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Ukecaster
12-19-2017, 08:10 AM
Was watching a Ken Middleton mahogany tenor review from a few years back (pre Living Waters) and he said he disliked the Aquilas (I assume Nylguts) on that uke, but said they were THE best strings for Koa ukes, especially on koa concert and tenors. I don't have much koa experience, but what are your thoughts/experiences on this topic?

besley
12-19-2017, 09:19 AM
I had heard that Aquilas bring out the best on a laminate uke (though I'm not sure if that's supposed to be tone or volume).

EDW
12-19-2017, 10:01 AM
I think it varies depending on your taste and the particular instrument. I was never a huge fan of nylgut, but have heard and played some instruments that sounded great with them. It has caused me to rethink the whole string debate.

Alytw
12-19-2017, 10:09 AM
I agree with Campbell, probably depends on the build. I use them on my kanilea concert- i like them the best on that uke, but I don’t like them at all on my other ukes (one koa one spruce/walnut).

WestyShane
12-19-2017, 10:39 AM
It has caused me to rethink the whole string debate.

I don't have the most refined ear but, to be honest, I don't notice a very big difference in sound when I swap strings on my ukes. Maybe a bit but it's not out of the realm of placebo effect. Maybe I just need more time playing and more string changes.

I DO notice a difference in feel.

UkerDanno
12-19-2017, 11:06 AM
I like Living Water on my Koa Kanile'a, they used to come from the factory with Aquilas, but I didn't like them at all, living Water brought it to life!

AlohaKine
12-19-2017, 11:42 AM
Koa isn't a bright spruce tone, nor the mellower mahogany, knowing this helps to balance out tones someone is looking for.

I'm assuming you're thinking about Nylgut too...

I've played all the Aquila strings on a Kanilea, and the Nylgut were the warmest tone.

It's always been my understanding with Nylgut, they are just a warmer string, no matter what Uke you play them on, like Nylon strings in general, like D'addario's Nyltech.

Actually for a bit more brightness and punch, for someone not wanting to go Flurocarbon, the Nyltech might be the way to go.

Compared to around 12-15 other sets I've played, the most commonly used ones out there you find most Uke players using, Worth, Martin, D'addario, etc., I wouldn't call any of the Aquilas, or the Nlygut better or worse, just a matter of taste and styles...

Food for thought, the Nlygut is the favorite of Kanilea, Joe the owner himself will tell you, it's the reason Kanileas come stock with them, because they think it gives their Ukes the best tone.

MopMan
12-19-2017, 12:17 PM
When it comes to things musical, "best" is a highly subjective concept. Try things out and your preferences will shape your opinions.

Personally, I really like the feel of Aquila Nylgut strings--fat and taut. Also to my mind they are very responsive to touch, so dynamic variations are a pleasure for me to achieve with Nylgut.

Are they the best string for koa ukes? If you want a dark and mellow sound, maybe they are. Koa tends to produce a tone that is warmer than many other woods, so there could be some synergy to be had from using a mellow sounding string with a mellow sounding tonewood. Perhaps this is why Ken likes the combination.

As a rule I have found that fluorocarbon strings always have a brighter, sharper attack than nylon but I don't think of this as a negative, per se. It all depends on what sound you like and what sound you want to produce.

Brad Bordessa
12-19-2017, 01:51 PM
Was watching a Ken Middleton mahogany tenor review from a few years back (pre Living Waters) and he said he disliked the Aquilas (I assume Nylguts) on that uke, but said they were THE best strings for Koa ukes, especially on koa concert and tenors. I don't have much koa experience, but what are your thoughts/experiences on this topic?

I can't imagine a dude like Ken dropping a carpet-bomb statement like that.

This-or-that debates get beaten to death. The bottom line is that on the same uke, a good player tickling "bad" strings is still going to sound better than a bad player tickling "the best" strings. Which is to say: try some strings, but don't forget that only practice makes you a better player!!!

I've been using Worth strings for over a decade (a lot of that time on a koa uke, FWIW). Not because they are the "best", but because they are a good quality string and even the 15 year old me could see the black hole of "best" out of the corner of my eye. So I drew a line in the sand, got hooked up with the guy at Worth, and put in a lot of practice time. No regrets at all. You NEVER regret just practicing.

PhilUSAFRet
12-20-2017, 01:57 AM
No one best string for anything...all subjective. Aquilas on my pre-war Martin sound great, wouldn't suggest them for all Martins. Couldn't get Aquilas off my old Cordoba 20TM-Ce fast enough...was horribly "brash" in my opinion but may have sounded just right to another set of ears. I would make an overgeneralized statement about the real cheap laminate ukes....nearly always, a set of Nylguts will make them sound as good as they're likely to sound. Love'em for my banjo ukes, others prefer different ones. I have Aquilas on a solid maple, spruce topped concert. Bright? Wow, an understatement, but I bought the uke for it's bell like tones and it's amazing for bluegrass and country music...in this case, I wanted to emphasize the natural tone of the instrument. When I want a mellower tone, I buy a mellower uke and choose strings to customize tone I want out of it. With my Kamaka gold label, I chose Oasis lights to bring out the ringing "bark" that Kamaka sopranos are famous for. Not sure if this was helpful, just some of my insights.

AlohaKine
12-20-2017, 12:20 PM
Just in case newbies are reading and don't know much about strings. Aquila are very well respected in the industry, one of the biggest names, if not the biggest. There's no better, or worse here when it comes to Aquila, it's just whatever you like, that sounds good to you.

So use what you like... :shaka:

wayfarer75
12-22-2017, 07:18 AM
I have Living Waters on my concert koa uke, and Aquila Lavas on my koa soprano. Strings are way too personal to make blanket statements about "best for ____", in my opinion.