood. I'd never put anything but nylgut on a Makala, but I'd also never put nylgut on a Martin. On the Martin, I'd use fluorocarbon for sure.

But on a Martin baritone, I'd still want to buy singles of the wound D and G strings in the D'addario nyltech set. They're not just my favorites, they're the only ones that are not too boomy for my ears.

Jon Moody
03-06-2015, 05:15 AM
I had fluorocarbons on my Lanakai Tenor, which is all maple and thought the fluoros sounded too bright, thin and harsh. Went all the way back to standard black nylon strings in an effort to soften the high end and warm it up, and it worked well.

Ukulele Eddie
03-06-2015, 05:19 AM
I generally loathe Aquila Nylgut strings for both feel and sound. I love Aquila Reds. I also regularly use and like Southcoast, Living Waters and Fremont. Most recently, I tried the Aquila Lava strings and quite like them on the Ron Yasuda soprano I have. While they say they are the same formulation as the Super Nylgut's, I tried those on another uke and didn't like them. They also felt different to me, but perhaps that's my wild imagination.

03-06-2015, 05:58 AM
I'm going to be putting some Lava strings on my Kamaka pineapple soon, so we'll see! The Kamaka's stock strings are nylon, but I hated those in particular, at least on a soprano scale. I didn't dislike the Nylguts that came on my Kala KA-S, but I haven't been too fond of other nylons I've tried (D'Addario and Ko'olau).

03-06-2015, 07:04 AM
Considering how many here dislike Aquila strings they sure sell an awful lot of them. There are strings I prefer more on certain ukes but I would have to say that overall they are very serviceable strings and I prefer them on some ukes.

03-06-2015, 08:12 AM
no................................................ .......

03-06-2015, 09:20 AM
I have a flea that came to me with some worn aquilas. I took them off for a set of Martins and the sound improved. I decided to try Nyltech strings after reading/following this post. WOW!!! Now it sounds amazing! The volume & sustain are so much better than with the Martins. I bought a few other types of nylon strings that I am going to throw on some other ukes when it comes time to change their strings.

03-06-2015, 09:38 AM
I've tried just about every string out there, and come back to Aquila Nylguts every time.

03-06-2015, 11:57 AM
I'm still in the early stages of SAS. Was using Super Nylgut on both concerts, tried Worth Browns on the Maton but while I liked the sound I didn't like the feel and experienced the "snagging" that some newbies get with them. Still have a set so in a year or so I will try them again and see if things have improved, meantime I will buy some Aquila reds to try on that uke.

The Pono TE came with Ko'olau strings I believe, I don't know which type, but the tension was way up there and I changed to Aquila reds and am happy with that choice. I'm not sure that the strings will make much difference to the sound from an electric solid body, so it's really just about "feel".

The Pono AC has been strung with Super Nylgut but is possibly a bit quiet. At my current level of ability though that can be an advantage when playing in a group. When I order the reds for the Maton I might get a set of Freemont Blacklines with a Soloist low G to try on the Pono, but I have several sets of Super Nylgut low G to work through.

I'd like to try Southcoast strings one day because I like their attitude. Then again I'd like to try Living Waters too. Maybe I should buy another ukulele? ;)

03-06-2015, 01:14 PM
Andrew turned me on to South Coast strings on a Pono and I'm very happy with them. I like the Ko'olau strings too and worths sound good too but I really don't like the feel of them. I like fat strings.

03-06-2015, 01:20 PM
I had a Moku with a solid spruce top that came with Aquilas. I didn't like them, so I changed them for some Worth clears, and it sounded much better.

03-06-2015, 01:27 PM
I had been testing the SuperNylguts on two tenors, and really liked the feel and sound, but on one uke the A string had intonation problems and on another uke had intonation problems on the C string.

Maybe it was that I keep my ukes in Bb tuning, but intonation is more important to me than the silky texture under the fingers (which I really liked) and the tension was right in the sweet spot, and the sound VERY nice...

but due to the intonation problems I've since changed one uke to the Oasis bright high-G set, and another to the Worth CL set both of which are without ANY intonation problems in this tuning....

so I'm back to various fluorocarbons and Aquila REDS for now on most ukes....

I did also try a set of the D'Addario Nyltech concert set and liked them very much - they seem to be a bit softer material than either the Nylgut or SuperNylgut strings and very similar to the Aquila Ambra 900 classical set that I have on one of my guitars, the Nyltech set are a cream color similar to the Ambra 900 - maybe they are the same strings - in either case they sound nice, had a great feel, and good sustain...on my concert Flea (which now has Living Waters on it).

01-06-2019, 07:31 AM
To revive this old question, over the years I often have liked the crispness and ring of fluorocarbon strings. I recently was changing out a set as the instrument was starting to sound a bit thin and perhaps brittle. To experiment I put on a set of Nyltech strings that I had around. The sound was fatter and nice and warm. Response and feel is very nice. We'll see how I like them as time passes, but my initial impression of these is favorable.

01-06-2019, 11:43 AM
Aquila makes top quality strings. I see no reason to write them off.

It all comes down to context and preference. Some instruments will sound better to some people with certain strings.

Lucky for us, uke strings are cheap and easy to obtain. It is easy to experiment to your heart's content. Now if only they would break in quicker...

01-07-2019, 07:34 AM
I don't like wound strings so I stuck with Aquila for my low G tenor and for low A on my six-string, and I like them just fine. But I also have a KoAloha concert that got some fresh d'Addario fluorocarbons on it and I think it lacks the punch I have noticed with other KoAlohas - but this may also be due to its low saddle/action. I am also having a concert built that will be strung with the Aquila fifths set (even though it has wound strings), as this is the only stock set for fifths. So in summary, for standard re-entrant or linear ukes there are a lot of choices, but when it comes to multi-string, or alternative tunings the pickings get slim and Aquila is the clear leader.

01-07-2019, 04:50 PM
I own enough different strings that if they were converted to cash I could buy multiple more ukes. I have not to date reverted back from Worths...Browns sometimes more pleasant than Clears and vice versa. Cannot stand wound strings...even TI flat wounds that I use on guitars and basses don't do it for me on a uke. It's not just the sound which is usually " more than acceptable" but also the feel that I prefer.

01-08-2019, 05:56 AM
My fingertips hurt from Aquila nylguts, because they are so thick. I prefer Martin M600 fluorocarbons also for better sustain and intonation, if maybe somewhat less volume.

Swamp Yankee
01-08-2019, 01:52 PM
I tried fluorocarbon strings on a solid hog Islander tenor and switched them back to Nylguts.I
I like 'em. Some ukes sound better with other strings but on others I prefer Nylguts.

01-09-2019, 04:10 AM
I’ve tried numerous fluorocarbons on a few ukes and disliked them. They feel too thin for my fingers and seem overly bright. Even the so called warm versions. I came back to Nyltech and nylon. I personally love the vintage bark and warmth of both.

01-09-2019, 05:29 AM
I keep wanting to like Nylguts, but always end up taking them off to be replaced with flouros. I see videos of some of my uke heros playing vintage Martin sopranos with Nylguts, and they sound fabulous. I like the feel and larger diameter of the Nylguts, and they look cool. But whenever I go back and try them again on my vintage Martin sop, they just sound dull to me, compared to Martin M600 or Worth CM. Tried Sugars, they were ok, but the squeak drove me nuts. Haven't tried Nyltech yet, maybe I will check them out.

01-09-2019, 06:27 AM
I've almost always used Aquila Nylgut or Bionylon strings. I can't tell the difference between them. When I first started playing the ukulele, Nylgut strings were the rage. I bought a dozen sets. I got a deal on them. I've been happy with them, and haven't done a lot of experimentation. I did however get a set of no name fluorocarbon strings from G.B. Gitty and I put them on my Mainland solid Mahogany. From the git go I did not like them. They just sounded cheap. So I gave them a couple of weeks, played them at an open mic, and went right home afterwards and changed back to Nylguts. Now some people have told me that fluorocarbons are fluorocarbons, that it is all fishing line. Others have told me that I need to try out other fluorocarbons, they are all different. I don't know, it just depends on who I'm talking to. The search for something "better" has no end. There is always something that hasn't been tried, therefore might be better, and I just don't want to fall into that hole. I can't sit around changing strings every week and waiting for them to settle in, which is what I would be doing if I ran out and got every set of strings someone told me I had to try. I have way too much going on. So that's my story on my brief experience on the subject. I'm sticking with what is working.

01-09-2019, 06:42 AM
I am not sure hope much similarity or difference there is in the quality of various fluorocarbon strings. When I have looked at comparison charts there is considerable variety in the sizes that different companies sell, so certainly that would make a significant difference in feel and sound.

01-09-2019, 10:04 AM
I bought a couple of lightly used ukes of the exact same model; they had been recently restrung (before the sale) with specially selected Seguar fishing line. Although the ukes sounded okay with the line, there seemed to be something lacking. So I switched over to my stock fluorocarbons. On one of the ukes, I did the change all at once, and heard an immediate improvement, as if a new dimension and "sparkle" had been added to the tone. When I switched the other uke, I did it string by string, so I could more easily compare the new and old strings (especially the difference between the G and A strings, which would be the closest match in diameter and tone). Yep, the side-by-side difference was readily apparent, both between the two ukes and on the same uke. Of course, I also notice a difference between certain fluorocarbon brands—specificially, Worth browns and Fremont Black Lines have a different tonal cast (and feel), while Living Water seem a bit more balanced and "dialed back", and Savarez Alliance seem higher tension, etc. So the belief that all fluorocarbon strings are just fishing line and virtually the same is a provable myth, indicative that the person saying it has a tin ear, relative to the rest of us.

Which is not to say that, for what a person wants, they may not prefer fishing line, or nylon, or Sugars, Nylguts, Nyltechs, reds, SuperNylguts or what have you. It may be that they've just become accustomed to a certain string sound, and that's what they now consider the gold standard for uke sound. Or a person may hear so little difference, it just doesn't matter to them. That's fine, no reason they have to agree with other people's judgment (which may have become rather unduly set, even dogmatic—things do have a tendency to become accepted lore without sufficient basis or critical review).

You're right that the search for something "better" may have no end, but many of us have found that at least some searching has led to noticeable improvement and greater satisfaction. Changing strings is the simplest, most cost-effective means for improving the tone and sustain, and sometimes the volume, of a uke. Makers don't necessarily choose the "best" strings to match their ukes, they may simply use a supply of strings that they bought in bulk, or they may have worked out a sweet deal with the string manufacturer, or they may be pushing their own string lines (as Ko'olau does). A person may also need a different string type to better match how they most often play the uke. Too many folks believe that whatever came on their ukes is what they should continue using for the "best" sound, and more often than not, it just ain't so.I'll go ahead and put you in my list of friends who tell me that there is a difference, and I appreciate that you have done your own comparisons. I certainly have not, so I hardly speak from extensive research. I am not in any way trying to minimize the efforts that people go to in order to experiment and analyze strings. Or anything else for that matter. For many that is the most exciting aspect of the instrument, to experiment and try new things, to search. I only speak for myself and from my limited experience, and I certainly am not the last word on any subject when it comes to music, ukuleles, or anything else. I was simply answering the question that yes, I have, and explain that my reasoning was not particularly deep or comprehensive.

01-19-2019, 01:16 PM
I have worth fluorosis on my Kanile’a KT 1 and they sound great but when I tried them on my vintage Martin tenor they sounded tinny and I went back to Aquila Reds. I have Nylguts most my vintage Martin sopranos and they sound very clear and precise. It really does depend on the instrument.

Graham Greenbag
01-19-2019, 10:28 PM
My thanks to Rlink in #37 for capturing Ubelele’s comments, very helpful.

I had sort of given up on Aquila’s as anything other than a good basic string to get you playing but relented and fitted them to a tidied up Uke - tidied up by sorting nut action, saddle height and saddle material, etc. Can’t say I was impressed by the strings’ sound and regret fitting Aquilas. That Uke is lent out but when I get it back some Freemont Blacklines will be going on it.

As a separate if overlapping point I’ve ‘rescued’ a few Dolphins over recent years. Replacing the Aquila’s with Fluorocarbon’s has always given a noticeable improvement in sound quiality.

A point for Rlink now. I had Aquila’s fitted to my Makala Concert [R has one] and it sounded OK, I fitted Martin M600’s and it sang - YMMV but I recommend the change.

01-20-2019, 04:07 AM
My thanks to Rlink in #37 for capturing Ubelele’s comments, very helpful.

I had sort of given up on Aquila’s as anything other than a good basic string to get you playing but relented and fitted them to a tidied up Uke - tidied up by sorting nut action, saddle height and saddle material, etc. Can’t say I was impressed by the strings’ sound and regret fitting Aquilas. That Uke is lent out but when I get it back some Freemont Blacklines will be going on it.

As a separate if overlapping point I’ve ‘rescued’ a few Dolphins over recent years. Replacing the Aquila’s with Fluorocarbon’s has always given a noticeable improvement in sound quiality.

A point for Rlink now. I had Aquila’s fitted to my Makala Concert [R has one] and it sounded OK, I fitted Martin M600’s and it sang - YMMV but I recommend the change.

You are quite welcome. My friend Ubulele likes to grace us with his discourse on a particular subject for just a short window of time, so when they are directly related to something I say, I like to capture them up and keep them for future reference before he takes them away from me.

I appreciate your recommendation on the Martin strings. Perhaps I will get a set some day when I'm ordering something, to fill out an order. I promise that if the stars align, I happen them on hand on a Sunday afternoon when I decide that I really need to change my strings, I will certainly try them. I do have a set of Aquila Sugars that I bought one day when someone at the music store said they would magically transform my uke, and they are next in line, whenever that is. I don't have the time of inclination to put them on right now though just to see how they sound.

01-23-2019, 11:40 AM
I'm using lightweight and dirt cheap nylon strings. I bought 20 sets of them to save on postage, have got through half a dozen or so of those so far with no regrets.

01-23-2019, 01:02 PM
As of now.....I often prefer nyltech and nylgut to fluoro. Fluoro sounds a bit bland to my ears a lot of times whereas the others have more character. Of course fluoro seems to last the longest and be the most stable..and have better intonation a lot of times....so there is that. I do prefer the feel of the thicker nyl strings as well.