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View Full Version : Aquila vs Hilo.



00smita
02-20-2011, 07:48 PM
Generally speaking, how do Hilos compare to Aquilas?
Is one noticeably louder than the other? How about tone - warmer/brighter?

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bazmaz
02-20-2011, 09:17 PM
I really DONT like Hilo's, and think Aquila are several leagues above. I think Aquilas are louder and infinitely nicer tone.

Hilos to me are slack, slippy and rather lifeless.

All of that said - you will see an AWFUL lot written about Aquilas being the ONLY string to consider - I dont take that view at all - they are very good, particularly on cheaper instruments, but I think there are plenty of others to consider and a couple of other faves of mine are Martin Flouros and Worths.

Hippie Dribble
02-21-2011, 12:37 AM
I'm not at all a fan of hilo strings either. They just sound dead to me. No dynamics and definitely no warmth if that's what you're after. Also they're hard on the fingers. Aquilas have a sweeter and brighter tone, and,as Paul said, noticeably more volume. Although they can sound a little abrasive on some ukes. Certainly a good string for a low-mid range uke generally. Easier on the fingertips as well.

That said, my strings of choice are Worth Clears or Browns.

maikii
02-21-2011, 07:43 AM
How about the D'Addario pro arte ukulele sets?

They are actually their pro arte classical guitar strings, with gauges selected for a uke set. Something to the effect that that is what is used by Jake Shimakaburo, with the gauges selected by him. (Of course though, many such "endorsements" are fake.)

Much cheaper than Aquila or Worth--I think I saw $3.99 per set on Musician's Friend. (And they now have free shipping on any order, no minimum.)

Has anyone here tried the D'Addario Pro Arte Uke sets?

haole
02-21-2011, 07:49 AM
Hilos are super mellow. I'd only use them on a pretty loud uke. Aquilas project a LOT more. But I do think that Hilo makes a better wound string (low G) than Aquila. :O

D'Addario Pro Arte strings are decent, but unusually thick. If your uke is set up for thinner strings, you will almost definitely need a new setup for Pro Artes if you want the action and intonation to be any good.

austinlee
02-21-2011, 07:55 AM
I just switched my uke from Pro Artes to Aquila's and I won't be switching back. I like the Aquila's feel and increased volume a bit better. If you want a deal on Aquila's you can get them at Elderly Instrument (Elderly.com) for $5 a set (they have free shipping on orders over $29). They also sell them at my local guitar center for 7.99 a set, next time I go in, I'm going to bring Elderly's prices and get them to price match.

That being said, the Pro Artes arent terrible and I have normal D'Addario's on my soprano and like those quite a bit.

pulelehua
02-21-2011, 08:38 AM
I don't know of any SUPER famous ukulele players who use Aquilas.

James Hill, who is one of the absolute best players in the world, uses Hilo strings. On a G-String ukulele. You won't hear many people say nice things about G-string ukuleles, either. Too expensive. VERY pretty. But a bit dead.

So, James Hill plays dead strings on a dead ukulele. And sounds like James Hill.

Guy goes into a store. Asks which guitar he should buy if he wants to sound like Jimi Hendrix. Clerk at the store tells him, "Get the hell out of my store. Go home. Play 8 hours a day. Wait 10 years. Then come back and buy what you want."

Soapbox Moral: We spend WAY too much time around here on which thing, which object, will make you sound more X, less Y. A HUGE amount of a player's sound comes from the player, from the way they attack the strings, from their fingers and nails and angles of attack and release, and the sound they're going for. In a recent radio interview (conducted by one of our own!), Jake Shimabukuro talked about getting to know ONE ukulele. If you want a good sound, you have to know how to get it out of THAT instrument, and each instrument needs to be treated differently, and that relationship takes time. I'm still working on the different tones I can get just shifting the point of attack up and down about 3 inches on my new ukulele, from just over the sound hole, to slightly up the fretboard. There are worlds of sound in there.

Let's have better conversations with our instruments. Jake said it was a good idea. :)

PedalFreak
02-21-2011, 08:59 AM
I use to play Hilo's on my Fluke and an all Koa Tenor I had. I thought they were great strings. They weren't bright, which I don't like overly bright strings. I've tried Aquila's and to me, they are too bright. The Hilo's had a great feel and nice warm and full sound. Not sure where comments about them sounding dead come from? Only thing I can think of is that they don't work on their ukulele.

I'm buying a Kamaka Tenor in just over 2 weeks. And while in Hawaii I'm going to try to buy as many sets as I can and for the next few months I'll be trying them out on it to see what will work best for it :) Hilo's and Aquila's will be bought to try on it :)

barbos01
02-21-2011, 09:58 AM
It really pays to experiment with strings. Hilos sound beautiful on my solid mahogany Kala and terrible on my acacia Cordoba, he likes florocarbons. Play around, trial and error is really the only way to go.

Hippie Dribble
02-21-2011, 10:08 AM
thanks for the soapboxing pulelehua!!! Really enjoyed reading that. I agree with all you said. Guess we're just trying to directly address the question at the head of the thread. But your point is a very well made one. Cheers!

SailingUke
02-21-2011, 10:46 AM
I don't know of any SUPER famous ukulele players who use Aquilas.

James Hill, who is one of the absolute best players in the world, uses Hilo strings. On a G-String ukulele. You won't hear many people say nice things about G-string ukuleles, either. Too expensive. VERY pretty. But a bit dead.

So, James Hill plays dead strings on a dead ukulele. And sounds like James Hill.



IMHO there is no finer player than James, but remember most of the time when we hear him he is plugged in.
A ukulele/strings plugged in can have a totally different sound.

PedalFreak
02-21-2011, 11:06 AM
IMHO there is no finer player than James, but remember most of the time when we hear him he is plugged in.
A ukulele/strings plugged in can have a totally different sound.

I played James' Signature Model G String (the maple back one) at the NAMM show when he got it. And it sounded GREAT unplugged with the Hilo's on it :)

Also got to sit and listen to James play it unplugged and it sounded like him :)

Hippie Dribble
02-21-2011, 11:31 AM
so I guess 00smita, what everyone is saying is that the uke itself and the player dictate what strings you should use. Makes total sense to me.

Even more a reason to try some out yourself on your uke and make a direct comparison. Wht kind of uke are you goingto put your new strings on? If you told us that, maybe some members could tell you about their experiences of which strings work on that particular ukulele.

pulelehua
02-22-2011, 08:19 AM
thanks for the soapboxing pulelehua!!! Really enjoyed reading that. I agree with all you said. Guess we're just trying to directly address the question at the head of the thread. But your point is a very well made one. Cheers!

I sometimes drift... but I try to hit the philosophical point of the thread. ;)

fhorndog
02-28-2011, 05:33 PM
Off topic slightly...When I got my Kamaka tenor it had been sitting a while and the strings were dead. I have aquilas on everything I own. So... I started to order aquilas for it, also. THen I read on the kamaka faq's page... "we recommend kamaka strings for our instruments..." so I decided to first try a new set of the original brand. I realize that this is not a brand in the thread, but I have been perfectly happy with the sound the instrument manufacturer intended. Maybe after I practice another year or so, I'll see a difference. But for now I am limited more by my own abilities than those of the equipment.

janeray1940
02-28-2011, 05:40 PM
THen I read on the kamaka faq's page... "we recommend kamaka strings for our instruments..."

Word on the street is that "Kamaka strings" are just re-branded GHS strings. I don't think you'll find too many fans of those in these parts. I have to say, though, on a Kamaka they don't sound half bad - except I hate how they feel, and I think Fremonts or Aquilas sound far superior, so I always change mine out right away when I get a new uke.

janeray1940
02-28-2011, 05:42 PM
And while in Hawaii I'm going to try to buy as many sets as I can and for the next few months I'll be trying them out on it to see what will work best for it :) Hilo's and Aquila's will be bought to try on it :)

Funny thing, when I was in Hawaii I couldn't find any strings other than Hilo, GHS, Aquila, Martin, and D'Addario. I'd been hoping to pick up something different - maybe several varieties of Worths, since I've only tried the clears - but I've found that eBay has a far better selection than any of the uke shops I visited.

mm stan
02-28-2011, 07:54 PM
I find that aquila's are generally loud, bright, muddled notes, high tension, with below average playability and comfort.
and Hilos...much sweeter on some ukes , not as much volume, better playability and comfort..medium tension...
on different ukuleles I find different strings react different..best thing is to try them out...and see if they work for you and your ukulele.
I've had hilo's save a couple of my kamaka's when nothing else worked for me.......Good Luck and Happy Strummings....

Huna
04-23-2011, 06:48 AM
yeah I bought a set of Hilos. My Mahalo U350 came with Aquilas and though they sounded good I wanted to try the Hilos. All my ukes had martins or aquilas on them but now I have the Hilos on this Mahalo Soprano and really like them. I think the used mele I bought came with Hilos and it sounded great and then I went and put martins on it and it still sounds great but you know those Hilos are special somehow. I put the martins on that Mele out of habit of changing out black strings--was probably a mistake. I am going to order some more of these Hilos. I like them better than the fremont mediums.

guitarsnrotts
04-23-2011, 07:05 AM
For a good string selection at reasonable prices, I've been shopping at http://www.elderly.com . So far I've settled on
Martin Flurocarbons for my mid-70s Kamaka soprano and Aquila Nylguts for my Mainland Cedar/Rosewood Pineapple. I'm
going to try some Worth Browns (M) on my recent Martin S-O when I get off of work later today.
Surprising how different strings seem to bring out the best of different ukes.

Huna
04-23-2011, 07:16 AM
I want to know about the D'Addario Black J53 uke strings for concert. I wonder if they are like the Hilos. Hilos seem sparsely available.

ikele
11-13-2011, 10:19 AM
My experience: I have a Mele and decided to try Aquilas instead of the stock Hilos. At the begging I was pleased, it was louder, clearer... however after a while I realised the deep, warm and sweet tone you associate with a mahogany uke was gone, so I strung back the Hilos and never looked back, the Aquilas were too bright for my uke, it felt almost as if they distorted the tone?

Each string has its uses. Aquila strings will make the worst uke sound "more" as they're loud and crisp. But it's a matter of taste if they sound better or worse in a better quality uke, in my case I didn't like them