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View Full Version : RESULTS Aquila and Worth strings compared



Ken Middleton
07-09-2009, 09:08 PM
A couple of weeks ago I posted this video where I compare Worth and Aquila strings on very similar mahogany tenors


Aquila and Worth strings compared (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5yU85FM8Fg&feature=channel_page)

Here are the results:

19 people said that they preferred Worth strings

5 people said that they preferred Aquila strings

16 people said that they liked both or could not decide

5 people commented that the Worths sounds better when they are picked and the Aquilas when they are strummed


I have always thought that on a mahogany instrument Worths sound better. I may at some point do a comparison using a koa uke and see if the results are different.

Thanks very much to those who gave their detailed opinions.

Coyote asked me to comment on the feel of the strings. Here goes.

The Aquila feel thicker, harder and rougher. Because they are thicker, they feel tighter when fretted. But they do have a very precise, firm feel under the fingers.

The Worths feel smoother, thinner, softer and slacker. Sometimes you can hardly feel them at all.

I believe that both are truly excellent strings and none of the above characteristics make one a better string than another.

I don't know the people at Worth Strings, but recently I talked at length with Mimmo of Aquila. He is constantly experimenting and is really enthusiastic to produce the best string that he can. Expect some new exciting products in the near future.



KEN

Myala509
07-09-2009, 09:14 PM
I do like my Worths better. I like your testing, I did similar testing on my own but it is nice that some shared. I got pretty much the same results. I am trying Proarte now.

gotrice415510
07-09-2009, 09:23 PM
the thing with worths is that there are so many... making it really hard to choose.

Witters
07-09-2009, 09:28 PM
I have been doing my own mini test purely because I wanted to try something different.

The first strings after using Aquila for the longest time were Worth Browns.

I have since used Martins, D'Addario's, and have some Freemonts waiting.

While there is nothing wrong with Aquila's I dont think I will be going back to them. The Worths are my clear winner so far and I like the feel, sound, look, and how they play, better.

Ken Middleton
07-09-2009, 09:34 PM
the thing with worths is that there are so many... making it really hard to choose.

When you look at the diameter of the strings in each set, there is not as much choice as you think. And the colour of the strings makes no difference.

Quigs
07-09-2009, 11:34 PM
Both sound nice though i think i prefer the Aquilas-just that bit brighter. I'll have to give Worths a try for myself nextime i need new strings. btw- nice fireplace! :D

Link
07-10-2009, 12:05 AM
Wow. I need to try some high G Worths. Have a set of low g browns on my Flea right now. Not diggin the low G too much now.

Ahnko Honu
07-10-2009, 12:23 AM
And the colour of the strings makes no difference.

Aloha Ken, are you saying there's no difference between the clear, and brown Worth strings? I bought both colors to try.

Ken Middleton
07-10-2009, 12:36 AM
Aloha Ken, are you saying there's no difference between the clear, and brown Worth strings? I bought both colors to try.

People imagine that they sound different because they look different. The website quotes the same characteristics for both colours and makes no claims about different tonal properties. It's just that dark looks better on some instruments and clear better on others. I've just put a set of brown Worths on my Kanile'a because they look better than the clears. They sound exactly the same to me. Some people say that they can hear the difference - I can't. The brown strings have a colourant added, that's all.

jkevinwolfe
07-10-2009, 12:40 AM
Ken,

Thanks for such an in-depth report. But I do hear a difference in the Worth clears and browns. My custom Boat Paddle came with clears and I put browns on it. The browns sound more mellow to me, at least on this uke. Or is it my imagination Mr. M? : )

Ken Middleton
07-10-2009, 12:53 AM
Ken,

Thanks for such an in-depth report. But I do hear a difference in the Worth clears and browns. My custom Boat Paddle came with clears and I put browns on it. The browns sound more mellow to me, at least on this uke. Or is it my imagination Mr. M? : )

It is not your imagination, but you need to compare them side by side. If there were a difference, wouldn't Worth strings make a claim about it to get more sales? No, they are happy to let people continue to think that there is a difference.

Why not email Worth and ask them? I shall.

KEN

buddhuu
07-10-2009, 12:56 AM
This is an interesting thread. I've always wanted to try Worths properly on my Kala tenor, but I'm not sure which ones I am supposed to use.

So, for a solid mahogany Kala tenor, which would be the correct ones?

So many variations. Too complicated... I wish their labeling was more explicit about which strings are for which size of uke.

Ken Middleton
07-10-2009, 01:28 AM
This is an interesting thread. I've always wanted to try Worths properly on my Kala tenor, but I'm not sure which ones I am supposed to use.

So, for a solid mahogany Kala tenor, which would be the correct ones?

So many variations. Too complicated... I wish their labeling was more explicit about which strings are for which size of uke.

Their labelling is quite strange. Don't use their fat strings as they have very little of the beautiful tone of their normal strings. Their normal strings really only come in two sizes: one for soprano and concert and the other for tenor. It is the length of the string which determines which instrument it fits. If you look carefully at the diameters of the 2nd and 3rd strings they are either:

0.026 inch or 0.291 inch for either 2nd or 3rd string.

It is the LENGTH of the string that mainly determines which instrument it fits.

There is some variation in the 1st and 4th strings and they give these sets a different name.

I don't think I have explained this clearly.

However, to make it easy, I use BM and CM for soprano and BT and CT for tenor. I keep it simple for myself.

For your Kala mahogany tenor I would use BT's.

Hope that helps a bit.

KEN

Thumper
07-10-2009, 01:36 AM
Thanks for doing this, Ken - it was very educational (and your playing is terrific)!

I don't know that you've ever come out and stated it, and it may be obvious to some viewers, but am I correct in this conclusion?


The cutaway was strung with Aquilas
The regular tenor was strung with Worths


I've got two main ukes, one strung with Aquilas and one with Worths, and I like them both very much. To me the Worths are a little more clear and bell-like, while the Aquilas have a bit more "thud" in their sound and are perhaps a little more brash, which may explain why some people prefer the sound of Aquilas for strumming. And I do think Aquilas are miracle-workers when it comes to getting the most sound out of a cheap laminate uke. My Lanikai LU21 soprano sounds surprisingly nice with Aquilas.

Thanks again - this was great!

Ken Middleton
07-10-2009, 01:47 AM
Thanks for doing this, Ken - it was very educational (and your playing is terrific)!

I don't know that you've ever come out and stated it, and it may be obvious to some viewers, but am I correct in this conclusion?


The cutaway was strung with Aquilas
The regular tenor was strung with Worths


I've got two main ukes, one strung with Aquilas and one with Worths, and I like them both very much. To me the Worths are a little more clear and bell-like, while the Aquilas have a bit more "thud" in their sound and are perhaps a little more brash, which may explain why some people prefer the sound of Aquilas for strumming. And I do think Aquilas are miracle-workers when it comes to getting the most sound out of a cheap laminate uke. My Lanikai LU21 soprano sounds surprisingly nice with Aquilas.

Thanks again - this was great!

Yes, you're right of course. And I agree with your assessment of the strings. I (usually) use Aquilas for singing with and Worths for picking.

KEN

dnewton2
07-10-2009, 02:30 AM
And the colour of the strings makes no difference.

I have read online (at Elderly (http://www.elderly.com/accessories/names/worth-bm-lg-soprano-/-concert-with-low-g-uke-set--WSBMLG.htm)) that the clears are brighter more forward sound and browns have a softer more mellow. I haven't tried either but have recently order several sets of different strings including some Worth Browns. I can't wait to try them all out.

Thanks for the reviews. Great job!:shaka:

UkuLeLesReggAe
07-10-2009, 02:38 AM
i like aquila's, i have worth's... but having put them on yet...

so.. AQUILA'S ALL THE WAY!

buddhuu
07-10-2009, 02:49 AM
[...]

For your Kala mahogany tenor I would use BT's.

Hope that helps a bit.

KEN

Certainly does, Ken.

Thanks very much. Just off to order some! :D

marvtobi
07-10-2009, 05:52 AM
:) What a great comparison! I enjoyed listening to it quite a lot, lovely playing! Still got it on a third time now while typing. Its great to have such an easy comparison. I couldnt really say which were which, but i had a feeling the cutaway had aquila's.

I came just recently to the ukulele and coming from the guitar i knew i need good strings on my cheap uke to get a nice sound, after some internet-digging i found some other guy comparing the strings on youtube and went for aquila, because i liked the high spectrum of them and they seem somewhat more balanced to me when strumming. I cant say i have changed my mind now after seeing your video, still the cutaway for me with aquila's.

It has this nice ring to it, lots of definition on the attack and high ring, without the bit weird sound the worth's while strumming, they sound a bit out of it somehow to me. Hard to explain, a bit like out of tune, ever so slightly. Maybe its the broader sound of them in the lower mids.
They sure do sound great for picking tho, so i will try them for sure.

I did the same with my guitar at the beginning and it is great you can change the sound around so much for the better with the strings, to get it to a sound one likes.

Thanks for taking the time and doing the video!

russ_buss
07-10-2009, 06:00 AM
thanks for reporting out on your string test Ken! very interesting to read the results. that said, i rarely find myself thinking/debating about string brands. my donkey ears can't tell the difference. it's blissful really. :)

thejumpingflea
07-10-2009, 09:35 AM
Nice comparison.

Craig Robertson
07-10-2009, 10:11 AM
Although I seldom comment on string threads, I found this one very informative and not overly fussy. I think your comparisons are interesting, Ken.

I will say, for myself, I use a lot of strings and, as of two years ago, I use nothing but Aquila Nylguts. Picking, strumming/whatever, they seem to take it and hold up for longer than most others. I probably change my strings more often than most, and "break in time" is important to me. 2 to 3 days with Aquilas. They're stable and actually improve intonation on most of my ukuleles. I
confess that I primarily play sopranos live, but I have all sizes and play most of them on various recordings.
This is just my own, admittedly egocentric, take on the subject. I have used all of the Worths and they feel less stable to me and harder to "dig into".

PoisonDart
07-10-2009, 10:30 AM
can't wait to try the worths i got for my bari now.

Ken Middleton
07-11-2009, 07:48 PM
When you look at the diameter of the strings in each set, there is not as much choice as you think. And the colour of the strings makes no difference.

I am wrong. Sorry. There is a slight difference between the same gauge brown and clear Worth strings.

I have recently spoken with Masaya Takahashi who makes the strings (in Kobe, Japan). They told me that the aim is for the brown one's to be "a little milder".

However, that they also confirmed that the aim is to "show beauty" by choosing the right colour string to "unify it with the body" of the instrument. Their intention being to use brown on dark-bodied ukes (e.g. mahogany) and clear on light-bodies ukes (e.g. mango).

Who am I to argue.

KEN

...

UkuEroll
07-11-2009, 10:10 PM
This is an interesting thread. I've always wanted to try Worths properly on my Kala tenor, but I'm not sure which ones I am supposed to use.

So, for a solid mahogany Kala tenor, which would be the correct ones?

So many variations. Too complicated... I wish their labeling was more explicit about which strings are for which size of uke.

R. I was searching for Worths here in the UK and found this guy on ebay, if you click on the various packs it give details of the type, he does do a concert set.....I'm I correct that they come in double length, so 2 for the price of one? if so we could go halves, as I've only got one Tenor.

fleadermaus
07-12-2009, 05:59 AM
With the Worth clears, I sometimes hear a distinct clicking sound as my fingernail hits the top string on downward strum. I don't get this noise with the brown strings. Does anyone else have the same experience?

jkevinwolfe
07-12-2009, 03:49 PM
Yes, I noticed the same thing. The clears seem to have a harder finish.

buddhuu
07-15-2009, 12:17 PM
R. I was searching for Worths here in the UK and found this guy on ebay, if you click on the various packs it give details of the type, he does do a concert set.....I'm I correct that they come in double length, so 2 for the price of one? if so we could go halves, as I've only got one Tenor.

Doh, sorry Leroy. I didn't spot your latest post here until just now. I ordered some BTs (the brown ones for tenor size) a few days ago on Ken's advice. I've strung my Kala ASMT with them and... Wow! I love them. I like them even better than the Aquilas I've been using since I stated playing. That's it for me - I'm sticking with these!

Thanks for the recommendation, Ken. Very good call.

After a bit of work on picking melody out in pluck-strum style I've also had a bit of a revelation regarding re-entrant tuning on tenor. I'm sticking with that now and abandoning low G.

That means I have a brand new set of low G Aquilas that I won't be needing. Leroy, you're welcome to take those off my hands if they are of any use to you, mate. :)

haole
07-15-2009, 12:23 PM
I like the Worth browns on my Kamaka, but went back to Aquilas on my Flea. Glad to hear you got in touch with Worth to confirm that there is a difference between browns and clears.

wickedwahine11
07-15-2009, 01:10 PM
I like the Worth browns on my Kamaka, but went back to Aquilas on my Flea. Glad to hear you got in touch with Worth to confirm that there is a difference between browns and clears.

I second that. I was restringing my Kamaka like crazy to get rid of my buzzing issue and ended up putting on some Worth Browns. I had bought them for my Kanile'a and hated them on the Kanile'a. Not only have they gotten rid of my buzzing issue (it now only buzzes on the open E string maybe 2-3% of the time) but they also sound terrific on the Kamaka. I bought two more sets from MGM to stock up.

I do have Aquilas on the Kanile'a right now though.

Thanks for doing this in depth comparison, and also getting the word from Worth directly on the differences.

Thumper
07-29-2009, 06:22 AM
Last night I restrung my tenor Fluke. It had Worth Clears on it, and I replaced them with Aquilas. I'm already familiar with Aquilas from using them on my Flea and my Lanikai LU21 soprano, so I had high hopes. But so far I'm rather disappointed.

The larger body of the Fluke makes it a warm, full sounding instrument, and the Worth Clears really sang nicely on it, with a clear, bell-like tone and nice sustain. The Aquilas have a sound that is less "pure" - which I believe is their intent, as they are designed to closely replicate the sound of natural gut strings.

The result is the sound of the Aquila strings have more "dirt" in them - some interesting overtones that on one hand are very organic and pleasant, but on the other they make the instrument seem a little more honky and dissonant. Perhaps a good analogy would be the difference between a typical pure piano sound and the "honky tonk" preset many keyboards have, which purposely includes some not-quite-perfect intonation.

I'm NOT saying the Aquilas don't play in tune, I hasten to add. I'm just saying that in addition to the fundamental pitch of the string, you hear certain dissonant - but still pleasant - overtones.

I like that kind of dissonant honkiness on my soprano, but I'm finding that on the tenor Fluke it seems like a bit of a step backwards from the pure, clean sound I was getting with Worths.

As they do on my Flea, the Aquilas really bring out the low midrange of the Fluke, with the C and E strings somewhat dominating the mix. The strings also produce more of a "thump" when plucked - again, I like that effect on smaller ukes, but am not sure it's really my cup of tea on the larger, louder Fluke.

I need to spend more time with these strings, to get to know what my Fluke is capable of when strung with these. But at the moment I'm predicting I'll probably switch back to Worths for the Fluke, while keeping Aquilas on my Flea and soprano.

I've also got a packet of Worth Browns sitting around - I'll probably try them next. All part of the fun-filled journey of learning to play my ukes!

Ken Middleton
07-29-2009, 06:29 AM
Last night I restrung my tenor Fluke. It had Worth Clears on it, and I replaced them with Aquilas. I'm already familiar with Aquilas from using them on my Flea and my Lanikai LU21 soprano, so I had high hopes. But so far I'm rather disappointed.

The larger body of the Fluke makes it a warm, full sounding instrument, and the Worth Clears really sang nicely on it, with a clear, bell-like tone and nice sustain. The Aquilas have a sound that is less "pure" - which I believe is their intent, as they are designed to closely replicate the sound of natural gut strings.

The result is the sound of the Aquila strings have more "dirt" in them - some interesting overtones that on one hand are very organic and pleasant, but on the other they make the instrument seem a little more honky and dissonant. Perhaps a good analogy would be the difference between a typical pure piano sound and the "honky tonk" preset many keyboards have, which purposely includes some not-quite-perfect intonation.

I'm NOT saying the Aquilas don't play in tune, I hasten to add. I'm just saying that in addition to the fundamental pitch of the string, you hear certain dissonant - but still pleasant - overtones.

I like that kind of dissonant honkiness on my soprano, but I'm finding that on the tenor Fluke it seems like a bit of a step backwards from the pure, clean sound I was getting with Worths.

As they do on my Flea, the Aquilas really bring out the low midrange of the Fluke, with the C and E strings somewhat dominating the mix. The strings also produce more of a "thump" when plucked - again, I like that effect on smaller ukes, but am not sure it's really my cup of tea on the larger, louder Fluke.

I need to spend more time with these strings, to get to know what my Fluke is capable of when strung with these. But at the moment I'm predicting I'll probably switch back to Worths for the Fluke, while keeping Aquilas on my Flea and soprano.

I've also got a packet of Worth Browns sitting around - I'll probably try them next. All part of the fun-filled journey of learning to play my ukes!

I agree, the Aquilas do have a broader sound and can sometimes sound unusual on certain instruments. I find that they strum well on virtually anything. For fingerpicking though, brown Worths have a thinner, much purer sound. At least to my ears.

KEN

mealfrog41
07-29-2009, 08:06 AM
Thanks for all the input on this... I'm going to try Worths, I have Aquilas on my tenor right now and really dislike them. I know most people don't share that opinion, but I even prefer the original GHS strings to the Aquilas I put on. I think they makes the uke sound like a toy.

ed531
07-29-2009, 11:50 AM
The Aquila feel thicker, harder and rougher. Because they are thicker, they feel tighter when fretted. But they do have a very precise, firm feel under the fingers.

The Worths feel smoother, thinner, softer and slacker. Sometimes you can hardly feel them at all.

I guess this is why I prefer Aquila over Worths. I like the thicker, harder and rougher feel. I'm guessing that's because it's fairly similar to 13 guage strings I use on my acoustic guitars.

Maybe it's just in my mind, but to me thicker, harder strings sustain better.

Oswegan
07-29-2009, 12:57 PM
I love me some low g Worth CT's on my Pono sprucetop. "Nothing compares to you."

mikeeG7th
07-29-2009, 03:22 PM
Thanks for this posting. I started a different thread regarding tips on how to improve my uke's sound and playability. This thread just gave me an idea to try to try different strings on my tenor Kanilea. I just got a K-1 tenor and am having problems with the sound and playing with it. I am thinking that either the Aquila strings that came with it need to stretch a little more or the uke itself needs to break-in some more or maybe I'm just not happy with how this brand of strings sound on my uke -- or maybe I'm not playing it good enough. We'll see... I got to buy me some strings first.

cocohonk
07-29-2009, 08:35 PM
Is there a brand of string with properties right in between Aquilas and Worths?

I've been trying both out, and am being a bit of a Goldilocks here. I like them both for different reasons, but Aquilas seem to be a bit rough and has that residual sound when your fingers rub against them, while the Worth clears I've just started to try on seem like it might slice my fingers open since they're so smooth and skinny.

Ken Middleton
07-29-2009, 08:45 PM
Thanks for this posting. I started a different thread regarding tips on how to improve my uke's sound and playability. This thread just gave me an idea to try to try different strings on my tenor Kanilea. I just got a K-1 tenor and am having problems with the sound and playing with it. I am thinking that either the Aquila strings that came with it need to stretch a little more or the uke itself needs to break-in some more or maybe I'm just not happy with how this brand of strings sound on my uke -- or maybe I'm not playing it good enough. We'll see... I got to buy me some strings first.

Kanile'as sound wonderful with either Aquila or Worth strings. It will improve with age, of course, but it should sound great straight out of the box. All of my videos that use a Kanile'a (about 100) have Aquilas fitted. The strings won't improve in tone much. In fact, as they get older they will become less clear.

If there is a serious problem with the instrument, get back to the dealer or even Joe at Kanile'a.

littlesmall
08-04-2009, 05:25 AM
5 people commented that the Worths sounds better when they are picked and the Aquilas when they are strummed[/B]


KEN

I feel the same way. For fingerstyle, I prefer worth clear.

BTW, I also found that Aquilas are not so good on ukes with piezo pickups. It sounds a little bit too bright and hollow. Worth sounds more balanced.

Good review! Well done Ken!

MountainDan
09-09-2009, 08:45 PM
Thanks Ken for this comparison. I'm really glad you didn't identify which uke had which strings. I am new enough in playing that I didn't quickly pick up on each one. I definitely prefer the worth strings. Thanks. Also, thanks for your youtube vids.

paw123los
09-09-2009, 09:48 PM
Is there any online shop in Europe where I can buy Worth Clear high G tenor ukulele strings medium tension ? Everybody sell aquila, ghs, and sometimes worth brown, but I can't find worth clear anywhere.

Ken Middleton
09-09-2009, 09:57 PM
Is there any online shop in Europe where I can buy Worth Clear high G tenor ukulele strings medium tension ? Everybody sell aquila, ghs, and sometimes worth brown, but I can't find worth clear anywhere.

Try JusteCordes or Musique83.

paw123los
09-09-2009, 10:06 PM
Thanks Ken !

clayton56
09-09-2009, 10:31 PM
Is there a brand of string with properties right in between Aquilas and Worths?

I've been trying both out, and am being a bit of a Goldilocks here. I like them both for different reasons, but Aquilas seem to be a bit rough and has that residual sound when your fingers rub against them, while the Worth clears I've just started to try on seem like it might slice my fingers open since they're so smooth and skinny.

yeah, nylon, like koohlau golds, starting to be my overall favorite right now, but it depends on the uke.

thomas
09-10-2009, 07:27 AM
exquisite.fr has worth clears too.

Take care,
Thomas

paw123los
09-10-2009, 08:11 AM
Thanks Thomas.

I wanted to try them on my other instruments - on my Makapili tenor they sound awesome :)

CountryMouse
09-14-2009, 06:20 AM
Is there a brand of string with properties right in between Aquilas and Worths?

I've been trying both out, and am being a bit of a Goldilocks here. I like them both for different reasons, but Aquilas seem to be a bit rough and has that residual sound when your fingers rub against them, while the Worth clears I've just started to try on seem like it might slice my fingers open since they're so smooth and skinny.

I can so attest to that "slice my fingers open" feeling! Also, since the rep. from Worth said that brown Worths are for darker ukuleles and clears are for lighter ones, I think I'll get some Aquilas for my cheap little Mahalo. It's a pale blue with fruit all over it. I don't like the brown strings on there, plus the Worths just HURT!

Someone please tell me about GHS. Should I put those on the Mahalo? I just am not even playing it now with the Worth browns on it.

I have Aquilas on the Makala (which MGM put on for me), and it sounds so wonderful! It sounds like a uke should, to me. :)

CountryMouse

RevWill
09-14-2009, 06:24 AM
The cheap Mahalo should probably never have strings other than Aquila on there. Aquilas bring cheap laminate ukes to life like nothing else.

CountryMouse
09-14-2009, 06:41 AM
The cheap Mahalo should probably never have strings other than Aquila on there. Aquilas bring cheap laminate ukes to life like nothing else.

Okay, thanks! :)

CountryMouse

uk_e_punk
09-14-2009, 08:58 AM
Thanks Ken for this very interesting thread.
I have just bought some Aquilas for my Ashbury, being a crazy punk strummer I guess/hope I have made the right decision.
Just need the balls to put them on now!!:o


Thanks again

buddhuu
09-14-2009, 09:09 AM
The cheap Mahalo should probably never have strings other than Aquila on there. Aquilas bring cheap laminate ukes to life like nothing else.

Ain't that the truth.

On my Kala mahogany tenor, Worth browns are much easier on the fingers than Aquilas. I do still like Aquilas, especially on laminate ukes, but Worth browns seem just perfect for me and my main uke. I feel no urge to experiment or look further - I've found what works for me.

It's a shame those two brands of strings are so expensive. I suspect that the manufacturing costs are really low on the plain, unwound strings. I'd change my strings more often if I could afford to!