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Thread: Nylon strings

  1. #1
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    Default Nylon strings

    I've mostly played flouro strings on my ukes, have also liked Aquila on certain ukes. I've never played nylon strings, and was thinking of trying a set of the Daddario EJ65T strings (the ones Jake uses) on a solid mahogany tenor. I've heard that nylon strings stretch more, and take longer to settle in, maybe up to a week. My question is regarding the tone, does it change as these strings settle in? If I install them, and don't care for the sound, perhaps finding it warmer/duller than I'm used to with flouros, should I expect they will sound substantially different/better after a week of playing/settling?

    For me, most flouros usually sound great right out of the gate, lots of sparkle and chime, and settle quickly. I know, I know, why bother with nylons, but I've always been curious about these specific nylon strings.
    Last edited by Ukecaster; 12-29-2019 at 07:32 AM.
    John

  2. #2
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    John, I've tried the black nylon D'Addarios on a couple of ukes. They sounded a little dull and muted to me, and did take forever to stop stretching. The clears may have more (ahem) clarity.

    I strum 100% of the time so they may be a better option if you pick. But the nylons didn't do it for me. YMMV, of course!
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  3. #3
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    I’d like to know more about Nylon strings and did do some research a little while back on them. The better Nylon Strings aren’t necessary much cheaper than Fluorocarbon so don’t buy on price. IIRC Dr Bekken likes the black GHS Nylon stings and I believe that anything that’s good enough for him to buy is pretty much fine for the rest of us to try too.
    From when I briefly tried some nylon strings my recollection is that they didn’t match the volume of Aquila’s and of Fluorocarbon, but volume isn’t everything.

  4. #4
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    If you have a bright 'ukulele, the D'Addarios are an effective way take the edge off, especially the lower highs. As nylon ages the character doesn't change much. At the extreme of its life, like fluorocarbon, it loses a little sustain, volume and tension. Also the wear from right hand fingernails may "sand" it a bit, resulting in a slightly brighter timbre like rectified strings. I like nylon on my Ramirez classical guitars but prefer fluorocarbon on most of my 'ukuleles. My Kremona Coco tenor was overly bright when new and I used nylon on it for about 6 months. After play-in, it mellowed and Seaguar Pink (most mellow fluorocarbon I could find) sounds perfect.

    D'Addario Titanium are slightly brighter than standard nylon—love them on my Hirade classicals—and might be the ticket for 'ukulele if you want a timbre somewhere between fluorocarbon and nylon.

    Finally, if you're a soloist whom uses lots of vibrato, both nylon and Titanium are much more responsive to vibrato technique than fluorocarbon.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for all the tips. I consider mahogany a warmer sounding wood, so I'll probably pass on the nylons, and go flouro or try Nylguts, which I like on some ukes. The thing about Jakes's influence on this string set, he's playing a koa tenor, which I usually consider brighter than mahogany, and he's usually plugged in. I'm mostly a low down unplugged strummer, not doing any fancy vibrato stuff, and want sparkle, chime and volume, so nylons probably aren't for me.
    John

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ukecaster View Post
    sparkle, chime and volume
    Yeah, to me those words don't describe nylon at all. I think more along the lines of warm, mellow, and soft. At least with the clear nylon strings I've tried from D'addario and La Bella. Those black strings I think are supposed to be even more warm and have more tension. It has been too long ago for me to remember them well. The clears I've played are very easy on the fingers and lower tension.

    All that said, I have been surprised before to find out that strings I wouldn't think would work on a uke were actually something I really liked. Strings are cheap, maybe it's worth a try just once for the sake of experimentation and to form your own opinions. I like the La Bella uke pro for nylon. Note that nylons are fatter strings than the others so if they were kept on some nut slot adjustment might need to be made...and yes they do take longer to stay in tune. They also are more affected by the weather.
    Last edited by jer; 12-29-2019 at 03:42 PM.

  7. #7
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    I was under the impression that Aquila Nylgut variations are Nylon strings. That they have some other materials mixed in, but are primarily Nylon. Aquila fine tunes the diameters to get a particular sound from their strings. For instance to replicate more of a "gut" sound.

    I don't like the sound of Nylon strings at all. (Except on a banjo uke.) To me they have a very edgy "whang, whang!" Kind of sound that I find to be too piercing. I tire of it very quickly.

    The Aquila Sugars seem to be a good compromise between Nylon and fluorocarbon strings.

    I like the sound of most fluorocarbon strings. Especially for Low-G tuning. My go to strings are Living Waters Low-G. But I use Worth Browns and Fremont Blacks as well.

    Martin fluorocarbons, for some reason, are really hard on my fingers. They sound pretty good though.
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  8. #8
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    I tried those Daddario strings (jake's set) and they're very high tension. I read that they're really classical guitar strings repackaged for uke. Anyway, they were painful to play. I tried and tried, and had to get rid of them. I have years playing guitar and uke and my finger hurt! I also tried the Titanium strings and I had never heard such dull strings in any of my ukes (but some people like them; that's why we have some many string choices). I really enjoy Aquila's New nylguts for "nylon" strings, and they do mimic the original gut sound very well (there are some youtube videos comparing them, I haven't tried gut strings myself, too expensive). I also enjoy Aquila's sugar strings for a brighter chime than nylgut, more like carbon strings.

    just my two cents.

    eugenio

  9. #9
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    I tried those Daddario strings (jake's set) and they're very high tension. I read that they're really classical guitar strings repackaged for uke. Anyway, they were painful to play. I tried and tried, and had to get rid of them. I have years playing guitar and uke and my finger hurt! I also tried the Titanium strings and I had never heard such dull strings in any of my ukes (but some people like them; that's why we have some many string choices). I really enjoy Aquila's New nylguts for "nylon" strings, and they do mimic the original gut sound very well (there are some youtube videos comparing them, I haven't tried gut strings myself, too expensive). I also enjoy Aquila's sugar strings for a brighter chime than nylgut, more like carbon strings.

    just my two cents.

    eugenio

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by emarcano View Post
    I tried those Daddario strings (jake's set) and they're very high tension. I read that they're really classical guitar strings repackaged for uke. Anyway, they were painful to play. I tried and tried, and had to get rid of them. I have years playing guitar and uke and my finger hurt!

    Snip

    eugenio
    D'Addario Clear Nylon came with my kala super tenor, hardest strings I've ever used on a stringed instrument. PhD play far better, with less wear on the fingers!

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