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View Full Version : Aquila strings, so many choices



Zauber
09-17-2015, 08:57 AM
Greetings. Sorry in advance for my bad english, I'm from Argentina, so my english level isn't as great as I would like it to be.
Yesterday I got my first ukulele, it's an Ibanez UKS10. It was already known that I had to get some new strings even before I got it, since it's said that new ukuleles never come with good strings, and that's how I found the so mentioned Aquila strings. The problem is, I don't know which set I should buy... I already know I want them at/in/on (I don't know which preposition would be the right one) High G, but I got three options, super nylgut, new nylgut and red series. I tried to find the answer but myself but it makes me feel kinda dumb, I don't know clearly which ones are the best or the most convenient.
I would be glad too, if someone could shortly explain me how these sets work, how I know which one is G, C, E, A, etc,.
I look foward to an answer, and thank you for your time.

Mivo
09-17-2015, 09:06 AM
It was already known that I had to get some new strings even before I got it, since it's said that new ukuleles never come with good strings, and that's how I found the so mentioned Aquila strings.

Actually, plenty of ukuleles come with good or even excellent strings these days, so the above isn't really a hard rule. Many entry and mid range ukuleles come with Aquila Nylguts. That said, the Ibanez UKS10 doesn't, so you're also right :), you'll most likely benefit from new strings! Of the ones listed, I'd recommend the "New Nylguts", if you want something from Aquila.

However, Nylguts are usually a little thicker than fluorocarbon and other nylon strings. Might be "safer" to just go for fluorocarbon strings, if you have the option. Martin M600 are a solid choice and very widely available. Worth Clears are another option that is typically easy to find.

Zauber
09-17-2015, 09:14 AM
Actually, plenty of ukuleles come with good or even excellent strings these days, so the above isn't really a hard rule. Many entry and mid range ukuleles come with Aquila Nylguts. That said, the Ibanez UKS10 doesn't, so you're also right :), you'll most likely benefit from new strings! Of the ones listed, I'd recommend the "New Nylguts", if you want something from Aquila.

However, Nylguts are usually a little thicker than fluorocarbon and other nylon strings. Might be "safer" to just go for fluorocarbon strings, if you have the option. Martin M600 are a solid choice and very widely available. Worth Clears are another option that is typically easy to find.

Thanks for your fast response. Where I am from, it's too hard, to find variety when talking about ukulele. The only martin chords I found were these: M600 one set (4)
B-1st Crystal Nylon................. .021 (0.53 mm)
F#-2nd Crystal Nylon................. .032 (0.81 mm)
D-3rd Crystal Nylon................. .036 (0.91 mm)
A-4th Crystal Nylon................. .025 (0.64 mm)

(I have no idea what that means), if I'm right that's about how the ukulele should be tuned, but that's all I could understand right now. I read about Worth too, but I couldn't find them being sold, that's why I went directly to Aquila
Those Aquila red series, are nylon too, aren't they?

Mivo
09-17-2015, 09:32 AM
The M600 set you listed seems to be (advertised) for the soprano tuning that was common the first half of the last century. At least over here in Germany (maybe all of Europe), not sure if it was the same in the US. In Germany, some ukulele courses are still taught with that tuning. I think you can use the same strings for the gCEA (high G) tuning. But wait for someone else to confirm this; I haven't experimented with alternative tunings.

The Aquila red strings are a fairly new thing. There are two types of it, the old and new ones. With the old ones, there seem to have been problems with them breaking easily (or rather: there have been such reports here on the forum; I don't know how wide-spread the problem really is). Personally, I'd wait a bit with those, unless you are sure that your vendor has the revised strings, not old stock. Sound-wise, people really seem to like the reds, though. I'm not sure how to tell the difference between the old and new ones, especially if you buy the online (would you buy them directly from Aquila?).

Zauber
09-17-2015, 09:37 AM
The M600 set you listed seems to be (advertised) for the soprano tuning that was common the first half of the last century. At least over here in Germany (maybe all of Europe), not sure if it was the same in the US. In Germany, some ukulele courses are still taught with that tuning. I think you can use the same strings for the gCEA (high G) tuning. But wait for someone else to confirm this; I haven't experimented with alternative tunings.

The Aquila red strings are a fairly new thing. There are two types of it, the old and new ones. With the old ones, there seem to have been problems with them breaking easily (or rather: there have been such reports here on the forum; I don't know how wide-spread the problem really is). Personally, I'd wait a bit with those, unless you are sure that your vendor has the revised strings, not old stock. Sound-wise, people really seem to like the reds, though. I'm not sure how to tell the difference between the old and new ones, especially if you buy the online (would you buy them directly from Aquila?).
No, it's from a website like ebay, I don't know if I'm able to say the name of the webpage or put a URL, anyway, no I wouldn't be buying them directly from Aquila.
I just realized that the seller said the red series are Low G, so we can discard them already

mikelz777
09-17-2015, 09:44 AM
Part of the fun and discovery of a ukulele is trying different kinds of strings on it. I'm one of those who don't like Aquila nylgut strings. I would recommend fluorocarbon strings by Martin or Oasis. Both brands sound excellent on my 2 ukes and I'm looking forward to trying them both on my 3rd uke.

Rodney.
09-17-2015, 09:44 AM
The Martin m600 strings are great strings in my opinion, the tuning is close enough to tune them to gcea.
The strings will be in a package containing 4 smaller envelopes. They will be numbered 1,2,3 and 4. If you hold your instrument like you were playing the number 4 string will be closest to you (the g). Next comes number 3 etcetera. Number 3 will be the thickest string if you want to make sure. The numbering will be confusing at first, because with guitars and ukuleles we call the string closest to the ground the first string (number one).

Zauber
09-17-2015, 09:53 AM
Right, the problem is the M600 strings I can find here are these: http://mla-s1-p.mlstatic.com/encordado-ukelele-sopranoconcert-cuerdas-martinco-m600-13648-MLA3101922397_092012-O.jpg
I mean, they're nylont too, right? I guess I'll have to risk it and buy some on ebay

BTW: I heard it's the same for concert and soprano, is that true?

Rodney.
09-17-2015, 10:16 AM
Those are different than the m600 clear fluorocarbons I have, their gauge seems much bigger. Sorry, don't know anything about those Martins.

Mivo
09-17-2015, 10:18 AM
I mean, they're nylont too, right? I guess I'll have to risk it and buy some on ebay. BTW: I heard it's the same for concert and soprano, is that true?

Are you sure you are looking at the M600? The package "should" look like this (http://www.ukumele.de/images/product_images/original_images/47_0.jpg). The diameters of the strings are:

0.48mm, .0191
0.65mm, .0256
0.86mm, .0340
0.55mm, .0216

The M600 are fluorocarbon strings (better than nylon, in my opinon), fairly bright sounding in a good way, and they have a good "feel" (they don't feel slippery). In my opinion, they are a good choice for your ukulele. Strings are a bit of a personal thing. Not everyone likes the same ones and you'll try out different ones on your ukulele journey. The M600 are a good starting point.

Strings for the soprano and concert size are usually sold in the same package. When you use them on a soprano, you just have a little more surplus string left (with some brands, like Worth, it's enough for a second soprano).

Zauber
09-17-2015, 10:30 AM
Alright, thank you all guys for your help. I'll try to get the M600 fluorocarbon, if I can't I guess I'll go on with some Aquila while I keep looking for the Martin, as mikelz777 said, it's part of the discovery of an Ukulele

Mivo
09-17-2015, 10:33 AM
The Nylguts aren't a bad choice, either. A bit more controversial than the Martins, but they have a good punch to them that can really liven up a ukulele that is otherwise a little quiet. The only risk is that they may be a tiny bit too big for the slits, but that is fixable.

Let us know how your ukulele journey continues. It's good to see new people here! :)

Booli
09-17-2015, 01:45 PM
Maybe outside of the USA 'cristal nylon' is what Martin calls fluorocarbon, I am not fluent in other languages any more (long out of practice, but I can get by with some Romance languages (French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Latin), a tiny bit of Mandarin and an even smaller bit of Esperanto), so please correct me if this is the Spanish, Portuguese, or German way of saying 'fluorocarbon'.

The M600 set is for both soprano and concert scale, the others that Martin makes are M620 for tenor scale, and M630 for baritone scale.

Also, the brown-box package that you shared here in these photos seems to be an older packaging, since the ones that I have bought since February 2015 come in a white soft-pack like this:

https://sep.yimg.com/ay/stringsandbeyond/martin-m600-clear-fluorocarbon-soprano-concert-ukulele-strings-6.gif

With this new packaging, they are showing it as fluorocarbon.

Having said that, the Aquila Nylgut were the what they called the original string sets they offered, and then came the REDS, which is the same as the Nylgut but impregnated with a copper powder within the resin used to make the strings, in order to increase the linear density of the strings without making them too thick (and they are MUCH thinner than the Nylgut strings).

Many entry level ukes will have an improved sound with Nylguts installed compared to some unknown stock strings that come on lesser costing ukes.

Super Nylgut strings are derivative of the original Nylgut formula but they are somewhat 'polished' and more of a pearl grey color than the original Nylguts, and many folks, including me, prefer them over the original Nylguts.

To make things even MORE confusing, back in last October 2014, Aquila came out with strings called LAVA, which are a dark grey color and much thinner than the Nylgut strings, but on the 6 different ukes that I have tried the LAVA strings, they all sounded bad to me and I took them off and ended up with certain other fluorocarbon strings.

You can try the Nylgut or Super Nylgut and either will likely be an improvement to the stock strings.

All of the above info has been given to us by Mimmo, the founder and lead engineer of Aquila, over the past few years in posts he has made to this forum, since he too is a member here.

I've also used Martin strings on many of my ukes and for some, they are much preferred. The main big difference with the Martin strings is that the C string, or 3rd string is significantly THICKER (0.0340") and has more tension than almost every other flurorcarbon sets that I've tried which are typically not thicker than 0.0319", which the THICKER string sounds better to my ear (not as flub-dub sounding) and has a more balanced volume and tension when compared to the other strings in the Martin sets.

Martin or Aquila, both are good strings, but your ears and fingers will tell you which ones you prefer.

Also, if you are having trouble finding a place to buy strings, there are MANY online vendors that ship worldwide for very little money, such as:

http://stringsandbeyond.com (use the link in my signature below to get a 10% discount)

http://stringsbymail.com

http://juststrings.com

http://allstringsnylon.com

http://elderly.com (search for ukulele strings)

http://theukulelesite.com (likely the largest uke vendor in the world)

http://cargo.ukerepublic.com

http://ukuleleworld.com

http://amazon.com

I have bought from each of these in the past, so I can speak from experience and tell you that the prices are great, they ship fast and have many payment options, but I'm in the USA, so your shipping time might be a little longer.

Zauber, whatever your choice, please report back and let us know how you make out, many of us here would be happy to help you further if necessary.

-Booli :)

Tootler
09-17-2015, 11:44 PM
The origiinal Aquila Nylgut, I found had something of a hard edge to their sound but the New Nylgut have both a better feel and a less strident tone. You won't go far wrong with New Nylgut if they are the easiest for you to obtain. I prefer fluorocarbon strings myself but I've not tried the Martins so can't comment on them. I usually use either Worth or Living Water. Living water you can get direct from Ken Middleton in the UK (Link below) and his overseas postage rates are very reasonable. Worth strings are usually as easily available as are Aquila. Here's a link for living water strings a: http://www.kenmiddleton.co.uk/Pages/LWS.aspx

Nickie
09-18-2015, 04:06 PM
I know Booli doesn't like them, but I have Aquila Lavas on my Ohana concert uke. I love them, they really bring out the sparkly tone of koa. The thinness makes it easier to play for longer periods....
I'll probably put them on my Kala when the Super Nylguts wear out. I hope they give the mahogany more punch.
Your English is great. I can't speak or read Portuguese at all....

Booli
09-19-2015, 01:16 AM
I know Booli doesn't like them, but I have Aquila Lavas on my Ohana concert uke. I love them, they really bring out the sparkly tone of koa. The thinness makes it easier to play for longer periods....
I'll probably put them on my Kala when the Super Nylguts wear out. I hope they give the mahogany more punch.
Your English is great. I can't speak or read Portuguese at all....

This is for mainly Zauber, and I'm not disagreeing with Mivo, Nickie or Tootler...it's great that we can share our experience here. :)

I like Living Waters too on certain instruments. Martins on others, and Worths on others, certain Aquilas etc, and so on and so forth...

I just wanted to clarify...

I'm not saying that the LAVA are bad strings. My experience was that on the 3 tenors, 1 concert, 1 soprano and 1 baritone I tried them on, the sound was not compelling to my ear. I REALLY was hoping they'd be great, but it seems I do not have an instrument as of yet that is compatible with them (to MY ear). The other strings that I've tried on those ukes were more fitting for the sound, feel and tension that *I* like.

The reason I make this point is that as a beginner, you need to be aware of anyone who says 'these are the best strings, and all other strings are crap' because this opinion demonstrates ignorance and lack of experience. Ignorance is not bad in and of itself, but good advice should come from hands-on experience.

There are no 'best strings for EVERYONE for EVERY instrument ever made' and such blanket statements will mislead the beginner. This is what each string making company would love for you to believe, that THEIR strings are the Holy Grail.

FYI: I am NOT referring to anyone here on UU, but the discussions in the sub-reddit for ukulele is overwrought with folks repeating hearsay, despite the worthy counsel of more experienced ukulele players who contribute there. See http://reddit.com/r/ukulele for a trip down the rabbit hole.

String choice is highly subjective to the player's ear, as well as how each specific instrument reacts and sound with that set of strings. Some folks think all strings sound the same (and bless them for their blissful contentment), but some folks, like me have a more acute hearing perception and can HEAR the difference, however subtle between nylon, Nylgut and fluorocarbon, as well as between different gauges or 'colors' of fluorocarbon.

Having said that, if you donít like the strings that came on your uke, there are many other choices, and you will not make a 'mistake' by choosing what ever strings you can get locally in a store, whether they are Aquila or any other brand or style. Just try them and maybe you will like them.

There are over a dozen brands of string makers for ukulele, and each brand might have several or even many different styles of strings.