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Icelander53
02-20-2014, 07:17 AM
Seriously, I have a tenor with aquila strings that have been on it for a couple of years now. It sat unplayed for about a year of that time. I have several new ukuleles now that are strung with the same type of strings but new. I really don't notice much if any difference?

Is it just my lame ear skills or do these strings hold up for a long time?

Doug W
02-20-2014, 07:34 AM
I tend to change any nylon/nylgut strings every couple of months. My Mainland is the uke I play daily and it has Aquilas. After a couple of months they sound harsh to me, and like any nylon/nylgut string they get scratched up from use and even if nobody else notices they bug me. All strings, nylon or metal, sound dead to me after a month or two, depending on how much I am playing.

KevinV
02-20-2014, 07:43 AM
I use mostly Aquila Nylgut and to my ear they last a long time. I tend to leave them on until they get a little frayed from playing. On the flip side, I also notice a difference when the new strings are installed. I think it's such a slow process of degradation that the subtlety of it passes me by until I swap the strings for new.

Jon Moody
02-20-2014, 09:21 AM
It all depends on how much you play, the pH in your hands, etc.. The only ones that will usually show wear earlier are wound strings, as the metal is affected differently than the composite materials used in Aquila or Fluorocarbon sets.

Camsuke
02-20-2014, 10:14 AM
It may be a good idea to loosen the strings if the uke is not being played for prolonged periods. The unnecessary tension could damage the uke.

Seriously, I have a tenor with aquila strings that have been on it for a couple of years now. It sat unplayed for about a year of that time. I have several new ukuleles now that are strung with the same type of strings but new. I really don't notice much if any difference?

Is it just my lame ear skills or do these strings hold up for a long time?

SailQwest
02-20-2014, 10:16 AM
In my experience, Aquilas have a pretty long life span. With them, my cue that a string change is needed is when their intonation starts to get a bit wonky.

OldePhart
02-20-2014, 10:19 AM
It depends on your playing style and on the strings. I use my nails a lot and I could wear out a set of the old NylGut strings in a few weeks. I haven't been able to stomach the new NylGut on any of my ukes long enough to know if they do the same - they seem to be quite a bit different from the old ones.

I use mostly fluorocarbon strings and those last practically forever, even with heavy playing. Most other nylon strings seem to fall somewhere between the fluorocarbon and older NylGut in longevity. I can usually get two-three months out of Ko'Olau Gold or Alohi strings with pretty heavy use.

How hard you mash with the fretting hand probably affects string life too, though probably not as much in the case of fluorocarbon strings because they are very hard - I don't notice really any wear or indentation at the frets happening with them.

John

Ukejenny
02-20-2014, 11:23 AM
I am beginning to sense changes in the Worth clear strings that came on my tenor eleven months ago. They just seem to feel different and ring differently. Overall, not as responsive as I remember them being. It may just be my imagination, though.

Booli
02-20-2014, 11:38 AM
Seriously, I have a tenor with aquila strings that have been on it for a couple of years now. It sat unplayed for about a year of that time. I have several new ukuleles now that are strung with the same type of strings but new. I really don't notice much if any difference?

Is it just my lame ear skills or do these strings hold up for a long time?

(as may you know of my string involvement from that other recent thread, surprised why you did not post there (http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?93141-It-s-like-UAS-only-worse-SCO)? anyway, no worries :))

(EDIT: I saw this thread this morning, and then wrote my comment offline, and then posted it before I had a chance to see the replies other that written in the meantime, so I apologize if I am repeating the info that others had already contributed, but it shows a consensus of ideas :))

I can tell you that in my previous 35 yrs of playing guitar and recent past 9 months with the ukulele, and based upon what I have seen others describe that follows my experience...

That 'string life' has few determining factors, and only one of them is the precision of your hearing perception, and like most things all of this is relative, and as the saying goes YMMV (your mileage may vary)

The first item is string materials, but for the sake of simplicity, I'll not detail that here, you can find lots of info on that if you search the forum, but I will say that different string materials have variations in longevity from each other.

Having said that, also for the sake of simplicity, assuming for the moment all other things being equal, the 'environment' of the uke/strings may be a factor, in terms of temp changes, humidity changes, indoor air pollutants, can all have an effect on an often un-played instruments strings, causing them to expand and contract in response to their environment if sitting out open in a room. However, if the uke/strings was inside a hermetically sealed case, in a temperature-controlled environment I would expect that they would not 'age' as much as being out in the open.

While, on the overview at the 10-mile-high level, all of the above may seem like splitting hairs, I have found that the most significant factors with string longevity are three-fold, based upon the following questions:



Does the instrument go from indoors/outdoors frequently, (with rapid changes in temp/humidity)?
How many hours of ACTIVE play time, both strumming and picking, causing significant vibrations of the strings are on the specific set of strings?
Are the strings subject to contaminants from your hands frequently, lotions, medications, sweat, oils?...as these eventually will leech into the strings themselves...


If in the answers to the above questions have low numbers, then the strings will probably seem to 'last' as long time.

String degradation is usually a very slow and gradual process (with exceptions of course, like poor QC for a bad batch) so unless you have them under your fingers every single day for a significant time period, like 1 hr or so, you may never notice.

It may not even have to be a question the sensitivity or precision of your perceptions, as when the strings are 'bad' or 'worn', there is typically not much of a grey area, and it is usually quite obvious something is not quite right any more.

The only difference is that if your perceptions are more selective, you might detect the changes in your strings sooner rather than later.

Also, another factor from #2 above is that with more play time, which causes the strings to stretch, and eventually loose their elasticity to a point where the tone changes because of the loss of enough tension, there is also friction and pressure against the frets.

I have found that Aquila Nylguts get little indentations where the frets are, MORE OFTEN than most nylon or fluorocarbon strings. I am not sure they are a softer material or if/how the density of the material compares.

Of the dozen or so brands/types of strings I have had the Aquila Nylguts break most often on me, and even NEW strings, that sat un-played for 2 days after installing them, which snapped right at the saddle, and they seem to be more sensitive to sharp edges. I have since filed the (bone) saddle edge to a more round profile on that instrument, and other strings have not snapped yet, but I have not returned to using the Aquilas on that instrument.

While maybe not a direct answer to your question, I hope the above info is useful...

-Booli

Booli
02-20-2014, 11:52 AM
I am beginning to sense changes in the Worth clear strings that came on my tenor eleven months ago. They just seem to feel different and ring differently. Overall, not as responsive as I remember them being. It may just be my imagination, though.

I have often questioned this myself.

Sometimes if you have a cold and your ears and nose are stuffed up, it can mess with your hearing. I have learned I can not trust my hearing when sick with a cold. Also, cold medicines like Nyquil and similar can interfere generally with all perceptions.

I have found that it helps to make a recording of BOTH strumming and plucking once the new strings settle in to tuning.

That way when you think something is off, you can make another recording (with the same equipment, smartphone or even old-school cassette recorder), and then try to compare the sound (you may be better able to hear subtle differences if you listen back with headphones on).

Most of the time the recording is good enough to tell if there is an issue, or, if you are imagining things based upon the suggestive content of forum threads...

(http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?93141-It-s-like-UAS-only-worse-SCO)
:)