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Icelander53
06-06-2014, 12:31 PM
I'm just getting my feet wet with this whole string obsession and frankly I find it a little bothersome. I've tried several brands like Oasis, D'Addario, La Bella and of course Aquila. My results have been very hit or miss except for one string set. I was wondering myself why almost every uke I buy or look at seems to come stock with Aquilas. It's occurred to me that the reason is they usually make the uke sound good. That in effect has been my experience. I've never switched out an Aquila string and over time have come to feel it was a good thing to have done. In the end nothing sounds better to my ear or plays better than Aquila's. I've used them on at least a dozen ukes and it's been true every time.

Now I know saying all that is going to be controversial and of course taste is somewhat subjective but I have to put some stock in the fact that over and over most ukes I've seen come stock with Aquilas. There must be a good reason for that. I'm concluding that "in general" there are no better strings to be found.

I'm just going to buy them and use them and save myself the headache of trying to find a "perfect/better" string for each uke.

Discuss if you choose.

kissing
06-06-2014, 12:42 PM
It really does depend..

SailingUke
06-06-2014, 12:43 PM
No doubt there will be many posts on this thread.
There are many similar string threads.
Aquila is definitely a good string and many a ukulele as been fitted with them and have performed well.
You don't say what kind of ukuleles you have Aquilas on, but once you move up to a premium uke you may find the subtle tones from a flouro carbon string may be to your liking.
Also ours ears change over time. I am finding as I play more I am hearing tones better.
Again, I am not saying Aquilas are not good, but most of the pros I know are playing some kind of flouro carbon.

iamesperambient
06-06-2014, 12:45 PM
I'm just getting my feet wet with this whole string obsession and frankly I find it a little bothersome. I've tried several brands like Oasis, D'Addario, La Bella and of course Aquila. My results have been very hit or miss except for one string set. I was wondering myself why almost every uke I buy or look at seems to come stock with Aquilas. It's occurred to me that the reason is they usually make the uke sound good. That in effect has been my experience. I've never switched out an Aquila string and over time have come to feel it was a good thing to have done. In the end nothing sounds better to my ear or plays better than Aquila's. I've used them on at least a dozen ukes and it's been true every time.

Now I know saying all that is going to be controversial and of course taste is somewhat subjective but I have to put some stock in the fact that over and over most ukes I've seen come stock with Aquilas. There must be a good reason for that. I'm concluding that "in general" there are no better strings to be found.

I'm just going to buy them and use them and save myself the headache of trying to find a "perfect/better" string for each uke.

Discuss if you choose.

I like aquila bu im in process of trying out new strings so i can't say for 100 % that aquilla is my favorite but their amazingly
good. So far worth seems to be up there too with me. Living waters is my next string to try waiting for my pack from ken
with the strings.

DownUpDave
06-06-2014, 01:17 PM
You sir are blessed. If you have found bliss there is no need to look any farther, nor listen to the opinions of others. Your ears are the most important critics.

Icelander53
06-06-2014, 01:49 PM
No doubt there will be many posts on this thread.
There are many similar string threads.
Aquila is definitely a good string and many a ukulele as been fitted with them and have performed well.
You don't say what kind of ukuleles you have Aquilas on, but once you move up to a premium uke you may find the subtle tones from a flouro carbon string may be to your liking.
Also ours ears change over time. I am finding as I play more I am hearing tones better.
Again, I am not saying Aquilas are not good, but most of the pros I know are playing some kind of flouro carbon.

You could be right of course. I don't have any upper end ukes so that's an unknown. The Oasis I have tried on some middle tier ukes didn't overwhelm me.

Does anyone have any other reasons that Aquilas end up as stock strings on so many ukes?

Icelander53
06-06-2014, 01:52 PM
You sir are blessed. If you have found bliss there is no need to look any farther, nor listen to the opinions of others. Your ears are the most important critics.

I'm thinking you may be right. I know that having started in my 60s and with limited musical talent I'm not going to be hitting the celestial realms anytime soon. It might very likely be better for me to become and stay happy right where I find myself string wise. I certainly can hear some sweet notes from these Aquilas. Especially on my all wood instruments but also on my Fluke.

Icelander53
06-06-2014, 02:51 PM
I wondered about that myself. Maybe Aquila is giving a great volume price on their strings.

As to getting ones moneys worth I'm not sure how one would tally that. If I really don't like the sound of the stock strings, after giving them a shot then it would hardly be worth it to me to keep them on until they wear out. I'd likely put it aside in favor of another uke and hope they just rotted off from neglect lol.

But I am in some agreement with you. I believe I know enough now not to think there is a magical string out there for my new uke that will sound a world better than the stock Aquila's it has. But when I bought my little Les Paul the string change made a lot of difference in that case. I have no idea why a company would put a stock string on a uke that most people aren't going to be somewhat happy with. Most people who buy that Gibson get rid of those stock strings post haste.

RichM
06-06-2014, 03:22 PM
I imagine that fact that Aquilas ship as stock on so many ukes has more to do with good marketing on Aquila's part than anything else. But the most basic rule of music is, if it sounds good, it is good. If you like the sound you are getting from Aquilas, there is not reason to second-guess yourself. It doesn't matter a damn what someone else thinks when you like what you're hearing.

For what it's worth, I own a wide range of ukes from economical to high-end, and tried most brands of strings out there. Aquila remains my string of choice.

janeray1940
06-06-2014, 03:29 PM
Does anyone have any other reasons that Aquilas end up as stock strings on so many ukes?

I'm guessing it's because for a long time, there weren't a lot of string choices, and both wholesale companies and music stores are just sticking with what they know. I remember when it seemed the only easily-available choices were Aquila and black nylon GHS - and of those two, Aquila is far better! I used them on all of my Kamakas until I discovered Martin M600s, and really haven't looked back since. Aquilas on solid koa ukes tend to sound a little bit harsh sometimes, in my experience. So many of the brands kicked around in discussions here - PhD, Living Water, etc - are pretty recent developments. Others, like Worth, were really hard to find only a few years ago.


The Oasis I have tried on some middle tier ukes didn't overwhelm me.

I tried Oasis recently on one of my Kamakas and was underwhelmed as well. They were... okay, but I like Martins better. So that's what I'm sticking with. I'm sure I'll try new things as they cross my radar, but in general I agree with your sentiment about not wanting to pursue the "perfect" string, since I like what I have very much.

PereBourik
06-06-2014, 04:00 PM
I'm negative on Aquila.

Martins are my go to and just in case string.

I tend to go with the string choice of the maker, at least for a month or so. They know their instruments better than I do.

So: Worths on the KoAloha Pineapple l/n & KoAlana.
Martins on the Martin and Flea.
Living Water (for now) on the Pono (with PhD next in line).
ORCAS on the Imua.
The Blackbird Clara came with Oasis and a wound low G. Oasis were too brash. Switched to Fremont Blacklines re-entrant. Much better.

OldePhart
06-06-2014, 04:48 PM
Aquilas have one thing going for them, IMHO - they are extremely consistent in tone and intonation. It doesn't much matter what uke you put them on, the result is going to sound like Aquilas and the intonation will be reasonably decent (barring the uke being a complete bit of refuse, of course). That's great on ukes that are dead enough to not have much of a "nuance" of their own, and it's tolerable on better ukes especially if you like that particular kind of "brash" sound. On ukes that bring more to the table there are often better choices but that is true of any brand of string. On my various ukes I have some that "like" Aquilas, some that "like" fluorocarbon strings, some that prefer Ko'Olau Alohi nylons, some that prefer Ko'Olau Gold nylons, etc.

I got a good laugh when I heard Aquilas on a KoAloha soprano a couple of years ago...it was loud but sounded more like a Kala or Lanikai with Aquilas than it did a KoAloha uke.

John

itsme
06-06-2014, 04:54 PM
I think Aquilas can be good on certain ukes, but in general, I think they're kind of harsh feeling under my fingers and harsh sounding to my ears. They aren't my favorites, but whatever floats your boat. :o

Dane
06-06-2014, 05:16 PM
I feel aquila can make bad ukes sound decent. I also feel that aquilas sound really great for strummers, and they have great volume. For more intricate finger styles and tunes, I appreciate the tone definition of something more like a fluorocarbon.

Steveperrywriter
06-06-2014, 06:34 PM
I bought Aqilas years ago for a classical guitar, because Aquilas had a good reputation for making an inexpensive instrument sound better. They did. Not as much on a good instrument, but I liked the tone and that's what my classical wears today.

None of my ukes like the basic Aquilas, but that's no slur on the brand. When they come out with their new fluorocarbons, I'll give them a try ...

Ramart
06-06-2014, 08:06 PM
If, say, Goodyear were known by manufacturers to offer a really rock-bottom, loss-leader wholesale discount on good-quality tires it sold to car makers, don't you think General Motors, for example, might be only too happy to use mostly Goodyear tires on its Chevrolets, Buicks, et al? And don't you think Goodyear might more-than-make-up-for its deep-discount wholesale pricing by engendering lots of good will via familiarity among GM car buyers, who then are more likely than they otherwise would have been to purchase Goodyear-brand replacement tires when the stock set wears out?

I'm not saying that's how Aquilas became so ubiquitous as stock strings or so popular as after-market replacements, but such an economic factor as savvy wholesale marketing to mftrs. might help account for the uber-success enjoyed by that brand, along with such factors as its Italian cachet and generally high quality and consistency (let's forget for the moment the problematic Red Series v1.0 ).

I'm just saying that quality alone is not always the reason a brand develops rampant, mass-market appeal. (Otherwise, to cite one extreme example of exalted mediocrity, what could explain the runaway popularity of Corona beer?)

igorthebarbarian
06-06-2014, 08:40 PM
I think string choice is even more personal choice, and probably the single most widely disagreed topic on UU. I would say it's even more divergent than brands/sizes. It's the one thing no one can agree on. I personally like clear fluorocabron's (Worth, Living Water, Martin). To each his own...

Pippin
06-06-2014, 08:55 PM
I bought Aqilas years ago for a classical guitar, because Aquilas had a good reputation for making an inexpensive instrument sound better. They did. Not as much on a good instrument, but I liked the tone and that's what my classical wears today.

None of my ukes like the basic Aquilas, but that's no slur on the brand. When they come out with their new fluorocarbons, I'll give them a try ...

Don't hold your breath on that wait. Aquila makes their own strings. To my knowledge, none of the fluorocarbon string brands actually manufacture their own strings from raw materials... they are simply repackaged. Aquila strings are the work of one man's formulas. I don't think that Mimmo Peruffo (the man behind the company) is going to dabble in fluorocarbon.

TheCraftedCow
06-06-2014, 09:09 PM
My daughter and I had a discussion about colour. Does everyone see the same hue/value/tint/shade? It was my thinking that probably we do.....until I had cataract surgery ONE eye. My Gosh!!! One eye saw something entirely different from the other eye. One of my ears hears differently from the other one. It would be interesting to compare the sound with people who are not players/owners to see which string set they think sound better than the others---then ask what they think is the difference. Last I looked, we didn't have to sign up for National String Care. Do not let someone talk you into or out of your personal preference for strings. Yes....I have Aquilas on all of my ukuleles. red on some--white on the rest

Steveperrywriter
06-06-2014, 09:44 PM
Don't hold your breath on that wait. Aquila makes their own strings. To my knowledge, none of the fluorocarbon string brands actually manufacture their own strings from raw materials... they are simply repackaged. Aquila strings are the work of one man's formulas. I don't think that Mimmo Peruffo (the man behind the company) is going to dabble in fluorocarbon.

I think he is ...

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?96555-Aquila-FLUOCRISTAL-ukulele-strings-Coming-soon-!&highlight=Mimmo

tainauke
06-06-2014, 09:46 PM
Like most people said, strings are a personal choice. I think most ukuleles come with Aquilas because they are good strings. When you hear the ukulele demos on HMS, many ukuleles sound good and have Aquila strings. As said before, those strings are quite consistent.

Personally, I prefer fluocarbon strings. I find that the Aquilas are a bit too "squeaky" and that my fingers don't "glide" on them like fluorocarbon strings. But this is a personal preference.

I don't care what strings people are playing, so long as it isn't fishing lines (but then again, I could be surprised!)

Jon Moody
06-07-2014, 12:39 AM
Does anyone have any other reasons that Aquilas end up as stock strings on so many ukes?

Simple business. For companies manufacturing a large amount of ukuleles, strings become a very costly endeavor, especially because it's an item that will always get replaced. Aquila has very competitive bulk pricing that is attractive to many OEM companies.

Jon Moody
06-07-2014, 12:46 AM
To my knowledge, none of the fluorocarbon string brands actually manufacture their own strings from raw materials... they are simply repackaged.

While I can't/won't argue that, there is a LOT more that goes into bringing a string to market than just making the string. Especially with a material that someone gets from a third party, there is a tremendous amount of research into the material itself, a lot of samples and an exhaustive amount of stringing up ukuleles, playing them at gigs, taking notes, rinse and repeat. Then there's the whole beta testing where you get those proposed sets out to players (pro and hobbyist) to get their thoughts.

Lots more involved that just acquiring the materials.

actadh
06-07-2014, 12:49 AM
My Luna came with Aquila Nylgut strings. It sounds amazing and I will replace with the same down the road.

However, I put the same Aquila Nylguts on two other very basic (ok, cheap) ukuleles where they did very little for the sound, So I can't really agree that they make cheap ukuleles sound better.

I just got in a 1940"s Silvertone on which the seller had just replaced the strings. One string broke within the first hour, so I put on a set of Aquila Reds. It made a big difference in the sound - still the vintage plink, but warmer and clearer.

PereBourik
06-07-2014, 02:45 AM
Aquilas have one thing going for them, IMHO - they are extremely consistent in tone and intonation. It doesn't much matter what uke you put them on, the result is going to sound like Aquilas and the intonation will be reasonably decent (barring the uke being a complete bit of refuse, of course). That's great on ukes that are dead enough to not have much of a "nuance" of their own, and it's tolerable on better ukes especially if you like that particular kind of "brash" sound. On ukes that bring more to the table there are often better choices but that is true of any brand of string. On my various ukes I have some that "like" Aquilas, some that "like" fluorocarbon strings, some that prefer Ko'Olau Alohi nylons, some that prefer Ko'Olau Gold nylons, etc.

I got a good laugh when I heard Aquilas on a KoAloha soprano a couple of years ago...it was loud but sounded more like a Kala or Lanikai with Aquilas than it did a KoAloha uke.

John

This is it. With Aquilas I hear the string more than I hear the instrument. I'd rather hear the instrument.

NOTLguy
06-07-2014, 03:00 AM
I have been transitioning through several brands of strings on my Pono Tenor including Ko'olau Mohana, D'Addario J71, Ej88C, Worth BM and Aquila Nylgut, and so far the sound which satisfies my ear so far is the Aquilas. It is so subjective. The best set will be the set that satisfies my ear on my ukulele.

ukegirl
06-07-2014, 03:06 AM
I have to say that I like them and find myself putting them on everything.

janeray1940
06-07-2014, 04:54 AM
I don't care what strings people are playing, so long as it isn't fishing lines (but then again, I could be surprised!)

The builder who made my custom uses fluorocarbon fishing line, which is what he shipped the uke with. They sounded great and had really nice tension!

Icelander53
06-07-2014, 05:42 AM
This is it. With Aquilas I hear the string more than I hear the instrument. I'd rather hear the instrument.

I've never noticed that at all in my experience. I always hear the same instrument when using different strings. I've heard that comment before but I really have my doubts about it.

Tim Mullins
06-07-2014, 06:00 AM
I have only used white Aquila concert sets on all my ukuleles for many years. They have the sound, intonation and tension that I like for either strumming or finger picking. I haven't tried every possible type of string, but of those I have tried, these are the best!

kohanmike
06-07-2014, 06:02 AM
I've gone through 11 commercial ukes in the last year, all came with Aquila strings. The cheapest uke was a poorly made Vietnamese mandolele that I quickly changed to fluorocarbon strings and that helped a lot (I've since passed it on). After a few months of playing my koa 2 hole Chinese import that sounded "brash", I changed to Worth CTs, which made it much warmer and smoother.

After playing my Gretsch solid mahogany for the last 8 months, I'm finding that I don't like the sound of it anymore and I'm going to try a set of GHS black strings that came extra with one of my ukes, with a C wound string.

OldePhart
06-07-2014, 06:27 AM
I don't care what strings people are playing, so long as it isn't fishing lines (but then again, I could be surprised!)

You must hate KoAloha ukes then, they make no apologies about using "Japanese fishing line" - and that's also what Worth fluorocarbon strings appear to be. The Worth clears are in exactly the same gages that Seaguar fluorocarbon fishing leader comes in. I've had both Worth clears and my Seaguar "fishing line" and I can't find a spec of difference in the feel, volume, or tone. I can't prove that Worth strings are just repackaged Seaguar leader but I would be extraordinarily surprised if they are not.

John

Manalishi
06-07-2014, 06:45 AM
I think it will also depend on if your uke is a solid top or a laminate;
Aquilas are known to 'drive' laminates and cheapies better than some
other brands. Plus it will depend on how you want your uke to sound.
Some prefer a tinnier 'harsh' sounding twang,some prefer a mellow and
more rounded tone.Horses for courses really.If you are happy with the
sound that Aquila strings produce,then certainly stick with them!
For me,half the fun is experimenting.Occasionally you try a different
set on a particular uke,and it seems to give it that extra 'something'!

stevepetergal
06-07-2014, 07:23 AM
I've found satisfaction with one brand of string, too. Different choice than yours, but the same zen-like result.
I've even done the same thing with beer. (I do still try a different one now and then, but) I'm perfectly happy having the same frothy malt beverage in the fridge all the time. I'm pretty much done shopping around.
Feels like freedom.

Dougf
06-07-2014, 08:00 AM
Last year I swapped out fluorocarbon strings for Aquila on my homemade ukulele #3, and recorded a sound sample before and after. Itís still subjective, but doing a side-by-side comparison, I like the Aquilas better.

Here are the samples, just YouTube vids of me noodling around. Try opening each in a separate browser window and compare for about 5 seconds each. I tried to play the same thing both times.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUuubcyhzrk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjeFZBFEEmo

tainauke
06-08-2014, 10:50 AM
You must hate KoAloha ukes then, they make no apologies about using "Japanese fishing line" - and that's also what Worth fluorocarbon strings appear to be. The Worth clears are in exactly the same gages that Seaguar fluorocarbon fishing leader comes in. I've had both Worth clears and my Seaguar "fishing line" and I can't find a spec of difference in the feel, volume, or tone. I can't prove that Worth strings are just repackaged Seaguar leader but I would be extraordinarily surprised if they are not.

John

Wow!!! Well, at least I've learned something today. As for Koaloha I've never had the possibility to either see one "for real" or to hear one with their "fishy strings" ;) Perhaps I'll be blown away...

Ukejenny
06-08-2014, 12:46 PM
I'm pretty much done shopping around.
Feels like freedom.

That sounds good to me! Like finding your "soul mate" in whatever chosen passion. I'd be interested to know which beer you have settled on.

I say, as long is it does it for you, whatever string of choice is the string you should be using.

I'm a reed player, so unless the strings don't work, I'll use them until time to change, I guess because I would never throw out a good playing reed, even though it isn't my favorite. I have Aquilas on my Ohana soprano. They seem to work quite nicely. I may put Aquilas back on that instrument. My Ohana concert had Aquilas on it and it didn't please me, so I put on Worth clears. Better, but I still may try a different string next time. My KPK tenor came with Worth clears and I really like the feel, sound and reaction.

SailingUke
06-08-2014, 01:41 PM
You must hate KoAloha ukes then, they make no apologies about using "Japanese fishing line" - and that's also what Worth fluorocarbon strings appear to be. The Worth clears are in exactly the same gages that Seaguar fluorocarbon fishing leader comes in. I've had both Worth clears and my Seaguar "fishing line" and I can't find a spec of difference in the feel, volume, or tone. I can't prove that Worth strings are just repackaged Seaguar leader but I would be extraordinarily surprised if they are not.

John

Mike DaSilva strings his ukuleles with fishing leader. James Hill also uses fishing leader.
Fishing leader is flouro carbon line. There are very few manufacturers in Japan, so I am with John on this that most flouro carbon strings are just repackaged fishing leader.

stevepetergal
06-09-2014, 08:43 AM
Mike DaSilva strings his ukuleles with fishing leader. James Hill also uses fishing leader.
Fishing leader is flouro carbon line. There are very few manufacturers in Japan, so I am with John on this that most flouro carbon strings are just repackaged fishing leader.

Gerald Ross says he too uses fishing line.

Ramart
06-17-2014, 03:56 PM
I would guess that most if not all (and maybe all) uke string marketers AND marketers of fishing line have no choice but to buy bulk fluorocarbon string from the same sources (specialized synthetic string extruders that use equipment costing more than the marketers want or need to invest in); uke string/fishing line marketers then cut/package/label the string for their respective markets/purposes.

And, apart from varying guages, I doubt whether such marketers have much to choose from in terms of different wholesale product specs (i.e., fluorocarbon is fluorocarbon), though some is brown, some clear, etc.

I suppose it's even possible the fabrication of the upcoming Aquila Fluorocristal could be outsourced to a specialized extruder, though that string apparently will be a new, unique formulation devised by Aquila.