View Full Version : My personal experience with Fluorocarbons v.s. Aquilas

04-19-2013, 05:08 PM
The curiosity got the best of me recently, and I ordered a set of fluorocarbons to test.

At first, I generally liked what I heard, although I could tell, on my bari anyway, that they were less volume.

As I kept playing them, I kept feeling like they were getting deader.
I let it be.

Today, I Really could tell that they were sounding dead.
So, I put my Aquilas back on, and it was night and day. These Aquila Reds sing so much more than the fluoros with this uke.
More volume, much more pretty tone. Literally no contest, for my ears.

04-19-2013, 11:42 PM
What ukulele did you test them on?

I prefer fluorocarbons on my ukes, except for my spruce top, which to me sounds better with aquilas.

As I see it, there is no right or wrong i this discussion. It depends solely on the ears listening to the uke :).

04-20-2013, 01:48 AM
I absolutely agree. That's what makes the world go around. Lots of different opinions, and lots of variables.
I just wanted to offer up my experience.

On this Kala baritone, listening to the strings side by side, there really is a big difference.
The Aquilas sparkle, and the fluoros are dead.

04-20-2013, 04:59 AM
I absolutely agree. That's what makes the world go around. Lots of different opinions, and lots of variables.
I just wanted to offer up my experience.

On this Kala baritone, listening to the strings side by side, there really is a big difference.
The Aquilas sparkle, and the fluoros are dead.

That's not unusual on Kala and Lanikai, and not just the baritones. The really great thing about Aquilas is that you get pretty consistent results no matter what you put them on - they sound like Aquilas. That's also the biggest weakness of the Aquilas. :)

Seriously, if you really like the sound of the Aquilas then they are fine on pretty much anything and you will get that very consistent Aquila sound. Some ukes respond better to other strings though (and not just fluorocarbons). I've got Aquilas on the laminated ukes that my wife and grandkids have, and I kind of like them on my Kiwaya. Most of my solid wood ukes respond best to clear fluorocarbons, except for the mango ukes which are a bit too bright. On those I have Ko'Olau Gold strings and they are a very good fit (the Ko'Olau Mahana also work pretty well on them and are not quite as temperature sensitive).

What I'm saying is don't let any single string experiment "sour" you on a particular type of string, be they Aquila, fluorocarbon, nylon, etc. Every uke is different, and among the factory ukes, especially, that holds very true even across different samples of the same brand and model. The longer I play ukulele, and the more strings I buy and experiment with, the more I'm convinced that there is a "string set for every ukulele, and an ukulele for every string set." As ukulele players, our job is to play matchmaker and ensure that the ukes and the string sets find each other!


04-20-2013, 05:07 AM
I did the exact same thing with my ukulele! But I realised that the aquila reds didn't have that same clarity as I played on the higher register of my ukulele as the fluorocarbons did.

04-20-2013, 05:28 AM
Interesting posts. :cool:

04-20-2013, 05:38 AM
My (limited) experience is that if you want a warmer tone, and you have a ukulele that can support that, flourocarbons will give you that. Otherwise, use Aquilas.
My go-to uke is a mahogany tenor with a nice warm tone. I use Worth browns with a low G and get a great sound for blues or mellow pop/rock. I also have a soprano cigar box uke I put together from parts and flourocarbons sound dead on it. The uke just can't resonate enough bottom end to support the strings, and the strings don't produce enough top end for the uke to resonate. But Aqulias really make the uke sing. I also have a resonator uke that sounds good with either one, but very different.
So it's partly what sound you like and partly what uke you're putting them on.

Jon Moody
04-22-2013, 12:18 AM
My Kala Tenor currently has a set of prototype flourcarbons on it, and it's in the middle in terms of warmth between what came on it (Aquila) and what I had on it previously (GHS Hawaiian). Like many have said, the instrument will respond differently to strings, especially an acoustic instrument and one that's mass produced. Thus far, these are a nice middle road in keeping the sweet snappy clarity that the Aquilas had, but retaining some of the warmth that the GHS set had.

04-22-2013, 01:07 AM
I personnally found that Aquila string sounds just.........Aquila strings.....what I mean is that on most of the ukes when I pt Aquila, I only hear the strings and not the uke itself.....the tone of the tonewood kind of disappear......

Compare to nylon or flurocarbon strings, you can clearly hear the differences between different ukes with different tone wood....

But again, this is just me.....


04-22-2013, 02:23 AM
Interesting. I just went back to Aquila strings on my Kanili'a KPEC after trying D'Addario t2, Living Water and PHD's. None of them sounded as good as the Aquila to me on this uke. Of course they would not sound good on my Martin Soprano. Although string choice can be daunting sometimes, it's nice that we have so many brands to select from. Lots of good strings to match any uke or ear. :)

Hippie Dribble
04-22-2013, 02:34 AM
I think your 2nd last line, where you say "...with this uke...." sums it up well

Different strings work best on different instruments and it's always good to try out different brands and see which is most sympathetic to your particular uke.

My own experience is almost diametrically opposite. I generally find aquilas to be sterile, abrasive and unpleasing to my ears, in the same way I find a nice set of fluorocarbons to give smoother tonal balance across the strings, better note separation and a sweeter, richer voice with better sustain. Aquilas sure sound excellent on some laminate model ukes. Collings have even used them on their top line factory models.

But aren't we lucky to have so many choices these days, eh. Something to please everyone!