View Full Version : I'm done experimenting with strings (really, this time)

10-17-2013, 12:47 PM
D'addario, Ph.D., Worths of various hues, Fremont, Aquilas, Martins, Southcoast, wound low Gs, unwound low Gs, high Gs, thin strings, fat ones, rough texture, slick as snot texture, red strings, strings that had to have been used to land a marlin in another life; I been trying out lots of strings.

A few days ago, I commented in another thread that different strings sound and play differently on different instruments. The common sense takeaway from that statement is that there are no strings that can be expected to work well with all the various uke builds that people can currently get their hands on. And while that statement might well ultimately prove to be true, I have come to a point where both of my tenor ukes sound and play their best with one manufacturer's strings, and by a considerable measure.

I wouldn't know Ken Middelton if he were to come knocking on my door. I am not even sure that I have spelled his name correctly. I have serious doubts that his strings are really made where the literature that comes with the strings says they are made. Maybe he lives next door to a fishing supplies store and simply buys in bulk (although, I have serious doubts about that scenario, too).

But, of this, I am certain; my production Pono and my custom MP sound and play much better with Living Water strings than with any of the too many to count string manufacturers I have tried out over the past 6 months.

To be fair, the Southcoast strings that have been on my MP for a couple of months started out sounding very clear and balanced, but that has changed of late. My guess is that wound strings cannot be made to last (or feel) like high quality FC strings.

The Pono has worn LW Strings (low G) since I put the Southcoast strings on the MP. They sound today as clear and as well balanced as the day they began to stay in tune which was less than 1/2 the time of any of the other strings I have tried out. Yesterday I received 2 more sets of LW low G strings and put one on the MP. Today they are holding tune and they are making the mango body and cedar top come alive even more than previously and, it has always sounded rich and full. They are also better balanced over time than other strings I have played thus far

Like I said, I don't know where they actually made or what trickery might be afoot here, but these strings have become an answer to a difficult question.

10-17-2013, 01:22 PM
That's a pretty glowing recommendation for Living Water strings! I have just recently changed one of my ukes from Aquilas to Worth clears, and I love the difference it has made. I may just need to try a set of LW next string change....

10-17-2013, 01:26 PM
Thanks for the insight.

I'm still a big SC fan, but now...maybe I'll give LVs another look.


10-17-2013, 01:43 PM
Lucky you! My LFDM sounds amazing with any kind of strings on it but my MP Custom has been unsatisfied with Southcoast Mediums, Aquila Nylguts, and Fremont Blacklines. They all sounded okay but not great. I just put D'Addario T2s on and it sounds pretty good now. I'm going to give the strings a chance to settle in. Plus the thickness of the T2 string is much more comfortable than the thin Fremonts - that are just great on my Martin soprano and Kamaka Pineapple.

I tried Living Water strings a year and a half ago and it sounds like I'll need to order a couple of sets again. Congrats on finding happiness - one less thing to think about.

10-17-2013, 01:49 PM
Congrats on finding "the ones". It is a very nice thing. I assume the MP is the mango top, which Pono do you have? My koa sounds great with LW's. But then I have another that I keep coming back to Fremont Blacks. It's all in the ear.

10-17-2013, 01:55 PM
The MP is mango sides/back with a cedar top. The Pono is acacia. It is a deluxe cutaway.

10-17-2013, 02:00 PM
I agree. I like my current strings, but I know that Living Water strings will sound good on all of my ukuleles. I put them on my KoAloha Pineapple (that took courage!), and it sounds lovely.