FYI - Uke Strings

Kanaka916

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Strings FYI
One of the most recurring question on the UU Forums concerns strings. There are numerous threads regarding string selection, recommendations and what would be the “best” string set available. Strings are by far the best inexpensive upgrade you can do to get your instrument to sound better. There are several string manufacturers often mentioned and popular among the members are Aquila and Worth. Other popular string sets are from Southcoast, D’Addario, Fremont, Hilo and Ko’olau. A number of members use classical guitar string sets from Savarez and D’Addario.

Selecting a string set is purely subjective and a matter of personal preference. Keep in mind the set you totally rave about may not work for others. Consider factors such as build and tonewood combinations as well as tone, feel and playability. As your skill develops, you’ll probably change your string preference to a certain brand. Please keep in mind, this thread is informational and will not advise you which string is recommended or considered best.

String Types
  • Gut
  • Nylon
  • Fluorocarbon
  • Synthetic Gut
String Types
String Types (Ukulele World)

String Manufacturers A - L
  • Aquila Ukulele Strings
    Introduction: The development of a new synthetic material that can imitate the acoustical characteristics of gut but without the typical defects such as high cost, short string life, and severe instability to changes of climate, has always been a fundamental goal of Aquila's research. Nylgut is the result. Nylgut's formula is protected by U.S. and International patents.

    Technical Characteristics and Field of Application: Nylgut has a specific density and acoustical qualities nearly identical to that of gut, and is the first truly successful synthetic version of the natural product.

    Other strong points of Nylgut are its elevated resistance to wear under tension-greater than that of gut-but even more important is its extraordinary immunity to changes of climate, considerably better than that of Nylon and thereby ensuring a superior stability of tuning under normal conditions.

    Aquila has also developed a Bionylon string, a new polymer said to be mellower than Nylgut. Elderly has them in stock and I suspect other distributors have them or will have them by January 2011.

    Excerpt from Just Strings . . .
    Bionylon®

    Aquila has introduced an alternative to the very popular Nylgut for which they are known. Bionylon®, is the world's first eco-friendly synthetic string.

    Made of rounded, smooth Bionylon® monofilaments these Ukulele strings possess excellent acoustic and mechanical properties. Bionylon® is primarily derived from castor oil which allows a reduction of 50% of carbon dioxide emissions during the polymer synthesis as compared with other common Nylons used for Ukulele strings.
    http://aquilacorde.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=96&Itemid=1656&lang=en
  • Aurora
    . . . made specifically for ukuleles. Our Silkgut ukulele strings provide a warm long lasting tone and available in a multitude of colors. Order direct from manufacturer's website.
  • Black Diamond
  • Bushman
    Bushman strings are made in the USA using an easy-push, long-lasting, tune-holding formula that's stronger than nylon and sounds better - more melodic, less "staticky" - than gut.

    Available in C tuning and Low G for Sopranos, Concerts and Tenors.
  • D’Addario
    Nylon Strings: J65 (Soprano) J-53 (Concert - Black), J54 (Concert - Black, wound C), J68 (Bari)
    Pro Arte: J71(Tenor), J92(Concert)
    Pro Arte Classical Guitar Sets; See Classical Guitar Strings on 6 and 8 String Tenors in the "Links" section. EJ45 (Normal), EJ46 (Hard)
    T2 Titanium Trebles; T45 (Normal), T46 (Hard)
  • Dunlop Ukulele Strings
    . . . made with a proprietary blend of nylon monofilament for improved flexibility, tuning and longevity and inspected using laser precision technology to ensure overall consistency.
  • Fremont
    A clear Flurocarbon string made in Japan. Also available are Blacklines (Black Flurocarbon strings) as well as a wound squeakless low G single (Soloist).
  • Galli Ukulele Strings An Italian string company offering Bionylon and Fluorocarbon strings. Available through dealers online (Strings By Mail, Just Strings, Musicians Friend, Amazon).
  • GHS
  • Guadalupe - order direct 2610 E CHAVEZ AVE SUITE C, Los Angeles, California 90033
    323-266-2242
  • Hilo
    Hilo strings are made from a special type of black nylon called Tynex. Hilo strings are more resistant to moisture absorption than other types of nylon. Hilo Tynex strings are custom ground to close tolerances helping to insure Hilo strings will play in tune, stay in tune, and have a long playing life.
  • John Pearse Nylon Filament Wound on Nylon
  • Kala
    • Reds
      Kala Ukulele teams up with renowned String Artisans LaBella to create a unique string set for Ukulele. Discover incredible tone, volume and clarity that come from this handcrafted wound string. Note: Kala Red string sets are cut to length. Do not cut the Red Wound strings(C and E strings) or they will unravel.
    • Pearl New
      These unique microwound strings designed for ukulele are made with a special thin polyamide, flat wound over a nylon multifilament core that produce a unique combination of brilliance, projection and deep tone.
  • Kamaka
  • Ko’olau
    Gold series 'Ukulele Strings are professional quality strings, preferred by performers and recording artists. Note; Gold Series back by popular demand
    Alohi (Hawaiian for brilliance, pronouced A-lo-hee) Crafted from a dense monofilament material that has an attractive, translucent purple hue. They have a polished, smooth feel analogous to nylon, but with a slightly brighter tone and increased projection.
    Mahana (Hawaiian for warmth) strings are sorted by a sophisticated computer-controlled laser machine which performs diameter/tension measurements and quality check, insuring true sounding, precise tone in every set. Mahana strings are also a very high quality nylon material, clear instead of yellow, and gauging has been slightly modified. Excellent tone and intonation, similar to the Gold Series.
    • Mahana string packaging is a mango yellow color, actually made from mango fruit waste.
    • ‘Alohi string packaging is a pale gray color, actually made from banana fruit waste.
  • LaBella New string selections.
  • Living Water Strings These sets are assembled in the UK by Ken Middleton and they have gotten very positive reviews. The following is an excerpt from Ken's site:
    . . . hi-tech fluorocarbon, these strings give a wonderfully vibrant, crystal-clear tone to your ukulele. They are made to exacting standards, with a complex polymer structure that is formulated to give both strength and flexibility, whilst maintaining an excellent resistance to abrasion. In other words, they don't break easily, they vibrate well and last a long time.
 
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Kanaka916

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String Manufacturers M - Z
  • Martin
    M630 Bari Fluorocarbons
    M620 Tenor
    M600 Concert/Soprano
  • PhD Strings
    Developed by Jason Arimoto. These clear strings utilize PVDF (polyvinylidene flouride) a polymer of higher molecular weight and density than nylon strings, which will give your uke superior volume, sustain, and playability. Available at Ukulele Creations.
  • Oasis
    Double Set; available with either a high (Fluoro) or low G string (nylon core with copper/silver wrapped)
  • Orca
    ORCAS ukulele strings are manufactured in Japan and made of premium fluorocarbon material. Orcas strings offer longer life and stable tuning.
    Fluorocarbon material is ultra-violet resistance, stable, and does not change with the humidity. Traditional nylon ukulele strings will absorb the humidity and changes with the weather, and as a result, de-tune the instrument.

    Orcas strings are very warm sounding. The tone is rich, clear, and balance string to string volume.
  • Roto Sound
  • Savarez (Guitar Set) See Classical Guitar Strings on 6 and 8 String Tenors in the "Links" section. J (High Tension), R (Normal Tension)
  • Southcoast Ukes
    With the increasing variety of string types available today, however, there is no reason that a custom set for a four stringed instrument could not have as many as four different materials. In ukulele sets, new material also means that the need for wound strings is greatly reduced. New, brighter formulation “treble”, or unwound, materials can be used for the low notes, together with softer material for the high notes, and in this process, tension can also be considered.
  • Worth; benefits of using Worth fluoro-carbon strings include:
    • Elasticity - When setting new strings, these fluorocarbon strings will distend only for one or two days..
    • No future relaxing of the strings elasticity will occur which makes the string go flat.
    • Balance - Choosing strings with same tension of nylon ones, Worth strings can be very thin and yet have good balance. Worth Strings are tailored for the balance you prefer.
    • Volume - The very thin Fluoro-carbon string produce excellant volume.
    • Tone - Worth strings have good, resounding, high, dry, sweet sound.
    • Clarity - Unchangeable in changing weather conditions. These strings have the same voice, regardless of the instrument body type.

Links

Where to Buy
 
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Piikea

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Personally, I have changed all of my ukuleles strings to Aquila. At first I was thinking a bit of snake oil in their claims, but all of my ukes have lost that clunky percussive sound and been replaced with a clear, chime and great articulation and tone. They came standard on my Big Island Ukulele Tenor and I just thought them fantastic. Heresy that it is, I actually changed the Kamaka strings on my wife's double k Soprano to Aquilas, she wasn't pleased..."Eh, dey stay white"...;-) But once she heard them.... I highly recommend them.
 

ukulefty

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Wow this is a great sticky! Thanks!

Lots of info on one of the most common forum questions all in one place.

:cheers:




PS: My 100th post! Woot, woot! :D lol
 

Ted4

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Kanaka916,
What a fabulous discourse. Thanks for all the obvious donkey work you have had to put in.
 

Elainede

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Square sticker low G.jpg
I'd like to add DaKine Line to the list. These are 100% premier clear fluorocarbon with all of the qualities exhibited by other fluorocarbon strings.

In using them myself on various ukuleles for the last 4 years, I have been especially impressed with how long they have lasted and especially how well they stay in tune! One of the biggest advantages, however, for those who prefer to play with a low G, is that with these strings the low G is not wound. Which means that you don't get that annoying squeeking sound as you move your finger up and down on it.

I believe this is the only string company that lets you purchase the low-G all by itself. They are also available in sets for soprano/concert and tenor size ukuleles.

Right now they are only available through DaKineLine and Kani-Ka-Pila.

And here's the all-important disclaimer. These are produced by my son, a young entrepreneur (now 16) and player of ukulele, lap-steel and slack key guitar, 5-string banjo, and builder of multiple ukuleles, who is saving to further his education.
 

beautifulsoup

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Perhaps you should add the website for Mimsukes on post #2, under Where to Buy . Or, since her website is kind of just a blue page with words for now, maybe a link to MIM's store on Ebay? I suggest her because she is highly regarded in the community. :)

(Umm... if she sells strings, that is...)
 

ADD

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You might want to add LIVING WATER STRINGS and even though they are Made in Heaven you can contact Ken Middleton here on UU to purchase them.
 

Greig

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Kala 6 String

I was wondering if you knew the type of strings to use on a 6 string ukulele? I know a regular set would be ok, but I am having difficulties figuring out what size to low wound A string is and what to ask for. The G string size would also be worthwhile knowing. Thanks.
 

Kanaka916

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Standard 6 string sets have the 1st (A) and 3rd (C) courses octaved while the 2nd (E) and 4th (G) courses are singles. Another configuration has the 1st course in unison with the 4th course being a low G and leaving the other courses intact. Ko`olau offers this config in their string sets.

Here's the breakdown of the Ko'olau 6 String Set:

(packet #4)
6th G – .032 Silver Wound
(packet #3)
5th C – .020 Plain Monofilament
4th C – .041 Plain Monofilament
(packet #2)
3rd E – .033 Plain Monofilament
(packet #1)
2nd A – .029 Plain Monofilament
1st A – .029 Plain Monofilament

Info on the Southcoast 6 & 8 String sets can be found here . . .
 

colemole

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Great Job

Great job. Appreciate the information. Have been wondering about strings and their characteristics and you have provided a great many answers.
 

cdkrugjr

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Question I don't see answered:

Whose strings are tend to which tensions?
 

PhilUSAFRet

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I went with Southcoast's recommendations for maximum Chime. I have the 8 string set and have mine tuned G cC E AA. I was thinking of changing to aA, but Dirk said it wouldn't make too much difference.
 

Five Ways

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Having tried most strings on the market I am now more than happy with Kens living water strings, I like the feel and the sound of them, so as long as they are available I will use them, but it is a personal choice.
 

Ken Middleton

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You might want to add LIVING WATER STRINGS and even though they are Made in Heaven you can contact Ken Middleton here on UU to purchase them.

Not really. My strings are only available from the online store on my website. I just cannot run a business through a forum. Even when I am at home, I would miss too many orders. But I am often travelling and don't always get change to check everything.

However, I am really happy to answer general questions through PMs, on the subject of strings or anything else.
 

strumsilly

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saw these
Galli Strings UX730 BIONYLON Tenor UKULELE Strings

on Musicians friend, $3.99 shipped. might try them as they are pretty cheap. they also make fluoro.

Aquilla also has a new product, their super nygluts [grey package]. with red low g. have them on a vintage Martin tenor. so far I LIKE THEM. but they are pricy. silkier than their nygluts, hope the red holds up, have not had good luck with them.
here is a nice review [not mine]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEpBA_McMjg
 
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