Strings Best Ukulele strings that aren't fluorocarbon

decidueye

Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2023
Messages
19
Reaction score
20
Hello, this is my first post!

I just got back in to playing the uke, and being pretty serious about fingerstyle I much prefer fluorocarbon over nylon. The only problem is I'm concerned about the endocrine disrupting nature of fluorocarbon, I am aware that it's also present in nylon, but I don't know if it is worse in fluorocarbon, also though both are present in everyday life, nylon seems to be more common, so it's quite literally pick your poison.
My question is, be it nylon or otherwise what are some non-fluorocarbon strings that at least are close to the quality of fluorocarbon? as from my experience Aquila (specifically, lava, red, nylgut and super nylgut) make laminated ukes sound better, but all-solid or solid-topped ukes sound worse, non-aquila nylons sound cardboard-y to put it short, but all the fluorocarbons I've used sounded of good quality (Ukutustic, Worth) but Martin fluorocarbons are terrible.
Even if it means sacrificing the bright punchiness of fluorocarbon I just at least want quality.

P.S. I usually play a laminated mahogany soprano, and a solid okoume and spruce.
 
Welcome to UU! .... This may help you take one off of your list. Except for two recent Gold Tones which have nygut, all of my ukes have GHS black nylon. The Gold Tones will too, at first string change. You say you're hoping for bright and punchy. The GHS are considered to have a "mellow" tone, and I guess that fits. I just know I like them.
 
Last edited:
Hello, this is my first post!

I just got back in to playing the uke, and being pretty serious about fingerstyle I much prefer fluorocarbon over nylon. The only problem is I'm concerned about the endocrine disrupting nature of fluorocarbon, I am aware that it's also present in nylon, but I don't know if it is worse in fluorocarbon, also though both are present in everyday life, nylon seems to be more common, so it's quite literally pick your poison.
My question is, be it nylon or otherwise what are some non-fluorocarbon strings that at least are close to the quality of fluorocarbon? as from my experience Aquila (specifically, lava, red, nylgut and super nylgut) make laminated ukes sound better, but all-solid or solid-topped ukes sound worse, non-aquila nylons sound cardboard-y to put it short, but all the fluorocarbons I've used sounded of good quality (Ukutustic, Worth) but Martin fluorocarbons are terrible.
Even if it means sacrificing the bright punchiness of fluorocarbon I just at least want quality.

P.S. I usually play a laminated mahogany soprano, and a solid okoume and spruce.
As far as "endocrine disruptor", you could always try natural gut strings. Also Aquila has a "sugar" string set.
 
Many professional ukulele players use nylon strings (Jake, Aldrine, etc). Aldrine has discussed on the Ukulele Underground podcast why he thinks nylon strings are best for his style of playing.
 
Many professional ukulele players use nylon strings (Jake, Aldrine, etc). Aldrine has discussed on the Ukulele Underground podcast why he thinks nylon strings are best for his style of playing.
I know, I just personally have not found any I like. Thanks for responding though :)
 
Check out Aquila Bionylon strings. I like them a lot, but some don't. Maybe you can make things out of your old strings. necklace, bracelet, ankle bracelet, Dog collar, a dream catcher...whatever you can think of.
 
Personally, I think the therapeutic benefits of enjoying playing your uke will far outweigh any perceived harm that might come from the fluorocarbon that is used in your strings. What about <gasp> the chemicals in the glue used in the laminate wood of your uke, or to assembly your uke? Or the varnish used on your uke? Or the grease that they used when assembling the tuners? Geez, if you've ever driven a new car and experienced "new car smell", you've been exposed to a lot more in 5 minutes than you'll get from your ukulele strings in a lifetime of playing.

Just my opinion.

Seriously, don't worry about it. Get the strings that sound good and play the way you want them to and be happy.
 
I'm very picky about strings and I've gone through periods where I preferred nylon trebles exclusively, but recently I prefer mix of 2 wound basses regardless of scale length, one fluorocarbon on the 2nd, and one nylon on the 1st. I have a very heavy right hand attack, and so I prefer the second string to be very high tension, and sometimes heavier gauge nylons can come across a little muddy. The only nylon strings I use these days are Hannabach Silver Specials which can be bought as singles from "Strings By Mail". I have about 50 ukulele students and so I'm constantly coming across different strings that come on the the various ukes they use. One set I've been pleasantly surprised by is the D'Addario Titaniums. I'm not sure what they're made of, but they feel like a mix of Fluorocarbon and Nylon. D'Addario describes them as a monofilament string. I'm not sure I'd use them on my primary performing instruments, but I've been using a set on one of my teaching ukes, and I think they sound particularly good for picking. Best of luck in your search for the strings that work best for your needs ~
 
from my experience Aquila (specifically, lava, red, nylgut and super nylgut) make laminated ukes sound better, but all-solid or solid-topped ukes sound worse,
I have Aquila reds on my soprano Moon Bird and I love their sound & play-ability on it, and it's an all solid: spruce with rosewood.
 
Oh and welcome to the UU forums! I hope you get some helpful answers. There are a lot of string choices out there, but I think few string material choices. It's an interesting thought about possible health / environmental effects caused by the production and/or use of various materials. The Aquila Sugars sound like an interesting alternative (from their website "made using a bio-plastic derived from sugar-cane" - I mean, it's still a plastic at least it's not (only) using petrochemicals as the source material).

In our modern world I think it's next to impossible to avoid everything. It would be nice if we didn't have to think about it :( (although, I suspect a lot of people don't bother thinking about it because, as I said, I think it's pretty hard to avoid, and there are, arguably, other things to worry about).

I mean, look at me, using a laptop computer, my smartphone beside me, in a climate controlled, modern-materials built house, with natural gas heating, double glazed windows, fire-retardant fabrics everywhere, and commenting on a social forum on the internet which uses massive amounts of energy on server farms as the data is whisked around the world... :unsure: Yup, I'm sure doing my bit :rolleyes:
 
Given the whole picture, being "green" is impossible unless we go back to before blacksmiths were "high tech". Something they don't show in Westerns, the streets were coated with horse manure. It got tracked everywhere. Big cities were really bad. Men had full time jobs shoveling it.

Wind farms and EV batteries involve a lot of toxic stuff to manfacture, maintain, and dispose of. All electrical things give off ozone, which we were afraid of not so many years ago?
 
Personally, I think the therapeutic benefits of enjoying playing your uke will far outweigh any perceived harm that might come from the fluorocarbon that is used in your strings. What about <gasp> the chemicals in the glue used in the laminate wood of your uke, or to assembly your uke? Or the varnish used on your uke? Or the grease that they used when assembling the tuners? Geez, if you've ever driven a new car and experienced "new car smell", you've been exposed to a lot more in 5 minutes than you'll get from your ukulele strings in a lifetime of playing.

Just my opinion.

Seriously, don't worry about it. Get the strings that sound good and play the way you want them to and be happy.
Thanks for responding. I kind of addressed the inevitable exposure to chemicals in anything...kind of. I guess I just want to avoid fluorocarbons if at all possible for my preferences, just because I don't technically HAVE to use it to play ukulele. And yes I have thought about the chemicals in other things but what can you do about car poison lol.
 
Given the whole picture, being "green" is impossible unless we go back to before blacksmiths were "high tech". Something they don't show in Westerns, the streets were coated with horse manure. It got tracked everywhere. Big cities were really bad. Men had full time jobs shoveling it.

Wind farms and EV batteries involve a lot of toxic stuff to manfacture, maintain, and dispose of. All electrical things give off ozone, which we were afraid of not so many years ago?
Yeah I am not exactly (or at all) trying to go green here.
 
Maybe you need to try a higher or lower tension instead of just different brands of medium-tension strings
Maybe I should ask if you could give me a rundown in the difference as far as sound goes, if you don't mind?
 
Fluorocarbon are the lowest quality strings as they are originally designed to be fishing line or other purposes. As they can have highest tension they can enhance laminate tops and also work well with heavier built ukes. Aquila strings are purpose designed and highest quality, they work best with high end ukes and magnify quality of uke.

You mention that you like the brightness of fluorocarbon which may indicate that you play for yourself and not for others. Usually there is a loss of high frequency from the players perspective and when you hear bright punchiness then your audience may experience painful harshness.
 
Maybe I should ask if you could give me a rundown in the difference as far as sound goes, if you don't mind?

As a general rule of thumb thinner strings give a brighter tone with more sustain. Larger gauge give a warmer tone and potentially more volume. This is within the same make and type of strings.

As an example Oasis strings offer a Warm and Bright set in their florocarbon line. The only difference is the diameter of the A string, the Bright set is has a smaller diameter A string.
 
Hello, this is my first post!

I just got back in to playing the uke, and being pretty serious about fingerstyle I much prefer fluorocarbon over nylon. The only problem is I'm concerned about the endocrine disrupting nature of fluorocarbon, I am aware that it's also present in nylon, but I don't know if it is worse in fluorocarbon, also though both are present in everyday life, nylon seems to be more common, so it's quite literally pick your poison.
My question is, be it nylon or otherwise what are some non-fluorocarbon strings that at least are close to the quality of fluorocarbon? as from my experience Aquila (specifically, lava, red, nylgut and super nylgut) make laminated ukes sound better, but all-solid or solid-topped ukes sound worse, non-aquila nylons sound cardboard-y to put it short, but all the fluorocarbons I've used sounded of good quality (Ukutustic, Worth) but Martin fluorocarbons are terrible.
Even if it means sacrificing the bright punchiness of fluorocarbon I just at least want quality.

P.S. I usually play a laminated mahogany soprano, and a solid okoume and spruce.

My own experience overlaps but with strings and ukes it‘s hard to make accurate and definitive recommendations that’ll actually prove to be correct; there are just too many variables and the best that we can hope for is to see trends. YMMV is particularly true.

On your laminate I don’t think you’ll go far wrong, if wrong at all, with Aquila‘s. For information Aquilas are neither nylon or fluorocarbon. On your solid top you might like titanium (a form of nylon), some folk like it and others … Strings are a right rabbit hole and you could be lost down it for years.

Whatever you try you should trial it on an extended basis, it can take a couple of weeks before strings give of their best and their true tone. Edit. And it would be helpful (to the forum) to know what particular string sets failed to please, why and on what Uke.

Being health aware is good but unless you have specific allergies I’d not worry about fluorocarbon strings being bad for you. To my best guess any risk with fluorocarbon strings is relatively small and there are significantly bigger hazards in everyday life to be concerned with.

Please let us know what you end up with.
 
Last edited:
As Graham said, strings entice you to dive into all sorts of rabbit holes.

The processes used to make strings specifically for ukuleles consume many times more resources used in the materials for the strings themselves. That said, if you want to reduce your footprint a little while maintaining the sound you like, I would give Aquila sugars a try. They are made from a formula including sugar cane and they play and sound much like some of the brightest fluoros I’ve used.

They often produce an odd squeak on first play; it sounds like you’re playing a metal string, but you’re obviously not. But apparently some of the natural oils from your fingers will lubricate the surface and squeak will disappear after a few plays.

If I’m looking for a bright sound up and down the fretboard along with medium tension, these are worth trying.

Good luck!
 
Top Bottom