Ukulele String Comparisons Spreadsheet

Jon Moody

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Just yesterday I decided to change the original Aquila strings on my tenor Gretsch G9121 A.C.E. because I was not getting much sustain or projection. I had a set of GHS black nylon with a wound C aluminum. They're heavier than the Aquilas, but still don't have sustain and presence. So far I've liked the sound of fluorocarbon Worth CT clears I put on a couple of my other ukes.

Here is where a tension chart falls a bit short. Tension is the amount of force that a string puts on the instrument when tuned to a specific pitch, but that's basically it. It doesn't accurately tell you how stiff a string is going to feel, how much sustain that string will have, and whether or not your uke will like it.

The GHS black nylon - and ALL black nylon strings, really - are not the same as the Aquila, due to the compounds. So while the GHS on paper may look to have more tension, it's going to feel a lot looser than the Aquilas. It's the same as CJay's comment about the D'Addario T2 strings; they felt very stiff but the tension values were less than Aquilas; that is due more to the titanium that is put in the nylon compound for the T2 strings over the tension value on the paper.

Tension charts are great and a good resource, but they're not the gospel. Other factors will come into play that can and can't be accurately measured.
 

dickadcock

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This thread is in danger of getting lost here. What is the best way to make theSS link more accessible?
 

NOTLguy

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I agree. I don't know how to get this to be a sticky. Anyone know?

Regards,
Bill
 

iDavid

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So, which tenor string set will feel like it has the least amount of tension. Ala, easy on the hands...

I'm in the middle of experimenting with different Southcoast sets and find their chart quite useful.
 

iamesperambient

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So, which tenor string set will feel like it has the least amount of tension. Ala, easy on the hands...

I'm in the middle of experimenting with different Southcoast sets and find their chart quite useful.

not oasis their really super high tension on a tenor!
 

Booli

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Recently on one of the many threads about ukulele strings, a spreadsheet comparing string manufacturers and types was mentioned. It does not seem to be available to the forum anymore.

...

In the meantime, here is the link to the PDF File of this Spreadsheet which you can link to without needing permissions. You can also print out the file from this location.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9XJ7_3iJeaNdTRhYi1LdmN3cUk/edit?usp=sharing

I hope you find this useful.

Regards,
Bill

Thank you for creating this document. It is quite helpful - saves me from going to each web site when I want to compare.

It seems that the lightest gauge strings, across the board are the Worth CL and Worth BL. I have tried both, each on 2 different soprano and concert scale, and find that the pressure required to fret is much lower, making barre chords significantly easier.

Surprisingly, also the Aquila REDS soprano strings, once settled in, also seem to require little pressure to fret the strings.

Having said that, if your uke has a thick top, and requires more tension to drive it optimally (like the Epiphone Les Paul) you will get a slightly lower acoustic volume output from the instrument if you use strings with lower tension.

YMMV as to decide if the better playability is worth the slightly softer sound.

So far I've tested 15 different brands, and with some, like Worths, many of the variations within each style [going further than what was discussed here: http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?93141-It-s-like-UAS-only-worse-SCO] and your spreadsheet is still quite helpful as I progress to test other sets of strings.

Thank you.

-Booli
 

Rick Turner

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Very nice, but are all the manufacturers using exactly the same scale length?

And folks should note that different string compositions lead to different diameters at different tensions because the important factor there is linear density, not a measured diameter. For instance, flourocarbon is denser than old fashioned nylon, hence thinner strings for a given tension.
 

Ukejolly

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Aquila Red is one of the string sets that I could find no data on. I tried contacting Aquila with no success. If anyone knows where I can obtain data on these strings, please contact me and I will add them to the sheet.

Regards,
Bill

Are there more information about these Aquila, Red Series today? Has anyone tried them? Any thoughts or comments?
 

strumsilly

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Hi CJay,

It is interesting to see how tension and string diameter plays out on this spreadsheet. I tried a set of D'Addario J-71 strings and found they hurt my fingers and had a lot of tension. Another set, D'Addario EJ87T's I tried were much easier on the fingers but had slightly higher tension values and slightly larger string diameters on certain strings. The EJ87T strings are Dense Monofilament while the J71's are Nylon. The combination of tension and string diameter and string composition can play out in many different ways.

Once again, string choice boils down to individual preference and is subjective, but a set of specifications helps with choices.


Regards,
Bill
Yeasterday I put the top 4 strings from a Daadario pro arte classical set on my Koaloha tenor, and today as they've settled in I have to say I really like them. They are less than $7 shipped on MF. the # is ej43. They are nylon so the diameters are bigger than fleuro. with a silverplated wound D, which you use as your G. your mileage may vary. anybody else like them. also wondering how the normal tension EJ45 set woould work.
 

Nickie

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I can't say I like or dislike the D'Addarios. My Tammy hates them on her tenor, the C sounds muddy and dead. They're coming off soon, and being replaced with a set of baritone tuned GHS strings like Craig Chee uses.
 

BB11

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Thank you, great resource for those of us that like a lighter tension or heavier tension set.
 

BB11

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Would Kamaka Strings be the same as the black nylon D'Addario?
 

CommonCurt

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I know this is an old thread, but thank you for posting this.

I've been trying to find out Aquila gauges for a while, and it's nice to have all the brands in a spreadsheet.
 

Wukulele

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D'addario Carbon, Fremont Black, Martin & Seaguar Blue/Premier Comparison Jan 2019

I know this is an old thread, but thank you for posting this.

^^ Ditto

I was curious about all the "fishing line as string" discussions & looked through most of them. I just jotted down a bunch of personal notes which morphed into a comparison of fluorocarbon strings (D'Addario Carbons, Fremont Black/Hard & Martin) & Seaguar Blue & Seaguar Premium. These notes may be subject to editing over time.
The specs I saw on the Seaguar site were a bit different than some posted on other threads.

Here are my notes in case anyone's interested.

D'addario Carbon, Fremont Black, Martin & Seaguar Blue/Premier Comparison Jan 2019

screenshot
Screen Shot 2019-01-03 at 4.15.36 PM.jpg

My interest was honed in on fluorocarbon strings in the interest of a brighter sound for the non-solid ukes I've gathered: ABS plastic (Kala Waterman), composite polycarbonate (Outdoor Ukulele), laminate/ABS (Magic Fluke Flea), all laminate (Kala Kiwi). Owners of the Flight travel series TUS35 TUS50 may be interested in this too.
I didn't focus on tension specs, just diameter (see comment #21 by John Moody on this thread).

EDIT TO ADD: What I'm also interested in is getting strings that sound/play decently on a soprano & sopranissimo. Advice on that would be appreciated if anyone has played around w/ fishing line & mini ukes.
 

Mymgb

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What is the difference between U21 and U22 Aquila Baritone strings
 

PhilUSAFRet

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It's 6 years later...……...thank you, just what I needed. Updated version?
 

merlin666

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Are there more information about these Aquila, Red Series today? Has anyone tried them? Any thoughts or comments?

The "official" thickness of the Aquila red low G strings seems to remain a mystery.