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View Full Version : Aquila Bionylons - I like 'em quite a lot!



LoMa
07-20-2010, 12:58 PM
UPDATE: Okay, after more time with the Bio-nylons, I find I like them on the spruce top ukes I experimented with and didn't like them on my all koa ukes. However, I really don;t like the 3rd string - it sounded either thunky or too dominant. It also feels like there's not quite enough tension in the 3rd string on my sopranos. So I think something's not quite right here (it might be me!).

Here's where I've treid this one set of strings:

Ohana solid spruce top with laminate back & sides strung with low G - huge improvement over the harsh sounding Aquila Nylgut strings this uke was originally strung with. The Bio-nylons make it a muich more balanced uke, but the 3rd string was just a little too dominant. I tried replacing it with a D'Addario recitified nylon string, and it was better but still not quite right. I think the perfect string set for this uke is with Bio-nylon 1st and 2nd strings, and Nylgut 3rd and low G 4th. This makes a very well balanced uke with no string dominating and no harshness. I also strung up the uke with D-addario recitified nylon 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, but just didn;t like the tone - it sounded kind of buried except for the 3rd string.

LoPrinzi spruce with flamed maple soprano strung with low G. Again I loved the tone and response of the Bio-nylon 1st and 2nd, but the 3rd just thunked up and down the fretboard. And this uke is not a thunky instrument. Very puzzling. Almost made me wonder if the string was defective. So another uke I'd vote for with a mixed set of Bio-nylons and Nylguts, as in the Ohana above. Very balanced ringing tone on all strings with no harshness. I guess I'd just gotten used to the rather harsh sound of Nylguts. The D'Addario strings sounded better on the Ohana than they did on the LoPrinzi, and I didn;t really like them on the Ohana much.

Larrivee spruce & mahogany soprano with low G - this uke has a longer scale than many other sopranos - 14" and the 3rd Bio-nylon string did better on this uke than on the others. But honestly, I like the Nylguts a lot better on this uke - it's a rather dark toned uke and the Nylguts make it come alive. The Bio-nylons sounded okay, just nothing special, and the Nylguts make the Larrivee sound very special. The D'Addario's sounded even less special on the Larrivee than the Bio-nylons.

Kelii and Larrivee all koa sopranos strung re-entrant - The Bio-nylons and the D-Addario's sounded about the same on these ukes, and neither was spectacular. The Nylguts are spectacular. Again the problem with a thunky sounding Bio-nylon 3rd.

Makai solid burled maple soprano strung re-entrant - the Bio-nylon 1st, 2nd, and 4th with a D'Addario 3rd are spectacualr on this uke. Really softens the tone in a good way and allow the instrument to really resonate very nicely indeed. Balance really comes forth here. But hre again the Bio-nylon 3rd just thunked...

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Original Post:
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I have long been a fan of Aquila Nylguts for their power and brightness. They make ukes come alive in my opinion, but on some ukes they're just a little too strident. But I've never found a good substitute that I like to stick with for long.

For example, I like Ohana ukes, but man are they loud and bright! They come strung with Nylguts from the factory and I think it's a mistake because they make the instrument even louder and brighter without any restraint at all.

And so I tried the old fashioned Hilo and Kamaka black nylon strings and this lively uke became a dead thing...

So then I tried D'Addario rectified nylon strings. More lively than with the black nylon, but it still was missing its ring and character.

So then I tried Fremont Blackline flourocarbon strings, and disliked the tone - it was kinda ugly even though the strings were responsive.

So then I tried Worth Browns, known for their mellowness, but again, I just didn't think the uke sounded very pretty - just kinda ugly. I was only hearing the strings and I've found I really don;t like the sound of Worth Browns. I think Worth Browns tend to sound teh same no matter what uke they'e on. Anyway, I kept them on for awhile but took them off finally because they made me not want to play the uke, and it's my traveling uke, so it's important to me. I'd rather play the unrestrained uke with the unrestrained Nylguts...

Ah, but then Mimmo so kindly sent me some Bionylons to try, and so I put them on my Ohana spruce top soprano. Oh My Goodness. WOW.

They sound great on this Ohana. I have it strung with low G, and the bionylons balance everything beautifully, and the uke is still lively with lots of character. I feel like I'm hearing the uke, not the strings, if that makes sense. Good sustain, good overtones (though not as many as with the Nylguts), and a nice tone that's not too bright and not at all dull, with just a touch of darkness. Yeah, I like them. They make the Ohana sound more "mature".

I can hear the possibility, though, that on some ukes, the 3rd string could be a bit too dominant.

Anyway, I now want to try these strings on other ukes, even those that I love with Nylguts. For example, I'd lik eto out a set of them on my LoPrinzi spruce top soprano and on my Larrivee spruce top too. Both of these ukes are strung with low G and I like the Nylguts on them, but always worth trying something different to see what different sorts of balance you can get..

Note that the Bionylon test strings have only been distributed as re-entrant sets, so I'm using the low G from a Nylgut set.

The Nylguts are staying on the Larrivee koa and the Kelii koa though. They are the most perfect strings in the whole wide world for these ukes, I beleive. Yup, a most lovely re-entrant tone to behold...

I'm sorry I don;t have any way to record the ukes...

By the way, the Bionylons are a LOUD string, but are easier to restrain wiht your playing than the Nylguts.

Paul December
07-20-2010, 01:24 PM
I've never heard of them, are they new?

UkuleleHill
07-20-2010, 01:27 PM
I've never heard of them, are they new?

Yes very new. Ken Middleton did a review of them as well you can find the video here. (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?33316-Which-Aquilas-Nylgut-or-Bionylon&p=420775)

luvdat
07-20-2010, 01:42 PM
LoMa: Your comment like "hearing the strings" is exactly the way I felt about Nylyguts them on ALL ukes I tried them on, mostly lams but one solid wood too (acacia concert).

Hilos? I like them, even on lam like the Lu-21T with a D'Addario silverwound low g (D string). Amazingly balanced. Do I prefer "warm" not overly articulate. Yes!!!

Balanced. Good to hear that word here on the forum vs. tonal requirements (which aren't really tonal requirements) like "blown away."

LoMa
07-20-2010, 01:42 PM
Nimmo, the man of Aquila, offered test soprano sets of a new nylon strings made by Aquila on ukulelcosmos.com - nylon strings as opposed to nylgut.

They haven't been released yet for sale.

LoMa
07-20-2010, 02:06 PM
LoMa: Your comment like "hearing the strings" is exactly the way I felt about Nylyguts them on ALL ukes I tried them on, mostly lams but one solid wood too (acacia concert).

Hilos? I like them, even on lam like the Lu-21T with a D'Addario silverwound low g (D string). Amazingly balanced. Do I prefer "warm" not overly articulate. Yes!!!

Balanced. Good to hear that word here on the forum vs. tonal requirements (which aren't really tonal requirements) like "blown away."

I'm not the greatest player in the world, that's for sure, and some strings and some ukes really show up how terrible I am.

But some strings and some ukes are more forgiving and more accessible for me. I can't make Hilo's or Ko'olau Gold's sound like anything you'd want to hear, but I have a friend who sure can make them sound beautiful! I think it's the player as much as the uke and/or the strings!

luvdat
07-20-2010, 02:28 PM
Switching to Hilos (plus a D'Addario) made me aware of my left hand, being able to even dig in lefthanded for tones I could never get with Aquila Nylguts. With Nylguts even after about 40 years of guitar playing, it was right hand all the way, if this distinction makes any sense.

Dig in with that left hand, LoMa, not that you have somewhere to start with and to go with those Bionylons.

Frankly I could hardly bear to listen to that Ohana (tunered uke) with those Nylguts (safe bet?) BTW, thanks Ken M. for once again bringing out that now classic SK-35.

franulele
07-20-2010, 03:27 PM
I agree with luvadat. The uke with the tuner was brassy, even strident sounding. I do think the Nylguts are excellent on laminate ukes, but a little bit too brash on solid ukes. It's funny, I saw Ken's YouTube posting over on Cosmos in which he plays two identical Ohanas, one with Nylguts, the other with the BioNylon. I think nearly everyone on Cosmos preferred the brighter sounding uke (with the clip on tuner & presumably strung with Nylguts)... Must be one of those regional things, like D6 tuning in Canada. Keeps things interesting!

LoMa
07-21-2010, 02:28 PM
I've updated my impressions above:

UPDATE: Okay, after more time with the Bio-nylons, I find I like them on the spruce top ukes I experimented with and didn't like them on my all koa ukes. However, I really don;t like the 3rd string - it sounded either thunky or too dominant. It also feels like there's not quite enough tension in the 3rd string on my sopranos. So I think something's not quite right here (it might be me!).

Here's where I've treid this one set of strings:

Ohana solid spruce top with laminate back & sides strung with low G - huge improvement over the harsh sounding Aquila Nylgut strings this uke was originally strung with. The Bio-nylons make it a muich more balanced uke, but the 3rd string was just a little too dominant. I tried replacing it with a D'Addario recitified nylon string, and it was better but still not quite right. I think the perfect string set for this uke is with Bio-nylon 1st and 2nd strings, and Nylgut 3rd and low G 4th. This makes a very well balanced uke with no string dominating and no harshness. I also strung up the uke with D-addario recitified nylon 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, but just didn;t like the tone - it sounded kind of buried except for the 3rd string.

LoPrinzi spruce with flamed maple soprano strung with low G. Again I loved the tone and response of the Bio-nylon 1st and 2nd, but the 3rd just thunked up and down the fretboard. And this uke is not a thunky instrument. Very puzzling. Almost made me wonder if the string was defective. So another uke I'd vote for with a mixed set of Bio-nylons and Nylguts, as in the Ohana above. Very balanced ringing tone on all strings with no harshness. I guess I'd just gotten used to the rather harsh sound of Nylguts. The D'Addario strings sounded better on the Ohana than they did on the LoPrinzi, and I didn;t really like them on the Ohana much.

Larrivee spruce & mahogany soprano with low G - this uke has a longer scale than many other sopranos - 14" and the 3rd Bio-nylon string did better on this uke than on the others. But honestly, I like the Nylguts a lot better on this uke - it's a rather dark toned uke and the Nylguts make it come alive. The Bio-nylons sounded okay, just nothing special, and the Nylguts make the Larrivee sound very special. The D'Addario's sounded even less special on the Larrivee than the Bio-nylons.

Kelii and Larrivee all koa sopranos strung re-entrant - The Bio-nylons and the D-Addario's sounded about the same on these ukes, and neither was spectacular. The Nylguts are spectacular. Again the problem with a thunky sounding Bio-nylon 3rd.

Makai solid burled maple soprano strung re-entrant - the Bio-nylon 1st, 2nd, and 4th with a D'Addario 3rd are spectacualr on this uke. Really softens the tone in a good way and allow the instrument to really resonate very nicely indeed. Balance really comes forth here. But hre again the Bio-nylon 3rd just thunked..