View Full Version : String question!

05-13-2014, 09:56 AM
Hello everyone!
I'm completely new to ukulele playing, I recently bought a Lanikai LU-21Concert Uke. It currently has aquila strings on it, but I'm not sure I really like the sound of them. Whenever I play it it sounds quite pitchy and just harsh and not as 'mellow' or like deep as I heard other ukuleles sound. Can I fix this by changing the strings? If yes, what strings should I go for?
Or could the way I strum it be the problem?
This is probably a really stupid question, but I'm completely new to this so yeah. Also, I'm sorry if this is pretty unclear, english isn't my first language (:
Thank you for helping me!

05-13-2014, 10:28 AM
Did the place you buy the Ukulele from do a setup on it for you? If they didn't, then you may want to take it into a shop and have someone do a professional setup on it and that will make a world of difference.

Changing the strings definitely won't hurt, especially if you don't like the tone of the current ones. Strumming can change the tone as well. Using your fingernail or a pick will make the sound a little brighter, where using the fleshy part of your thumb will make the sound softer.

I'm sure that there is someone on here that has the same instrument and can offer some advice as to what strings they think sound best on it

05-13-2014, 02:10 PM
A Lanikai LU-21C was my very first uke (my wife still has it, actually). The LU-11 and LU-21 series ukes are good beginners ukes but in my experience they do require a bit of set up (I don't know of anything in this price range that doesn't, honestly). I've purchased probably close to a dozen LU-11s for grandkids and friend's kids and what have you. I bought all but one of them from big-box online places because I have the tools and know how to do my own setups. The setup was actually better on them than what you find on many factory ukes costing twice as much - however, every last one of them did need touching up of the nut on at least one string, and usually on two or more. Again, that's typical in this price range.

All were actually playable out of the box (that's actually not that common in this price range) but all needed that final touch to make them really decent.

That said, these are very inexpensive laminated ukes. I've never heard one with great tone, and yes, a "good" Dolphin actually sounds better than the LU-11/LU-21 ukes. The ukes just aren't that responsive. For learning, that's not so important (not as important as good intonation and such), but once you reach the stage where you start recognizing the tonal limitations of the instrument it's probably time to start saving for a decent solid-wood uke.

Honestly, I've not found strings that work better than the stock Aquila on the LU-11/LU-21 ukes. I'm not a big fan of the "Aquila sound" but on these ukes the alternative seems to be a quieter, dull, lifeless uke. That's just how it goes, sometimes.


05-13-2014, 02:24 PM
I have the same uke and I didn't like Aquila strings on it, they sounded muddy and dull. Out of the box, the action on my Lanikai was high so my fingertips were killing me and any kind of barre chord required kung-fu grip. I got the action lowered so now it plays like a breeze and it sounds very nice. (but not with the Aquilas) I'm not sure what you're getting at with the mellow or deep sound. Was the sound you were looking for coming from a concert uke?

Anyway, my Lanikai sounds much better with lighter strings. I like both Martin M600s and Oasis ukulele strings. I have the "bright" Oasis set but they also sell "warm" sets. Both the Martins and the Oasis are fluorocarbon strings.