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Joyful Uke
07-08-2016, 02:38 PM
I've been hunting around, and can't find a thread that gives a good overview of all the different strings. If there is one already, maybe someone knows where?

It seems like I have company in being confused about the various string options. Is there a way to have a quick overview of some of the string options?

Having recently been looking at the options, I can't figure out which set would give a warm vs. bright sound, (Oasis seems to label that, but not everyone does), which ones might have more sustain vs. less sustain, and so on.

Without buying every set of strings on the market, is there a way to make a guess on the different sound qualities of the different sets?

Jim Hanks
07-08-2016, 03:05 PM
is there a way to make a guess on the different sound qualities of the different sets?
Sure, but it's only a guess, because different strings sound different on different ukes. A set that's warm on one uke might just be dull on another. Or a set might be pleasantly bright on one uke and overly harsh on another. Tuning also matters. A set that is too bright in C tuning might be warm enough in Bb or A tuning. The UU hive mind can give you some pointers in the right direction but there really is no magic formula.

You don't have to try every set on the market though. Trying a few (even in a music store or uke group) should give you a good idea of what you like in terms of feel and sound and then it might take a few more tries to find a good set for a particular uke. Notice I didn't say to "find the right set" as I don't believe there is one perfect set even for a particular uke. Strings can really change the sound and feel of a uke and that's part of the fun of discovery in my view.

Joyful Uke
07-08-2016, 03:15 PM
I get what you're saying, but are there some general things that can be said? (Oasis labels one set warm and another bright, so they're making a generalization, though I have no idea what the difference is between those sets of strings.)

Do Worth Browns generally sound warmer than the clears?

Do fluorocarbons have more sustain - in general - than nylon strings?

Can any general statements be made, (which won't be true for 100% of the ukuleles out there), for those of us who find this all confusing, or is it all a string buying gamble?

Futurethink
07-08-2016, 04:05 PM
This was written some time ago, and several brands of strings have been introduced since it was written. Still, I think it provides some of the generalizations you're asking for;
http://liveukulele.com/gear/strings/

Joyful Uke
07-08-2016, 04:12 PM
This was written some time ago, and several brands of strings have been introduced since it was written. Still, I think it provides some of the generalizations you're asking for;
http://liveukulele.com/gear/strings/

That looks very helpful. Thanks.

Nickie
07-08-2016, 04:25 PM
This was written some time ago, and several brands of strings have been introduced since it was written. Still, I think it provides some of the generalizations you're asking for;
http://liveukulele.com/gear/strings/

Thanks for this. I posted it on our club's FB page, all most people around here know about are Aquilas. I couldn't wait to get em off my cocobolo ukulele, and when I broke one, I was elated.

Jim Hanks
07-08-2016, 04:41 PM
when I broke one, I was elated.
Haha! ;) I know it's not good to waste resources, but I make a blanket exception when it comes to replacing new uke Aquilas. I didn't wait til one broke. ;)

Tootler
07-08-2016, 10:08 PM
Haha! ;) I know it's not good to waste resources, but I make a blanket exception when it comes to replacing new uke Aquilas. I didn't wait til one broke. ;)

I don't rush to replace the strings supplied with a new ukulele unless they are truly dreadful. As long as they sound OK, I leave them on until they need replacing. Most ukes seem to come with Aquilas and, while I prefer fluorocarbons, I don't generally find them so objectionable that I can't live with them. One exception was my tenor Fluke. I wanted to tune it down and while I tuned the stock strings down (D'addarion Nyltechs rather than Aquila as it happens) to try them for general tone, they were too floppy tuned down to dGBE so I changed them for strings with higher tension.

Croaky Keith
07-08-2016, 10:37 PM
My main preference is for a mellow/warm but strong sound, so far I am able to achieve this with Living Water strings.

The bigger the uke the better the quality of sound that I was looking for, as I'm a 'picker', & I now have a cedar top baritone. :)

Occasionally I like a brighter sound, & I find I can get that by using my solid spruce concert, fitted with Living Water low G strings.

(But I may yet succumb to another bari with spruce top or maybe even a solid acacia.)

(I use my Aquila strings on my plastic concert & my cheaper laminates which I am keeping for the time being, for strumming.)

PhilUSAFRet
07-09-2016, 12:48 AM
Several uke demos on youtube where they compare them with different string sets on each.

DownUpDave
07-09-2016, 12:52 AM
I get what you're saying, but are there some general things that can be said? (Oasis labels one set warm and another bright, so they're making a generalization, though I have no idea what the difference is between those sets of strings.)

Do Worth Browns generally sound warmer than the clears?

Do fluorocarbons have more sustain - in general - than nylon strings?

Can any general statements be made, (which won't be true for 100% of the ukuleles out there), for those of us who find this all confusing, or is it all a string buying gamble?


You have those generalizations pretty close. Jim Hanks gave a very good answer and summary of the wild world of ukulele strings. So many variables!!!!!

Worth Clears are bright and Worth Browns are warm. Most nylon strings do sound warmer to me than florocarbon. Sustain has more to do with the instrument instead of nylon vs floro. Florocarbon are more netural sounding and let the true sound of the instrument come through.

An observation from strings I have used on instrument I have owned. Your mileage WILL vary
Bright : Worth Clear, Oasis brights, Aqulia nylguts, Aquila Reds
Medium: Fremont Blacklines, Phd, Living Water-bordering on warm
Warm : Worth Browns, D'addario Pro-Arte, Oasis Warm-bordering on medium.

This is what I hear and could start a big argument. As Jim said it can change so dramatically from instrument to instrument and person to person. Even for finger style to strummimg. Worth browns are warm when strummed but I find them bright and and clear when picked.

cpmusic
07-09-2016, 09:07 AM
Florocarbon are more netural sounding and let the true sound of the instrument come through.

I haven't tried many different strings, but this was my experience with my Pono, with Martin fluorocarbons bringing out a woodier and livelier tone than other string types.

I've kept stock Aquilas on inexpensive instruments for the most part, as they sound nice on those ukes, including a solid spruce top Hola concert. But I put Martins on my painted ukes (all Makalas) because they're clear and don't detract from the design, and I was happily surprised by the tone.

Mivo
07-10-2016, 08:45 AM
I believe a good start is to settle the material question for yourself. Try Aquila Nylguts, Aquila Reds, any kind of fluorocarbon strings, and a set with nylon strings. You'll like one of them better than the others, on your particular ukulele. If it's fluorocarbon or nylon, research the options within those categories. Strings of the same material sound closer to each other than to strings of other materials, in my observation.

Personally, I settled on the Aquila Reds that I seem to love on any ukulele I have tried them on. Right now, I have them on my baritone, on my KoAloha LN soprano, and on my KoAloha Opio concert. I had avoided trying them for ages because of the 2013-14 posts about breaking issues, but I have not had a single string break so far. They sound distinctly different from anything else I've tried. They're really their own thing.

Joyful Uke
07-10-2016, 09:04 AM
Personally, I settled on the Aquila Reds that I seem to love on any ukulele I have tried them on. Right now, I have them on my baritone, on my KoAloha LN soprano, and on my KoAloha Opio concert. I had avoided trying them for ages because of the 2013-14 posts about breaking issues, but I have not had a single string break so far. They sound distinctly different from anything else I've tried. They're really their own thing.

Since you have them on a few different ukuleles, it's not just the ukulele itself that sounds distinctive to you, it seems. Can you give a general idea of how the strings sound different?

Mivo
07-10-2016, 09:49 AM
Since you have them on a few different ukuleles, it's not just the ukulele itself that sounds distinctive to you, it seems. Can you give a general idea of how the strings sound different?

This is difficult to answer, because a lot of the adjectives we use are so personal and may mean different things to different people. Kind of like trying to describe why I like strawberry ice cream better than blueberry ice cream: I just do. :) When you try a lot of strings, you forget a little what you want, or what you heard, and it gets confusing (for me anyway), but when I got to the Reds, something just clicked and I stopped experimenting there because they "felt right". There was nothing I wanted to be different. But yes, it's much like flavor, and super subjective.

That said, I feel that the Aquila Reds combine clarity (note separation and such) with a good amount of fullness/richness, while sounding lively. Dynamic, is a word that comes to mind. They strike me as well-rounded, and have, on my ukuleles, great sustain and volume. In contrast, fluorocarbon strings sound more sterile to me. Cold, you could say, but also very precise. Nylon strings sound fuller yet, but they border a little to muddy, too mid-range-y, and they are also quieter.

I also like the tactile feel of the Reds (which is something I can't say about the thicker white nylgut), at least when they have been played for a bit and the initially papery texture becomes polished. They have high density, so they are thin, but don't sound thin. I noticed this most drastically with the B string on the baritone. Both nylon and fluorocarbon Bs got thuddy halfway up the neck, but the red B stayed clear, without being tinny. The C string on smaller ukuleles is similar in that regard, but I think I'd use a wound one on tenors. Wound strings are a wholly different topic. I'll just say that I was skeptical of those, but fell in love with them for the "bass" strings, like the D and G on baritone, and the low-G and C on smaller ukes. It's hard to "unhear" how lovely wound bass strings sound in comparison to unwound ones, but this too is a matter of preference.

Croaky Keith
07-10-2016, 10:17 AM
.....& I find that Living Water strings have a great feel to them & sound nice, kind of warm & mellow on my ukes. :)

You really do have to try some out for yourself. My suggestion would be to try both Living Water & Aquila reds.

(I use a low G Aquila red with nylguts on my electric.)

Mivo
07-10-2016, 08:43 PM
Of the fluorocarbon strings I tried, I liked the Living Water ones best. They have a nice feel to them, kind of soft on the fingers. Plus, Ken included a button!

Joyful Uke
07-11-2016, 03:58 AM
.....& I find that Living Water strings have a great feel to them & sound nice, kind of warm & mellow on my ukes. :)

You really do have to try some out for yourself. My suggestion would be to try both Living Water & Aquila reds.

(I use a low G Aquila red with nylguts on my electric.)

How long do you leave a set on before you decide that they're not right? I have a new set on right now that had me deciding that I no longer like my ukulele and need a new one, but suppose I should give them a chance to settle in?

I have tried Living Water strings, and so far, they're my favorite, but based on what people like on UU, I have a long list of other strings to try. (Oasis, Southcoast, PHD, Worth, and more.)

stevejfc
07-11-2016, 04:41 AM
How long do you leave a set on before you decide that they're not right? I have a new set on right now that had me deciding that I no longer like my ukulele and need a new one, but suppose I should give them a chance to settle in?

I have tried Living Water strings, and so far, they're my favorite, but based on what people like on UU, I have a long list of other strings to try. (Oasis, Southcoast, PHD, Worth, and more.)
If you don't like them, they probably will not improve much. Take them off.

Croaky Keith
07-11-2016, 05:23 AM
I think once your strings have settled, maybe a week, you should be able to tell whether you like them or not. :)

(Just because they don't 'work' on one uke doesn't mean they won't work on another.)

Edit: D'Addario Titaniums were another string that was quite nice.

Joyful Uke
07-11-2016, 11:50 AM
If you don't like them, they probably will not improve much. Take them off.

Actually, I contacted the company last week, and the one string (1st) that was really unpleasant to my ear has been replaced by the company. Apparently, I had an older string, (though I just bought it a few weeks ago), and they have changed the manufacturing process. I got the new string today, and there is a very noticeable difference.

So, I'll give them time to settle in, but turns out that the strings might be a good set after all, now that I have the replacement string.
And I have to say, that's good customer service.

Joyful Uke
07-11-2016, 11:51 AM
Edit: D'Addario Titaniums were another string that was quite nice.

One more to add to the list to try. :-)

mrStones
07-11-2016, 12:19 PM
Actually, I contacted the company last week, and the one string (1st) that was really unpleasant to my ear has been replaced by the company. Apparently, I had an older string, (though I just bought it a few weeks ago), and they have changed the manufacturing process. I got the new string today, and there is a very noticeable difference.

So, I'll give them time to settle in, but turns out that the strings might be a good set after all, now that I have the replacement string.
And I have to say, that's good customer service.

Hi, sorry if I didn't get it... what is the set you are talking about ?

Anyway I quote everyone about Aquila Red and Living Water.
Aquila Red are indeed a bit more delicate during settling but they sound amazing. They have a cleariness and richness and volume and tons of sustain that I haven't found in other strings.
Excellent for fingerpicking (Personally I find the best strings tried so far for fingerstyle), great for strumming (even if IMHO on tenor size they need to be strummed NOT gently to get a truly awesome sound... on other sizes you can be more gentle).

On mahogany I still prefear LW though... they are really great.

mds725
07-11-2016, 07:32 PM
This is a good video comparing several sets of strings on the same model instrument.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsxmo63MW4E

One consideration in choosing strings is often neglected, and that's how they feel. Strings come in different tensions and different widths, and people develop preferences about how these factors affect the way the strings feel when the ukulele is being played.

hawaii 50
07-11-2016, 07:51 PM
Thanks Mark for finding this video...

I still like the Oasis warms, South Coast HML-RW,PHD's all with a Fremont Soloist LowG....
I just tried D'Addario Pro-Arte Carbon strings for the first time and I like them too.....will leave them on and see what happens....

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
07-11-2016, 08:29 PM
Thanks Mark for finding this video...

I still like the Oasis warms, South Coast HML-RW,PHD's all with a Fremont Soloist LowG....
I just tried D'Addario Pro-Arte Carbon strings for the first time and I like them too.....will leave them on and see what happens....

You need to try the Thomastik Infeld flat wound basses with those Oasis strings. It's the best set
I've ever tried.

mds725
07-11-2016, 08:59 PM
You need to try the Thomastik Infeld flat wound basses with those Oasis strings. It's the best set
I've ever tried.

Thanks, Chuck, for recommending those Thomastik Infeld strings! I finally got some of those flat wound bass strings and I'm looking forward to trying it on my Oasis-strung Moore Bettah.

hawaii 50
07-11-2016, 09:04 PM
Thanks, Chuck, for recommending those Thomastik Infeld strings! I finally got some of those flat wound bass strings and I'm looking forward to trying it on my Oasis-strung Moore Bettah.


nice to know they in stock now..i give them a try.....thanks guys..

cml
07-11-2016, 09:49 PM
Thanks for that video! The most important thing I learned from it is that the player matters a LOT more than which string set you've got on ;).
I also actually liked the low G sound here, at least the unwound strings with less boom. Might be an idea to try that, my last attempt with a wound aquila resulted in a wall hanger.

mikebell48
07-12-2016, 12:36 AM
Like food strings are all about personal taste. Every so often I decide to try different strings on my two ukes but always go back to Living Water strings because I like the feel, tension and sound more than others I've tried. personal taste that's all.

bigphil
07-14-2016, 02:50 AM
You need to try the Thomastik Infeld flat wound basses with those Oasis strings. It's the best set
I've ever tried.
Do I need to know specific gauges or something for these strings Chuck, I did a quick search and find lots of references to this brand but not ukulele specific. Or is there a particular source you can suggest, I saw Len's post saying they are "in stock" but didn't find them searching on HMS site either.

Kanaka916
07-14-2016, 03:54 AM
Thomastik Infeld CF-30 (G) and CF-27 (C) can be purchased as singles at Strings by Mail (https://www.stringsbymail.com/classical-guitar-strings-1/thomastik-infeld-63/classic-n-series-88/cf128-chrome-3rd-166/).

hawaii 50
07-14-2016, 06:34 AM
Do I need to know specific gauges or something for these strings Chuck, I did a quick search and find lots of references to this brand but not ukulele specific. Or is there a particular source you can suggest, I saw Len's post saying they are "in stock" but didn't find them searching on HMS site either.

Hi Phil...strings went out of stock at Strings by mail......not sure if Andrew has gotten a shipment from Thomastik Infeld

hawaii 50
07-14-2016, 06:35 AM
Do I need to know specific gauges or something for these strings Chuck, I did a quick search and find lots of references to this brand but not ukulele specific. Or is there a particular source you can suggest, I saw Len's post saying they are "in stock" but didn't find them searching on HMS site either.

Hi Phil...strings went out of stock at Strings by mail......not sure if Andrew has gotten a shipment from Thomastik Infeld

bigphil
07-14-2016, 10:31 AM
Hi Phil...strings went out of stock at Strings by mail......not sure if Andrew has gotten a shipment from Thomastik Infeld

Thanks Len!

CTurner
07-14-2016, 01:41 PM
You need to try the Thomastik Infeld flat wound basses with those Oasis strings. It's the best set
I've ever tried.

Chuck, are the Thomastik flat wound basses you are talking about the ones made for bass guitar? With a price of about $70 per set? Or are you speaking of purchasing single strings? Do you have catalog numbers?

Thanks.

Kanaka916
07-14-2016, 02:23 PM
I believe Chuck is referring to the Classical CF128, not the set for the bass. The CF-30 is the 4th string (D) and the CF-27 is the 3rd string (g).

CTurner
07-14-2016, 03:44 PM
Ah, thanks Kanaka, I knew I was off in referencing a bass string set!! And thanks very much for the single string numbers.

Camsuke
07-14-2016, 03:50 PM
Here's abit more information Craig.
https://www.stringsbymail.com/thomastik-infeld-cf128-classic-n-superlona-nt-guitar-strings-full-set-2181.html