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View Full Version : Banjo Uke string suggestions?



besley
07-11-2017, 06:13 PM
We all know that string preference is quite personal, with the sound of any particular brand being very subjective. Though there do seem to be some things most folks agree upon, like Aquilas being loud, or Aquilas seeming to work particularly well on laminate ukes.

That being said, does anyone have any suggestions for what type of strings work well on banjo ukes? Near as I can tell, the D'Addarios that came on my new Firefly Tenor are essentially the same as Aquila New Nylgut. I find the surface of these to be pretty rough, so I swapped them out for D'Addario EJ99T Fluorocarbon strings. The result is of course smoother to the feel with less string tension - but also a bit less harsh sounding, with less volume (which could be a good thing on a banjo uke!).

The only strings that are specifically marketed for banjo ukes seem to be Aquila 42Us, also New Nylgut. So any words of banjo uke wisdom out there?

DPO
07-11-2017, 07:32 PM
We all know that string preference is quite personal, with the sound of any particular brand being very subjective. Though there do seem to be some things most folks agree upon, like Aquilas being loud, or Aquilas seeming to work particularly well on laminate ukes.

That being said, does anyone have any suggestions for what type of strings work well on banjo ukes? Near as I can tell, the D'Addarios that came on my new Firefly Tenor are essentially the same as Aquila New Nylgut. I find the surface of these to be pretty rough, so I swapped them out for D'Addario EJ99T Fluorocarbon strings. The result is of course smoother to the feel with less string tension - but also a bit less harsh sounding, with less volume (which could be a good thing on a banjo uke!).

The only strings that are specifically marketed for banjo ukes seem to be Aquila 42Us, also New Nylgut. So any words of banjo uke wisdom out there?

Hard to go past the Aquilas, though I have had good results with Worth clears and browns .

kypfer
07-11-2017, 09:06 PM
Aquila "reds" - set 90U

Far better sound on my vellum-skinned banjolele tuned gCEA than the previously fitted generic "nylon" ... and yes, they're LOUD!

Inevitably, YMMV :music:

TopDog
07-11-2017, 10:44 PM
I use Woth Browns on my B/U and am very happy
with the volume/projection and tone. Whatever
sounds 'right' to you, are the strings to go with!

NOTLguy
07-12-2017, 01:01 AM
I have two vintage banjo ukes, a le Domino concert and a no name tenor, both vintage 1925-1930. They are both strung with Fremont fluorocarbon low G sets and produce adequate volume without being overbearing and they stay in tune all the time after the string sets settle in. I also use Fremonts on my Pono tenor ukulele.

Bill in Canada

Jim Hanks
07-12-2017, 02:08 AM
If you want even less harsh and quieter, you can try dGBE tuning. I had the Southcoast HU-NW set on my Goldtone. Honestly it was maybe a tad too mellow for banjo uke but still a nice sound and feel.

Tootler
07-12-2017, 02:20 AM
I have standard Aquila Nylgut on my BU and it certainly sounds banjo like.

I'm planning on selling it, though as I find it too loud to sing over.

SailingUke
07-12-2017, 03:28 AM
Like plain flouro carbon high g. High g gives the option of clawhammer and sounds more like a banjo to me anyway.
I have experimented with strings and don't find much difference on the banjo as the head/skin does the work. I prefer the feel of flouro over nylgut.

UkerDanno
07-12-2017, 05:40 AM
I have Fremont blacklines on mine, had Worth browns on a previous banjolele, I think I liked the browns better.

ProfChris
07-12-2017, 10:32 AM
To be contrary, my preference is for cheap black nylon strings on a banjo uke. Thin but soft/low tension, they reduce the harshness of the sound and make fretting easy.

Aguilar Nylguts are my string on most others, but the Nylgut overtones add to the jangliness of a BU too much. I use Aquila lava on my reso, and they'd probably suit me on a BU as well.

But I'm unusual - dislike fluorocarbons on anything, too stiff and pure (empty?) In tone for my taste. OTOH cheap nylon strings are, well, cheap to try ...

southcoastukes
07-13-2017, 03:22 AM
To be contrary, my preference is for cheap black nylon strings on a banjo uke. Thin but soft/low tension, they reduce the harshness of the sound and make fretting easy.

Aguilar Nylguts are my string on most others, but the Nylgut overtones add to the jangliness of a BU too much. I use Aquila lava on my reso, and they'd probably suit me on a BU as well.

But I'm unusual - dislike fluorocarbons on anything, too stiff and pure (empty?) In tone for my taste. OTOH cheap nylon strings are, well, cheap to try ...

Sounds like you've got what you want there, Professor.

It's interesting how perspective changes over time. The traditional sound on a BU was to take it almost exactly in the direction you're trying to avoid. I think projection in group settings was the priority.

You don't see many "Banjo Ukulele" string sets offered anymore; folks just put regular sets on them. But they used to be much more common, and all of them offered a wound 3rd.

besley
07-24-2017, 02:35 PM
We all know that string preference is quite personal, with the sound of any particular brand being very subjective. Though there do seem to be some things most folks agree upon, like Aquilas being loud, or Aquilas seeming to work particularly well on laminate ukes.

That being said, does anyone have any suggestions for what type of strings work well on banjo ukes? Near as I can tell, the D'Addarios that came on my new Firefly Tenor are essentially the same as Aquila New Nylgut. I find the surface of these to be pretty rough, so I swapped them out for D'Addario EJ99T Fluorocarbon strings. The result is of course smoother to the feel with less string tension - but also a bit less harsh sounding, with less volume (which could be a good thing on a banjo uke!).

The only strings that are specifically marketed for banjo ukes seem to be Aquila 42Us, also New Nylgut. So any words of banjo uke wisdom out there?

Well after a few days I decided that the EJ99T fluorocarbons sounded muddy, especially when strumming - so I mounted the Aquila 42Us. Wow, what a difference. Chords are clear now, with more volume too. Night and day better sounding. Unfortunately the 42Us are thicker, with more tension, and slightly rougher on the fingers. But the trade off is worth it for how good they sound, at least on this banjo uke.

As always, YMMV.

mimmo
07-24-2017, 10:39 PM
Hi guys
I am thinking to change something in matter of our banjo uke strings.
I find that nylgut is NOT the best one: it is too hars.
Generally speacking I think that the banjouke strings must have a short sustain and a percusssive sound.
Working in this way the sound is much more drum-like, exactly like when gut strings were in use
Nylgut is too hars and has too much sustain.
My ideas:
well, if you want a brilliant sound, in the direction of strung wire bluegrass banjos the red series are ok.
but if you want a 'vintage' sound, more percussive and 'ritmic ' I should study a special set for the banjouke only that employ a different kind of plasic.
In short: with a duller and short sound, gut-like. more 'gutsy', i mean.
all these are my owm opinion of course.
Bye
Mimmo (aquila strings owner) italy

DPO
07-25-2017, 10:19 AM
Hi guys
I am thinking to change something in matter of our banjo uke strings.
I find that nylgut is NOT the best one: it is too hars.
Generally speacking I think that the banjouke strings must have a short sustain and a percusssive sound.
Working in this way the sound is much more drum-like, exactly like when gut strings were in use
Nylgut is too hars and has too much sustain.
My ideas:
well, if you want a brilliant sound, in the direction of strung wire bluegrass banjos the red series are ok.
but if you want a 'vintage' sound, more percussive and 'ritmic ' I should study a special set for the banjouke only that employ a different kind of plasic.
In short: with a duller and short sound, gut-like. more 'gutsy', i mean.
all these are my owm opinion of course.
Bye
Mimmo (aquila strings owner) italy

Are you saying that you are going to produce a string set specifically for banjo ukes? That will be of interest to quite a few people. I guess I should try the reds in spite of what some say about them.

Choirguy
07-25-2017, 04:20 PM
At this time, I have Super Nylgut strings on my Banjo uke (Kala Concert, really quite an instrument for the cost), but I would certainly try a banjo-uke specific solution...however, multiple scale sizes would need to be created.

DPO
07-25-2017, 06:30 PM
At this time, I have Super Nylgut strings on my Banjo uke (Kala Concert, really quite an instrument for the cost), but I would certainly try a banjo-uke specific solution...however, multiple scale sizes would need to be created.

Or just make them all tenor then we can cut them down to suit whatever size we need.

kypfer
07-26-2017, 11:53 AM
Are you saying that you are going to produce a string set specifically for banjo ukes? That will be of interest to quite a few people. I guess I should try the reds in spite of what some say about them.

Aquila already produce a set of "reds" specifically for banjoleles ... as per my previous posting on this thread, their 90U's :music:

DPO
07-26-2017, 12:31 PM
Aquila already produce a set of "reds" specifically for banjoleles ... as per my previous posting on this thread, their 90U's :music:

Yes, just that the reds have had a bad rap so to speak. Anyway Mimmo appears to be talking about a complete new product on the horizon specifically for bu's