Ukulele Strings – Nutshell and New
- Aquila’s are the most popular and probably best in the tension/volume ratio. D’addario’s new version Nyltech , made in conjunction with Aquila, have a slightly higher tension but better articulation and often better intonation. I predict those becoming more popular as people try them.
- 100% percent Fluorocarbon. Many string companies, 100% same material. So who cuts their fishing line better? Density and diameter can attest to the differences but they all have a similar sound. It’s like different chefs serving only eggs. They can be different, but not that different. But don’t get me wrong, the variety does serve a purpose. You can often match the best for your uke and style by trying different companies versions of ….100% Fluorocarbon. Come to your own conclusions.
- Then you have the Multi-filament Nylon D’addario, GHS and a boatload of small offshoots and manufacturers that color and label nylon. Often Ukulele Manufacturers do it because they need strings for their instruments. Their choices on tension and diameter may be your favorite. All depends on your instrument, technique, and opinion. My father originally worked with classical string makers in Argentina for Ko’olau Golds. Mike Upton with Kala recently also found string makers in Argentina. That leads me to..
- Microwound! Savarez has wound nylon trebles, similar to these. Kala has the Red strings with the same principle, but I believe the new Kala Pearls are the best offering in a microwound string. Microwound?
I’m pretty sure Kala just made up the word, but I think it’s appropriate. These strings are a very thin flat-wound metal that squeak about as much as regular plain Aquilas, and get wound like sustain, clarity and attack. I think they are a top option for a very solid built instrument.
A real lightly braced instrument that could hold up Aquila tension over many years would suffer from these. But, the two models in the video are able to handle. Nowhere near the edge of the structure to resonance equation. The Islander MT I put these on did not like this amount of tension. But the newer Islanders have a slightly heavier bracing. So these bring a better tone without compromising the stability. If you see a string set pull a belly where there wasn’t one. Don’t use them! A belly can happen slowly over time and not do anything too drastic. But if you see a quick reaction from the top, that’s a red flag. If you don’t want to waste a set of strings and can get away with it, tune down a step.
10 years ago people were still using the GHS strings or Hilo strings, and almost always with a wound third and high G. In the last few years Aquila came up like a wave and dominated the market. So what’s the deal with these new strings? They’re all wound? Maybe you’re thinking, “but how’s that gonna work when I dont even like one wound string in my set?” Good question…. Because they aren’t like other wound strings. They’re flat wound over a nylon multifilament don’t squeek. If they do I guess you could say it was a micro squeek. BUT… the attack and articulation are as good as I’ve heard, and most instruments can handle this tension perfectly fine. Inquire if you are not sure. Aloha from HI. Add your 2 cents below.
(We sell many different ukulele strings at our store and online shop- TheUkuleleSite.com/Strings)