View Full Version : Aquila strings already have notches in them from the frets!

01-28-2010, 08:18 PM
I bought a new Kala Curly Mango Soprano for Christmas (which I LOVE) and I believe it has Aquila strings. It's been less than two months and the strings already have large notches in them where they contact the frets. I would estimate that the deepest notch goes nearly half-way through the string. The ukulele which I had before (a terrible HiLo with some generic hard black strings) I played just as frequently and has had the same strings for over five years with no noticeable notches.

Is this an expected amount of wear for these soft strings?

Do you think the notches are majorly affecting the sound quality?

Does this mean that it's time to replace the strings?

01-28-2010, 08:35 PM
You propably have sharp frets on your Kala. I would go to a luthier (if you can't do this yourself) to polish and setup the frets correctly - when done correctly this incerases strings lifetime.

01-28-2010, 10:10 PM
That's a surprise. I've played a few Kalas and the frets have usually been nicely finished. Those on my tenor are lovely and smooth, rounded and polished.

Aquilas do dent quite noticeably. I find Worths do it less.

One of the main things to bear in mind with 'ukulele is that the strings are relatively low tension compared to a lot of metal strung instruments. You don't need to mash the strings down to the fretboard when playing. Just enough pressure to hold the string firmly across the fret will do the job.

I'm a mandolin player, and for my first couple of months on uke I was mashing the strings down good and denting the cr@p out of them. It wears them out much faster than is necessary.

When you change strings maybe consider tying another brand (although I do quite like Aquilas on some ukes), or just experiment with the pressure of your fretting hand, perhaps?

Edit: paw123los, I just re-read my post. I didn't mean to dismiss your theory about sharp frets. You're quite possibly right. Just saying that Kala fretting is usually pretty good in my experience. As a fellow Kala player your experience may well be different! :)

01-28-2010, 10:35 PM
I am also quite suprised with the fact. Both my Kala ukuleles (especially the Kala Acacia) are the most playable instruments and the frets are perfect. Anyway - taking a new instrument to a luthier to make a nice setup is always a good idea (of course if the instrument was not setup before) and this could possibly solve the problem. I come from the classical guitar playground and I also pressed the strings to hard when started to play the ukulele, this also have influence on the strings - no doubt.

01-28-2010, 11:52 PM
I play my soprano Kanale'a 1 to 2 hours a day and aquila's last me about 5 months.

01-29-2010, 12:24 AM
Personally, a couple of months of frequent playing seems like a good time to change strings anyway. It's what I'd do on my most frequent players if I wasn't so prone to laziness. (I've got a couple of changes I really need to get around to)

01-29-2010, 12:40 AM
I get lots of mileage from strings, but I don't press hard on the finger-board as I play. I suspect that Buddhuu is right.

01-29-2010, 07:37 AM
Wow. Thanks everyone for your insightful ideas.

I have never played guitar, I am native to the ukulele, so I doubt it's an inherited excess of fretting pressure.

If I lift the strings and feel the frets, they don't seem to have any roughness that I can perceive. Would this roughness be detectable my feel?

01-29-2010, 10:09 AM
Are the frets nicely crowned (round on top)?