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View Full Version : Seeking new strings for my Kamaka tenor



mds725
06-27-2012, 08:27 AM
It's time for me to swap out the strings on my Kamaka tenor. It still has the Kamaka stock strings it came with, but they've started to lose their zing, and that's affecting the way the ukulele sounds. Unlike most people, I actually liked the stock strings, but I'm willing to try something that's a little different but not too different. For what it's worth, I have a low-g Kamaka that has Worth clears (I wanted an unwound low g), and I like the sound of those a lot, although I'm not crazy about the way they feel. So perhaps I'm looking for strings that sound aomewhat like Worths but feel somewhat like the Kamaka stock strings I'm using now.

So my question to Kamaka tenor owners, past and present, is: what strings are you using (or did you use, if you don't have one anymore) on your Kamaka tenor, and what did you like most and least about them? Has any one tried the string sets Aaron is selling at Hawaiian Music Supply? Any and all suggestions are most welcome. Thanks in advance!

Mandarb
06-27-2012, 08:34 AM
I actually liked the stock strings on my Kamaka as well. I use the D'Addario J71s and I love them. They are the same diameter as the stock strings which makes sense because the stock ones are supposed to be made by D'Addario as well. I like the J71s because the provide a nice "warm" tone which is what I prefer.

nohoval_turrets
06-27-2012, 08:52 AM
I've tried a few types on my HF-3. None of them are bad, it's just a matter of taste. Here are my (entirely subjective) opinions on them.

Original strings (whatever they were): I thought they were OK, but a bit non-descript.

Worth Browns (low g): Not to my taste. Good for strumming, but I thought the sound was too soft in picking. Glissandos (slides) come out nice and crisp however.

I have more Worth sets still (including clears), so I might give them another go.

Aquila Nylgut (low g): Best I've found so far, but they have their faults. The volume and tone across the strings is not even, and having a single wound string is not ideal. They can be 'plunky' if you're not careful when picking. I have about 5 more sets of these in stock and a bunch of single low g's (they wear out much faster), so they'll be with me for a while more.

Next I want to try out the new Savarez strings. And the D'Addario's as well.

wickedwahine11
06-27-2012, 08:56 AM
On my Kamaka, for high g, I always liked the Savarez Alliance setup using the classical guitar strings (541r, etc.). I haven't played that uke in a while, but for low g I liked the Fremont Blackline or Worth CHLGHD strings. I don't recall the feel of the stock strings so I can't really compare the feel of them to these options.

Kanaka916
06-27-2012, 09:11 AM
Try Southcoast Mediums (reentrant) or G650 (linear). Very good playabillity, sustain and a balanced sound.
Savarez 540 HT Classic Series using 540R treble strings. Add another 541R for reentrant or a D'Addario 4304 for linear.
The thing to remember when trying different string sets, what may sound good to one may not necessarily sound good to another. It's your ears that will make the final choice.

gyosh
06-27-2012, 09:26 AM
Try Southcoast Mediums (reentrant) or G650 (linear). Very good playabillity, sustain and a balanced sound.
Savarez 540 HT Classic Series using 540R treble strings. Add another 541R for reentrant or a D'Addario 4304 for linear.
The thing to remember when trying different string sets, what may sound good to one may not necessarily sound good to another. It's your ears that will make the final choice.

My ears are in tune with Danny's. That's EXACTLY what my suggestion would be. One more possibility are the Ukulele Creations PhD strings. I have the re-entrants on my Kamaka right now and I like them. And I've also used the PhD low g too. Good strings. As a reference, I haven't really loved any of the Worth's and I've tried almost all of them. The CHLGHD's were the best of them, but I still prefer the PhD's over the Worth's. They have better balance from string to string, much like the Southcoast strings.

wickedwahine11
06-27-2012, 09:43 AM
My ears are in tune with Danny's. That's EXACTLY what my suggestion would be. One more possibility are the Ukulele Creations PhD strings. I have the re-entrants on my Kamaka right now and I like them. And I've also used the PhD low g too. Good strings. As a reference, I haven't really loved any of the Worth's and I've tried almost all of them. The CHLGHD's were the best of them, but I still prefer the PhD's over the Worth's. They have better balance from string to string, much like the Southcoast strings.

The PhD are great, I have the low g on both my KoAloha and Kamoa tenors, and they sound great on the KoAloha in particular. I don't like them on my Kanilea though...weird. I haven't tried them on my Kamaka, but I do vouch for them on the other two ukes for sure.

mds725
06-27-2012, 09:56 AM
Thanks for all the suggestions! Please keep them coming.

RETSOP
07-22-2012, 05:16 PM
I do not have a Kamaka but, in other threads, I have discussed the new Aquila Red unwound low G. Even since my initial postings of roughly 1 1/2 weeks ago I have tweaked these (on an inexpensive concert and a tenor) and they just keep getting more and more fantastic, playable and a perfect sonic compliment to the 1st through 3rd strings of Aquila Nylgut and/or some Martin fluorocarbons I've just installed. For $2.20 plus $1.75 shipping (I happened to get this price from Dr. Cluck) you may be delighted with the result. As the website for Aquila points out, they do not seem to need any thing done to alter the saddle or nut to accommodate the Red's size so it certainly, at least, may be something you want to research since you have been using a low G. Good Luck from a newbie!

mm stan
07-22-2012, 05:45 PM
I'd go with southcoast too for sweet sound....and maybe if you like the the stock strings, hilo's work well on my white labels.. If you want Volume, Aquila

mds725
07-22-2012, 11:41 PM
Thanks again l the suggestions and wisdom! I have some Worths and may order Southcoast. Staci, I hadn't heard of PhDs, but I've seen you rave about them in various threads so now I'm curious about them. I just got some of Ken Middleton's Living Water strings, and may try them as well.

Cornfield
07-23-2012, 12:28 AM
I have the stock Black Kamaka strings (with a wound low G) on the on the HF-3 that I bought in February. I have ben using Southcoast strings on my 1970's HF-38. It's about time I changed strings on both of these.
String choice is very subjective.

wickedwahine11
07-23-2012, 04:56 AM
Thanks again l the suggestions and wisdom! I have some Worths and may order Southcoast. Staci, I hadn't heard of PhDs, but I've seen you rave about them in various threads so now I'm curious about them. I just got some of Ken Middleton's Living Water strings, and may try them as well.

The PhD strings are by Jason Arimoto and I got them on eBay but I think you can get them on Daniel Ho's page or the Ukulele Creations page. They sound wonderful on my KoAloha.

If you don't get those, I put some Living Water low g on my Kanilea and they sound really good on it.

I haven't tried either on the Kamaka though.

Trinimon
07-23-2012, 05:30 AM
I have the stock Black Kamaka strings (with a wound low G) on the on the HF-3 that I bought in February. I have ben using Southcoast strings on my 1970's HF-38. It's about time I changed strings on both of these.
String choice is very subjective.

Similarly, I had stock low G Kamaka strings on my HF3 when I got my uke. I found that wound low G string was way too "boomy" for me and changed them out for Fremont Black unwound low G. Much nicer balance, at least to my ears.

Not sure if this might of use to you but unfortunately I found that after changing the strings, the C string picked up a very light buzz when strummed or picked hard. I tried the paper shim under the nut trick (thanks bruddah Stan) and that reduced the buzzing a bit but it was still there. Maybe I needed to add more paper? The Kamaka C string is 0.41" and the Fremont one is 0.31" and Worth CH are 0.291" I believe. So it could be the notch in the nut being the culprit?

I ended up putting back just the Kamaka C string and the buzzing stopped. I'm waiting for the LivingWater and Southcoast linear strings to come in to test 'em out but so far, I'm loving the Freemont Black over the Worth strings that I have on a Kala acacia tenor uke. :)

I've heard of PhD strings recently from UU postings but can't say I've ever seem them in person.

hawaii 50
07-23-2012, 03:15 PM
Thanks again l the suggestions and wisdom! I have some Worths and may order Southcoast. Staci, I hadn't heard of PhDs, but I've seen you rave about them in various threads so now I'm curious about them. I just got some of Ken Middleton's Living Water strings, and may try them as well.

aloha..they have the phd's at ukulele source..i kind of like them too..but lately i have the phd lowG with savarez ukulele stings on my koaloha super concert..it sound much more clear and the savarez strings are softer on your fingers..i just got some living water strings but going to try later on my new ukes..do you have sas like me? ha ha