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View Full Version : Strings for Kala cedar top acacia sides concert (KA-ACP-CTG)?



Photojosh
08-05-2015, 09:33 PM
So I finally picked up a Kala KA-ACP-CTG. The cedar top laminate acacia b/s and padauk binding concert uke that has been popular around UU.

For those who have one, what strings are you running? It came with (in theory) Aquilas. But I'm not sure how much I'm into them on this uke. I may give them a try for a while to see if they settle in (or I change my opinion). But in case I want to go in a different direction, I'd love to hear suggestions.

photoshooter
08-06-2015, 12:34 AM
I have the tenor version and am experimenting with different strings. I had Living Water strings on it which I liked very much and currently am using Oasis Warm high G strings which I'm also very pleased with.

spookelele
08-06-2015, 01:16 AM
I like pro arte nylons on it. FC's all just sounded too thin on it. To my ear it prefers a warmer string. The pro arte's gave it more of an articulate sound than the nylguts without losing the fuller sound that flourocarbons seemed to lack on this particular uke.

UkerDanno
08-06-2015, 04:28 AM
I loved Worth browns on my Ohana cedar top...

wayward
08-06-2015, 07:05 AM
I have the 5 string tenor version and have Worth Browns and a Fremont Squeakless Wound Low G on mine, which produce a warm tone.

Photojosh
08-06-2015, 07:21 AM
I have always liked worth browns on my Koaloha and was thinking of seeing how they sounded on the Kala. I've also never tried the pro arte nylons. So that might be worth a go as well.

spookelele
08-06-2015, 10:07 AM
For what it's worth, when I get a uke with stock Nylguts, they get swapped out right away for any good fluorocarbon brand. Nylguts are better than the nylons that economy ukes used to come with, but the days when they were the "best" strings have long passed, in my opinion.

That's usually my route too with tenors. But with this one.. flourocarbons seemed to detract. I tried martin 600, worth clears, and oasis warm, and didn't really like any of them on this concert, even though I do really like worth and oasis on my tenors. So I tried the pro arte nylons and was pleasantly surprised. I do think this uke sounds more full with warmer strings, even though I tend to lean toward a brighter preference on my tenors.

wayward
08-06-2015, 10:32 PM
Like wayward, I currently have Worth browns and a Fremont Soloist 4th on my ATP-CTG, and I like them, but my ATP is now fairly seasoned, and sounds a bit overwarm with the browns, plus I have a bit of trouble getting good hammer-ons with them, so I'm planning to switch to clears soon, hoping for better tone when playing on the upper neck. On a new ACP, however, I'd probably try browns first.

I had a set of Pro Arté nylons on my seasoned Mainland mahogany concert, but I recently switched them to Fremont Black Lines (fluorocarbons), and oh my! I'm not looking back, and wouldn't consider nylons over fluorocarbons for the cedar/acacia—maybe SuperNylguts or Lavas (slate grey SNs), if you think fluorocarbons aren't quite the ticket.

For what it's worth, when I get a uke with stock Nylguts, they get swapped out right away for any good fluorocarbon brand. Nylguts are better than the nylons that economy ukes used to come with, but the days when they were the "best" strings have long passed, in my opinion.

I almost added to my earlier comment that as I almost exclusively play rhythm and only pick occasionally the warm mellow sound of the Worths suit what I do, but if I was a lead player I'd probably want to try something that cuts through a little more on a cedar top: in other words, I totally agree with ubulele here. :agree:

kohanmike
08-07-2015, 09:06 PM
Since I got the tenor cutaway version with the stock Aquila strings about 18 months ago, it's been my go to uke. I've been playing bass uke now for a few months and my ukes have been neglected more, but how interesting and coincidental that I picked up my Kala today to do a little practicing and it didn't sound quite as good as I remembered, missing a little high end. My first thought was to change strings.

I have Worth CT on another uke that has a brighter sound than that the Kala, but I want to keep a fuller sound that I remember from the Kala with better highs too. Would it be logical to use fluorocarbon just for the A?

jgarber
10-05-2015, 09:43 AM
I posted this on another thread... I hope not one minds...

I just got a good deal on a slightly-used one of these from a reliable dealer with a nice tweed hardshell case included. I had played this model at my local chain store and it was far above anything else on the uke wall tho mostly all laminated ones. Up until this point I have been a vintage Martin player/collector but realized that the sopranos I own are limited to me in the scale length. Also I play a lot of mandolin so a concert makes a lot of sense (same scale length).

I had been looking at vintage Martins and then Ponos but this was an excellent deal and I am playing this one a lot—my first Asian made uke.

It has been strung with clear strings (not sure what brand) and sounded pretty good but I changed them out for the first trial of Aquila Lava strings and I am not too pleased. I know they take a bit to acclimate after stretching but I am itching to change to a much brighter and sweeter sound. On this uke (so far) these strings sound muffled and dull to my ears.

At the moment I have a set of M600 Martin strings and a set of D'Addario Pro-Arte Carbon strings. I figure either of those sets should brighten up the tone. Or should I order a set of Worths or some other fluoro-carbon strings? Suggestions?

I primarily play fingerpicking, not solely strumming but would want optimum tone for both and some more volume. Of course I am aware of the limitations of a laminated uke.

La Perdrix
10-05-2015, 10:51 AM
I've tried a lot on mine, best are red aquila and worth brown fat (both low-g).

jgarber
10-05-2015, 11:31 AM
Thanks, La Perdrix!

spookelele
10-05-2015, 11:50 AM
If you're not sure what they are other than clear, you can try asking the original owner. They could be nylon, or they could be flouro.
Asking is free. String hunting can get expensive. It would probably help you if you knew what you're starting with. Also. if the lava's are like the nylgut, they can take a long time to settle.. like a whole week.

jgarber
10-05-2015, 12:35 PM
Thanks, spookelele. I bought it from Elderly so I don't know that they knew what was on it. I figured it was Worth or Martin or D'Addario. I ordered a set of the Aquila reds (I am not giving up yet on them) and a set of clear Worths and see what happens. I have lots of ukes and they are probably hungry for strings. :-)

I will prob give the Lavas a week to settle in but I have a feeling they will not change that much. I would guess that a cedar top os very different from a hardwood like mahogany, koa, or acacia and might prefer thinner strings tho, I have to admit, i am not quite sure of the physics of all this.

jgarber
10-15-2015, 05:50 AM
Just a re-cap. I got the Worth clear set, took off the Lavas and the Worth strings make the uke sparkle. Definitely the way to go. I also have a couple of sets of Red Aquila to try when I am in the mood.

My only complaint was that the Worth strings, esp the high A are so polished that they slipped out of the tie bridge over and over no matter how much extra I leave on the bridge. I started knotting the end and then double knotted and that seemed to work all right. I even tried the bead method but I guess the beads I had were plastic soince they imploded. I have some metal ones I might try the next time.

One other possibility: might it help to lightly sand the last few inches near the bridge on that string? What is going on there?

70sSanO
10-15-2015, 06:47 AM
Just a re-cap. I got the Worth clear set, took off the Lavas and the Worth strings make the uke sparkle. Definitely the way to go. I also have a couple of sets of Red Aquila to try when I am in the mood.

My only complaint was that the Worth strings, esp the high A are so polished that they slipped out of the tie bridge over and over no matter how much extra I leave on the bridge. I started knotting the end and then double knotted and that seemed to work all right. I even tried the bead method but I guess the beads I had were plastic soince they imploded. I have some metal ones I might try the next time.

One other possibility: might it help to lightly sand the last few inches near the bridge on that string? What is going on there?

If you are breaking plastic beads, that is a lot of tension. I have had strings slip, but usually I'll add another twist (2 to 3) and that works. Although I have never done it, I would think it would be possible to loop the string through the bridge hole again, like the tuners, and then twist it. Since it is an A it might be thin enough. I wouldn't sand the bridge to get more bite.

I have Reds on my wife's cedar top Kala. It is a different model, KA-kTG-CT, but they seem to work well on that particular uke.

John

La Perdrix
10-15-2015, 07:35 AM
yes, both work well, but in the end I prefer red aquila (only) on this uke...

jgarber
10-17-2015, 08:53 AM
Oops! I did not mean I would sand the bridge but sand the end of the string to roughen it a bit. I did use an extra twist and that did not work. The strings have stabilized pretty much and are in tune. I doubt the tension was too high. I have steeling they are just cheap beads. I got some metal ones if I need to use them but frankly I have been playing my Martins for years and never did anything but tied the strings on. I will try the Aquila reds next tho the Worths do sound quite nice.

I will also be aware of putting the end of the string over the edge as ubulele mentions.