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View Full Version : Why so many ukes shipped with Aquilas?



deschutestrout
03-11-2015, 07:31 AM
Aquila must have some sweet sweet extensive arrangement with many makers. I've already voiced that I'm not a huge fan of Aquilas. It just seems that uke makers could very often provide customers (especially those new to ukes) with much better sounding ukes, straight from the factory.

My Mainland came with Aquilas ... sounded OK, changed to Worths, sounded much better, changed to Oasis warms, sounded even better.

Lanikai, Kala, Ohana ... all came strung with Aquilas ... all sounded (to me) OK ... changed to a different brand and the change in sound quality blew me away.

I recently got a low-end Ohana, 1st uke I've received with Aquilas that I really liked the sound ... last night I decided to swap with Worths ...this uke to me sounds even BETTER! Clearer, better sustain, lovely.

Just got an Islander for a friend ... again, Aquilas. Didn't like the muffled sound at all (even my son commented), threw Worth's on her this morning and it is a TOTALLY different uke!

I scratch my head with factory loyalty to Aquila. I know MANY of you love Aquilas, and that is totally cool ... to each their own. But the vast majority of string-related threads, deal with folks ditching them for better sounding alternatives. There, my opinion :D

actadh
03-11-2015, 07:52 AM
My first "real" ukulele was a Luna strung with Aquilas. Nice tone, but mostly it was easy on the fretting fingers. It doesn't hurt as much as some other strings - if I had started with my OXK strung with Martins I would have soon have had sore fingers and maybe given up. When I was a novice player, I liked how the fretting fingers "grabbed" the strings for a cleaner sound.

It is a good string for a variety of approaches. It sounds good strummed or fingerpicked. I am working on Rob MacKillop's 20 Easy Fingerstyle Studies, and he is using Aquila Nylgut on the demo CD. (I only wish I could play that well.) I think that the manufacturers need to find a string that falls on the sweet spot range - good for multiple things - and the Aquilas fit that need.

spookelele
03-11-2015, 08:00 AM
<complete speculation>
I think it's because they're loud.
If you don't understand tone, then what you immediately hear is volume.
And with cheap ukes, volume can be a very real struggle to get the plywood to resonate.

So.. if you get a cheap uke and it comes with generic black strings, and you replace them with nylgut, it's a miracle. And nothing is more evangelical than someone that thinks they saw a miracle. Word gets around, and then people look for the miracle string, instead of listening.

I think it's easier to sell a miracle, than make people listen.

It could also be that chording is easier for beginners than finger style, and fuzzier sound can sound more full, than cleaner separation?
</speculation>

Jon Moody
03-11-2015, 08:04 AM
I scratch my head with factory loyalty to Aquila. I know MANY of you love Aquilas, and that is totally cool ... to each their own. But the vast majority of string-related threads, deal with folks ditching them for better sounding alternatives. There, my opinion :D

Loyalty MAY have something to do with it. But when it comes to production, it really comes down to money. Saving .02c per instrument may seem like nothing to us, but when that factory is kicking out thousands of instruments on a regular basis, that's a lot. Add in the fact that the first thing that most people will switch out are strings, and there's no real reason to do anything but go with the lowest bid.

deschutestrout
03-11-2015, 08:07 AM
Loyalty MAY have something to do with it. But when it comes to production, it really comes down to money. Saving .02c per instrument may seem like nothing to us, but when that factory is kicking out thousands of instruments on a regular basis, that's a lot. Add in the fact that the first thing that most people will switch out are strings, and there's no real reason to do anything but go with the lowest bid.

Makes perfect sense.

Down Up Dick
03-11-2015, 08:12 AM
Deschutestraut, maybe it's just selective hearing. If one wants to march to a different strummer or if he/she wants to use strings that are far "above" the strings that every one likes or uses, perhaps the other strings will sound really, really superior to him/her. Therefore he/she can use strings that are better than everyone else's, and surely no one can say that his/her hearing is wrong.

We usta test guys who said they hated a certain kind of beer. We would send the person away from the table and fill two glasses out of the same bottle. Then someone would chug half out of the other bottle. When he returned and drank, he would swear up and down that the one on the left was good and the right one tasted like dishwater. So much for being a beer connoisseur.

Do you really think that ukulele builders would use inferior (wrong) strings on them? Or that they don't know anything about strings? Aquila strings aren't even cheaper than other strings. I wonder if brandy new ukuleles are ever played and sampled.

Well, anyway, it's nice that you are enjoying your superior sounding Ukes. Keep on sampling! :old:

P.S. I fully admit that I use Aquila strings on all my Ukes and probably wouldn't hear the difference if I didn't.

RAB11
03-11-2015, 08:12 AM
A) Standard Aquila Nylguts are fairly inexpensive compared to other brands
B) Search 'ukulele strings' on Amazon and the most prominent hits will be for Aquilas (as happened to me a few weeks after purchasing my first Dolphin after getting fed up with the stock strings)
C) That very well-produced and classy-looking headstock label for in-store. If you know squat about ukes or strings and you're looking at a wall of ukes, I imagine your eyes get drawn to it and the marketing speak works wonders.

Caveat: I have only ever used Aquila strings in nearly two years of uking. I have a Dolphin and a laminate Korala. The Dolphin came with strings that did enough to help me learn the chords but not much else, Aquilas vastly improved the sound to my ears. The Korala came with Aquilas, and sounded good. Not long after I wanted a Low G setup, went straight for Aquila Reds and fell in love with the sound. Just trying out Lavas now and haven't felt much need to explore other brands as yet. Maybe on my next uke.

Diamond Dave
03-11-2015, 08:16 AM
If you do nothing else to an instrument when you first buy it, you change the strings. (Most of us would set them up and change the strings at the same time). So the manufacturers want loud and cheap, because strings are a throwaway. The uninitiated want loud as was noted, and the more experienced are going to put on the brand they want right away.

This reminds me of Craigslist ads selling stringed instruments written by people who don't play. "Guitar is damaged--two strings are missing." "I have to point out that you will have to get this ukulele tuned before playing it."

It's like an ad for a car that says "Doors do not come pre-opened. You will have to open them yourself if you wish to drive the vehicle." :D

deschutestrout
03-11-2015, 08:21 AM
Yes, this is a subjective thing. And I didn't mean to offend any die-hard Aquila fans, as I certainly would not be offended if someone "dissed" Worth or Oasis or any other brand of string. It has been my PERSONAL EXPERIENCE that several of my ukes were completely transformed by a switch ... not subtly, completely. And I understand fully that the tone I'm seeking may not at all jibe with the tone someone else is seeking. So, I'll insert my foot in my mouth, and shut up about Aquilas :deadhorse:

spookelele
03-11-2015, 08:22 AM
But when it comes to production, it really comes down to money.

At first I found myself nodding, but then I was thinking.. Aquilas aren't cheaper than fishing line. If it was strictly throw away pricing, it wouldn't explain why aquilas are the default non-generic strings, and are so pervasive.

I don't want to imply aquilas are bad in anyway, or that what you said was inaccurate, as i'm sure it's true. But there's gotta be more to it.

spookelele
03-11-2015, 08:23 AM
Aquila strings aren't even cheaper than other strings.

I think this may differ widely depending on if you're buying one set at a time or, 10k.

katysax
03-11-2015, 08:32 AM
I often wonder this too. I don't think Aquilas are bad; they do tend to be loud, but most people will find other strings provide a more musical sound on a good instrument. Aquilas are loud but in my view they are little thuddy and muddy.

There are certain ukes, Kanilea comes to mind, that are supposed to be a premium product and that are undermined in how well they "show" because Aquilas do not give them their best sound. My understanding is that Kanilea has an arrangement with Aquila. They get them at a good price, and they also get to market them as coming with a name brand string. No matter what string a ukes comes with, a large percentage of owners are going to have some other string they like better.

hoosierhiver
03-11-2015, 08:39 AM
If you guys had been on UU about 5+ years ago, Aquillas were all the rave, now they seem to be out of fashion.

Over a year ago (maybe two) there were a lot of fake Aquillas coming out of China (maybe there still are). They didn't sound as good. The real Aquilla company added a flourescent additive so people could determine if they were genuine or not. I wonder how many people were soured by the fake ones and didn't realize it.

Down Up Dick
03-11-2015, 08:44 AM
I don't think that Aquilas are all that cheap. I wish they were. I've seen lots of strings that were less $$$; I won't name them as I don't wanna offend anyone either. I've been hearing debates about which instruments sound better than which other instruments for over 65 years. It's just something that musicians like to talk about.

A good musical instrument debate is good way to pass the time, and it doesn't hurt anyone. Debate on! :old:

Jon Moody
03-11-2015, 08:44 AM
At first I found myself nodding, but then I was thinking.. Aquilas aren't cheaper than fishing line. If it was strictly throw away pricing, it wouldn't explain why aquilas are the default non-generic strings, and are so pervasive.

I don't want to imply aquilas are bad in anyway, or that what you said was inaccurate, as i'm sure it's true. But there's gotta be more to it.

You're looking at this from a consumer level.

Nylon is BY FAR less expensive than fluorocarbon (which I'm assuming is what you meant when you said fishing line) and then when you bring in the "bulk" aspect of this (which with these shops is usually by a number of gross), the pricing is even lower. Add into the fact that Aquila is also a company that doesn't have to ship overseas to China (because they're on the same continent), and there is another savings.

spookelele
03-11-2015, 08:47 AM
most people will find other strings provide a more musical sound on a good instrument.

I think the better the instrument, the more you hear certain things that make certain strings sound much different.

Right now I'm on a worth kick. Since those are double sets, I put half on a pono, and the other on a kala laminate. The clarity of the strings sounds great on the pono. But it showcases tone deficiency in the kala laminate. Last night I replaced the worth on the kala with super nylguts. Now the tone is not as anemic, and it's louder, but it doesn't sustain nearly as well. I don't want to imply I have a ton of experience, but the more I try different things, the more I appreciate why better ukes are better ukes.

hendulele
03-11-2015, 08:47 AM
The nylguts stand out visually in a way that clear or black strings do not, so there's a cosmetic reason for them to be featured in the storefront, if you will. I've had mixed results with Aqulias, but yes, your mileage may vary with any string. My Ohana tenor (with a solid spruce top) sounds cleaner with nylguts than with Living Waters (go figure). But my Ohana Vita (also w/solid spruce top) works best with Martin 600s. I will say that I've tried Aquila reds on three different ukes, and on every set, the G or C has popped. If I were limited to one type of strings, I'd guess I'd go with flurocarbons, but thank goodness there are alternatives.

spookelele
03-11-2015, 08:54 AM
Nylon is BY FAR less expensive than fluorocarbon

Then why isnt kala/etc using nylon fishing line? There's a ton of stuff that's cheaper than what Mimo can make, but his stuff is pretty much the industry standard. I have nothing against nylon either.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_Cwe_pz0Uo

How can that be cheaper than having huge vats and machines to extrude fishing line in volumes that are 1000X higher than what Mimo can do?

Ukulele Eddie
03-11-2015, 09:16 AM
Then why isnt kala/etc using nylon fishing line? There's a ton of stuff that's cheaper than what Mimo can make, but his stuff is pretty much the industry standard.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_Cwe_pz0Uo

How can that be cheaper than having huge vats and machines to extrude fishing line in volumes that are 1000X higher than what Mimo can do?

Great video. Never would have guessed it was such a manual process!

Also, while some more experienced 'uke players may not care for the basic Aquila Nylgut strings (myself included), they make several other strings that are completely different and worth checking out. I've tried Reds on more than half a dozen very different instruments and they sounded at least good -- and often great -- on each one. I also recently tried their Lava line and was impressed, but need to try it on more instruments. The marketing material says the Lava is identical to the new Super Nylgut but they seemed different to me for the two sets I compared.

Jon Moody
03-11-2015, 09:28 AM
Then why isnt kala/etc using nylon fishing line? There's a ton of stuff that's cheaper than what Mimo can make, but his stuff is pretty much the industry standard. I have nothing against nylon either.


Look at it this way.

OPT 1 - GHS gets nylon strings - like everyone else - from a third party.
Third party cost is $.40 per set
Third party sells set for $.75 per set to GHS
GHS quotes manufacturer bulk price at $1.25 per set plus overseas shipping

OPT 2 - Aquila makes their own strings
Aquila's cost is - and again, I'm guessing - $.60 per set
Aquila quotes manufacturer bulk price of $1.00 per set plus shipping

It may cost Aquila more per set to manufacture, but since their costs are all in-house, it's a completely different game.

mikelz777
03-11-2015, 09:29 AM
I'm not a huge fan of Aquilas......I scratch my head with factory loyalty to Aquila. I know MANY of you love Aquilas, and that is totally cool ... to each their own. But the vast majority of string-related threads, deal with folks ditching them for better sounding alternatives. There, my opinion :D

I totally agree. My first uke, a starter Lanikai, came with Aquilas. I was disappointed with the dull, muddy sound and thought that it was due to older strings in need of a change. I put a new set of Aquilas on it and got the same dull, muddy sound. I started blaming it on the uke thinking it was due to it being a cheap laminate. Because they were so cheap, I tried some D'Addarios on it and liked those even less than than the Aquilas. I then tried some Martins and it sounded like a whole new and different uke! It was the strings and not the uke! I've also tried some Oasis strings on my Lanikai and I think they may be slightly better than the Martins. My 2nd uke, an Ohana, came with Aquila strings and I was unhappy with the sound. I put some Martins on it and it sounded much better! I'm looking forward to trying some Oasis strings on it next.

I did a comparison chart of all the strings I tried from first to worst. What I found is that I like the lighter, narrower gauged strings better for sound and feel. I hear so many good things about Worth strings, I'd love to give them a try some time.

deschutestrout
03-11-2015, 09:49 AM
I totally agree. My first uke, a starter Lanikai, came with Aquilas. I was disappointed with the dull, muddy sound and thought that it was due to older strings in need of a change. I put a new set of Aquilas on it and got the same dull, muddy sound. I started blaming it on the uke thinking it was due to it being a cheap laminate. Because they were so cheap, I tried some D'Addarios on it and liked those even less than than the Aquilas. I then tried some Martins and it sounded like a whole new and different uke! It was the strings and not the uke! I've also tried some Oasis strings on my Lanikai and I think they may be slightly better than the Martins. My 2nd uke, an Ohana, came with Aquila strings and I was unhappy with the sound. I put some Martins on it and it sounded much better! I'm looking forward to trying some Oasis strings on it next.

I did a comparison chart of all the strings I tried from first to worst. What I found is that I like the lighter, narrower gauged strings better for sound and feel. I hear so many good things about Worth strings, I'd love to give them a try some time.

Some don't seem to understand or appreciate what a MAJOR difference strings make in the sound AND playability of a uke, or any stringed instrument for that matter. For decades, I was a die-hard DiAdario fan on my guitars. Decided to throw some Elixers on my Taylor, my response? "Holy Crap!" That's all I use now on THAT guitar ... still use DiAdarios on most of my others. Glad you're experimenting, strings make a HUGE difference, no question. Anyone who claims they don't likely hasn't tried many different strings....and may be very pleasantly surprised if they do.

fongie
03-11-2015, 10:36 AM
Good threat Desch

I think it's interesting hearing what others use on their uku's. For me, I like to experiment different strings if I can afford it.

I received my Kawaya the other day and the strings on it was not what I have in mind. And it wasn't Aquila's. Last night I changed to Martin 600, what a difference already and it is still to settle down.

I own many high-end gits mainly Martin and D'Addarios have always been my go brand. But recently Martin has somehow caught my attention.

deschutestrout
03-11-2015, 10:41 AM
Good threat Desch



I sure hope I didn't come across as threatening :cool:. Keyboards gotta luv 'em

deschutestrout
03-11-2015, 10:44 AM
For those interested in trying (or buying more!) Oasis strings, Strings by Mail has a 30% off sale. $6.65 for a DOUBLE LENGTH set. Killer deal, on a string that has quickly become one of my favorites.

fongie
03-11-2015, 10:45 AM
I sure hope I didn't come across as threatening :cool:. Keyboards gotta luv 'em

Apologies desch, meant for thread. :D Cheers

ukulelekarcsi
03-11-2015, 10:53 AM
In the entire manufacturing cost of a ukulele, I think strings are fairly cheap, while making a big difference sound-wise. A better nut or saddle, or a different finishing process would make less effect for a lot more effort.

Five years ago, most cheap ukuleles had no-name nylon strings (sometimes black, mostly clear) that sounded horrible. Nylguts do have a higher tension and mass which is good on rather quiet instruments.

Regarding the interesting video, Aquila makes a lot of different string sets (for different instruments, in different materials), so not all of their products are that labor-intensive - they are one of the few manufacturers of real gut strings.

They also have good marketing (the hang tags!) and an excellent reputation (it's one of the first brands starting players seem to know).

As seperate sets, Nylguts are not the cheapest strings you can buy for a ukulele - there are cheaper nylon and fluorocarbon sets aplenty.

Fishing line can be made out of nylon or fluorocarbon - ask a fishing forum which is the best and you'll get a wonderful thread as a result. Visibility, stretch/durability, flexibility...

Why not buy fishing line instead of string sets? Well, some people do that (George Hinchliffe of the UOGB) but have have to know your stuff (what kind of string material, know your brands) and you have to buy a lot of it, in at least three different gauges (or four, when looking for a low G set). It's only cheaper in the very long run.

But to answer your question: they're on so many cheap (and mid-range) ukuleles as factory default sets because they're good, known and make a difference, and probably because Mimmo Peruffo can offer those companies great deals.

ksiegel
03-11-2015, 11:13 AM
Add into the fact that Aquila is also a company that doesn't have to ship overseas to China (because they're on the same continent), and there is another savings.

Funny - every package of Aquila strings I've ever gotten was made in Italy, a completely different continent than the one China is on...

I have used Aquila Nygluts, Aquila Reds, Worth Clears, Southcoast, Kala Reds, and some generic non-flurocarbon strings - I don't like the generics, the Aqualele Soprano I have has a Chinese string that Philip likes, but I think is the weakest part of the experience - will be switching to Aurora soon (made by Aquila) to test my theory.

And when Craig and Sara's kickstarter finishes, I'll have some GHS strings to try.

Still trying to find the right strings for my National, though...



-Kurt

UkerDanno
03-11-2015, 11:14 AM
I sure hope I didn't come across as threatening :cool:. Keyboards gotta luv 'em

yeah, I dunno, maybe threat means something else down ahnduh...;-D

UkerDanno
03-11-2015, 11:22 AM
Funny - every package of Aquila strings I've ever gotten was made in Italy, a completely different continent than the one China is on...

not really, depends on which definition you use, they are both on the same land mass, sometimes called Eurasia. Although, I'm not sure it would be any cheaper to ship from Italy to China, than it would be to ship from the US, but then, how many strings are made in the US?

Jon Moody
03-11-2015, 11:48 AM
not really, depends on which definition you use, they are both on the same land mass, sometimes called Eurasia. Although, I'm not sure it would be any cheaper to ship from Italy to China, than it would be to ship from the US, but then, how many strings are made in the US?

Sorry, yes. I meant same "land mass" (I'm sure my geography teacher is shaking their head in disappointment). And yes, it's substantially cheaper to ship from the same landmass than overseas. GHS owns Rocktron, which deals in effects and rack mount units for guitars. The factory we have make these is in China, and our European distributors get their orders drop-shipped from the factory instead of from the office in the US as it's much cheaper.

As for who makes their strings in the US, an extremely large majority of them. There is a small amount of actual string winding factories in comparison to the amount of brands that are commercially available, but the large majority of strings are made in the US.

pritch
03-11-2015, 12:57 PM
I had seen that video previously but it's so good I had to watch it again. Interesting to see the number of times he sticks his nose into the newly opened bag of gut. That suggests that a significant proportion of the bags he opens may have gone "off"?

Also interesting the huge amount of nylon type material he has to buy to get the lowest price. Pallets full of rolls containing about 120miles per roll.

Diamond Dave
03-11-2015, 05:06 PM
Sorry, yes. I meant same "land mass" (I'm sure my geography teacher is shaking their head in disappointment). And yes, it's substantially cheaper to ship from the same landmass than overseas.

I have a degree in geography and I'm shaking my head. Anything shipped between Italy and China goes by boat, unless you are shipping small quantities via a service like FedEx, in which case it goes by plane. Nothing goes from Italy to China by truck or train because it's literally 5,000 miles of bad road between Rome and Beijing.

Andy Chen
03-11-2015, 05:19 PM
I don't like Aquila Nylguts, either, but they must be doing something right if D'Addario wants to collaborate with the company to produce Nyltech strings?

mm stan
03-11-2015, 05:35 PM
Every brand uke will react different to strings, that said on some ukes sound great with aquilas
While others not....I can say that with any brand of string, there is no one overall string for all ukes
Your job if you are willing to spend the money and time is to figure that out.
Also what mainland mike said, many overseas ukes came before with fake aquilas and may got discouraged
Look for them under a black light for a glow in the strings for the real ones. I even got a set of fake
Packaged aquilas with all factory fake labels

bnolsen
03-11-2015, 06:00 PM
I dislike aquilas but I don't dislike them enough not to play an authentic (not fake chinese) set of factory aquilas into the ground before changing over to fluorocarbons. My daughter's dolphin still has the original aquilas (from a setup). I also switched my fluke from the set of low-g phd fluoro's back to the original aquilas. Definitely a step back in feel and playability. I just didn't like the low-g fluoro, and I loaned my sister in law my old beater uke (the setup is actually great) and needed a new beater.

jer
03-11-2015, 06:14 PM
Just another theory: Before Aquila came out ukulele string choices were very limited. It seemed I could mostly find those black D'addario strings. That was what shipped on Flukes back then too. According to D'addario's literature those strings are the warmest sounding yet highest tension strings of all their offerings now.
I can see how going from those to Aquila on a cheap laminate uke especially might give a "Whoa! It's ALIVE!" kind of reaction. ha... People used to rave about Aquila. Maybe the manufacturers took note and that's why they're still seen as the standard to a lot of companies.
Now we have so many more string options. We're fortunate.
I never got into the original Aquila strings. I haven't tried the super Nylgut. I do think the D'addario Nyltech strings are really nice strings. Aquila seems to be working hard to constantly upgrade their product line, so maybe they'll have their day again with some who dislike them now.

PTOEguy
03-11-2015, 07:03 PM
I can take or leave the Aquila sound, but I just like the way they feel. Something about the right tension to string diameter ratio to be comfortable on my fingers.

Down Up Dick
03-12-2015, 03:09 AM
Bill1, I couldn't agree more. You've got it; it's probably the player and not the strings. :old:

deschutestrout
03-12-2015, 04:11 AM
Bill1, I couldn't agree more. You've got it; it's probably the player and not the strings. :old:

Ha! That's hilarious. Just about spit coffee on my keyboard.

HBolte
03-12-2015, 04:21 AM
Both my MB and Kanile'a concerts sound best with Aquilas...to me. They would sound terrible on my vintage Martin sopranos, M600's only on them. I experimented a lot with various strings, you should too.

deschutestrout
03-12-2015, 04:28 AM
P.S. I fully admit that I use Aquila strings on all my Ukes and probably wouldn't hear the difference if I didn't.

So Dick, unless I'm misunderstanding, you've never tried any different strings? If that's the case, you really don't have basis to offer an opinion on "strings and the difference they make in tone and playability"? :stop: If I misread this, I apologize.

deschutestrout
03-12-2015, 04:34 AM
Both my MB and Kanile'a concerts sound best with Aquilas...to me. They would sound terrible on my vintage Martin sopranos, M600's only on them. I experimented a lot with various strings, you should too. Re-read my original post ... I've tried various strings on all my ukes, (and have even gone back and re-tried Aquilas to see "if I'd missed something") For the sound I'm looking for, I have yet to own a uke that prefers Aquilas ... and, that's just me .... I will continue to experiment with strings (lots out there I haven't tried) as I enjoy how often I'm pleasantly surprised by a positive change in tone and playability.

Down Up Dick
03-12-2015, 04:51 AM
So Dick, unless I'm misunderstanding, you've never tried any different strings? If that's the case, you really don't have basis to offer an opinion on "strings and the difference they make in tone and playability"? :stop: If I misread this, I apologize.

I didn't offer an opinion of the difference strings make in tone and playability. I do think the difference is a tempest in a teapot though. And I have tried a different brand, but I didn't see any difference in tone. I did notice that it was easier to barre with the Aquilas.

I also stated why I thought Ukers went through all the string changing and testing. What else can one easily and cheaply change to be different (better?)?

It's okay to change and sample and change and sample. It's part of the hobby, and it's something to debate. :old:

spookelele
03-12-2015, 04:58 AM
I have yet to own a uke that prefers Aquilas.

I would disagree here. I have a kala teme3 that sounds better with aquilas than fc's. The clean/clearness of the FC really shows how dead the plywood tone sounds. The fuzzy bark of the aquilas fills out the tone more than the 620's, worth, and d'addario I tried on it. I'm probably going to go back to regular nylguts on that one from the supers on the next set.

RAB11
03-12-2015, 05:00 AM
I would disagree here. I have a kala teme3 that sounds better with aquilas than fc's. The clean/clearness of the FC really shows how dead the plywood sounds. The fuzzy bark of the aquilas fills out the tone more than the 620's, worth, and d'addario I tried on it. I'm probably going to go back to regular nylguts on that one from the supers on the next set. I don't really like the sound generally, but its my only electric, and I'm trying to get better at looping.

How can you disagree with him saying he hasn't has a uke that sounds best with Aquilas yet? He didn't say there is not a single uke out there that sounds good with them.

Down Up Dick
03-12-2015, 05:03 AM
So Dick, unless I'm misunderstanding, you've never tried any different strings? If that's the case, you really don't have basis to offer an opinion on "strings and the difference they make in tone and playability"? :stop: If I misread this, I apologize.

Your apology is accepted, and be careful about spitting coffee in your computer. I don't think adding coffee is good for a computer's tone or playability, but that's just an untried opinion.

Have a nice day. Go change your strings. :old:

spookelele
03-12-2015, 05:21 AM
How can you disagree with him

How can you disagree with what I can disagree with? Call a lawyer!
Are we not supposed to reductio ad absurdum twice in the same thread?

jthomas
03-12-2015, 05:30 AM
String threads are so amusingly contentious. I'm definitely in the minority opinion on strings. I like Aquila and I'm not a fan of fluorocarbon. There, I said it, I don't really like fluorocarbon. I've tried it on several ukes, from my Kamaka pineapple (which sounds great with Martin strings, but has a set of Lava's on the way to try) to my new Risa stick which is the closest I've come to generally liking them.
Aquila definitely has a sound of their own, which I like on most lower end to mid-range ukes. I like them on my Kala solid spruce top concert (have not tried Fluoro's on that on).
In recent years, I've become a hobby builder of cigar box ukuleles. Even though I only use solid wood tops and I'm careful to thin them out as much as possible, with the box shape, getting the top to really resonate can be tough, and Aquila strings seem to give me better performance across the board, from simple volume, to complexity and depth of sound. I also like their feel.

deschutestrout
03-12-2015, 05:31 AM
I would disagree here. I have a kala teme3 that sounds better with aquilas than fc's. The clean/clearness of the FC really shows how dead the plywood tone sounds. The fuzzy bark of the aquilas fills out the tone more than the 620's, worth, and d'addario I tried on it. I'm probably going to go back to regular nylguts on that one from the supers on the next set.

Good to know ... and I said "I'VE never owned one ... " (yet). I fully understand (and have learned from many of you who experiment like I do) that Aquilas are THE string for many ukes. And I'm open to trying them again as my "taste in tone" evolves, and my desire to have ukes on hand that have a very different sound quality.

Brian W
03-12-2015, 06:19 AM
I tend to prefer fluorocarbon strings on my sopranos, however I recently tried a set of the Super Nylgut on an Ohana SK35, and I have to admit that I do like the tone and feel of these strings. They are incredibly smooth to the touch and intonate really well--after settling in of course. The tone is a bit warmer than typical clear fluorocarbon strings, but a tad louder. I like the fact that Aquila as a company is constantly innovating and improving upon their string designs. I agree that they do not work well on every uke, but the same can be said for any string. I went through about 8 different sets of strings on a Kanilea K-1C before I finally relented and went back to Aquila stings; they sounded the best on that particular uke.

wayfarer75
03-13-2015, 03:30 AM
Last night I put Aquila's new Lava strings on my Kamaka pineapple. They're still stretching, of course, but there is such a distinct difference between the Lavas and the fluorocarbons the uke's been wearing since I took off the Kamaka strings (Martin M600 and Oasis bright). Compared to the Kamaka strings, these have more tension and more volume but still have the punch that I think the Kamaka strings try to achieve. Perhaps on a uke with a longer scale the Kamaka strings are fine, but on a soprano I don't like them. As for the Lavas vs fluorocarbons, the Lavas are not so chimey/bell-like, and give the pineapple more of a classic, percussive uke sound. (I found the Oasis and Martin strings to be similar, and couldn't hear much difference between them.) I think it's all a matter of preference.

BTW, the Lava strings look awesome. Not black, but a dark gunmetal color with pearl. Much like cooled lava.

RAB11
03-13-2015, 03:48 AM
Last night I put Aquila's new Lava strings on my Kamaka pineapple. They're still stretching, of course, but there is such a distinct difference between the Lavas and the fluorocarbons the uke's been wearing since I took off the Kamaka strings (Martin M600 and Oasis bright). Compared to the Kamaka strings, these have more tension and more volume but still have the punch that I think the Kamaka strings try to achieve. Perhaps on a uke with a longer scale the Kamaka strings are fine, but on a soprano I don't like them. As for the Lavas vs fluorocarbons, the Lavas are not so chimey/bell-like, and give the pineapple more of a classic, percussive uke sound. (I found the Oasis and Martin strings to be similar, and couldn't hear much difference between them.) I think it's all a matter of preference.

BTW, the Lava strings look awesome. Not black, but a dark gunmetal color with pearl. Much like cooled lava.

Agreed on the tension and percussiveness of the Lavas. And the looking awesome bit. I put them on my concert a few weeks ago coupled with a Red Low G, sounds pretty cool but looks awesome. Other half then goes "you should have done a red one then a black one then a red one then a black one!"

Sorta wishing I'd done that in the first place, would have made for an interesting sound I think.

jthomas
03-13-2015, 05:04 AM
Last night I put Aquila's new Lava strings on my Kamaka pineapple. They're still stretching, of course, but there is such a distinct difference between the Lavas and the fluorocarbons the uke's been wearing since I took off the Kamaka strings (Martin M600 and Oasis bright). Compared to the Kamaka strings, these have more tension and more volume but still have the punch that I think the Kamaka strings try to achieve. Perhaps on a uke with a longer scale the Kamaka strings are fine, but on a soprano I don't like them. As for the Lavas vs fluorocarbons, the Lavas are not so chimey/bell-like, and give the pineapple more of a classic, percussive uke sound. (I found the Oasis and Martin strings to be similar, and couldn't hear much difference between them.) I think it's all a matter of preference.

BTW, the Lava strings look awesome. Not black, but a dark gunmetal color with pearl. Much like cooled lava.

Now you have me excited. As I said, I think the Martin Fluorocarbon strings sound nice on my Kamaka pineapple, but I just don't care for the feel. I play the pineapple with a small old-timey, bluegrass style band (pretty much standing in for mandolin) so a little less chime, and a little more punch would fit exactly with what I'm looking for. If I get what I think is the superior Aquila feel as well, I may have found my perfect strings.

wayfarer75
03-13-2015, 05:42 AM
The Lavas have a different feel than the regular Nylguts. I had those on my Kala KA-S so long ago that I don't remember exactly how they sounded vs. the Lavas, but the regular Aquilas had sort of a "matte" finish. The Lavas have a smooth shiny finish, with a slick feel.

I do like the sound of the Lavas; I liked what the Kamaka strings were trying to do, and I think the Lavas achieve it better. Whether that will suit my playing style remains to be seen. I'm a fingerpicker/chord soloist rather than a strummer/singer, but I play all kinds of songs.

cdkrugjr
03-13-2015, 01:06 PM
Nylguts are a Pretty Good, Not Too Expensive string that sounds Pretty Good on moderately-priced instruments.

I'm not sure who else has hit that sweet spot of "Moderate Price" and "Sounds Pretty Good." I like them on smaller instruments better than larger, and don't really care for their wound strings at all, to say nothing of Reds.

But strings are insanely personal, being the thing we touch Constantly while playing...

brucemoffattreturns
03-13-2015, 11:09 PM
Several years back I ordered a whole heap of different strings from Michael Aratani, with the aim of finding the difference in sound and playability of them all on a uke I had at the time. I found lots of subjective differences and I ranked them all with a score, and played and loved the uke with the chosen strings. To me they sounded right on the uke. Then I sold the uke to a much better player than I am, and within a short time he had it strung with Aquilas and was getting the sound out of it that I wished I could have. Apart from admitting my own playing limitations, my point is that the way you play has a heck of a lot to do with what you get out of the uke. I really don't believe one size does fit all, even on the same uke.

By the way, despite my nagging Mike he never did take the money for all those strings out of my credit card account. Saint of a man.

katysax
03-14-2015, 06:06 AM
Bruce you've hit at a fundamental truth. The player makes a whole lot of difference. I believe that Corey is the "secret weapon" of HMS. No matter what uke he plays I want to buy it because it sounds so beautiful.

Down Up Dick
03-14-2015, 06:50 AM
Bruce you've hit at a fundamental truth. The player makes a whole lot of difference. I believe that Corey is the "secret weapon" of HMS. No matter what uke he plays I want to buy it because it sounds so beautiful.

I agree wholeheartedly, katysax. I stated just that on page 4. And one would be unwise to change strings right away without waiting for them to settle in. I changed some of mine 4 or 5 days ago, and they're just now sounding "correct". They still make mistakes though.

I still think that changing strings willy-nilly is a waste of time. One would be better served by practicing. :old:

wayfarer75
03-14-2015, 12:25 PM
I agree wholeheartedly, katysax. I stated just that on page 4. And one would be unwise to change strings right away without waiting for them to settle in. I changed some of mine 4 or 5 days ago, and they're just now sounding "correct". They still make mistakes though.

I still think that changing strings willy-nilly is a waste of time. One would be better served by practicing. :old:

I agree. I intended to leave my Kamaka pineapple's stock strings on for a few weeks before I changed them, but I hated them too much! (I also figured that the uke had been wearing the strings for a while before it was bought.) I've left every other set on for at least a month. But practicing--that's the key. And that's what Corey does, undoubtedly. He makes every uke sound great because he's such an amazing player.

Jeffelele
03-14-2015, 03:03 PM
I really like that Aquila video.

Jeff

spookelele
03-15-2015, 10:51 AM
Interesting... So, because of the size poll, I stopped by the local music store to check out some concert size for feel.

It seems Kala at least, is not necessarily married to Aquila any more, and a few of their newer stock of higher end stuff came with D'Addario something clear with wound C re-entrant, and had D'Addario hang tags. Looked like mostly the slot heads had the D'Addario. I'm sure they must have come that way because they store doesn't carry those strings.

Just thought I'd throw that out there. Perhaps times are changing.

** Never mind. It seems Kala has always shipped their koa gloss series with D'addario titaniums.