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Timbuck
11-02-2013, 12:01 AM
I always string up my sopranos and ship them with Aquila Nylgut strings..but on almost every occasion first thing the recipient does is change them to some other brand..Why? what wrong with em' :confused: Co's they sound OK to me. :)

vetcvm
11-02-2013, 12:11 AM
i was going to open a discussion on this topic, as i'm thinking about trying a different set as well for my upcoming uke,
i myself really love the Aquila strings, but i was wondering if i may get a totally different sound using a Martin set which i happen to have for some time.
would it give me a brighter or mellower sound (i was thinking brighter).

anthonyg
11-02-2013, 03:06 AM
Fashion. I LIKE Aquila's myself. Great harmonics and a not so overbearing fundamental tone. I've picked up a Mele 8 string tenor recently and its got a set of HILO strings on it. The Hilo's have a sweet midrange sound. A little boxy if your being critical. Since I have so many ukulele's with Aquila's I will leave this one with the HILO's but to be honest, if the 8 string Mele was my only instrument I would fit a set of Aquila's in order to open up the instrument and tame the midrange boxiness.

Anthony

Manalishi
11-02-2013, 05:47 AM
If I got a uke with Aquilas already on, I would use them
until it was time to change them.Then I would go with
Worth Browns which are my preferred string of choice.
Why? Personal taste I suppose, I just prefer the sound
of Worths on most of my ukuleles!

hawaii 50
11-02-2013, 05:58 AM
I always string up my sopranos and ship them with Aquila Nylgut strings..but on almost every occasion first thing the recipient does is change them to some other brand..Why? what wrong with em' :confused: Co's they sound OK to me. :)

Hi Timbuck

always wanted to ask...
as a builder do you have the time to test all the uke strings on the market? or do you get a nice bulk price when you order your strings...
do you try different sets of strings on the uke before you send to a new customer?

for some reason I believe that is one reason the factories in China use Aquillas....

I have too much time on my hands(haha) so when I get a new uke I try different sets of strings on them,,,,if the Aquilla's had the nicest tone/sound I would go back to them

as you know there are all kinds of different strings out now....just wanted some feedback from you...thanks

my 2 cents

Doug W
11-02-2013, 06:08 AM
A non-builder, just player point of view: I have replaced Aquila strings on different ukes and then put Aquilas back on them. My ukes all have Aquila
Nylguts now.

Doc_J
11-02-2013, 06:59 AM
Collings used to put Aquila Nylguts on their ukes, too. But they have switched to fluorocarbon strings (Worths CT and Savarez). To my ear the fluorocarbon strings sound much better on the Collings ukes. On my koa soprano I found the same thing, the fluorocarbon strings sounded significantly better to me. Now I do like and prefer Aquila Nylguts on some of my ukes (Kanilea, King). It all depends on the uke and the listener.

we tigers
11-02-2013, 08:19 AM
How about doing a nice all British combo with Ken's Living Water strings?

BlackBearUkes
11-02-2013, 08:32 AM
I always string up my sopranos and ship them with Aquila Nylgut strings..but on almost every occasion first thing the recipient does is change them to some other brand..Why? what wrong with em' :confused: Co's they sound OK to me. :)

Well, strings are one of those things that only the buyer can decide. Everyone hears something different no matter what the string and all swear this string is better than that string. I just put on whatever string I happen to have, mostly Worth brand right now. I always figure a well made uke will sound good with any string brand and the buyer will decide what works for them no matter what I think.

lauburu
11-02-2013, 09:23 AM
Strings do make a difference to the sound of the instrument. Unfortunately, years of Deep Purple, Santana etc at full volume have dulled my hearing's ability to detect some of the subtleties that other contributors mention. I like Aquilas and Living Waters on different ukes because they instinctively sound better - I'm not quite sure why, they just do.
If you're going to experiment, do it at the new owners' expense. When they order, ask them what strings they want, string the uke up accordingly and listen to to the results. Over a time, with your prolific output, you'll build up a picture of what strings sound good on your instruments. You may even want to do some recording and fancy waveform analysis - or delegate that to Mrs T.
Miguel

PereBourik
11-02-2013, 10:38 AM
I do not care for the sound of Aquila strings. It is as if I am hearing the string and not the instrument. I think that Aquilas are loud; that benefits lower quality laminate ukes. On my solid wood instruments I prefer fluorocarbon strings. Actually, I have some brand of fluorocarbon strings on all my ukes. To my ear, I hear more from them: overtones, brightness, and sustain. On a good uke the various harmonics will "dance" with one another in a very pretty way. I never hear that from Aquilas.

AndyM
11-02-2013, 11:30 AM
I personally find Aquila strings great on cheap laminated ukes,but find them a bit loud and brash on better quality ukes.I tried Aquila reds on my Ken Timms uke and hated them,they made it sound like a guitar,they didn't suit it at all.It's now strung with my string of choice,Living Water strings,i just love the tone and feel of them.

afreiki
11-02-2013, 01:07 PM
Our local music store was out of Aquila, so I used D'Addagio(sp) on my last uke, and noticed it was much easier on my left hand fingers. The tone was sweeter and more mellow. I think just a personal preference.
Anne

mketom
11-02-2013, 01:34 PM
Since your ukuleles resemble Martin ukuleles I felt compelled to put some Martin 600s on mine. They sound nice to me, a softer, clear sound.

Patrick Madsen
11-02-2013, 06:24 PM
I liked the old version of Aquilas but not the newer version; they are less tension and don't like the feel. I play linear G and found the 4th string was always fraying after a short time; would replace the 4th with a Hilo. I tried the Reds and took them off pretty quickly. I feel the Aquila linears aren't balanced or something between the 3&4th strings. Tried many different brands after, for a non wound 3&4 I like the Living waters. For wound 3&4 I really like new Southcoast hml-Rw's for the higher tension and great balance between the strings. Was on Chuck Moores site last night and noticed he is using Oasis strings now.

I agree string choice is a personal preference. For me, I can't get an Aquila set off fast enough. Never tried their reentrant sets which may have a better balance and feel.

Dan Uke
11-02-2013, 08:59 PM
I liked the old version of Aquilas but not the newer version; they are less tension and don't like the feel. I play linear G and found the 4th string was always fraying after a short time; would replace the 4th with a Hilo. I tried the Reds and took them off pretty quickly. I feel the Aquila linears aren't balanced or something between the 3&4th strings. Tried many different brands after, for a non wound 3&4 I like the Living waters. For wound 3&4 I really like new Southcoast hml-Rw's for the higher tension and great balance between the strings. Was on Chuck Moores site last night and noticed he is using Oasis strings now.

I agree string choice is a personal preference. For me, I can't get an Aquila set off fast enough. Never tried their reentrant sets which may have a better balance and feel.

Patrick, I think you and I have the same preference. I like the wound new SC HML-RW as well. At first, I thought it sounded too metallic but after a few days, it's better than the smooth mediums.

BTW, Chuck went back to the Worth.

Allen
11-02-2013, 09:10 PM
I absolutely hate Aquilla's.....Never had so much trouble with bad sets and inconsistencies in the same string sets. I can measure the intonation on the same string from 2 different sets and it will be completely different. Not just a little. But way, way off. To the point that I'm scratching what's left of the hair on my head and trying to figure out if I've stuffed something up. It always comes back to the strings. Swap them out to something else, and no worries.

For my money and ear.....and my clients, the strings of choice are various offerings from Sout Coast Ukes. And Worth Browns.

tangimango
11-02-2013, 09:17 PM
I think Aquila's are the new standard. the strings are so good that every Chinese manufacture use them as oem strings.
because its the standard choice of string, its possible to get a even better sound maybe switching to a floracarbon. or it might sound worse , then you just go back to aquilas or some other type of strings.
i agree with blackbear , strings are one of those things that only the buyer can decide.

but Aquilas can make most ukulele sound good, especially all made in china brands. so the question is does your ukulele sound good because of Aquilas or is your ukulele so well built you can put any stings on it and will sound incredible.

LesterPolfus
11-02-2013, 11:18 PM
I do not care for the sound of Aquila strings. It is as if I am hearing the string and not the instrument. I think that Aquilas are loud; that benefits lower quality laminate ukes. On my solid wood instruments I prefer fluorocarbon strings. Actually, I have some brand of fluorocarbon strings on all my ukes. To my ear, I hear more from them: overtones, brightness, and sustain. On a good uke the various harmonics will "dance" with one another in a very pretty way. I never hear that from Aquilas.

I agree, I think the same about Aquila Nylguts, they make sound each instrument the same. They're the perfect advice for friends who start playing the uke with a very cheap instrument though. I don't like their feeling too, I find them floppy and too big.


I personally find Aquila strings great on cheap laminated ukes,but find them a bit loud and brash on better quality ukes.I tried Aquila reds on my Ken Timms uke and hated them,they made it sound like a guitar,they didn't suit it at all.It's now strung with my string of choice,Living Water strings,i just love the tone and feel of them.

Last time I put a set of Aquila Reds on my concert Pono and I really liked them, now I have to change the strings and I'm going to pun another set of Reds, let's see if I change my mind. The interesting thing is I think Aquila Reds make my uke sound A LOT more like a uke than every other set of strings I tried. The only problem I found with them so far is that they took a long time to wear out, but then they suddenly become completely out of intonation along the fretboard. I mean it was not a gradual process as with other strings. Don't know if it was only an impression or a problem with that particular set or what.

aquadan
01-01-2014, 06:30 AM
I don't like the feel of Aquila strings, so just changed out my new Timms yesterday with Oasis brights. They sound great, but are higher tension than I expected on a soprano, so if I don't get comfortable with them in the next few days I'm going try switching again.

Kent Chasson
01-01-2014, 06:53 AM
I've only had my ukes for a little over a month but trying different strings was the first thing I did. I've only had time to try 3 types. Pro-Arte's, Worth's, and Aquila's. I don't think I need to try the Pro-Arte's again.

I like the tone of the Worth's. Aquilla's are louder with more crispness and I would certainly use them if that was a priority but the Worth's are more musical and have more sustain up the neck. The Worth's bend more easily so it's harder to play with good intonation (less forgiving of poor fretting technique).

I have 2 ukes that are essentially identical except that one has a cedar top and one a spruce top. Different strings effect the tone way more than the different top woods do.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
01-01-2014, 07:40 AM
Patrick, I think you and I have the same preference. I like the wound new SC HML-RW as well. At first, I thought it sounded too metallic but after a few days, it's better than the smooth mediums.

BTW, Chuck went back to the Worth.

And now I'm back to Oasis (and also giving the SouthCoast HML-RWs another go.) Along with Worths these strings are very similar to my ear and sense of touch. The differences between them will be subtle (except for the HML-RWs which include a couple of wound bases.)

connor013
01-01-2014, 08:09 AM
I always string up my sopranos and ship them with Aquila Nylgut strings..but on almost every occasion first thing the recipient does is change them to some other brand..Why? what wrong with em' :confused: Co's they sound OK to me. :)

As someone who did exactly that, here's why:

1. Tone. Aquilas sound brash to my ear.
2. Feel. I dislike the texture.

Southcoasts sounded great, but I've since worn them out. Now my/your uke wears Worth BMs with a (pirated) wound third.

frukmana
01-01-2014, 11:54 AM
Well I had the same issue on my tenor uke. The intonation was bad, I couldn't stand it, and always thought It was the uke. Then I swapped it into D'addario and no issues at all.
I use aquila on my soprano tho. Would love to try another strings.



I absolutely hate Aquilla's.....Never had so much trouble with bad sets and inconsistencies in the same string sets. I can measure the intonation on the same string from 2 different sets and it will be completely different. Not just a little. But way, way off. To the point that I'm scratching what's left of the hair on my head and trying to figure out if I've stuffed something up. It always comes back to the strings. Swap them out to something else, and no worries.

For my money and ear.....and my clients, the strings of choice are various offerings from Sout Coast Ukes. And Worth Browns.

mm stan
01-01-2014, 02:28 PM
Since your ukuleles resemble Martin ukuleles I felt compelled to put some Martin 600s on mine. They sound nice to me, a softer, clear sound.

I tried Martins on mine and the Cstring was flat when picked..thuddy sound...I have learned it was probally too thick so I changed out just the martin C string for a worths brown C string still thicker than the rest... on light bodied builds, I prefer thinner strings for this case....:)

mm stan
01-01-2014, 02:31 PM
I don't like the feel of Aquila strings, so just changed out my new Timms yesterday with Oasis brights. They sound great, but are higher tension than I expected on a soprano, so if I don't get comfortable with them in the next few days I'm going try switching again.

I always worry about putting higher tension on light build ukes...just a precautionary measure for me....

mm stan
01-01-2014, 02:34 PM
I liked the old version of Aquilas but not the newer version; they are less tension and don't like the feel. I play linear G and found the 4th string was always fraying after a short time; would replace the 4th with a Hilo. I tried the Reds and took them off pretty quickly. I feel the Aquila linears aren't balanced or something between the 3&4th strings. Tried many different brands after, for a non wound 3&4 I like the Living waters. For wound 3&4 I really like new Southcoast hml-Rw's for the higher tension and great balance between the strings. Was on Chuck Moores site last night and noticed he is using Oasis strings now.

I agree string choice is a personal preference. For me, I can't get an Aquila set off fast enough. Never tried their reentrant sets which may have a better balance and feel.

I like the Aquilas on some uke but not all....on a vintage light build kamaka, they work well....you cannot be choosing a string for all ukes, certain strings work better on certain types of builds
or brands/ models..

mm stan
01-01-2014, 02:39 PM
I always string up my sopranos and ship them with Aquila Nylgut strings..but on almost every occasion first thing the recipient does is change them to some other brand..Why? what wrong with em' :confused: Co's they sound OK to me. :)
String Choice Ken is a way to fine tune your Ukulele or others to the owners preference, whether it be for tone, or playability and comfort ..it's like choosing which needle to put on your phonograph...

stevepetergal
01-01-2014, 02:41 PM
I wonder if any of these responses answers timbuck's original question.
I've always wondered why people change strings as soon as they receive an instrument. It seems the UU fora encourage this practice. And obviously people do it even on top name instruments. I think it's crazy.

aquadan
01-01-2014, 06:11 PM
I wonder if any of these responses answers timbuck's original question.
I've always wondered why people change strings as soon as they receive an instrument. It seems the UU fora encourage this practice. And obviously people do it even on top name instruments. I think it's crazy.

I gave them 2 weeks, and just don't like the feel. So it wasn't an immediate change for me.

aquadan
01-01-2014, 06:15 PM
I always worry about putting higher tension on light build ukes...just a precautionary measure for me....

It does feel like too high tension and it is concerning me. This is all the encouragement I need to switch to something lighter. I'm traveling now, so don't have access to my string box at home unfortunately so may just pick up some Martins locally or may put the aquilas back for now.

Timbuck
01-01-2014, 07:50 PM
I wonder if Concert Pianists do the same? when the new "Stienberg Grand" arrives in the post ;)

aquadan
01-01-2014, 09:48 PM
I wonder if Concert Pianists do the same? when the new "Stienberg Grand" arrives in the post ;)

I was thinking about trying reentrant instead of linear strings on ours.

Lalz
01-02-2014, 01:32 AM
For me personally, figuring out what strings sound best on a particular uke and are most comfortable to play is a great part of the fun of getting a new ukulele. Different strings work for different ukes. Aquilas are brilliant on laminate ukes, but not so great on solid woods IMO. Personal favourites are South Coasts, Living Waters and Martin m600s (although the Martins are a bit inconsistent in quality, I've found). But someone might like strings with higher/lower tension, brighter/warmer sound etc.

I'd say don't sweat it. Put the strings you like on the ukes then let the costumer experiment. It's part of the process :-)

stevepetergal
01-02-2014, 04:53 AM
I get trying out strings. We all do it. I just wonder what it's like for a guy like Timbuck. He puts his talents, skills, and experience into custom building an instrument. He ships it out and receives an email from the customer saying "I can't wait. The new strings are here and ready!! Once they settle in I'll see how my new instrument sounds/feels."
I exaggerate, but is this how it sounds to the builder?




I wonder if Concert Pianists do the same? when the new "Stienberg Grand" arrives in the post ;)

I got this one:

Most pianists are just the opposite. I've serviced hundreds of new pianos, a great number of them Steinways (Steinberg?). If the instrument needs a tweak of some kind, (which new pianos always do) the customer says "Oh no don't change a thing!! It's new. That's the way it's supposed to be." Can't tell you how many times I've left clicks, squeaks, buzzes, and the action of one note not responding well because the customer is quite sure if Steinway (or any other builder) didn't want it that way, it wouldn't be that way. The concert pianists I've worked for are far more realistic, but still wouldn't think of a major voicing to change the character of a new instrument, (although this can be done to much greater effect than changing strings on a guitar or ukulele.)

rudy
01-02-2014, 05:37 AM
As far as Aquila Nylguts being supplied on most import ukes, I'm curious if anyone has information about the supposedly counterfit Nylguts? Any possibility that what's being used on import instruments and labeled as Aquila Nylguts aren't?

If you go to the Aliexpress website you'll find "Aquila Nylgut strings sold for $1.40 per set in bulk quantities of 10 sets, and they are plainly labeled as Aquila brand. If that's the case it totally rips Mimmo off, but it might explain why some folks are put off by the "Nylgut" strings that came on their import ukes.

Macmuse
01-02-2014, 06:49 AM
At the risk of a little disharmony at home... I liked the Aquilas. But, I gifted the uke and the player needs to be happy playing it... so... now biting tongue ;)






P.S. I know this will be taken in the spirit intended (by my partner) - and it wasn't an immediate swap out, honest. He gave them a chance, but even after settling in I'd have to admit they still had a squeakiness when played - I had a set on another uke that did that but had worn off fairly quickly with minimal playing.

Macmuse
01-02-2014, 06:57 AM
I was thinking about trying reentrant instead of linear strings on ours.

I'm not sure that would improve the playability or tone of our "ancient upright" (no grand around here, sadly). :P

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
01-02-2014, 07:27 AM
I'm not sure the "perfect" set of strings can be found for any new uke. As the uke matures it's voice is going to change along with the need for different strings depending upon what the owner wants. I suggest playing the uke hard for a couple of months before trying to discover the best strings for your new uke. I choose what I think are the best strings are available today for any given uke I build but I'm not offended when a customer finds better ones. If anything I appreciate the feedback. As a builder I just don't have the time to try out a half dozen different string sets for every uke I build. That's part of the fun of new uke ownership.
When I use to ride motorcycles the first thing you did after buying a new bike was to change out the factory tires, the seat, grips, etc. Was it necessary? Who knows. But it was part of the bonding process.

Steveperrywriter
01-03-2014, 09:06 PM
That's part of the fun of new uke ownership.
When I use to ride motorcycles the first thing you did after buying a new bike was to change out the factory tires, the seat, grips, etc. Was it necessary? Who knows. But it was part of the bonding process.

That strikes a chord. Get a new thing, you want to customize it a little, make it yours. Strings are cheap and safe.
(I quit riding bikes after working in a hospital and seeing all the orthopedic beds full of cyclists, none of whom were at fault for the accidents that put them there, save one guy who went off the road trying to switch on his auxiliary gas tank. Little cotton-tops in Caddys have done in a lot of bikers ...)

Steve

fromthee2me
01-04-2014, 06:54 AM
Perhaps another angle..... yes the options are there to buy and try other makes of strings. But what about all the string purchases, that have not been succesfull in staying on your uke ? Reading on the forums you get a general idea which brands are well liked by a large cross section of players all over the world......... Maybe there should be a thread that enquires which strings did not work for you on the uke make/size you use? Maybe this result will be similar to the strings that are liked? frigging difficult.............

coolkayaker1
01-04-2014, 07:12 AM
Stevepetergal's comment below about his piano tuning experience is interesting.

I, personally, use Fremont Blacklines exclusively now.

JamieWG
01-04-2014, 07:29 AM
I always string up my sopranos and ship them with Aquila Nylgut strings..but on almost every occasion first thing the recipient does is change them to some other brand..Why? what wrong with em' :confused: Co's they sound OK to me. :)

You're not going to be able to get players to agree on which strings are "best" any more than than they agree on which ukulele is "best". Which is to say, not at all! That's actually a good thing. After all, if we all agreed, there would be only one person making all the ukes, and one string company. Variety is a good thing!

rudy
01-04-2014, 10:43 AM
As far as Aquila Nylguts being supplied on most import ukes, I'm curious if anyone has information about the supposedly counterfit Nylguts? Any possibility that what's being used on import instruments and labeled as Aquila Nylguts aren't?

If you go to the Aliexpress website you'll find "Aquila Nylgut strings sold for $1.40 per set in bulk quantities of 10 sets, and they are plainly labeled as Aquila brand. If that's the case it totally rips Mimmo off, but it might explain why some folks are put off by the "Nylgut" strings that came on their import ukes.

In case anyone is interested I received a very lengthy e-mail from Aquilacord USA verifying that the Aliexpress site was indeed hawking the fake Aquila strings. The problem is much more widespread that I thought, and sellers on e-bay as well as many, many import Ukes are shipped in with fake Aqila Nylgut strings. There are a few posts in other sections of the UU website that have information about them, as well as some posts directly from Mimmo, owner of Aquila Strings.

I offer this information just to reiterate that if you're dissatisfied with Aquila Nylguts you do need to be aware of where they might have came from.

YorkSteve
03-08-2014, 07:13 AM
The general theme here seems to be that different people like different strings, and even the same person can like different strings on different instruments. If it is any help to Ken, I have just put a set of Worth Browns on one of his sopranos and it sounds great to me, better than the Aquilas. Worth a try Ken? ('scuse the pun)

Timbuck
03-08-2014, 11:38 PM
The general theme here seems to be that different people like different strings, and even the same person can like different strings on different instruments. If it is any help to Ken, I have just put a set of Worth Browns on one of his sopranos and it sounds great to me, better than the Aquilas. Worth a try Ken? ('scuse the pun)
I have about 120 sets of Aquila's to get rid of first before I try any others ;)

Booli
03-09-2014, 07:24 AM
I always string up my sopranos and ship them with Aquila Nylgut strings..but on almost every occasion first thing the recipient does is change them to some other brand..Why? what wrong with em' :confused: Co's they sound OK to me. :)

You may find the answers to this question and many others by reading this ongoing thread (http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?93141-It-s-like-UAS-only-worse-SCO/) which as of the time I'm posting this here, has 89 posts.

Kekani
03-09-2014, 07:34 AM
I have about 120 sets of Aquila's to get rid of first before I try any others ;)

I had 50 (or 80) sets handed to me after MGM passed away (I told his mom that I wouldn't use those, and what I intended to do with them, and she was okay with it). I didn't make much of an effort asking around, but the person I thought it should go to didn't want them, so I donated them.

I'm not saying you should do the same, not by any means. Just trying to add a different perspective on the topic at hand in this conversation. I'm sure someone would've take them off my hands, but not in my little circle out here. Different strokes I guess.

My take for you, generally, I think Aquilas make not so good sounding instruments better, but makes better sounding instrument wanting. My opinion of course, and this would put yours in the latter category. Then again, I'm not a Standard guy; Tenors are my thing.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
03-09-2014, 08:16 AM
At one time, when selection was limited, Aquilas really were one of the best strings around. Things have changed so much since then and today we have so many more options. I, too, have a box full of Aquilas that I don't use on my ukes. Occasionally I will set up a bunch of new imported ukes for the local schools and will use them then.

Dominator
03-12-2014, 07:02 PM
My experience is that Aguilas will make an inferior uke sound better and add volume but on a decent ukulele the overtones are just way to harsh. And from a player perspective I can't stand the squeak I get from them. I just finished a soprano awhile back for Howlin' Hobbit and he always uses Aquila. I put them on and was devastated that I built an uke that sounded that bad. I told him I couldn't send it to him with those strings and he told me to put whatever I wanted on it. I put the PHD strings on it and, though they are pricey, the uke came alive. Simply no comparison.

So Ken, your ukes probably sound much better than you think.

UncleElvis
03-12-2014, 07:51 PM
For me, it's the feel. My sets are 3-4 hours long, straight through.
Worth Browns, I'm fine. A little callous, everything's good.
Aquilas? My fingertips are shredded.

I'm not a massive fan of the sound, either, but that's not the factor for me. It's the sandpaper texture wearing through my finger callouses! *grin*

anthonyg
03-13-2014, 01:12 AM
My experience is that Aguilas will make an inferior uke sound better and add volume but on a decent ukulele the overtones are just way to harsh. And from a player perspective I can't stand the squeak I get from them. I just finished a soprano awhile back for Howlin' Hobbit and he always uses Aquila. I put them on and was devastated that I built an uke that sounded that bad. I told him I couldn't send it to him with those strings and he told me to put whatever I wanted on it. I put the PHD strings on it and, though they are pricey, the uke came alive. Simply no comparison.

So Ken, your ukes probably sound much better than you think.

Everyone has there own preferences in strings. I don't want to start a flame war but I'm not going to let pass this notion (incorrect one at that) that Aquila's only suit cheap ukulele's. Rubbish.

I have a beautiful Scott Wise tenor Solo ukulele which sounds GREAT with Aquila Nylgut strings. Alive, expressive. Everything you want an instrument to be. Now, I am slowly coming to the conclusion however that Aquila nylgut strings suit LIGHTLY built instruments better than heavily built instruments and as such they DO suit a plywood instrument with a light top. They also DO suit high quality instruments with a light build. Yes they ARE bright strings. They do not suit heavier built instruments which are tending towards being bright already.

My two bobs worth.

Anthony

big plucker
03-13-2014, 01:56 PM
I'll add my recent observations...

My KoAlana Concert came with Worth CL clears and I played two hours a day, every day for a year on that set up as I transitioned from guitar.
I really really loved the sound and was afraid to change strings for fear of losing the magic.... then my 'a' string frayed and I had to restring.
Locally - very limited selection - the best, most pricey option was Aquila Nylguts - I strung up and I hated them, they sounded way too bright and plinky.
They took forever to seat themselves - super stretchy i couldn't get through a single song without retuning - this went on for at least a month.
I waited patiently for some Worth CL's, and T2 d'Addarios to be shipped from HMS.

In the meantime my KoAloha Tenor arrived - with Worth Low G's which sounded pretty sweet by comparison so i let the concert sit.
After a few weeks of the Low G Worths on Tenor I got pretty tired of the G string - not balanced with the other strings... too boomy when played open, not too bad if fretted. It was so distracting that I decided to try the re-entrant worth g string... better balance, brighter sounding, nice, but not the sound I wanted from my Tenor.

By now my string shipment had arrived so I put a set of Southcoast Medium gauge linear strings on the KoAloha Tenor - WOW! absolutely perfect sound and balanced very nicely, no boomy bass from the low G. I can't get enough of that sound. The wound G and wound C allow for such a smooth linear transition from string to string. The really did a fantastic job designing and making these sets.

Now I went back to the Koalana Concert to restring with T2's... I thought I'd play it a bit first with the Aquilas on first so I would get a contrast to the T2's... Gee - It sounds pretty good now... so I left them on for a while, and now I am hesitant to change them. So I am playing with them now and they seem to have grown on me a bit. They settled in finally so it stays in tune a lot better. I won't disgard them just yet, but I will get around to switching them out this weekend and try the T2's....

That's my story, and I am sticking to it...

BP

pondweed
06-03-2014, 06:40 AM
Just having read through this thread, I'm surprised that no-one has mentioned the classic looks of the Timms. Aquila Nylgut are very white and quite chunky. Looking through the Walsh/King Martin book that has just been delivered, most of the ukuleles photographed seem to be wearing clear-ish or dark strings - receding tones - they all set off the lines of the instrument by not attracting attention to themselves. I personally think the Aquilas sound ok on mine, but I don't want all that lovely woodwork to be hiding behind go faster stripes.

There is also the lure of the new. One has the new instrument; it sounds great. But might it sound better, especially when you know other instruments improve with fluorocarbons. It is hard to resist; it's part of the bonding - or rejection. As I've just scored a new set of BMs for ten quid posted on ebay I'm going to use half of them right now:) and keep the demo aquilas for something more dowdy.

RichM
06-03-2014, 06:52 AM
I do think that since Aquilas come stock on many ukes, especially inexpensive ukes, people tend to associate Aquilas with cheaper ukes. And certainly, everyone is entitled to their preferences. For me, I've tried 'em all-- Worths, clear and brown, Martins, Living Waters, etc, etc. and I still come back to Aquilas as my string of choice.

DazW
06-03-2014, 06:52 AM
Just having read through this thread, I'm surprised that no-one has mentioned the classic looks of the Timms. Aquila Nylgut are very white and quite chunky. Looking through the Walsh/King Martin book that has just been delivered, most of the ukuleles photographed seem to be wearing clear-ish or dark strings - receding tones - they all set off the lines of the instrument by not attracting attention to themselves. I personally think the Aquilas sound ok on mine, but I don't want all that lovely woodwork to be hiding behind go faster stripes.

There is also the lure of the new. One has the new instrument; it sounds great. But might it sound better, especially when you know other instruments improve with fluorocarbons. It is hard to resist; it's part of the bonding - or rejection. As I've just scored a new set of BMs for ten quid posted on ebay I'm going to use half of them right now:) and keep the demo aquilas for something more dowdy.

Yet another coincidence, it was me you bought the worths from on eBay! I decided to get some Worth clear lights so sold the browns

YorkSteve
06-03-2014, 11:22 AM
Just having read through this thread, I'm surprised that no-one has mentioned the classic looks of the Timms. Aquila Nylgut are very white and quite chunky. Looking through the Walsh/King Martin book that has just been delivered, most of the ukuleles photographed seem to be wearing clear-ish or dark strings - receding tones - they all set off the lines of the instrument by not attracting attention to themselves. I personally think the Aquilas sound ok on mine, but I don't want all that lovely woodwork to be hiding behind go faster stripes.

An interesting angle on this. Having previously thought that Worth BMs, and then Martin M600s, sounded good on my Timms, I have recently tried Fremont Blackline, and they look and sound the best yet. And they are anything but white...

pondweed
06-03-2014, 11:40 AM
I did wonder from seeing your sig if you had gravitated from BMs to Blacklines... A kiwaya owner I spoke to found that the martins had the least tension, then the blacklines, then the Worth Mediums. It's just a pity there is no cheap source of generic 'coloured' fluorocarbon!

My string change has taken place and I've taken 50 years off it. It feels so much better.. they are just less 'hard'. Just looking at BMs in the light is like the feeling you get looking at good French Polish on wood.. A sort of depth. Surprising that it doesn't seem any quieter either, with the fluorocarbon.

lomafootSD
06-03-2014, 12:30 PM
Aquilas came with my Lanikai LU-21c and I kept them on until I had to change them out. Then I went and tried some Martin 600's and like those a lot more. They were thinner but I just like the tone and feel. I recently purchased a Gretsch solid mahogany Tenor with Aquilas and changed them out after a few days with Martins. To me it's much better but I'm thinking of trying Worths or Fremonts next when it's time to change them out.

Timbuck
06-03-2014, 12:47 PM
I did wonder from seeing your sig if you had gravitated from BMs to Blacklines... A kiwaya owner I spoke to found that the martins had the least tension, then the blacklines, then the Worth Mediums. It's just a pity there is no cheap source of generic 'coloured' fluorocarbon!

My string change has taken place and I've taken 50 years off it. It feels so much better.. they are just less 'hard'. Just looking at BMs in the light is like the feeling you get looking at good French Polish on wood.. A sort of depth. Surprising that it doesn't seem any quieter either, with the fluorocarbon.
The only reason I put Aquila string sets on my ukes is co's i've got a load of e'm :o...About 4 years back in the UK Aqilla strings were the "Bees knees" and the only one's to consider :cool:......But! one of the top players around who is in the UOGB namely "Mr G Hinchcliffe" recently claimed on "Youtube" that he just used Fishing line on his ukes :)...And I'd be very interested to hear/see a sample video of the playing ability of these Guys who are comparing these different string sets, Then I can get a good idea if they know what they are talking about...How about it lads ?

I now sit back and wait for the flack :D ( *Please Note* I have just demolished a bottle of "Hardy's red stamp Shiraz" and it was very nice)

David Newton
06-03-2014, 01:12 PM
I like Aquila strings. I think for a uke builder they are "ground zero" and the customer can change strings based on a known quality.

I think the Aquila's that come on inexpensive Chinese ukes are fake. I bet there are more fake Aquila's out there than real ones. The Aquila hang tags would have to be fake too.
My only proof of this is the load of Chinese ukes I was doing set-ups on all had Aquila hang tags, and the strings were just not "right".

pondweed
06-03-2014, 09:39 PM
The only reason I put Aquila string sets on my ukes is co's i've got a load of e'm :o...
I think this is a perfect, practical answer. You have to put something on. And in essence the original post was setting yourself up for something you probably didn't want to hear!
The only reason I can see for deviating towards generic fluorocarbon (I.e. Buying reel line in particular gauges as some small makers are specifying) would be that when we all change-out, we are generally going to smaller gauge strings. And nice bridges and ebony nuts are carefully set up for the larger gauge, and that whopper Aquila C string...

Re. the evidence. I'd be in the camp who would say you just can't document 'feel'. (They both sound bloody good. Just slightly different!) I'd return the suggestion and say for a 4 set of generic clear fluorocarbons, would it not be worth stringing one up yourself and seeing what you thought? You know they are going to sell them like hot cakes whatever they are strung with, and the string choice could just be added to the 325 if they cost more. As per pegheds or raspberry Melba inlays or whatever.

P.s. Ken - I would still like to know the exact wood spec on mine, please... Just for posterity... and what drilled hole dia the present tuners are! It's just part of the necessary buyer experience having to answer what might seem stoopid questions....:D

Timbuck
06-03-2014, 10:54 PM
P.s. Ken - I would still like to know the exact wood spec on mine, please... Just for posterity... and what drilled hole dia the present tuners are! It's just part of the necessary buyer experience having to answer what might seem stoopid questions....:D
All I know about the wood is ..I got it from "Pete Howlet" earlier this year and it was marked up as "Honduran" it is very lightweight and has a wooly texture a bit like Balsa wood and it's not easy to work with ...The tuner peg holes are counter bored two sizes 5/16" for the bushes and 13/64" at the rear for the tuner shaft.

pondweed
06-03-2014, 11:13 PM
many thanks! See - I've bonded with it even more now.


Timms uke with wood touched by the hands of Pete Howlett(:bowdown:

Timbuck
06-03-2014, 11:39 PM
In my early days I was brought up playing a "John Grey banjo Uke" fitted with real gut strings I remember the feel of these as very tight and I got used to e'm...The Aqilla Nylgut sets are very much the same especially if you fit Concert gauge sets on sopranos like some players do..I have tried other strings eg: Worth clears, Flourocarbon, Adagio, Martin and others..to me they look like fishing line and feel like rubber bands.
When you think about it the Manufacturers of this extruded plastic don't do it just for ukulele players and clasical guitarists if they did they would soon go out of business ...I'd imagine the main customer is The Textiles and clothing industry...Engineering eg: rope making and belting webbing, car tyres etc...Then the fishing and angling society at sea and in the rivers ..where hundreds of thousands of miles of polymer line are produced world wide just for making fishing nets and and fishing line in all sorts of gauges colours and tensions...Some of these fishing line extrusions would be ideal for Ukuleles, as some of the south sea islanders found out when the ukulele was first invented.
So for all we know ..we could all be using Fishing line..It's a good business when you think about ..Buy a 10,000 M drum of line (The right stuff) ..cut it up into short lengths put them in fancy packets, Put a few adds out on the internet and forums saying how great they are...and sell them at 10 a set ;) There is a company selling garden strimmer line as bass fiddle strings using the trade name "WeedWhackers" http://www.ebay.com/itm/SLAP-HAPPY-WEEDWACKER-Nylon-Upright-Double-BASS-STRINGS-/111267838991

Titchtheclown
06-04-2014, 12:44 AM
My recipe for fishing line strings is 50 80 60 and 40 lb line regular and 40 60 50 and 30 lb for sopraninos. Tahitians are strung with 20 to 40 lb line but all strings the same guage.

pondweed
06-04-2014, 01:26 AM
has anyone ever found a generic source of the brown tinted ones?! I did some digging and came across some pale greeny ones a year or so back, but they weren't different enough in colour to be worth bothering with.

I presume someone like Worth discovered the audible differences between the tinted strings and the clear ones just by discovering that impurities in the mix resulted in a less bright sound.

billten
06-04-2014, 03:44 AM
I was in the Philippines a few months back looking at the most horrible sounding uke thing that was made out of half a coconut. I asked the lady who's husband made the uke'esque instrument what it was strung with and in really broken English she assured me they are best quality Aquila strings. I think that this is a part of the problem in that she was able to show me the Aquila packet the strings came in, obviously horrible nylon fishing line, but passed of as Aquila strings. Bootlegging has hit the Aquila line very hard...

ukuleleCraig
06-04-2014, 12:17 PM
Mr G Hinchcliffe" recently claimed on "Youtube" that he just used Fishing line on his ukes :)...[/I]

I'm glad you brought this up Ken, as Ive been meaning to say the same but you beat me to it. If George, whom you quite rightfully label as a legend here in the UK (and to everyone who's ever seen UOGB) plays with fishing line, and always sounds great - doesnt that just put the whole string thing into perspective....?
Btw - I'm sure, if my memory serves me, that his main performance Uke is a Martin.

RichM
06-04-2014, 01:20 PM
I'm glad you brought this up Ken, as Ive been meaning to say the same but you beat me to it. If George, whom you quite rightfully label as a legend here in the UK (and to everyone who's ever seen UOGB) plays with fishing line, and always sounds great - doesnt that just put the whole string thing into perspective....?
Btw - I'm sure, if my memory serves me, that his main performance Uke is a Martin.

There's really no difference between fluorocarbon fishing line and fluorocarbon ukulele strings. I imagine one would work about as well as the other.

BlackBearUkes
06-04-2014, 02:58 PM
All I know about the wood is ..I got it from "Pete Howlet" earlier this year and it was marked up as "Honduran" it is very lightweight and has a wooly texture a bit like Balsa wood and it's not easy to work with ...The tuner peg holes are counter bored two sizes 5/16" for the bushes and 13/64" at the rear for the tuner shaft.

Ken, this wood sounds like African mahogany, not Honduran. I tried some of that stuff a couple of years back, it was light pink in color, very light weight and on the soft side, open grained and bent like crap. Good Honduran mahogany is easy to work with and is a nice dark orange/reddish color. The good stuff is very hard to find.

David Newton
06-04-2014, 04:14 PM
I got some "wooly" Honduras Mahogany some years ago.
Strange stuff, I would sand up the grits, but before I could sand 220 and 320 I had to soak it with shellac and let it dry, the grain would not stop raising. It eventually would level out and look real nice.

Timbuck
06-04-2014, 08:49 PM
Ken, this wood sounds like African mahogany, not Honduran. I tried some of that stuff a couple of years back, it was light pink in color, very light weight and on the soft side, open grained and bent like crap.

That sounds like The stuff I reclaimed from a Patio door frame last year..I made some linings and neck blocks out of it, and the rest is now in my garden holding the netting on my cabbages.:D

lauburu
06-05-2014, 10:39 AM
There's really no difference between fluorocarbon fishing line and fluorocarbon ukulele strings. I imagine one would work about as well as the other.

Very true. But you have to get really close to your fish if you use soprano strings.
Miguel