View Full Version : New player here: concert Aquila strings for a Mahalo U-30 soprano?

07-29-2014, 04:45 AM
I'll be heading to the beach this weekend and decided I'd finally like to pick up a uke and begin practicing. I decided on the Mahalo U-30 (currently $28 at Amazon) and wanted to pick up some Aquilas from the beginning, unless there's a compelling reason to start with the stock strings (ie. they're not that bad).

I've read about folks putting concert strings on soprano ukes because it can give it a richer tone...what do you think? And if so, what's the difference between these two?



Thanks in advance! I'm excited!

Doug W
07-29-2014, 06:15 AM
Welcome rczrider,

Strings are pretty much personal choice. I like to have soprano strings on sopranos. Thicker strings can add volume but are harder to fret. As I have gotten older and developed a chronic left wrist problem, I have come to appreciate easy. This means lighter strings, buying sound equipment based on how easy it is to carry around rather than how good it sounds and a small dog. Well actually the kids chose the small dog years ago and said I would never have to walk him, feed him or pick up poop. Guess what?

I have given away a lot of those Mahalos in the past few years and kept one that I found recently on Craig's List for $15. I lowered the nut, compensated the saddle and put Martin strings on it and now it is my best beater uke.

07-29-2014, 07:53 AM
I played the stock strings until one broke, which was only a few months. So then I put on a set of Aquillas. They do sound better. They are a little crisper and they are a little easier to hold down on the frets. Notice, I said a little. Reading around, I allowed myself to be convinced that strings were going to make all the difference, but they didn't. Strings are not magic. They don't play themselves. You still need to do the work. Change them if you want, you will have to sooner or later if you keep playing, probably sooner. But it isn't going to make much difference in the long haul. By the way, If you are going to change out the strings, I would just go with the strings for your uke. No use trying to get fancy before you can even play the thing.

07-29-2014, 07:58 AM
Never mind.

07-29-2014, 09:10 AM
One thing about Aquilas - only heard that (from OldePhart?), cannot prove it right or wrong: they tend to dislike very humid conditions, they might sound dull at the coast. Better keep the factory strings or go for some Martin M600 instead (if you don't like the Martins you still can put the original strings back on and you haven't spent a fortune)

07-29-2014, 09:39 AM
If as you said the stock strings "are not that bad" just leave them on and learn to play the uke first, really. If you have a guitar back ground and expect to fly through the beginner stage you can change them out.

I will cast a third vote for Martin M600 and if others jump in this thread you will get a lot more votes for them. They are florocarbon so more impervious to the elements, the M600 is for both soprano and concert and they sell for about 5 bucks. Way better and half the price what is not to love. The soprano I have came with Aquilas, gave them 3 weeks playing, changed to M600 and never going back.

07-29-2014, 09:59 AM
You will hear as many opinions on strings on this forum as there are trees in the forest. Use your ears, and over time, you'll figure out what you like. Aquila is a dependable brand, and my favorite. I like the bold tone and slightly thicker feel of nylon ("nylgut") strings, but others prefer the somewhat mellower tone and thinner diameter of flourocarbon. Over time, you'll develop your own preferences.

If the strings on it now hold their tune and play okay, there's no harm in playing them until you get a taste for the instrument. I'd recommend having a pack or two of new strings on hand, in any case; you never know when you'll break one or just want a new sound.

07-30-2014, 01:40 PM
It's my understanding that Aquila concert and soprano strings are the same diameter, but I am unable to verify that. It is also my opinion that only rarely do any strings sound as good as, let alone better than Aquilas on an inexpensive all-laminate ukulele.

Down Up Dick
07-31-2014, 04:55 AM
I agree with RichM. I only use Aquilas on most of my Ukes, and I'll have to play waaay better before I use somethin' else.