Learning to enjoy Kamaka strings, an acquired taste?

Doc_J

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Last month I picked up a new Kamaka HF-4. I was considering to just have the Kamaka strings replaced immediately, as I wasn't a fan of them. But, it's been years since I tried those strings, so decided to give the Kamaka strings a go.

Maybe strings are like many things in life, you have to try and learn to like them. Like food and beverages, some strings and ukes are an immediate enjoyment and others are an acquired taste. Also like food, variety is usually a joy.

I'm partial to fluorocarbons (Oasis, Savarez, D'addario, Living Water,...), and sometimes use Aquila Nylguts, Titanium strings ( Alohi, D'addario).
The Kamaka black nylons are different, less sustain, but some nice crisp tones and warmth. I'm actually enjoying the tonal differences of these strings. The more time I spend with these strings, the better I learn to play to their strengths.

Maybe the Kamaka strings work well here because this is a lower toned baritone. I also believe a great uke will sound good with about any decent string set.

I plan on keeping these strings on the HF-4. The short crispness of these strings produces a more uke-like sound?

Here's my Kamaka HF-4 with the OEM Kamaka strings:
https://app.box.com/s/omrke6fhjbyerwsuhkizzeqqyvuns7od
 
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about2

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Don't blame you at all for keeping them on . . . they sound great. Very even. No one string seems to overpower the others. Clear, no muddiness. And the E string rings nicely. Seems like that can be a problem with some baritone strings - the E string, which often carries the melody, seems weak. I've played around with finding the "right" bari strings. Haven't tried Kamaka's . . . I'll put them on my list for Santa.
 

Bill Sheehan

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Pretty cool! Always fun to experiment! I think a good part of the "uke journey" is simply the "process"... or as we sometimes say, "GETTING there is as much fun as BEING there!" Good to know about those Kamaka black nylons! May give 'em a try sometime! Thanks, Doc!
 

Dohle

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For baritones, I adore Kamaka strings, and also D'Addario black nylon strings which are basically the same. Other types of nylon strings sound too bright for my tastes on a baritone but black nylons are warm and mellow, just the way I like it on a baritone. On smaller ukes with regular tuning, I'd say they're definitely an acquired taste. I've seen so many posts about replacing the stock Kamaka strings immediately when someone has bought a Kamaka. I personally like them on smaller Kamaka ukuleles as well since they give the instrument that quintessential Kamaka sound. I tried fluorocarbons (which I usually prefer) on my Kamaka and, in my opinion, it lost most of it's identity.
 

glennerd

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I've been guilty of immediately changing strings when I get a ukulele. But it's worth holding off to see if the original strings grow on you. There's a reason the maker picked those strings. My last ukulele came with nylguts and I wanted to change them to fluoros, but didn't get around to it. Now I like it with nylguts.

Similarly, my favourite ukuleles are ones that had to grow on me. Makes me wonder about returning/selling a few of my ukuleles too quickly.
 

rafter

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I have Kamaka strings on my Kamaka concert. I tend to keep stock strings on ukes for a while, even if I know I'll prefer other ones, just because I want to get a feel for what the builder intended the uke to sound like. I'm partial to fluorocarbons, but the stock Kamakas have grown on me, in part because of their distinct sound. I feel like changing to a different kind of string will make my Kamaka lose some of its signature sound. That said, I don't love the feel of Kamaka nylons on my fingers.

It would seem for baritones, which can sometimes sound muddy, I would prefer brighter strings. But I haven't tested this out.
 

ancient

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I have tried other strings on my Kamaka but have gone back to the Kamaka strings. The intonation is spot on with the Kamaka strings. I think the Kamaka strings sound best.
 

kerneltime

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I put then on my Ken Timms Koa, it does have its own personality and sounds nice.
best strummed or chord melody, not so much for classical
 

ancient

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I tried fluorocarbon strings but you loose so much of the warmth and depth of the KAMAKA uke with them. The dAddario EJ65T strings also sound good on a Kamaka uke.