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View Full Version : Passing on Ukes due to stock Aquila Strings: What other strings would work well?



sam13
03-13-2014, 05:24 AM
Hello All,

Just wanted to let you know I love these boards and appreciate your input greatly! Thanks in advance.

I am having a hard time considering a new ukulele because of the stock Aquila strings. I know some like them and that is great ... but as a newbie I like warmer sounds ... like cedar, mahogany and koa. I find that the Aquila strings remove the warmth from the sound.

But as a newbie, I have very little knowledge of what might work. I am considering the following Tenor ukuleles:

Gretsch 9120 SM - Mahogany
Mainland Tenor Cedar/Rosewood - (I find it really bright and need to tone it down a little ... Worth Browns?)
Kala STG - (I know it is a solid Spruce Top but is there a string that would mellow out the brightness a little?)

Thanks for your thoughts,

sam13

UkerDanno
03-13-2014, 05:41 AM
strings are typically $5-$7...no need to pass on a uke because you don't like the strings!

PereBourik
03-13-2014, 05:52 AM
Strings are both cheap and easy to change. In my opinion just about any string sounds better that Aquila. I hear the string more than the instrument. Generally, fluorocarbon strings will be smaller gauge than nylon strings, thus less tension for a given pitch. This makes them seem easier to play for me. YMMV. Again generally, Fluorocarbon (Martin, Worth, Fremont, Oasis, Living Water, PhD) strings will be a little brighter than nylon (D'Addario, Ko olau, GHS) without being as brash as Aquila.

Mahogany sounds to me like a "mellower" sound wood. My mahogany (sapele, really) concert blends the sound more than my koa concert. That becomes a mood thing. It also affects how you will sound when playing in a group.

Cedar and spruce will be louder/brighter with any given string. They are both softer woods so a little more care should be taken not to ding the top.

When I get an instrument strung with Aquila strings I'll whip a set of Martin M600 on it after about three strums.

PereBourik
03-13-2014, 05:52 AM
strings are typically $5-$7...no need to pass on a uke because you don't like the strings!

What he said.

sam13
03-13-2014, 06:07 AM
Good point regarding strings ... I should just get the uke and a bunch of strings and strum away ... !

Kind of don't throw the baby out with the bath water.

I like what I am hearing ... cheers. Lots to learn and eager ...

Only regret I didn't fall in love with this instrument 20 years ago!

SailingUke
03-13-2014, 06:48 AM
Hello All,

Just wanted to let you know I love these boards and appreciate your input greatly! Thanks in advance.

I am having a hard time considering a new ukulele because of the stock Aquila strings. I know some like them and that is great ... but as a newbie I like warmer sounds ... like cedar, mahogany and koa. I find that the Aquila strings remove the warmth from the sound.

But as a newbie, I have very little knowledge of what might work. I am considering the following Tenor ukuleles:

Gretsch 9120 SM - Mahogany
Mainland Tenor Cedar/Rosewood - (I find it really bright and need to tone it down a little ... Worth Browns?)
Kala STG - (I know it is a solid Spruce Top but is there a string that would mellow out the brightness a little?)

Thanks for your thoughts,

sam13

I have played the Rosewood/Cedar Mainland it is a classic sound the rosewood rings and the cedar mellows it a bit.
I sold an Ohana which is the same ukulele, recently I re-acquired one. My significant other also plays an Ohana rosewood/cedar tenor.
She loves the ukulele and its voice. We use flouro carbon strings with a polished flatwound low g on both ukes. Mine is tuned dGBE.

OmegaMatt
03-13-2014, 07:14 AM
I understand what you mean about passing on ukes - I think it is natural to get a bit bored of the ubiquitous Aquila. I regularly review ukes and I struggle to hear the differences between models strung with Aquila. I've taken to restringing them with Worth just so I can hear the instrument, not the strings - as has been said above. To make a cheap uke sound good I'm all for Aquila, but not to make a good uke sound like it has character.

Kayak Jim
03-13-2014, 07:53 AM
The problem I have is when trying ukes with Aquilas I don't really know what the sound will be like with my string of choice.

sukie
03-13-2014, 07:54 AM
strings are typically $5-$7...no need to pass on a uke because you don't like the strings!

This....exactly.

Icelander53
03-13-2014, 08:01 AM
I understand what you mean about passing on ukes - I think it is natural to get a bit bored of the ubiquitous Aquila. I regularly review ukes and I struggle to hear the differences between models strung with Aquila. I've taken to restringing them with Worth just so I can hear the instrument, not the strings - as has been said above. To make a cheap uke sound good I'm all for Aquila, but not to make a good uke sound like it has character.

I admit to being ignorant here but I have aquila on my Fluke and I can't imagine a sweeter sound. I have another Fluke with low G tuning using La Bella strings. They sound pretty awesome IMO but I think the aquila sound just a tad nicer. I'm going to buy a bunch of strings soon and give them a try and educate myself but I've been generally very happy with aquila. I don't like them on my epiphone uke however.

RichM
03-13-2014, 08:06 AM
I admit to being ignorant here but I have aquila on my Fluke and I can't imagine a sweeter sound. I have another Fluke with low G tuning using La Bella strings. They sound pretty awesome IMO but I think the aquila sound just a tad nicer. I'm going to buy a bunch of strings soon and give them a try and educate myself but I've been generally very happy with aquila. I don't like them on my epiphone uke however.

Trust your ears, Icelander. If it sounds good to you, that's all that matters. It's become very fashionable here to bash Aquilas, but don't let that influence you. I find they have a clean, ringing tone that I love, and the fact that they have a slightly thicker profile than most fluorocarbons gives them a great feel and gives you the option to dig in a little when playing fingerstyle. I always have to laugh a little when people proclaim that Aquilas are only for cheaper ukes; I've had them on everything from cheapies to great vintage ukes to top-of-the-line customs and I think they sound great all around.

ogg
03-13-2014, 08:59 AM
After a while you accumulate a drawer full of string packets...some complete and some just spares for a rainy Sunday afternoon swap-o-rama...

BTW: Aquilas are good, durable strings maybe not suited for all types of uke woods but better than most...and they feel great for fingerstyle.

OmegaMatt
03-13-2014, 09:00 AM
Personally I am a fan of Aquilas on cheaper ukes - I have other preferences for more expensive ones in general. I think it is fair enough to hold that opinion, just as it is fine to have the opinion they're good on everything. Aquila rarely sound bad on anything to me - and if they do its probably the uke's fault. I just think by exploring and testing other makes too - only then can you find the perfect string for you. I've got an Aquila strung uke, a La Bella strung uke and a Worth BT strung uke and each I've tried various combinations with and settled on those.

sam13
03-13-2014, 09:00 AM
With a little bit of knowledge, I am starting to see how many combinations of tone wood and strings there are ... I agree with you Icelander and RichM ... go with your ears and what you like ... after all, you are the one playing the Uke!

For me, I am looking for something different. Thanks for your input.

Its all good.

peaceweaver3
03-13-2014, 09:15 AM
For a more mellow sound in general, I'd try Worth browns.

And anything else you can get your hands on so you find your own preferences.

stringy
03-13-2014, 03:30 PM
We all have our favorite strings/sounds. I personally don't use Aquila strings but I would never bash them or assume others do not prefer them. I am always suspicious of such threads or posts.

Especially the posts I've read on other threads where (under the guise of HELPING newbies (eye roll)...bashings occur followed by praise for brands a lot of people consider to be mass-produced novelty ukes!!!! Things that make you go hummmm.

Like I said...very suspicious.

Back to the strings. If you like your sound and your happy with your strings that is all that matters.

Peace....

sam13
03-13-2014, 04:00 PM
We all have our favorite strings/sounds. I personally don't use Aquila strings but I would never bash them or assume others do not prefer them. I am always suspicious of such threads or posts.

Especially the posts I've read on other threads where (under the guise of HELPING newbies (eye roll)...bashings occur followed by praise for brands a lot of people consider to be mass-produced novelty ukes!!!! Things that make you go hummmm.

Like I said...very suspicious.

Back to the strings. If you like your sound and your happy with your strings that is all that matters.

Peace....

I agree with your comment.

However, I can assure you that I am not interested in bashing a string over another ... even as a newbie to Ukulele ... I have quite a bit of music experience ... just new to Ukulele and really LOVE IT. Just really seeking knowledge and options.

I am very appreciative of all of the comments and will be looking to make a NUD soon with some warmer strings ... and also buying some extras ... Considering a Kala STG with Worth Browns ... like the definition of the solid Spruce top ... looking for a little more warmth.

dickadcock
03-14-2014, 03:07 AM
By now, most of the important, relevant, points have been made except one, which new ukers need to know. We are saying Aquila, but are, I believe, talking about the Nylgut line of Aquila's, which have become common on many brands of ukes. I haven't tried their bionylon, red sets, or the new super nylgut, for example, so I couldn't say Aquila good or Aquila bad. What is possibly most helpful is having the same string on uke samples in a store. If you know what to expect from Aquila -- oops, Nylgut -- then you might learn more while strumming a strange uke. If the other uke you try has black GHS strings, then ... Your opinion of the uke might be affected by the strings. Actually, you know it will.

I am trying out D'Addario Nyltech (made in USA) which my luthier/dealer gave me, and find them to be the same as Nylgut, as I expected. I was surprised that the 3 month old Nylguts I took off the laminated tenor had lost a lot of their brilliance. (I know, I used laminated and brilliance in the same sentence, but those hard strings tend to do that, & I'm not sure any string is going to give me a "mellow" laminated. … hope I'm wrong.)
We don't hear the same things; we don't like the same things, & don't want to hear the same things. Enjoy…