Finally no more squeak on my Aquila Reds, which I think are awesome strings :D

LinguaUke

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Hello everyone!

I've got an old hand-made solid cavaquinho with uke soprano strings and a cheap Stagg UT-30 tenor uke on wich I've put Aquila Reds on. I've been very surprised on how bright and resonant the ukulele sounds with these strings (and, to my pleasant surprise, the instrument itself has a good, loud sound, much better than what I expected for the price tag of around 60€).

Anyway, when I first got the Aquilas they sounded good but they squeaked a lot with my dry, brute fingers due to their grippy and precise nature (listen to that constant, scrapey squeak), and it becomes really annoying despite being lovely to play - I really love the feedback of the tight strings when picking because you can really control easily the strings with your fingertips, but it is very disconcerting when you hear a "shui" sound every single time you finger pick a string. Now, after a couple of months, they are finally losing all the squeak and sound just brilliant in my opinion (after a while example here).
Forgive me if I'm not very good yet in these samples but I did only start learning the ukulele at the end of October and I think the audios showcase the strings well enough, since I can't do very complex stuff yet this is just a chord progression with a picking pattern, which I keep evolving as I practice and add to it.

(Also, some people suggest skin moisturization to minimize initial squeaking, but I be damned if I'll apply lotion before playing an instrument 😂)

I've seen Mimmo of Aquila sometimes post on the forum, so my congrats to him, che belle corde fai, complimenti!
 
Firstly, WELCOME! Next, wow beautiful playing.

To your topic, yes that is definitely a thing with the Reds. I completely empathize. But they're such marvellous strings. I just restrung my uku with them and am in that settling in phase. But I'm ok with that because they just sound so much better than what I had to take off, I'm so happy to have them back on.
 
Let us know how long they last, I'm curious about that!
I will report on this thread if they break prematurely, from what I've gathered the main problem with breakages are either the string catching in the nut because they have a lot of grip or the edge of the pegs edges cutting through the string if one does not tie them before starting to stretch. I've followed Aquila's instructions for stringing them and so far I've had no problems, fingers crossed!
They also hold the pitch for a very long time, even playing vigorously :)
 
Oh man, a couple of months before the squeak is gone? I'm going through that now with a 2 week old set of Nyltechs. The squeak isn't as bad as with a set of Sugars, but still annoying, and I hope it goes away soon. Yes, my hands get dry in winter, but I really don't think I should need to apply lotion to my hands before I play. This squeak is never an issue with flouro strings, which are always silky smooth, with none of the texture of gut-type strings.

I suppose it will vary with amount of time played, the particular weather and the hands of the player. I work with my hands a lot and the climate is now very cold so I get veeery dry skin. Also, I'm unsure about the polymer formulation on these, from what I've seen Aquila sometimes improves on their products (like the squeak reduction on the sugars), my reds have 12/2020 on the packaging.
 
I've tried the Reds and I envy those who love them.

I hate everything about them but the sound which is hard to appreciate when I can't get these strings, except the wound G, on my Bonanza concert in tune*.

*String reads flat. Tighten string, still flat. Tighten string, still flat, tighten string hear popping sound, string read wildly sharp. Rinse and repeat.
This only happens with Reds.

Swapping them out this week for some Fremont Blacklines and a return to tranquility.
 
I've tried the Reds and I envy those who love them.

I hate everything about them but the sound which is hard to appreciate when I can't get these strings, except the wound G, on my Bonanza concert in tune*.

*String reads flat. Tighten string, still flat. Tighten string, still flat, tighten string hear popping sound, string read wildly sharp. Rinse and repeat.
This only happens with Reds.

Swapping them out this week for some Fremont Blacklines and a return to tranquility.
Ugh. That sounds immensely frustrating.
 
I've tried the Reds and I envy those who love them.

I hate everything about them but the sound which is hard to appreciate when I can't get these strings, except the wound G, on my Bonanza concert in tune*.

*String reads flat. Tighten string, still flat. Tighten string, still flat, tighten string hear popping sound, string read wildly sharp. Rinse and repeat.
This only happens with Reds.

Swapping them out this week for some Fremont Blacklines and a return to tranquility.

Can I suggest you try something before discarding them completely?

It sounds like the string is getting caught in the nut, so it's only stretching between the nut and the peg, and when it finally slides inside the nut it goes sharp because of all the tension that was between the two points of contact.
I would suggest tightening the string while holding it outside of the nut groove and only allowing it in when the string is close to tune.

Also, before installing the reds I also used a bit of abrasive yarn and lightly "sanded" the nut grooves and bridge holes (it's like sandpaper, but in yarn form, used in mechanical work to polish stuff like yarn guides and other metallic parts with holes that need to have a proper smooth finish).
 
Can I suggest you try something before discarding them completely?

It sounds like the string is getting caught in the nut, so it's only stretching between the nut and the peg, and when it finally slides inside the nut it goes sharp because of all the tension that was between the two points of contact.
I would suggest tightening the string while holding it outside of the nut groove and only allowing it in when the string is close to tune.

Also, before installing the reds I also used a bit of abrasive yarn and lightly "sanded" the nut grooves and bridge holes (it's like sandpaper, but in yarn form, used in mechanical work to polish stuff like yarn guides and other metallic parts with holes that need to have a proper smooth finish).
Definitely this! I've had a Bonanza and the nut slots on it are like the Mariana trench. Also aquila reds have so much texture that it makes sense they catch a bit more. @BBegall Giving the string a couple gentle wiggles above and below the nut and also lubricating the nut slots help.
 
I had every set of Reds I bought snap on me within days of installation (and yes, I did all the magic tricks). But one of the most talented finger style players in our club uses no other string. So I gave the reeentrant concerts another try on my Martin HPL. They‘re wonderful. Much brighter than any string I’ve used on that uke, which is a bit lacking in the upper registers. I’ve had them on for a month and play the uke at least a few minutes daily.

I think they might be too bright for some of my other instruments, but for now, I’m really happy. Also I hope they hang in there for a normal life span.

As always, YMMV!
 
I’ve got the reds on my spruce top Wunderkammer May, which has a slightly shorter scale length than a standard soprano, and I absolutely love the tone. They’re bright but sweet, and if anything have slightly softened the sound from the spruce. The dry raspy noise is annoying though, I’m sure regular playing is the answer but I must admit that at the moment I’m having to stop myself from just picking up a ukulele that doesn’t have the dry raspy sound, which rather defeats the object 😕
 
I had every set of Reds I bought snap on me within days of installation
My experience exactly... I've never heard anyone complain about the sound!

And to answer your next question: No they don't break at the nut (for me anyway) but tended to break mid-string.

I've also heard they wear on "plastic" fretboards, such as the older Flukes... They have powdered copper in then, right? I forget now...
 
Definitely this! I've had a Bonanza and the nut slots on it are like the Mariana trench. Also aquila reds have so much texture that it makes sense they catch a bit more. @BBegall Giving the string a couple gentle wiggles above and below the nut and also lubricating the nut slots help.
I really disliked the corian nut and saddle on the bonanza I had.I swapped them out for an ebony set, which looked much better to boot.
 
I've tried the Reds and I envy those who love them.

I hate everything about them but the sound which is hard to appreciate when I can't get these strings, except the wound G, on my Bonanza concert in tune*.

*String reads flat. Tighten string, still flat. Tighten string, still flat, tighten string hear popping sound, string read wildly sharp. Rinse and repeat.
This only happens with Reds.

Swapping them out this week for some Fremont Blacklines and a return to tranquility.
I was having the same problem, and looking closely at the nut slot (was C string only), I saw tiny shavings off the string. So before breaking it I unstrung it and slightly widened and polished the slot, et viola!, problem solved.

They're really great sounding strings.
 
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