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View Full Version : String review Ko'olau Aho - Tenor



DownUpDave
09-14-2017, 01:09 AM
Andrew at HMS has developed his own line of florocarbon strings. I was lucky enough to buy a used Ko'olau spruce/myrtle tenor from HMS three months ago and it came strung with these strings. This was before they were packaged and commercialy available, so I was lucky enough to get an advanced sampling.

I loved the sound of the instrument and so did "sam13" (Simon) but what factor did the strings have to do with it. We could tell they were on the higher tension side and sounded very even from string to string. We kept bugging Andrew to get them out to market, they have been available for about one month now. Both Simon and myself ordered a bunch of different sets. They come in 5 different configurations. Plain(which is high G), high G with aluminum wound 3rd, high G with Thomastik wound 3rd, Low G with Fremont wound 4th and a Low G set with Thomastik wound 3rd and Fremont wound 4th. HMS has hit ALL the important configurations as far as I am concerned. One negative.....the lengths are on the short side, most tenor strings are 31-1/2" long these are 27-1/2". Be careful to not leave too much tag end on the bridge side.

So what do we think of these strings.......in a word EXCELLENT. Simon has them on a Kamaka 19" super tenor (low G w-Fremont) and a Koolau tenor (low G w- Fremont and Thomastik) . I have the plain set on a Kamaka super concert, it has really improved the sound. They are on the previously mentioned Koolau in low G w-Fremont. A few days ago I restrung my LfdM tenor with these (low G w- fremont. I did add a South Coast wound 3rd to the mix). The best sounding strings on this instrument are South Coast HML-WB, they've been a constant for over two years. These Koolau are as good sounding, that is high praise as this is my very best sounding uke and I don't like to mess with it.

These strings have a very musical, vibrant, almost lyrical sound to them, they are sweet. The tone is on the bright side, even though the diameters are not thin, but the sound is not shrill or brittle, that's the trick I think. The tension is on the high side, a little higher then Oasis, Worth or South Coast HML-WB, but not real high.

Below I will list diameters of the plain set and other popular sets

....................................G............C ..........E...........A
Ko'olau Plain............0235"......0325"....0260"....0225"
Oasis Brights...........0230".......030".....0270"....0215"..
Oasis Warm.............0250".......030".....0270".....0230"..
Worth CT..................0244".......0291"...0260".....0224
Martin M620...........0256"........034".....0280"....0216"..

103007

Jim Hanks
09-14-2017, 01:48 AM
Thanks Dave! Here's a link with more info and some demos:
https://www.theukulelesite.com/ko-olau-aho-tenor-fluorocarbon-strings-5-options.html

Sounds like a great set for tuning down to Bb as well.

slackkey007
09-14-2017, 05:15 AM
I snagged a bunch of the new Ko'olau Aho string sets as soon as they were available with the Fremont Low G and Thomastik-Infeld flatwound 3rd and love them! I bought 2 tenors from Andrew (February and May) and had Joel string them up with this combination before they were packaged and commercially available.

Mahalo for starting this Thread, Dave and to Andrew and the HMS crew for providing these AWESOME string sets!:shaka:

DownUpDave
09-15-2017, 12:10 PM
Thanks Dave! Here's a link with more info and some demos:
https://www.theukulelesite.com/ko-olau-aho-tenor-fluorocarbon-strings-5-options.html

Sounds like a great set for tuning down to Bb as well.

I think you are on to something Jim..........we know how much you like Bb tuning

Jim Hanks
09-15-2017, 03:44 PM
I think you are on to something Jim..........we know how much you like Bb tuning
Looks like I missed out - the only thing in stock is one set with a crappy wound third. :mad: :D

AlohaKine
09-15-2017, 04:46 PM
Thanks for sharing DownUpDave, I just sent an email to stringsbymail.com to order these in... :)

Rakelele
09-15-2017, 08:10 PM
Great review, thanks Dave! Looks like Andrew made something for every taste. I particularly like the 3+1 with a wound low G.

buganeal
09-17-2017, 05:38 AM
Does anyone by any chance know the brand of the flourocarbon strings in this set? or are they specially made?

DownUpDave
09-17-2017, 06:01 AM
Does anyone by any chance know the brand of the flourocarbon strings in this set? or are they specially made?

I would guess only Andrew would know that and he probaly would keep that to himself. From all the measurements I have taken (see above) they are different in diameters then anything I have come across. This leads my to believe they are not just some common string they had repackaged. They are made for him by one of the big manufactures but it appears to be to his specifications, they are wonderful sounding and feeling

buganeal
09-17-2017, 06:26 AM
I would guess only Andrew would know that and he probaly would keep that to himself. From all the measurements I have taken (see above) they are different in diameters then anything I have come across. This leads my to believe they are not just some common string they had repackaged. They are made for him by one of the big manufactures but it appears to be to his specifications, they are wonderful sounding and feeling

Makes total sense. Looks like I will have to wait till the stocks get back in. Currently running either Fremont or TI (Low G), TI (C), Saverez KF 542R (E), Saverez KF 541R (A) and loving it! Was curious as to how much different Andrew's Fluros will sound as it will be that much easier to order as a set and I can't wait to get my hands on some!

sam13
09-17-2017, 01:49 PM
I love these strings. They are my go to set of strings (then Worth CT's, Oasis Warms with the Fremont Soloist or the Thomastik Infeld 3rd or 4ths).

I really like the sound of the 1st and 2nd fluorocarbons.

When I had a chance to play Dave's Ko'olau Spruce top with Myrtle back and sides the sound was full, bright (not shrill or too bright) with some warmth. It has a centred tone with fullness or some gurth to it ... but not heavy. I really like the tension and the sustain on them ... really superb. I had #Ukeenvy and #stringenvy ... big time. In fact, I have first dibs on that Uke if he ever looses his mind and wants to sell it ... #justsaying

I have them a set of the Fremont Soloist and Fluorocarbons on my Kamaka HF3L. Neal Chin did a recent sound sample with this combo and although I can't play 15% as well as he can, the tone is consistent and really awesome. I won't be changing from this.

On my Ko'olau I have the Fremont Soloist with the TI 3rd along with the Fluorocarbon 1st and 2nd. It is fabulous. And just recently the Fremont Soloist popped on me (grrrr.... ) when I went to grab it, the string had already snapped on me. But the tone of this Uke is the best of any strings I have put on it ... and the strings are a keeper as well.

I also put them on my LFdM Sinker Redwood top, and the Uke sounds so great now ... I really enjoy it. I felt a prior A string on it didn't resonate as well. So I am happy with the wider thickness.

I would agree that the Fluorocarbons could be a little longer as I just had enough for the 19" Tenor ... even two inches would help. But I had enough to get the job done and it is so great sounding.

Congrats to Andrew for a wonderful set of strings.

When I buy my next Uke from my #alohadealer Andrew it will be strung with one of these options.

Jim Hanks
09-18-2017, 04:01 PM
Good news - most of the sets are showing in stock today
Bad news - shipping to the mainland is $$$$ - $8.35 shipping for $6 strings. Ouch.

buganeal
09-22-2017, 05:31 AM
Managed to purchase the smooth wound 4 and flat wound 3rd AHO string set a few days ago...Can't wait till it reaches my grubby fingers..1st stop, Rebel Quark.

DownUpDave
09-22-2017, 06:27 AM
Managed to purchase the smooth wound 4 and flat wound 3rd AHO string set a few days ago...Can't wait till it reaches my grubby fingers..1st stop, Rebel Quark.

Excellent, I will very interested in your opinion of them. It is always good to have a different set of ears evaluating strings.

One string set is not best suited to every uke. But I like the sound of them on three different ukuleles so far