View Full Version : What are your preferred strings on your Tenor Uke?

06-22-2010, 06:25 PM
I just received a used Oscar Schmidt OU240SWK Tenor uke in trade, which I really love so far. It currently has regular tenor Aquilla strings on it, which seem to sound okay to me.


What are your preferred strings for your Tenor uke and why? Do you use the regular GCEA with the high G or the low G? If with the low G, does it create more pulling pressure/tension on the bridge?

Thank you!


P.S. My first uke I purchased in 1967. It was a Kingston baritone uke and it still sounds great. That was also my first stringed instrument I learned to play.

06-22-2010, 07:13 PM
I have two Kala Tenors, each with Aquilas. One high G, one low G.

I can feel no discernable difference in tension between the high and low G's. I'm curious. Why would you think there would be?

06-22-2010, 07:18 PM
I found that the Aquilas sound best on my tenor, but I prefer worth browns in general. Have played both hi and lo g.

Ahnko Honu
06-22-2010, 07:32 PM
On my laminate top 'ukuleles as a rule I prefer Aquilas.

06-22-2010, 07:53 PM
I have two Kala Tenors, each with Aquilas. One high G, one low G.

I can feel no discernable difference in tension between the high and low G's. I'm curious. Why would you think there would be?

Thanks. The only reason I was wondering if the tension was any different with high G or low G, is that I don't want to add any additional tension to my new uke, and didn't know if the thicker low G string would give it more pull and tension.


06-22-2010, 07:55 PM
It's tuned an octave lower, so no there's no added tension.

06-22-2010, 08:45 PM
i was given the following advice from a very, very trusted source: "For normal i would say aquilas [for] all [Lanikai] tenors and for more clarity and note seperation use Worth CT."

i use aquilas on my lanikai solid spruce top tenor and really like them. although, i honestly haven't tried anything else on them. i have a mitchell concert that had kala reds on them. i didn't like them when compared to the sound & feel from the aquilas on my tenor. i didn't like the finger noise of the wound strings. so i bought some aquilas for the mitchell & have really enjoyed the difference.

06-22-2010, 09:43 PM
Just tried a set of the new Ko'olau ALOHI tenor strings... very nice. In addition to having a nice tint of blue, they are very close to Worth in both sound and feel. However, unlike Worth the Alohi have a wound option (or you can opt for the all plain set) and they come one set to a pack.

06-23-2010, 03:36 AM
I recently switched from a wound low G to unwound, Fremont black fluorocarbon, and I'm very pleased. Since one of the few techniques to my name is the slide, it makes a world of difference to not have those annoying squeaks.

06-23-2010, 03:56 AM
My strongest preference is to have all four unwound strings. Wound uke strings, in my experience, corrode, fray, wear out and break far too quickly compared to plain strings.

06-23-2010, 04:07 AM
My tenors have an 18" scale, so I get plenty of tension. I first tried Aquillas back in 2007 and the set I got was the heavier Nylgut and the tension was just too much. I went through various sets even Savarez, and ended up with Worth Brown Strong. The only issue was the ukulele sounded much better in Bb tuning, so that is how I played it.

A couple of months ago, I got tired of the Bb tuning/transposing and decided to try the Aquillas again and they are working much better. I guess since the first set I tried the thickness/tension is a little less. I can tune to C, I have more volume, good ring and clarity, and the tension is not too much.

I am looking forward to the new Nylguts that are supposed to be smoother and hopefully the tension will be the same as the current ones.


PS... I use re-entrant tuning.

06-23-2010, 04:57 AM
The issue for me on the old Nylguts was and is the same IMO: a C string that could easily take over...introducing a certain tonal goofiness...

06-23-2010, 05:05 AM
I like Worth CT with low G.

Worth strings are consistent in diameter the length of the string. So you don't get off notes at frets due to a change in thickness. They aren't wound so a low G does not cause wear on the nut, frets, or bridge.

The notes are distinct. The strings have a nice feel, and when you do a slide you don't get that "squeak" you hear on a wound string.

Some songs just sound right on a low G tenor. Those same songs wouldn't sound right with a high G tenor.

06-23-2010, 06:16 AM
Wow! Thank you everyone for your solid feedback. This has been very helpful!


06-23-2010, 07:38 AM
My strongest preference is to have all four unwound strings. Wound uke strings, in my experience, corrode, fray, wear out and break far too quickly compared to plain strings.

It's also trickier to do slides with them, I find.
To contribute I switched from aquilas to Worth CTs on my Mainland Mahog tenor and I am IN LOVE with them.

06-23-2010, 08:14 AM
I use Worth CT on my Kanile'a tenor, low g. I love the balance, the feel, the clarity and no rubbing on a wound string. I recently have been experimenting with Orcas in low g as well, but find them a bit slack and they don't balance in sound across all four strings the way I feel the Worth does.

06-23-2010, 12:15 PM
I've tried Aquila, Kala Red, and Worth CT, all high G, on my Kala Acacia Tenor and have preferred the Worth's with the Aquila's coming in a close second.

Strummingbird Stu
06-23-2010, 02:10 PM
My favorite uke to play is my Kala Acacia Tenor. It sounds great with Aquila strings! On my Pono Tenor, I have D'Addario Pro Arte strings which I'm happy with.

06-24-2010, 08:06 AM
right now on my oscar schmidt tenor, i have d'addario pro artes. i've used ghs and aquilas. both the ghs and aquilas sounded good, but the pro artes sound really good on my tenor. every instrument is different so its finding the right strings for your instrument. i have martin fluorocarbon strings on my soprano and aquilas on my concert eleuke and those really work with those instruments.

06-25-2010, 05:00 AM
Here's a can of worms for y'all. Linear C tuning can be nice on a Tenor. When it comes to high re-entrant tunings, no matter whose strings you use, you'll get better sound in B flat or A.

06-25-2010, 05:50 AM

Are you referring to a normal tenor with a 17" scale or your tenor with a 20" scale?

06-25-2010, 06:19 AM
I don't like plain low G's because I'd have to modify the nut slot to fit the super fat string... and once I do that it seems unlikely that a wound string or high G would work well. I don't know if the latter is true or not, I just suspect that.

If I use a wound string, I don't have to do anything to your uke for it, and I can go back to high G with no problem.

06-25-2010, 08:53 AM
Actually, I would say that statement applies to either, but to keep the discussion simpler, let's just say standard tenor.

06-26-2010, 01:01 AM
For me, it depends on the tenor and the style. I prefer all plain strings but that's not so much sound as feel.

KoAloha standard tenor - Worth BT's, low g. I love the way this sounds and feels. I do a little fingerstyle but mostly strumming and I play mostly "pop" songs on it.
KoAloha Sceptre tenor - Worth CT's, high g. I prefer a high g on the Sceptre but I'm considering moving to BT's. Again, some fingerstyle, a few more traditional uke songs but mostly "pop."
Pono tenor - Fremont Blacklines, high g. I'm not fond of these.
Ohana tenor - Aquila Nylgut, high g. I love the way this sounds and feels and believe it or not, I play a lot of Bluegrass on this one ;)