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View Full Version : D'Addario Strings - New Titanium T2, w/ Gold 80/20 wound 4th



Kekani
12-13-2008, 10:57 AM
First of all, Mahalo nui to Uluapoundr for referring me to Stringsbymail.com.

Also, I think its great to finally see this board evolving from the "Aquilas are the greatest strings" premise (which, for many lower end `ukulele, they do bring a measure of "waking up"), into one where players are matching strings not only to their instruments, but also to their style of play. Because of this, and for those that are interested, I post this update on some new strings from D'Addario.

Caveat: Most that know me have figured out that Savarez is my "go to" strings for my instruments (as is a certain hocker of all things `ukulele, which most may not know), but, D'Addario has always remained on the shelf.

My preference has usually been for the Black Nylon J50's (which are not easy to order, for some), as opposed to the ever popular J46 clear nylon series (Jake's string). Again, depending on application. This application is a Koa/Spruce Tenor, with Honduran Mahogany neck, Milo F/B and Bridge, Tusq nut and saddle, Grover mini rotomatics and LR Baggs Element Active, McFadden's nitro.

D'Addario's new T2 Titanium trebles seem to bring some of the sweetness of the J46, with a crisp bright tone similar to the J50. I would NOT say this is a string that's a blending of the two. All three are different.

The T2 is a clear string, with a purple hue (as stated by D'Addario). Its feel is similar to the J46 and J50. The tone is crisp and clear, without being tinny and brash. If I were to use one word to describe the difference between the three, it would be a noticeable ring that is evident. This ring, or kani, is along the lines of Savarez Alliance.

Suffice to say, so far, I like.

On to the low g wound. I've been told the J5004 and J4604 wound strings are going to be repackaged, into just the J4604 Silver wound (to avoid confusion), so, I thought I'd try the J4804 Gold string, just for fun, These are the same gauge and tension as the J4604 Silverwound, but with a Bronze Alloy wrap.

I've always had an issue with the J4604(J5004) having the potential of being TOO loud and boomy, with a resonating sustain that would overpower the trebles, in some cases. Nice thing about D'Addario (and Savarez) is that you can order single strings and mix tensions. Sometimes needed, but not always (because I would just use Savarez). The difference in the two, while not astounding or phenomenal, are different, and I'm glad I tried them.

Usually, when playing a wound string next to an unwound, the transition is very evident. In stringing the 80/20 with T2's, I think I may have found my new favorite D'Addario combination. All the strings seem to match well, and they surely add to the kani of the instrument.

Laron, this may match well on your Cedar top Tenor.

MGM, now you HAVE to get your D'Addario dealership. . .got an update on the Savarez Standard/Concert set yet?

-Aaron

BluesDrive
12-13-2008, 11:25 AM
These sound like what I'm looking for. However, a couple questions(seeing as how I'm usually just used to buying 1 set of strings, rather than mixing and matching them and whatnot).
1) what size(4th string) would you use for a tenor?
2) Are there any unwound strings to use as a low G that would fit well(in your opinion)?
3) Which tension is preferred? And why?(I just don't understand tension's effect on tone/sound)

Kekani
12-13-2008, 12:40 PM
Not sure what you mean by what size? Normally, I just pull the first 4 strings off a 6 string classical set, and go from there.

The only unwound low g I know of is Worths. Those are good strings, but for my instruments, they end up being underpowered (there's a word I haven't used in a while). On the other hand, they match up very well on a Pineapple Sunday.

I prefer a higher tension string, just so that I can get the action lower. Of course, depending on the bracing and top wood, I've also matched normal tension strings with success - depends on the player. My sons (11, 10 and 6) will play whatever is put in front of them, but mostly its high tension (with Spruce tops). Seems to make it easier to play SOFT, which is an attribute of `ukulele building that not `ukulele can do effectively well. Be careful, high tensions on an `ukulele not designed for it can pull the top. You usually run into other problems with setup because they tend to be thicker as well. As for sound, the J45 and J46 will sound similar (almost the same, save for maybe volume), but they will play differently, resulting in a potential perception of different sound.

Bottom line, subjects like this can be helpful, but confusing to some. Its always nice to have the builder match the strings to the instrument.

I hope this helps.

-Aaron

Ukulele Dude
12-13-2008, 04:33 PM
Kekani, if I just pull the first four strings off a classical set of Savarez strings, are any of them wound?

Bluesdrive, if you want a low g set with an unwound g string, you could also try Fremont Blackline fluorocarbon strings. They are my current favorite for tenors.

BluesDrive
12-13-2008, 05:51 PM
well the thing is, I'd like to try these new D'Addario strings. They sound perfect. I just wanted to know what unwound low G strings there are that would fit the set

uluapoundr
12-13-2008, 06:22 PM
Aaron,
Thanks for the string review. I may have to try a set of the T2. I think it's good to try different strings for different ukes. Some folks try one switch and just settle with that, and that's fine, but then they'll never know how other strings may improve the sound of the instrument. Guitar players are ever changing strings to find a set that they like with their guitar, why should we be any different.

I recently tried a bronze wound low G from Hilo Strings and found that it had less "boom" compared to other silver plated copper wound strings. I too have found many low G strings on a responsive uke tends to over power the trebles. The goal for me is to find a more balanced sound, something people forget about when all they are looking for is vollume. It's definitely a myth to think that vollume is good sound, then again, to some, maybe it is, ha! Don't want to start any string wars here. I'm sure someone will jump in to rave about how great their "A******" are.

For a long time, all uke players used was whatever came with their ukes, often Hilo Strings. It is good to see a step forward in trying different strings but hope that others will take it a step further and try other strings instead of following the masses.

We need MGM to promote a good set of strings, I'm sure his reputation will sell them. For now, us small potatos can keep ranting about Savarez and D'addrios.

Here's what I'll do. First person who is interested in a Savarez Alliance re-entrant set which in my opinion is bright, clear, and with excellent sustain, will get a set mailed from me. This is classical guitar length, so will fit all size ukes, but is probably best on a tenor or concert that is built to handle 3 normal tension and 1 high tension string. For all who didn't know, this is what Jake use to use back when he was playing with Pure Heart.

BluesDrive
12-13-2008, 10:14 PM
Since I like the sound of my KA-CE at the moment, I've been using my Mitchell MU-100 as the experiment uke. It's a special uke, since it's been signed by John Green, my 2nd favorite author, and it was also my first serious uke. I purchased a sampler set of strings when I bought my kala, and I've tried all of the string packs that it came with. The Kala reds disappointed me, the ko'aloha golds were too mellow for my taste(but still good strings), the Aquila's were too tingy on the MU-100, and the Hilo's were pretty good. Very balanced strings, but a bit on the so-called "muddy" side for me. I had Martin strings on before that. Decent strings, but very mellow and quiet. Also rather low tension compared to the hilo.

Both ukes are re-entrant.

So far the combo's I've enjoyed on my two ukes

Mitchell MU-100 - Martin strings, hilo strings
Kala KA-CE - Aquila strings


I'd definitely like to try the Savarez Alliance strings on my Kala. I've yet to use classical guitar strings on any of my ukes and I always hear how great they sound. In order I'd like to try Savarez Alliance strings > D'Addario T2 strings > Worth strings. I fear the Worth strings may be too mellow, so I'll probably put those on the Mitchell.

Would you happen to know whether the Kala KA-CE was built to handle 3 normal tension strings and 1 high tension?

uluapoundr
12-13-2008, 10:34 PM
I'm not sure if the Kala is built to handle the higher tension, it's not much higher, but I hate to be the cause of anyone's uke top pulling. If you want to try the Savarez, PM me your address and I'll send you a set. I used these strings on a Kamaka Soprano, Concert and Tenor Flukes, a Koaloha concert, Kawika Ukes, and Moore Bettah. Never tried it on a Kala. Realize that they are bright in sound which work well with my cedar top ukes and all koa ukes.

Kekani
12-13-2008, 11:16 PM
Kekani, if I just pull the first four strings off a classical set of Savarez strings, are any of them wound?

As with most classical guitar strings, the 4th will be wound. Be careful which Savarez you use - string of choice for those that I know that use Savarez are the Alliance series. Again, be careful, because they're made of carbon, they can slip on a tie bridge, which is why some melt the ends (into a mushroom), or tie a quick slipknot to prevent it from slipping out.



. . .I recently tried a bronze wound low G from Hilo Strings and found that it had less "boom" compared to other silver plated copper wound strings. I too have found many low G strings on a responsive uke tends to over power the trebles. . .

We need MGM to promote a good set of strings, I'm sure his reputation will sell them.

Since you offered up strings, I may offer them as well, but since they're new, I won't (just me being selfish). Funny, I asked my boys what they think of the strings, and they like how they sound. They usually never care, but they're also starting to tune with a tuning fork, and tune with each other, so their ear may be developing.

I'm not saying that the D'Addario Gold (actually 80/20 Bronze) is the panacea for wound to unwound transition. Okay, maybe I am - this combination I fell upon is scary close.

As for MGM promoting a good set of strings, since he's the hocker of all things `ukulele, he has to supply the market with what they want, not what he wants. Then again, as I think about it, if this were so, he'd probably be exactly where he is right now. I would venture to guess that he strings his lower end `ukulele with strings that match better (oftentimes Aquila, because that's what the market drives, and he has less setup compared to switching to D'Addario or Savarez), and relies on the builders to match the strings on his higher end instruments. Personally, I gave him ALL of my Aquila sets about 2 years ago.

BluesDrive
12-14-2008, 03:15 AM
oh, thanks ulua. I think I'm going to risk it. Which string is the high tension one?

Kekani: Have you tried using the 540RH Alliance Polished?

Oh, another question...Exactly what sizes are the strings you use? I was looking at the T2 strings, and it goes .028, .032, and then .040. Would it work to add on one of their rectified nylon strings like a .024 or a .036 from their ukulele sets? Speaking of low G tuning of course.

What size/tension do you guys use for your ukuleles?


Oh, and before this post ends, I'd just like to thank everybody for the help. I'm learning a lot here.

bluesuke
12-14-2008, 07:09 AM
I have a quick question if you use a classical guitar set of string and use the bottom four would that be for low g tunning? Sorry if this seems like a stupid ?

Kekani
12-14-2008, 07:34 AM
I don't use the polished Alliance. 540R and 540J are the sets I use. Phillipe from Savarez passed on a couple of sets for me to try, including a nylon set. I'm happiest with the carbon from the Alliance - it has a shimmer or ring that is missing from a lot of other strings, including Aquila. The Tenor carbon set he sent was crap, so I hope they don't package it for their projected `ukulele sets, and just do what D'Addario did for their Pro Arte `Ukulele sets. MGM has the Standard/Concert sets, and I'm waiting on feedback from him.

As for gauge on the strings, I wouldn't use D'Addario `Ukulele strings. . .they pretty much suck. Unless of course, its the Pro Arte `Ukulele strings, which are basically a repackaged Pro Arte classical string, mostly based off the EJ46 series. There are different ways I think to build a re-entrant set with classical strings. Uluapoundr does this for his high G tuning, one way, and I do mine a different. Doesn't mean it right or wrong, its what works for each individual, and individual instrument. Of course, mine isn't for a high G instrument (like his is, I think), its for one of my "3/4" six strings, but that's another thread.

Because I like high tension sets, I would take a normal tension 2nd string (E) and tune it up to G. Most common way is to take a normal tension set, and take a high tension 1st string (A), and slack it to G.

And yes, the first 4 strings of a Classical Guitar set will give you low g tuning.

I hope this helps. -Aaron

Note: its unfortunate the Mike from Alternate Tunings is not around (or as available anymore) - he seemed to be the specialist when it came to mixing strings.

danged
06-07-2009, 07:15 AM
I've tried Aquillas and hated the twangy sound, and the Ko'olau golds were nice but on the mellow side. Started using D'addario silver wound NLY028W for my low G, and Savarez Alliance classical guitar strings 543R (C) 542R (E) 541R (A) and love the sound of them, are these the strings you guys are taking about?

Kekani
06-07-2009, 10:44 AM
Started using D'addario silver wound NLY028W for my low G, and Savarez Alliance classical guitar strings 543R (C) 542R (E) 541R (A) and love the sound of them, are these the strings you guys are taking about?

Yes on the Savarez (but I just usually use the Savarez "D" string for the 4th course).

The set you use sounds like the setup that David Hurd does, and Bryan Tolentino uses as well (he mixes Savarez Alliance and D'Addario) - Bryan told me about trying Alliances. Didn't like them at first and I recently realized why: they're carbon composites, and do not play like "normal" nylon strings. Once I got used to it, they stick around.

I've pretty much gone away from Silver wound D'Addario since I discovered their 80/20 Bronze. There are still some `ukulele I would use them on depending on the player, style of play, and instrument. But, I just stick with the Pro Arte Silverwound in the EJ45 or EJ46 (more the 46, I like higher tensions).

-Aaron

Note: Talk about resurrecting an old thread - I see a couple more guys here using the Titanium trebles, so this is not new anymore.

ukulelebadass
06-07-2009, 11:12 AM
These sound like what I'm looking for. However, a couple questions(seeing as how I'm usually just used to buying 1 set of strings, rather than mixing and matching them and whatnot).
1) what size(4th string) would you use for a tenor?
2) Are there any unwound strings to use as a low G that would fit well(in your opinion)?
3) Which tension is preferred? And why?(I just don't understand tension's effect on tone/sound)

I have pushed the KALA red strings on many people who ask about no wound low G strings. KALA makes a wound low G string without any metal the winding is made of the same nylon that they use for the regular strings. The result is a wound string with sustain and volume that is much more similar to a non-wound string. I think they are an excellent product, developed through a cooperative venture between KALA and LaBella.

Check them out, they're cool!

Aproteem
07-03-2009, 07:38 PM
Hey I read the whole thread but i still have some questions.

The titaniums, what tension are you using them ?

And to confirm the 80/20 Bronze/Gold low g is the j4804 correct ?

And finally if i wanted to use a low g with the savarez lineup do you reccomend i use a j4804 ? if not then what ?


Thanks so much to everyone in this thread

Ahnko Honu
07-03-2009, 08:04 PM
Can any of these guitar strings be used on a soprano without fear of implosion?
I've been using Aquilas and Worths on my sopranos but LOVE to experiment. I have a tenor pineapple I haven't played much that I think I'm willing to experiment with.

Bluke
07-05-2009, 10:16 AM
I've liked D'Adarrio's on my guitars for a long time,but didn't care for their standard uke set.

I seriously doubt that there is one atom of Titanium in their new strings. I hate that type of stupid marketing.

danged
07-05-2009, 10:37 AM
Can any of these guitar strings be used on a soprano without fear of implosion?
I've been using Aquilas and Worths on my sopranos but LOVE to experiment. I have a tenor pineapple I haven't played much that I think I'm willing to experiment with.

Hey Brah, you got uku's on your page! :D Sked to try on the soprano might get all buss up, but give'um on the Pineapple, sound betta dan da Aquilla, and mo crisp dan da Worths. If no work, den try put li-hing on da pineapple, guaranteed ONO! :rotfl:

Kekani
07-05-2009, 01:39 PM
I've liked D'Adarrio's on my guitars for a long time,but didn't care for their standard uke set.

I seriously doubt that there is one atom of Titanium in their new strings. I hate that type of stupid marketing.

Their standard `ukulele strings suck, no doubt. Its unfortunate that there is not enough description to distinguish between the two, especially for newer players. I've seen it before (here) - "I've tried the D'Addario's and didn't care for them at all" - because they didn't try the Pro Arte series.

I agree with the fact that there is probably no Titanium (or Gold, etc) in the strings. Fortunately, there are very few players, if any (I can name less than a handful) that will even try the T's, so the marketing will go unnoticed in the `ukulele world.

Me, its not about the marketing, its about the string. I really don't care if it doesn't have Ti, or if the 4804's don't have Gold (doesn't matter anymore, they're no longer available as a single string). The thought of what the string had inside as far as a precious metal never crossed my mind, but the thought of what it brings out of the instrument, or more how it matches WITH the instrument was more important.

Aproteem, I responded to your pm.

-Aaron

vahn
07-05-2009, 04:48 PM
Great thread kekani, I recently got over the "aquila is the best string ever" phase.. I am more interested in finding the best fit for a particular Uke. For example I have a lanikai Sprucetop 8 string.. Very solidly built uke, very loud and bright, high-ish action, and Aquilas are actually a great fit for it. This isn't my primary player but works good for playing "rythym uke" in an all acoustic setting.

I also have 1/4 cedartop classical guitar tuned ADGCEA with a set of tenor aquilas for the trebles and low G; and 2 EJ46 wound bass D'Addarrio Pro•Arté (talk about a mismatch) that were the only classical guitar strings my local guitar shop had.. At the time I got them I was still in the Aquila=best. mindset so I only added the 2 D'Addarios. This mismatch is probably responsible for my playing style on it, I tend to form the whole guitar, thumb the root (bass) note and strum the bottom 3 or 4 uke style or upstrums.

I just wasnt satisfied with aquilas on my new Pono O'hai tenor. they sounded muddy and the action on it seems to low for the aquilas. But my classical guitars loss was a win for my O'hai: It sounds great with the 4 high EJ46 Pro•Artés I had lying around.

One thing you said disturbed me: higher tensions pulling up the top. For some reason I had just assumed because my tenor pono had a trussrod that it could handle whatever tensions I threw at it. I have a set of Saverez Alliance (standard tension [which is still a high tension string correct?]) coming soon As well as a set of Normal Tension 520 Traditional series, and set of Low tension 520s.

To avoid damaging my uke, should I use the lowest tension possible that still gives me a decent playability taken into consideration the relatively low action? It has a piezo under-saddle pickup and I am extremely hesitant to try and mess with the action myself via shimming the bridge. How do you know if the tension is too much for the uke?

uluapoundr
10-14-2010, 09:47 AM
Just digging up an old thread since it seems the discussion on strings such as T2 and low G continues to resurface. I'm sure if Aaron (Kekani) is around, he'll chime in if there's still questions on string selection. Do I win a prize for digging up a year old thread? Or am I banned ;)

Kekani
10-14-2010, 10:35 PM
Do I win a prize for digging up a year old thread? Or am I banned ;)

I think you should get a prize for finding an appropo way of coming back. Been staying away from posting and just enjoying the reading? If you get Olelo on that side of the island, check out this month's Uke Builder's Workshop . . .