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View Full Version : Ukulele Strings? Aquila vs d'addario



hiphoppan
02-22-2015, 01:49 AM
Hi everyone

I have a Kanilea K1 ukulele and I want to get the very best sound out of it and I was wondering which are the best strings to use. At the moment I am using Aquila strings but don't know if it would sound any better with other strings? I have only ever used Aquila strings on all of my ukes and have never tried a different brand so not sure what other brands sound great. I have heard that d'addario ukulele strings are pretty good.

Should I keep my Aquilas or change it for d'addario? Or does anyone else have anything else they recommend for a Kanilea?

I looking forward to reading your comments 😊

thanks for looking

hendulele
02-22-2015, 02:38 AM
I'll let "K" veterans weigh in, but I have not found a single type of string that works on every uke, to my liking, anyway. I have Martins on my Flea and my Ohana Vita and Ohana soprano. Living Waters on my Eddy Finn. D'Addario Titaniums on my cheapo Kohala. I tried Living Waters on my Ohana tenor and they never felt right, so I went back to Aquilas (which sounded too muddy on the Ohana soprano). If you like the feel and sound of Aquilas, you might want to stick with them, but strings are cheap, so an experiment with nylons or fluorocarbons may blow you away. Besides, the journey is fun.

Olarte
02-22-2015, 03:01 AM
Neither.


I would try
Worth Browns
Worth clears
PHD
Living water

kissing
02-22-2015, 03:05 AM
Personally not a fan of Aquilas.

I think D'addario Pro-Artes bring out the ukulele's natural tone more so than other strings.
They're a mellow and rich sounding string.

PhilUSAFRet
02-22-2015, 03:29 AM
Depends on how you want that Kanilea to sound. Want to bring out the highs? lows? rich balanced tone? I like Aquilas on some of my ukes, but they certainly don't sound best on all ukes. Time to try some new brands....you will likely be amazed.

UkerDanno
02-22-2015, 03:41 AM
try some Martins, they're inexpensive a readily available...that will give you an idea of what fluorocarbons will do.

Papa Tom
02-22-2015, 04:24 AM
A D'Addario rep handed me a set of "Nyltech Soprano" (EJ88S-Natural Nylon) strings to try on my uke, which previously had Aquila Nylguts on it. I haven't noticed any difference at all. But then again, my uke is not very high-end.

In the future, I will probably look for the D'Addario's, only because they are a local company. You might want to try some of the others mentioned in this thread.

ichadwick
02-22-2015, 04:34 AM
I...I have not found a single type of string that works on every uke, to my liking, anyway....

What he said...

Different strings work better on different instruments - there's no set rule of pairing (a lot depends on your personal taste in sound).

While I like Aquilas, I find them a bit too brash on some ukes (spruce-topped come to mind). I like D'Addario too (the titanium series the best), but I also like Worth and Martin. I generally don't like GHS or most other black material strings because they don't seem to present as much volume. I've tried many string types, and find it's worth experimenting to get the sound that speaks most to you.

DownUpDave
02-22-2015, 04:50 AM
Don't do it..........don't try different strings if you like the sound you have.

It is a slippery slope once you embark upon " chasing tone" via string changing. Before you known you have 15 - 20 different sets of strings on hand and you send more time changing and experimenting than actually playing your uke. This is all tongue in cheek but there is more than a little truth to it.

Basically there are three types of strings, Aquila, nylon like D'addario and florocarbon like Worth, Martin, Oasis etc. You could buy a set of nylon and a set of florocarbon and try those. This will give you an idea of how each material type sounds on your uke.

hammer40
02-22-2015, 05:13 AM
Like others have said, it's all subjective. So try a few if you can afford to. I happen to prefer fluorocarbon strings over nylon. The strings I use are Savarez, PhD, and Southcoast right now. D'Addario just came out with a fluorocarbon string as well, EJ99T, which I'm trying out right now on one uke. I like them a lot, and they are priced very well.

Good luck and let us know what you end up choosing.

Kanaka916
02-22-2015, 05:19 AM
Your best bet would be to try different brands and see what works for you. Take into consideration tone, playability and feel as well as the build. What may work for any of the above members may not suit or work for you. In the end, it all comes down to personal preference.

Booli
02-22-2015, 06:00 AM
Aside from the nearly infinite number of possible combinations of tone woods that can affect the sound (wait sorry you said Kanilea K1)

There's lots to see/feel/hear from trying different strings, from different brands, but you have to also realize that advice you get from others, based upon the SOUND of the strings is both going to be subjective/relative to THEIR hearing preferences, as well as sound completely different to YOUR OWN EARS because of your PLAYING technique...being different from that of others.

I'm not singling you out, this is true of EVERYONE.

In the past 3 months or so, there have been MANY threads regarding string choice, maybe they will help you...

have you tried to search the forum?

[edit]: Sorry, I just saw what Kanaka916 said above, in like half the words I used, so sorry if my post seems redundant.

Ukulele Eddie
02-22-2015, 06:03 AM
It's a good idea to ask others what has worked for them, but we all have our own tastes. So I think you should try different strings. Many different strings. Besides tone, there is also how they feel to you (some strings may be too hard or too soft). It's typically about $5-$7 per string set.

TLab3000
02-22-2015, 12:31 PM
Try 'em all!
I agree that there is no instrument/string combination that pleases every ear equally. But some combinations just do not seem to work. For me, well, actually not only for me, that is Worth strings on Kanile'as. Somehow the mids and trebles are missing.

You will not be able to try all the strings there are. So I think it's wise to ask about other people's experiences and I am looking forward to reading the answers.

So far I had Aquila New Nylgut, Super Nylgut, Worth Clear, and Galli Fluorocarbon on my K1.
I didn't like the Worth strings, they were to mellow.
Super Nylgut was better than New Nylgut.
Galli is good, too. More overtones compared to Nylgut (harmonics) but less mids and trebles. Sounds weird, but that's the way it is. Galli strings are softer and I find them easier to play. ATM it's a tie between Galli and Super Nylgut. Although I like Galli a bit more, maybe...

I'll test Martin and Aquila Red next. And I'm not going to try Worth Brown. I like Worth strings on my Brüko and Pukanalas, but they just don't seem to work well with Kanile'a.

Nickie
02-23-2015, 04:50 PM
I agree with DownUpDave....if you like the sound, don't mess with it....wear the Aquilas out, then try another type. Don't go chasing the "perfect tone", cause there probably ain't one.
Don't fix what works...people tend to noodle around with stuff too much, then get ticked off.
This is not a good reason to suffer the effects of UAS.

Tootler
02-23-2015, 10:45 PM
Don't do it..........don't try different strings if you like the sound you have.

It is a slippery slope once you embark upon " chasing tone" via string changing. Before you known you have 15 - 20 different sets of strings on hand and you send more time changing and experimenting than actually playing your uke. This is all tongue in cheek but there is more than a little truth to it.

Basically there are three types of strings, Aquila, nylon like D'addario and florocarbon like Worth, Martin, Oasis etc. You could buy a set of nylon and a set of florocarbon and try those. This will give you an idea of how each material type sounds on your uke.

Absolutely. There is little or no difference between different brand strings of the same material. This article makes interesting reading.

http://www.gotaukulele.com/2015/02/snake-oil-in-ukulele-world.html

Papa Tom
02-24-2015, 02:40 AM
Absolutely. There is little or no difference between different brand strings of the same material. This article makes interesting reading.

http://www.gotaukulele.com/2015/02/snake-oil-in-ukulele-world.html

For those of you who don't have time to read the article, the author basically takes the stance that most options and gizmos for ukuleles are no more than "snake oil." The search for snake oil is common among almost all hobbies I can think of. I am an avid bicyclist and I cannot believe how much expensive garbage cyclists think they need in order to pedal from Point A to Point B.

The author of this ukulele article comes off a bit offensive and arrogant, but he drives home a great point when he asks "Why not just play the damned thing?"

Ukuleleblues
02-24-2015, 03:04 AM
Try some flourcarbons, seems like I either have flourcarbon or nylgut type strings on my ukes.

Tootler
02-24-2015, 08:05 AM
For those of you who don't have time to read the article, the author basically takes the stance that most options and gizmos for ukuleles are no more than "snake oil." The search for snake oil is common among almost all hobbies I can think of. I am an avid bicyclist and I cannot believe how much expensive garbage cyclists think they need in order to pedal from Point A to Point B.

The author of this ukulele article comes off a bit offensive and arrogant, but he drives home a great point when he asks "Why not just play the damned thing?"

I don't find him particularly offensive, provocative, yes but that's not a bad thing, IMO. Maybe it's a cultural thing but we Brits can be a bit stroppy at times and I suspect he doesn't suffer fools gladly. I do agree with him that there's little difference between different brands of string of the same material as it bears out my experience with fluorocarbon strings. Such differences as there are have more to with string sizes and hence string tension at the same tuning.

janeray1940
02-24-2015, 08:12 AM
try some Martins, they're inexpensive a readily available...that will give you an idea of what fluorocarbons will do.

Second that. In my experience with koa ukes, these nearly always sound great. So do Fremont Blacklines. I haven't been impressed with D'addarios (tried several kinds) on my koa ukes although I did like Nyltechs on the mahogany uke that I no longer have. And I know people love them, but I'm not a fan of Worths at all.

Katz-in-Boots
02-24-2015, 02:51 PM
To me, Aquilas have a 'hard' feel on both fretting & strumming fingers, as do D'Addario. I like a softer feel. On my Kanile'a K1 concert I like Living Water fluorocarbon strings. Having said that, I'm really liking Fremont Blackline 'medium' on another uke.

UkerDanno
03-07-2015, 04:49 AM
So...I just got a Kanile'a K-2 CP and before, I was pretty sure I would switch out the Aquilas for Martins or something. But, after playing, I love the Aquilas! When it comes time to change, I might try Martins or...my other choices would be Fremont blacklines or Worth brown mediums, but the uke came with 2 spare sets of the original nyguts, so we'll just have to see.

I was dubious of someone's statement that Kanile'as were made for Aquilas, but it may just be true!

bazmaz
02-23-2017, 09:56 AM
The author of this ukulele article comes off a bit offensive and arrogant, but he drives home a great point when he asks "Why not just play the damned thing?"

Always somewhat amusing when you come across an old thread, totally randomly, to find out someone called you offensive and arrogant.... ;-)

Debussychopin
02-23-2017, 10:34 AM
I like aquila and d'addario they are all a bit different but I can adapt to how I pick depending on the string character and gauge thickness

Rllink
02-23-2017, 10:46 AM
And we're off. ;)

BraddaJ
02-23-2017, 04:54 PM
Been using Fremont blacklines on my Kanilea tenor, buggah is winnaz.

stevepetergal
02-23-2017, 05:33 PM
Always somewhat amusing when you come across an old thread, totally randomly, to find out someone called you offensive and arrogant.... ;-)

Ahh, the down-side of knowledge. Too bad for you Baz, old boy.

luv2uke
02-23-2017, 06:11 PM
Originally had Aquila nylguts on my Kanilea tenor but didn't care for the sound nor the way they felt. Switched out to Oasis bright with a smooth wound low G, and the Kanilea sounded much better, with deep base notes and clear, precise ringing high notes that have a good sustain. The warm Oasis do not sound as clear, precise, nor ring, and the sustain is not as long.
A friend who owns a Kanilea tenor strung with D'Addario strings played mine and noted that it sounded really good. Also, when purchasing Oasis strings, it comes in a length that is enough for two sets of strings.

rubykey
02-23-2017, 10:55 PM
Baz if you have an opinion in some milktoast cultures it is considered "arrogant and aggressive." Opinions are the reason for your website no? I find your opinions extremely useful, and often agree with you.

I too dislike Aquila strings on most ukes because I find them loud, clunky, and brashly unpleasant to the ear, not to mention ugly. I remember you gave kudos to the company and supported trying their different strings.

Recently shopping for strings D'addario nyltech package said they are made in cooperation or partnership with Aquila. Based on that I would imagine they are very similar. Probably have a slight chemical component difference. The package was sealed shut so I couldn't have a look. Why otherwise would D'addarrio advertise Aquila? I didn't buy em for that reason. Fremont blacklines can make my laminate sing without the brash muffled.

bacchettadavid
02-24-2017, 05:08 AM
I am not on a quest for the perfect strings, but I change my strings every 2 months. In the process, I've tried a several lines of string on my Kanile'a Super Concert.

I love my Kanile'a for its warm, reedy tone that borders on dark. The Super Concert does beautiful things with the 1st and 2nd partials, so I prefer strings with strong fundamentals and lower partials with just a pinch of upper harmonics.

I have oscillated between Aquila and D’addario. Here are my impressions:

Aquila Nylgut - Stock strings. Warm, powerful, and widely available. Beatiful when fingerpicked with a shaped and polished fingernail. I usually use either these or D'addario Nyltechs.

D'addario Nyltech - I frequently use these. Less paper-like the touch than Aquila Nylguts but otherwise very similar.

D'addario J71/EJ65T - Classical guitar strings repackaged for the uke. High-tension strings with warmth and sustain. Excellent for strumming or rocking the melody between the A and re-entrant G strings. Good for addressing technical flaws. Great all-rounders but too guitaresque for my tastes.

Living Waters – my one foray into fluorocarbon on the Kanile'a. Good balance between strumming and picking. I miss the warmth of nylons whenever I use them, but I keep a few sets on hand for when I want the tonal change. Great choice if you’re seeking that "ukulele" sound from your Kanile'a, want a brighter tone, or want good all-rounders without the tension of the J71/EJ65Ts.

In short, I favor the Aquila Nylguts and D'addario Nyltechs, but I'm not seeking the typical "ukulele" sound. I have a Koaloha soprano strung with Worths for that.

willisoften
02-24-2017, 05:18 AM
I have Aquilla Super Nylgut on my K1 concert at the moment, it's ok to boring.
Generally I'm a fan of Worth BM but they were very ping, ping on this uke and Martin fluros were similar.
I would like a little brighter tone with a bit more oomph, so the Daddario Pro Arte Carbons are next on my list, ( as I believe they are a heavier gauge fluorocarbon string).
Savarez Alliance apparently sound good on this Uke so if I lay hands on those they are next instead.
Even if I don't like strings I like to leave them for as long as a month as it often takes at least two weeks for them to settle. Besides which how can you tell if you like one thing better than another if you are not sure of the sound.
If they feel terrible or buzz or give you some sort of discomfort then that's obviously a reason to change earlier.


Edited in italics

hendulele
02-24-2017, 07:02 AM
And another thing ... :old:

All my ukes have re-entrant tuning. I recently bought an Islander laminate spalted maple tenor that came with Aquila's Super Nylgut. Sounds wonderful, warm and precise. So I put a set on my KoAlana laminate mahogany concert (replacing worn-out Martins) and the C string buzzed and boomed terribly. I happened to have a D'Addario black nylon on hand, replaced the Aquila with that, and everything smoothed out wonderfully.

So depending on how you play and what you play, as several posters have noted, you may find you want strings of several different materials on the same uke. Good thing they don't cost much :rolleyes:

Rob Uker
02-24-2017, 08:11 AM
Strings come down to personal preferences.
Most of the time I use Aquillas but occasionally I go with Worth Browns because they don't squeek when you move from fret to fret.

Al Davison
02-25-2017, 04:45 AM
I just put a set of Phd on my K1 last night. Left them on overnight tuned way sharp so they would settle in.
tuned this morning and started to play...after 30 minutes, I pulled the lowG off and put a slightly used Fremont back on. Much better.
I'm still not sure I like the Phds all that much but I know for sure that I did not like their lowG at all.

(Best combination I've used so far is Oasis with the Fremont wound G but, I've got a set of Living Waters I'm going to try next.)