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View Full Version : Gut Strings - have you used them? do you lilke them?



Jnobianchi
01-03-2011, 09:31 AM
I just fitted one of my banjo ukes with Aquila gut strings and I'm really pleased with the results, but it is a different playing experience, and the sound it quite different. Less 'plinky' which is an occupational banjo uke hazard, and also a fuller, richer sound than the nylons I had on before.

Have any of you tried them, and if so do you like them? I honestly don't know too many people playing with them right now, and I wondered why.

itsme
01-03-2011, 10:40 AM
I honestly don't know too many people playing with them right now, and I wondered why.
First of all, they are more expensive. Secondly, they don't last as long. Thirdly, they supposedly have more intonation issues.

Nylon became popular for these very reasons. Today most of the people who use gut are playing historical or period instruments and do it for authenticity.

TCK
01-03-2011, 03:23 PM
Gut strings...a week ago, I figured that they were best left to the past and forgotten due to issues with intonation, humidity and weather changes etc. HOWEVER, these are all things that you deal with when playing an ancient banjo uke (with a natural tonehead), and that is just the skin. After adjusting the 20 or so brackets to play the thing, and setting the bridge where it needs to be, and fussing over the tailpiece...seems the strings are the least of your worries, and after seeing John's video using them, well, the sweetness of this sound is not something you can get out of a banjo uke easily. Granted, I am certain that John has a lot more expertise setting one up than I do, but the tonal quality these strings are putting out is unbelievable for a banjo Uke...sweet and well rounded.
I wonder if John left out the video for a reason, hopefully he will forgive me for posting it if so-
I think all Banjo-ukers will benefit from hearing what these sounded like 70 years ago.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxDIPRbq0Nk

As an aside, I have about 15 packets of OLD gut strings that came with my Martin. I would be happy to donate them to a museum or a public display (Tiki King?, DaSilva?) if they are wanted. They are all in really cool old packages and can be seen in my pictures.
OK- off to order some guts for my Maybell to see if I can get that sound. If not, me and May-bell are flying across the country John :)

Tor
01-03-2011, 10:58 PM
String comparison video by wwelti: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSgV6POe9nI
The second set is gut (there's also nylgut a bit later).
What I find interesting when listening to the test is that what I like best depends on what's played.. the first set, for example, sounds very good, maybe best, for the first melody (to me at least - others (see the comments there) have other opinions). For strumming I prefer how some of the other strings sound, and definitely not the first set.

Obviously this means that many sets of ukuleles, all set up with different strings, will now have to be acquired. Sigh.

Jnobianchi
01-04-2011, 04:41 AM
Very interesting comparison. I agree - the first set isn't great for strumming - I like the Aquila Nylguts for overall sound - I like the guts for picking - and the Worths sound very good for strumming, but then, so do the Aquilas and Uke 24 Excellence. I had a set of Worths I didn't much care for, but might try them again, on a different uke, of course.

It's amazing how sometimes there are big differences, and other times, there aren't. And I'll bet those differences extend to different makes and different scale lengths. Kind of mind boggling. :)

:D Dave I forgive you. I try not to be blatantly self-serving. Thank you for doing it for me. ;)

DukeOfUkes
01-04-2011, 06:28 AM
I LOVE both the sound & feel of the Aquila NylGuts. All of my ukes are stringed with them

itsme
01-04-2011, 09:25 AM
I LOVE both the sound & feel of the Aquila NylGuts.
But NylGuts are not gut. Real gut strings are made from the intestines of sheep or cows (not cats, though sometimes it's referred to as catgut).

From Aquila's site:


The development of a new synthetic material that can imitate the acoustical characteristics of gut but without the typical defects such as high cost, short string life, and severe instability to changes of climate, has always been a fundamental goal of Aquila's research. Nylgut is the result and is a perfect synthesis of the acoustical properties of Nylon and of PVF strings. Nylgut's formula is protected by U.S. and International patents.

cletus
01-04-2011, 10:24 AM
Real gut strings are made from the intestines of sheep or cows (not cats, though sometimes it's referred to as catgut).

Damn! There goes one of my primary disciplinary threats to a certain recalcitrant feline.

:stop:

TCK
01-04-2011, 03:03 PM
Damn! There goes one of my primary disciplinary threats to a certain recalcitrant feline.

:stop:
One of mine as well- that knocked me out of my chair laughing