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View Full Version : Another string thread... with a poll!



UkingViking
09-07-2017, 09:15 PM
There has been a lot of threads about which strings to choose.
Besides high G/ low G and which brand, there is the big difference of nylon/nylgut vs floucarbons. I know that this is pretty generic.

I haven't quite decided what I prefer, so I wonder if I should string different ukes with different strings. So what goes where?

Besides taking the very shallow poll, I would like comments that specify what you believe points to one material over the other with respect to:

Tuning: high g, low G and other, flourcarbons for which?
Playing style: strumming, picking, flourcarbons for which?
Genre: Some genres need another sound?
Ukulele size: My local ukulele pusher told me that flourcarbons are only for sopranos, I assume many will disagree.
Wood type: does it matter if it is mahogany, koa or something else?

I know that there is not a simple answer to these questions, but if you feel that any of the above affects which strings you prefer, or the importance of having you favorite strings, then that parameter is what I am looking for.

Croaky Keith
09-07-2017, 11:16 PM
Living Water flourocarbons mainly, playing melodies & occasional strumming, Low G (Low D).

(Aquila Nylgut left on laminate/cheaper ukes High G (High D) mainly for strumming.)

Used to have Low G on all sizes, (soprano to bari) - then I put re entrant back on soprano as I didn't use them much, & now I don't use soprano scaled ukes at all.

I prefer flourocarbon for their feel & the sound they produce, my preference is for a mellow, (rather than a plinky sharp), sound.

My wood preferences are for solid mahogany, cedar top, & spruce - in that order.

UkingViking
09-07-2017, 11:56 PM
Living Water flourocarbons mainly, playing melodies & occasional strumming, Low G (Low D).

(Aquila Nylgut left on laminate/cheaper ukes High G (High D) mainly for strumming.)

Used to have Low G on all sizes, (soprano to bari) - then I put re entrant back on soprano as I didn't use them much, & now I don't use soprano scaled ukes at all.

I prefer flourocarbon for their feel & the sound they produce, my preference is for a mellow, (rather than a plinky sharp), sound.

My wood preferences are for solid mahogany, cedar top, & spruce - in that order.

Thanks for the input.
With regards to high/low G, the angle I wanted was mostly what is means for the string material. E.g, is it most important for you to have have flourcarbon on the low G, or is it just as important in high g.
And for the tonewood the same - do you think some benefit more from a specific string material than the other, regardless of which tonewood you prefer.
If I have a solid mahogany and a solid akacia concert, and I want nylgut on one and flourcarbon on the other, where would you put which strings?

Booli
09-08-2017, 12:00 AM
I have tested over 100 different sets of strings, and additionally, about 45 different classical guitar single strings over the past 4 yrs on ukulele, and the info below comes from my own hands-on experience.

Out of the more than dozen ukes I have, only 2 have Aquilas on them, all the rest are some flavor of fluororcarbons, either Martin M6x0, Worth CM or BM, Oasis, or D'Addario EJ99T. I have found these to be the most consistent, and yes they are somewhat different gauges, and the strings that I settle with on a given instrument will correspond to the strengths and weaknesses of the sound of each individual instrument.

There is no hard and fast rule for the best strings for everyone or for every uke, and anyone that tells you this is misinformed and if you believe this, that is your right, but you should know that there is lots of science to prove this belief as incorrect.

However, I have found string choice does MORE to alter the tone on a laminate instrument than on an all-solid wood, or solid-wood-top-and-lam-back-and-sides instrument.

Folks that dont care or dont know any better and never tried other strings, or simply dismiss alternate strings 'as all the same' are simply and woefully misinformed.

it is not my own 'confirmation bias' but different string materials, and different string gauges will have different tension, as well as better or worse intonation BECAUSE of the different gauges and different tensions.

Now if you want to get into alternate tunings D6, or Bb or A6 on anything other than baritone, all of the above multiplies in permutation, and if you want to get into 5ths tunings on ANY scale length you have to know something about string tension vs. diameters (relative linear density) otherwise you are just spinning your wheels...

I've posted a few links and a few tips REGARDING STRINGS that can be found on the page linked in my forum signature below.

Croaky Keith
09-08-2017, 12:50 AM
The reason that I change strings is that I prefer the flourocarbon feel & tone I get from them, so if I liked High G, I would use them for that as well.

Regarding which string that I would put on each wood, I would definately have the flourocarbons on the mahogany, as they give me the sound that I like.

The nylguts would likely suit the brighter tone of acacia, but I don't have one, so can't confirm that personally.

(Booli has tested so many strings/ukes that it may seem confusing, but he does generalize his findings in amongst all the info somewhere, I saw it on another string thread.)

Booli
09-08-2017, 01:02 AM
...(Booli has tested so many strings/ukes that it may seem confusing, but he does generalize his findings in amongst all the info somewhere, I saw it on another string thread.)

Thanks Keith, as stated previously, the path to enlightenment is summarized and linked if you look at my signature, and simply click THAT link, all the wonders will be revealed...

It's not complicated and only requires the use of a finger to click. It won't hurt any, I promise :)

jer
09-08-2017, 07:15 AM
For me, it depends on the instrument. If I could get flouros to always give me the sound and feel I wanted, then I'd never use anything but them due to the consistency, durability, and intonation. Of course there is a variety of those to look at too. I prefer D'addario and Worth (light tension).
That said, I've owned instruments that I like Nyltechs better on, LaBella pro series better on, D'addario Pro Arte etc. etc...
With some, it's a tough call for me as to which I like best. More times than not I've ended up back with flouros after experimenting with a given instrument.

With ukes, to me, strings make a lot more difference than with guitars or any other instrument I currently play or have played in the past. There's just such a variety and huge differences can be felt and heard between materials.

In the end, it's personal preference....as always. We all hear and feel things differently.

Nickie
09-08-2017, 01:53 PM
Even if it's a repeated thread, I still find it enlightening. I've gradually been moving away from Aquilas, which just don't feel good. I'm using Worth Browns on my Cocobolo concert, and loving it. The Aquila New Nylguts will be coming off my banjouke soon, they are actually painful to play and don't sound good. My Kala solid mahog still has Nylguts on it, but as soon as I wear them out, I'm switching. Every set I've had sounded like there was a dead, thuddy C string, on all the frets.
Booli, not only have I been on your website, I have it bookmarked. No need for me to waste precious dollars re-inventing the wheel.

bird's eye view of my ukelele
09-08-2017, 02:49 PM
i like living water flourocarbons for sopranos and concerts with high g tuning

i prefer a wound low g, so i generally go for aquilas if i want a low g, i also like them for baritone uke, they are quite low tension and i like that, i like wound strings on the d and g on a bari

i have tried combining a low aquila g with living water c e and a strings but i found they settled differently and drifted out of tune differently and it was harder to keep the uke in tune with a mix of strings

i would love it if living water strings came with wound options but sadly they don't, they are, otherwise, way my favourite kind of strings

M3Ukulele
09-08-2017, 03:00 PM
I'm not always Flurocarbon although that is how I voted. I do try all the other. I recently put some AGxAQ on and like them. Looking forward to the NEW SUGAR. I like what Aquila is doing but don't necessarily like all their strings. I tried the Chee/Maisel re entrant and they are pretty good. But, my bias is toward Flurocarbon as they just ring out so much. I like the sound. I will always try different options and strings until I find the one for each uke but I always seems to gravitate back to fluro's.
YMMV as it a very personal thing.

ripock
09-08-2017, 03:13 PM
I have a somewhat cheeky answer: the best strings are the ones that came with the uke. I don't like to change the voice of my ukulele. I pre-ordered my mahogany tenor with brown Worth strings for that warm sound. With my Kamaka I use the nylon strings that came with it. Are there better strings? Most likely. However, if I changed strings then it wouldn't feel like my ukulele and it wouldn't sound like my ukulele. To be sure, I at times grouse about the stiffness of the nylon or some aspect of the carbon strings, but at the end of the day that's what relationships are all about: learning and knowing the imperfections instead of insisting on perfections.

There. since you're conducting a poll, that's my contribution.

Brad Bordessa
09-08-2017, 04:17 PM
If you change the strings on your uke you will still sound like YOU. If I change the strings on my uke I will still sound like ME.

Good discussion here, but I think that bit of context is important to remember.

UkingViking
09-08-2017, 10:29 PM
For now the flourcarbons are way ahead, almost regret buying a little bit of both in my last order.
I am giving the Aquila carbonblacks a shot, but also bought some Aquila Lava nylgut. And some A NueNue flourcarbons to try on my tenor.

A lot of people also voted that it depends, and there are a few examples: Preferences of wound or unwound strings, bigger difference with flouros on laminates etc.
Looking forward to more of these!

Tootler
09-08-2017, 11:08 PM
I have a somewhat cheeky answer: the best strings are the ones that came with the uke. I don't like to change the voice of my ukulele. I pre-ordered my mahogany tenor with brown Worth strings for that warm sound. With my Kamaka I use the nylon strings that came with it. Are there better strings? Most likely. However, if I changed strings then it wouldn't feel like my ukulele and it wouldn't sound like my ukulele. To be sure, I at times grouse about the stiffness of the nylon or some aspect of the carbon strings, but at the end of the day that's what relationships are all about: learning and knowing the imperfections instead of insisting on perfections.

There. since you're conducting a poll, that's my contribution.

Since you're being cheeky, I'll be cheeky back :)

Strings wear out and there comes a time when you have to change them. What then? Sell it and buy another?

Edit to add: I generally leave the strings that come with the uke if I'm happy with the sound and there aren't any issues with them. When I do change them it's usually for fluorocarbon.

I prefer fluorocarbon because they are brighter and ring out more. From my limited experience of wound strings, I'm not keen on them either mainly because the wound strings that came with my Baritone wore very quickly. I replaced them with Living Water and once they had settled a bit they sound much better.

The difference between nylgut and fluorocarbon on my 8 string was particularly striking. It really sings now.

Of course, at the end of the day choice of strings is a personal matter and depends on the sound you are after.

DownUpDave
09-09-2017, 03:32 AM
There has been a lot of threads about which strings to choose.
Besides high G/ low G and which brand, there is the big difference of nylon/nylgut vs floucarbons. I know that this is pretty generic.

I haven't quite decided what I prefer, so I wonder if I should string different ukes with different strings. So what goes where?

Besides taking the very shallow poll, I would like comments that specify what you believe points to one material over the other with respect to:

Tuning: high g, low G and other, flourcarbons for which?
Playing style: strumming, picking, flourcarbons for which?
Genre: Some genres need another sound?
Ukulele size: My local ukulele pusher told me that flourcarbons are only for sopranos, I assume many will disagree.
Wood type: does it matter if it is mahogany, koa or something else?

I know that there is not a simple answer to these questions, but if you feel that any of the above affects which strings you prefer, or the importance of having you favorite strings, then that parameter is what I am looking for.

I voted strickly florocarbon but have used Aquila and nylon from time to time, not often. I like the predictability of florocarbon and the variety of brands and diameters. I use them for all the ukulele sizes and in high G or low G, linear and reentrant baritone.

For low G I like a wound G and C string then I will pair them with a florocarbon to taste. I find Worth Clear to be a nice netural sounding string. If the uke is too warm I will go with a brighter sounding string, vise versa if it is too bright.

Your local uke pusher is wrong about florocarbon for soprano only......see above.

Wood type does influence the sound as does manufacture. Again if it it too bright or too warm I can find a florocarbon string to achieve the sound I want. I have used nylon if I need really warm but not often.

Rakelele
09-11-2017, 01:34 AM
I'm open minded, so I voted for "it depends". However, I have to admit that I mostly end up with some sort of fluorocarbon strings. I have Worth Brown and Clear, Oasis, Fremont Blackline or Southcoast HML and HMU on most ukes; I would probably like Living Water and PhD, too.

More delicate, and more important to me, are questions regarding wound vs. unwound strings. In reentrant tuning, I'd always want an all plain set. Ideally, from how the strings blend in together, this is also what I would prefer in linear tuning, and I do have some ukes which seem to work fine with an all unwound set like Worth or Fremont Blackline.

When a uke sounds to boomy with this setting, I use just one wound string for the fourth, very seldom two. While it does seem perfectly logical to me that the wound vs. unwound strings should be numerically balanced out, with my playing style, I find the wound third often to be too scratchy sounding.

Most of the times, I end up with a combination of three unwound and one wound string, e.g. Oasis, Worth or Southcoast HMU paired with a Fremont Soloist low G.

Dean Beaver
09-11-2017, 02:22 AM
I've stuck with Nylguts for a while, but there is some good strings available, and this year I have put Worths Clear Flurocarbon Strings on my 8-String and personally find it better without a wound G and it generally feels softer to press and more enjoyable to play.
I also put Worths Clear Flurocarbon Ohta JR Low G set of Strings on my Mahogany Tenor, as I've never had a Uke with low G prior other than on my 8-String Uke which had both, it's different to play but nice, I've just got to get used to it more.
I put Aquila Reds on my laminate Zebrawood Soprano, I'll probably end up changing them again some time.
The others have got Nylguts and I'll be changing some of them in due time although not sure which strings I'll use, and some will likely be Nylgut and some will likely be Flurocarbon, or another type.
So during this year I'm getting more familar with some new Ukes and new Strings, and see how things go thereon ...
I didn't play much Uke for a few years, so picking it up again this year is interesting, it's different to my former experience with Ukes a few years ago, personally and as well as that I'm seeing things, like strings, that i wasn't aware of then either, so I'm working on figuring things out in a sense of personal newukeness and stuff ...
So, that momentarily evens up the score with a vote for "It Depends on the Uke etc"

Happy Ukeing :)

AlohaKine
09-11-2017, 11:17 AM
Has anyone tried the AGxAQ Aquila, these are quite nice...

http://www.gotaukulele.com/2017/03/aquila-agxaq-tenor-ukulele-strings.html

Tootler
09-11-2017, 11:42 AM
From someone with a chemistry related degree, please will you spell fluorocarbon correctly

It's F L U O R... With the U before the O.

The other way round refers to the white stuff that's used in cooking.

UkingViking
09-11-2017, 08:38 PM
From someone with a chemistry related degree, please will you spell fluorocarbon correctly

It's F L U O R... With the U before the O.

The other way round refers to the white stuff that's used in cooking.

Sorry. I meant Fluorcarbon. The other thing must be bread rolls left for too long in the oven...

bearbike137
09-12-2017, 05:29 AM
I can't stand nylon strings on a uke. Fluorocarbons for the win!