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Thread: Question about Strings

  1. #1
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    Default Question about Strings

    Hi guys, I've been using Aquila strings on a few of my ukes for a few years now... It's the gold pack. I was wondering what another type of strings everyone likes to use. I need to change my strings soon (need change out my tuning pegs) and would like to trying something different.
    Last edited by chonnyman; 04-23-2021 at 01:21 PM.

  2. #2
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    I think that the gold packs are some kind of Nylgut. The Aquila Red and Sugar strings are more recent developments if you want to try the leading edge of string technology but stay with the familiar feeling of Aquila thickness and tension. Otherwise, many members here like fluorocarbon strings which are basically filaments made for other purposes but also can be used as strings for ukes and guitars. They tend to be much thinner than Aquila and can have quite high tension, so are often suited for more gentle playing.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlin666 View Post
    I think that the gold packs are some kind of Nylgut.
    The Gold Packs are the Nylgut, and the black packages are either Super Nylgut or Lava strings.

    To get an idea of what's available and some general descriptions, try Stringsbymail.com or Stringsandbeyond.com. They offer most, but all, of the strings available for your instruments. Some are for only one size ukulele, others are one size fits all. (Excluding Baritones.)

    Mostly divided into two camps: Nylon and Fluorocarbon strings. With some outsiders such as genuine gut and sugar derived strings by Aquila. Some Nylons have other materials incorporated. Most Fluoros are based upon fishing line made to the mfg's specs and proprietary formulas.

    Wound strings have different metals wrapped around a nylon string core and then polished to different degrees. These are sometimes classical guitar strings. Savarez offers strings that are their repackaged guitar strings.

    So, lots and lots of choices. It can be overwhelming. Fortunately, ukulele strings are relatively inexpensive. I suggest you start with one of your ukes. Try some popular strings and see what you like or don't like and then work from there. Not all strings work on all ukuleles.

    I really like fluorocarbon strings. Especially Living Waters strings. But they aren't for everybody.

    Enjoy the exploration. Maybe keep a record. Have fun.
    Last edited by Kenn2018; 04-24-2021 at 07:39 AM.
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  4. #4

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    I'm a big fan of D'addario Pro Arte (the concert set works great for Sopranos, Concerts and Tenors... I'm not a big fan of the Tenor set, which are higher tension).

    D'addario Titanium (fluocarbon) are also great!

    If you want to tune in Low-G, keep in mind you can use ANY classical guitar string set. Normal tension will translate to Normal tension on ukulele. Use the 4th-1st strings (DGBE) and tune it up to GCEA on any Soprano, Concert or Tenor ukulele. (for baritone ukulele, use ADGB to tune up to DGBE).

    Best way to decide what you like is trial and error. And keep in mind, different strings suit different ukuleles, and they take a few weeks to settle in and sound their best. Some strings sound a bit dead for the first few days while they're still stretching, but really open up.


    I like the above strings, because they feel thicker and warmer when fingerpicked - a bit like classical guitar.

    I am not a fan of strings that feel thin, like some other fluorocarbons and Aquila nylguts.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by kissing View Post
    I'm a big fan of D'addario Pro Arte (the concert set works great for Sopranos, Concerts and Tenors... I'm not a big fan of the Tenor set, which are higher tension).

    D'addario Titanium (fluocarbon) are also great!
    By Pro Arte, do you mean their nylon set of strings or something else? They do fluorocarbon strings under that name as well.

    Also those Titanium strings aren't actually fluorocarbon but rather a different type of monofilament material. Brighter than nylon but still similar in terms of gauge and stretchiness.

    Regarding the original question, I would definitely try both fluorocarbon and nylon strings. They position themselves at the opposite sides of the spectrum in terms of brightness and gauge, fluorocarbons being thinner and brighter and nylons being warmer and thicker. However, fluorocarbons are superior in terms of stability and intonation. The stretchiness of nylon causes some issues in both of those aspects. Aquilas, or at least their nylgut strings, sit in between of those. I would definitely try both fluorocarbons and nylons, especially if you play the longer scale ukes. For sopranos, I almost exclusively recommend fluorocarbons.

    edit.

    Also, I wouldn't describe fluorocarbons as having more tension than other types of strings, at least if you're not using a high tension set specifically. The tension feels very similar to other typical nylon or nylgut strings. Of course the tension is greater per volume but since the strings are thinner the overall tension is, or at least feels, about the same.
    Last edited by Dohle; 04-24-2021 at 05:47 AM.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dohle View Post
    By Pro Arte, do you mean their nylon set of strings or something else? They do fluorocarbon strings under that name as well.

    Also those Titanium strings aren't actually fluorocarbon but rather a different type of monofilament material. Brighter than nylon but still similar in terms of gauge and stretchiness.

    Regarding the original question, I would definitely try both fluorocarbon and nylon strings. They position themselves at the opposite sides of the spectrum in terms of brightness and gauge, fluorocarbons being thinner and brighter and nylons being warmer and thicker. However, fluorocarbons are superior in terms of stability and intonation. The stretchiness of nylon causes some issues in both of those aspects. Aquilas, or at least their nylgut strings, sit in between of those. I would definitely try both fluorocarbons and nylons, especially if you play the longer scale ukes. For sopranos, I almost exclusively recommend fluorocarbons.

    edit.

    Also, I wouldn't describe fluorocarbons as having more tension than other types of strings, at least if you're not using a high tension set specifically. The tension feels very similar to other typical nylon or nylgut strings. Of course the tension is greater per volume but since the strings are thinner the overall tension is, or at least feels, about the same.
    Haha my bad - feels like I failed on some kind of exam

    Yes, I realise that Pro-Arte now comes in various materials and types.
    I'm referring to the Nylons, either clear or rectified.

    For Titanium, I was a bit confused. I read "monofilament" on the packaging and my brain thought fluorocarbon because they're both materials commonly used for fishing line. Apparently there is a difference between the two, though as a total amateur to fishing they all seem similar.

    Regards fluorocarbon tensions... what I find is that the typical fluorocarbon set from brands like Worth and Fremont, what they call strings for "soprano" "concert" or "tenor" feels like they are higher tension than the equivalent string that comes in nylon or nylgut. Maybe that's a subjective thing? Maybe it's to do with the strings being thinner (thinner strings dig into the skin more). I recall that Martin's standard fluorocarbons feel loose (though I don't like the thin feeling).

    Whenever a uke comes stock with fluorocarbons (eg: Risa), I notice an immediate reduction in overall tension when I change the strings to nylguts or nylon.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by chonnyman View Post
    Hi guys, I've been using Aquila strings on a few of my ukes for a few years now... It's the gold pack. I was wondering what another type of strings everyone likes to use. I need to change my strings soon (need change out my tuning pegs) and would like to trying something different.
    My best guess is that you’re using the standard New Nylgut type strings, they’re OK but I moved away from them in favour of Martin M600 fluorocarbon strings - my favourite for several years and reasonably priced. Fremont Blackline’s have a following too and I quite liked a set that I used.

    One of my Ukes has the later Super Nylgut strings on it and I’m very pleased with those. IMHO the Supers are similar to but better than the ‘original’ Nylgut, they’re definitely worth a try and ‘perfect’ for some Ukes. Historically and in broad terms Nylon doesn’t work that well on laminate Ukes, hence when the (more powerful) original Nylgut strings arrived they quickly displaced (the not really strong enough) Nylon strings.

    I suggest that you stay away from Nylon strings for now because: they might not drive your sound board quite hard enough, they can be very variable between manufactures, they tend not to hold their pitch reliably, intonation can be variable too and being thicker they might not sit well in the slots in your Uke’s nut. After the original cattle gut strings Nylon was the historical choice for Ukes but even ‘better’ new materials became available. For Nylon recommendations I think that Kissing above (#5 & #7) is a good guide; whilst the name can and does confuse the Titanium’s are a Nylon type material too and they’re slightly coloured. Overall Nylon isn’t a popular choice, but some people really like the (Nylon) Titanium strings and (hidden) amongst the others their are good sets of Nylon strings that work well for some people on some instruments.

    As noted elsewhere it can take a couple of weeks for stings to settle and for them to sound their best.
    Last edited by Graham Greenbag; 04-26-2021 at 02:58 AM. Reason: Extra detail added.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by kissing View Post
    Regards fluorocarbon tensions... what I find is that the typical fluorocarbon set from brands like Worth and Fremont, what they call strings for "soprano" "concert" or "tenor" feels like they are higher tension than the equivalent string that comes in nylon or nylgut. Maybe that's a subjective thing? Maybe it's to do with the strings being thinner (thinner strings dig into the skin more). I recall that Martin's standard fluorocarbons feel loose (though I don't like the thin feeling).

    Whenever a uke comes stock with fluorocarbons (eg: Risa), I notice an immediate reduction in overall tension when I change the strings to nylguts or nylon.
    I doubt the tension with fluorocarbons vs. nylon is actually that much greater if at all. For example, D'Addario lists their string tensions on their website and the tension for their fluorocarbon strings is completely equivalent to that of their nylon sets. The difference in feel is probably just that, feeling, whether it's because of the thickness of the strings or something else. For example, I feel that nylguts have the greatest tension because they are fairly stiff and feel rough on my fingers but I know their actual tension is about the same as nylon. Another example: Black nylon typically has more tension than clear nylon but the feel is still identical to me.

    I have to say that I also prefer the feel of thicker nylon strings and I've tried almost every set I can get my hands on (I mean, I made a whole thread about it ). The issue for me is that on smaller scale ukes, which I mostly play, nylon strings just don't give enough volume for my taste. They usually sound really good, of course depending on the instrument, but most of the time they lack volume and often some of the high-end frequencies as well, so even if I prefer the feel I massively prefer the sound of fluorocarbons more. I also prefer fluorocarbons for their stability. If I played tenors I would probably use nylons much more. In fact, my baritone is one of only two ukes with which I only use nylons, the other one being my vintage Martin tuned to D with clear nylons.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlin666 View Post
    I think that the gold packs are some kind of Nylgut. The Aquila Red and Sugar strings are more recent developments if you want to try the leading edge of string technology but stay with the familiar feeling of Aquila thickness and tension. Otherwise, many members here like fluorocarbon strings which are basically filaments made for other purposes but also can be used as strings for ukes and guitars. They tend to be much thinner than Aquila and can have quite high tension, so are often suited for more gentle playing.
    I agree. If you like the feel and thickness of Aquila, then you might try their other varieties. The Sugar strings have a brighter sound than the nylguts. Aquila also produces a “premium” string for Martin that’s excellent.

    I mostly use fluoros (Worth Briwn medium or Fremont blackline), but those two Aquila varieties are great on some instruments.
    The site truncates my signature so I can't tell you

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