Aquila Red Strings: Ukulele Window Shopping

Aquila have got a new set of strings the red series. These are low-G but the G string is unwound (i.e. they don’t have the metal wrapped round) so it’s just like the other strings (other than being red). I’m going to have to get a set of these. I’m not a fan of the sound or the feel of wound strings.

Luna are known for their… let’s say striking designs. So it’s no surprised that the vellum of the Luna banjolele is heavily filigreed. And if you’re into fancy banjoleles you might like the Valencia’s carriage clock shaped body.

Celtanowoodworks continue the crazy with a sharkulele

Giraffe bass ukulele (thanks to Phredd).

Looks like someone slipped on the ‘0’ key when pricing up some of these baroq-uleles.

Pictures: Sexy man plays ukulele to lovely woman, Popularity follows the ukulele

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  1. MaluhiaMitchell June 22nd, 2012 9:42 pm

    Haha I read an article in the paper (Well, my parents showed me, I don’t read the newspaper) about how the ukulele is getting ever so more popular. Being one of the best ranked ukulele sites out there, you should be proud Woodshed to have already been a part of a revol-uke-tion! :D
    + those red strings are a must get.

  2. pepamahina June 22nd, 2012 11:09 pm

    Arghhh! Those dummies. Why did they have to go and make the darn string red? Maybe I don’t want a bright red string on my uke. Why couldn’t it just be colored like the others? Whine………

  3. Chris Q June 23rd, 2012 12:08 am

    I’m almost tempted to buy one of those baroque numbers berfore they realise their mistake… that would be pretty awful for the ol’ karma but..

    I’m interested in the red strings; I’ve never been a fan of slack key tuning, but the right strings might make it a lot better – the demos certainly sound good…

    I want that Luna an awful lot.

  4. pepamahina June 23rd, 2012 4:24 am

    Alright, I see that the color is because of the “copper powder” so I will stifle my whine…for now. If it’s copper, I wonder if the color changes to green or blue over time? Or maybe something about the chemistry prevents its oxidation.

  5. Foinnse June 23rd, 2012 1:02 pm

    Aquila red series looks interesting alright, might have to try those out.
    The jaws ukulele a snip at 700 bucks? Holy crapola, no thanks. And the ‘Giraffe’ uke bass for 900 bucks? I have to be honest, that is just about the most ugly thing I’ve ever seen, the paint-work is shockingly bad! Also is that case comically large for the size of the uke or is it just me….

  6. Kempo June 23rd, 2012 1:29 pm

    Pretty sure that ‘Sexy Man’ in the picture got rid of the moustache sometime around oooh, 1939…

  7. Iain June 23rd, 2012 10:53 pm

    Those red aquilas look like red liquorice laces. Gotta get me some for that reason only (only no one’s stocking them yet). Actually I quite like slack key tunings – Mark Nelson’s got me turned on to that so I’m a wee bit excited to get his blues / hokum book which just arrived today. It would be great to be able to do it without that wound G bumming going on.

  8. Foinnse June 23rd, 2012 11:07 pm

    @Iain – I bought one today actually, on Ebay –
    If that link doesn’t work the seller I bought from was dr.cluck

  9. Iain June 24th, 2012 9:12 am

    @Foinnse – cheers, I’ll check that out.

  10. Woodshed June 25th, 2012 10:58 am

    MaluhiaMitchell: Thanks very much!

    ChrisQ: I think the mistake is with the expensive ones.

    pepamahina. Thanks for the info.

    Kempo: I wonder when he lost the combover.

    Foinnse: Let us know how you get on with it.

  11. Kyle Frazer June 26th, 2012 5:37 pm

    Wicked, love the red Aquila’s. I’ve got the wound G and it snaps every few weeks, absolutely crap. A guitar-playing friend of mine thinks it’s the frequency of the tuning as her wound G strings break on her guitar too.

  12. Barry Maz June 26th, 2012 5:45 pm

    Friend of mine ditched Aquila wound strings too – exactly the same reason Kyle!

  13. Foinnse June 26th, 2012 9:53 pm

    I will certainly report back, I hope they will arrive soon.
    Incidentally I have a question. So I have ordered this red series low g for a soprano but I’m not sure what string set this string should go with. I had presumed originally that it would just go with a standard high g set, and that the only difference would be that the 4th string was lower than normal. But now that doesn’t quite seem correct…. Could you help me out?


  14. Jake Wildwood July 1st, 2012 3:41 am

    Kyle: It’s about tension. On the uke, the problem is that the Aquila wound strings are too tense vs. what they really should be. I’ve noticed that with Aquila sets for uke especially. As far as wound Gs on guitar breaking — have your friend step a gauge or two down.

    A medium wound G is wayyyy too tense on a long scale guitar than it ought to be, and so it snaps really easily with lots of retuning. A 20w or 22w is ideal. If your friend retunes to open tunings a lot, she should expect her strings to snap a lot more. Strings like to sit in one place or close to it, and lots of retuning puts a heck of a lot of stress on the materials.

    As far as other reasons for breakages — check the nut and saddle to be sure they’re free of sharp edges and make sure, very sure, that the tuner posts are also free of burrs that could injure strings over time. These two problems are very common on Asian-made instruments, where final setup is really skimpy.

    Now — as for the reason I’m posting anyhow — man, those reds sound like the ticket… :D …ukes and wound strings just don’t go together.

  15. Kyle Frazer July 1st, 2012 1:12 pm

    Great post, Jake.

    After a few songs, fret marks would already show on the string, and only that wound string. I had no problems with the others. I changed them for Worth Clears, no problems so far, and I’ve been caning it since I put them on.

    I checked over the nut & saddle and frets during the switch over, nothing to write home about. It’s a Compass Rose, not exactly cheap ‘n’ cheerful, so my thinking is it’s the strings.

  16. Woodshed July 2nd, 2012 4:18 pm

    Foinnse: I would have assumed the same thing.

    Jake: Thanks very much for that.

  17. Eron G. July 10th, 2012 5:57 pm

    I bought the Single Low G Aquila Red String the instant it was available.

    I’ve had my soprano Pono tuned Low G since I bought it and have never been a fan of the tonal difference the wound string brings.

    So, set up now:
    Low G: Aquila Red. The rest of the strings: Aquila Nylagut.

    Yep. Big difference. The uke doesn’t sound as “guitar-like” as it did before. The ring and treble-whine of the wound string is all gone but I can still play the intro to “Kanaka Waiwai” correctly.

    The Red:
    There is a LOT of stretch in the Red string. I’ve had it two weeks and it hasn’t settled (not surprising) but I don’t expect it will ever settle: there’s too much elasticity. Much like the thick strings on a Kala U-Bass, the stretchiness won’t ever fully go away.

    Now, the Red versus Nylagut.
    The Red string isn’t as bright or clear sounding. The volume is down a touch compared to the Nylagut. All that said, it is a MUCH better match for nylon strings than a wound string will ever be.
    On the plus side: ever have a nylon string “stick” to your finger? You get slight note on release. No such “stickiness” on the Red. It’s smooth, but without that super polished finish, the string doesn’t adhere to skin.

    Also, my Pono has a pickup built in. When amped, you can’t really tell a difference between the Red and Nylagut. (Well, I can’t on my tube setup.)

    I scored three single strings for a buck and change each. I’m glad I did.

  18. Woodshed July 10th, 2012 6:06 pm

    Eron G.: Thanks very much for the write-up. Very good to know.

  19. Herman Vandecauter July 20th, 2012 8:13 pm

    Low G carbon black did exist also (Ocra) and it did sound nicer indeed. Unfortunately the pitch wasn’t correct higher up the string and so it went to the trash back. I only use ow G for the tenor ukulele so I will try once the red one from Aquila whenI’ve to order some uke stuff in Italy.

  20. Eron G. July 23rd, 2012 5:24 pm

    Follow up:

    I just put the Soprano Red on my Ohana Sopranino. SOOOO happy! The High G on the sopranino always sounded a bit dull (lifeless) to me. Much better now.

    I still have two ukes tuned re-entrant… I haven’t gone completely over to the dark side. ;-)

  21. Woodshed July 23rd, 2012 8:17 pm

    Herman: Thanks. I’d heard about Orca but I’ve never tried them. Doesn’t look like I will!

    Eron: Glad to hear they’re working out for you!

  22. RobinAndTheUke July 31st, 2012 10:36 am

    I recently got a mid-range Kala tenor, with a low-G to give a fuller sound to my playing. Of course the red string wasn’t readily available at this point, so I had it strung with a wound low-G.

    When I got my hands on a red sting I put it on, and it just felt so much better. The wound string buzz and noise when you pull your fingers off or slide is completely gone, and it gives a ukulele-esque sound, rather than guitar-like.

    The string is very elastic, and after a week of constant playing it does need a hefty re-tune every morning, but throughout the day it stays tuned like the other Aquila Nylguts, and seems as loud as they are. I haven’t tried it amped up yet properly, but the few times I have it sounds darn good.

    And whomever was complaining about the colour, I think it looks fantastic.

  23. Woodshed August 1st, 2012 10:51 pm

    RobinAndTheUke: Thanks very much for the review.

  24. DanLovesGuitars August 2nd, 2012 10:04 pm

    I just put Red Baritone G strings on my GCEA tuned baritone (Aquila set). As everyone said, they are very stretchy. Yesterday while re-tuning the low G, the string snapped, not at the nut as Aquila warns you about but right in the center (about at the 12th fret). I had a spare red low G and put it on. This afternoon while my ukulele sat in a stand, the string spontaneously snapped, again about at the 12th fret. In case any wonders, I don’t use a pick. Just fingers.

    I like the concept, even the sound of an unwound low G (or low D). But I’m not sure I am currently willing to try again. I think Aquila has either some quality control issues or needs to do some more research.

    All of you who are using these with no problem, I wish you continued luck and envy you, but I think I’m done with these.

  25. Herman Vandecauter August 3rd, 2012 9:37 am

    I just recieved my red one for tenor ukulele this morning. First impression not bad. I tested it on my composition “The Russel Falls” It looks fragile but till now no snapping. Dan perhaps it is designed for tuning it D in stead of G on baritone!
    I’ll keep you informed is mine snaps.

  26. DanLovesGuitars August 3rd, 2012 2:39 pm

    Herman, good luck. I loved the red low G until it snapped. Regarding what string I had, I’ve been experimenting on my baritone. I had bought both an Aquila Nylgut Baritone DGBE set and a Nylgut GCEA set.

    For the wound strings I bought Aquila Red Series “Single packaged 3rd G unwound Baritone, DGBE tuning 2.30 Euros, Code 73U (gauge: .90 mm); .35 inches” and “Single packaged 4th D unwound Baritone DGBE tuning 2.50 Euros, Code 74U (gauge: 1.28 mm); .50 inches” strings for the standard tuning. The quoted descriptions are copied from the Aquila website (

    The strings that broke (2 strings) were the 73U which are described as the 3rd string for the DGBE Baritone set. This is of course the same as the 4th string G in GCEA tuning.

  27. Herman Vandecauter August 3rd, 2012 2:46 pm

    Dan, just write Aquila about they will help I’m sure they did already for me after a complain with the wounded low G once. If mine snaps I will let you know here also!

  28. DanLovesGuitars August 4th, 2012 3:46 pm

    Herman, Just wanted to let you know that I took your advice and contacted Aquila. I had a very nice email exchange with Mimmo Peruffo who is taking care of the problem. I’m very impressed with his response. I love the Nylgut strings and now feel stronger about the company. I’m ready to give the replacement Red series string another try.

  29. Herman Vandecauter August 4th, 2012 5:44 pm

    Dan, nice to hear,mine is still ok but I did not really play on it also.

  30. UkeMike September 28th, 2012 1:44 am

    Mine snapped within a week. Very stretchy, sounded great. Hoping it was maybe something in the nut that caused a very small cut? Cleaned it up and I will set a new one. Will let you all know if new one breaks too.

  31. Woodshed September 28th, 2012 10:35 am

    UkeMike: Sorry to hear about that. I hope the replacement works out better.

  32. Mimmo October 3rd, 2012 3:20 pm

    Hu Guys,
    the inmproved new Red Series strings are on the way,
    They are very different than the first version: less stretchly, brighter performances; stronger strings. Gauges are thinner because they are a bit denser than the first version
    You can distinguish them in the stores because there is a little white round label in the envelope’s back. This is valid just for two months.

    see here:

  33. Woodshed October 4th, 2012 12:44 pm

    Mimmo: Thanks very much for the info. Hope they do well.

  34. durst December 23rd, 2012 1:30 pm

    I am glad, I am not along with problems of Red series. I orderd these strings, they ruptured very soon – after 14 days everage, whole time a had to tune… New series /I got as replacement from Aquila/ they ruptured during instalation or after a couple minutes…I used 8 pc strings and every broked. My breakdown nervous… I started to think about my ukulele, some sharpen places, guitar technik looked of my uku… Other kind of strings are ok, I used wounted low G half year without problem… On Aqiula are very very freindly and solid, but…something is wrong with these strings. Its a pity because noice and feeling from string is very good.

  35. Herman Vandecauter December 23rd, 2012 9:45 pm

    Sad for you, my first red string is still on my tenor without problems. It is true that you have to tune it more then usual but with my ears it means nothing, I like the sound and it is free from unwanted noises.

  36. Herman Vandecauter December 23rd, 2012 9:49 pm

    this video is recorded wit he the red string.

  37. menji May 6th, 2013 12:42 am

    I got two set of the low g aquila red strings, both set snapped.
    I first ordered a set from ebay for my kala travel size tenor ukulele, as soon as I tuned it right, it snapped. later I found out it’s because of the narrow nut created a sharp edge that caused the string to snap. So I immediately ordered another set of unwound low g red strings. I made sure to file down the nut so the thick low g string will fit, and this time it did not snap immediately, and I was able to tune it correctly.

    The aquila low g red string sounds great and feels very nice and stretchy, however it goes out of tune quite easily. I thought it was just a common tension adjustment issue with new strings, so I was constantly tightening the string, tuning it to the right tune to let the string settle in. It worked well for two weeks.
    This afternoon I took out my ukulele, and discovered that the red string has snapped again. I’m very disappointed…

  38. herman Vandecauter May 6th, 2013 9:30 am

    I am still playing on the first red low G 8 months!

  39. Keone Malone June 22nd, 2013 6:39 am

    Have a set of the reds (low G) on my fluke and love them. Had tried a wound G and didn’t like it. These are great, you can feel them flex when you strum. Need to retune G and C but E and A seem to stay in tune. Plan to purchase a couple of more sets for my Luna and Kamaka.

  40. Robert August 30th, 2013 11:36 pm

    When I first heard about these strings I ordered a heap for my large family of ukes direct? from the Aquila workshop. What I’ve found is that they NEVER STOPPED STRETCHING and so are continually out of tune AND the first four sets SNAPPED WITHIN A FORTNIGHT with very light use. I have previously been and am currently using standard Aquila Nylgut which are great and have never given me any problems. The rest of my ‘reds’ are now gathering dust at the back of the closet. An expensive mistake.

  41. Payter May 26th, 2014 4:41 pm

    Just snapped my second red in a week. It serves the role of low A on a six-string tenor. Sure glad the store that needed to order these strings convinced me to get two sets.

    The 6-string pack has only the one red – the rest are the NylGut folks rave about everywhere. My favorite music store *gave* me a replacement d’Addario nylon G. If that holds up, then I blame Aquila. If it breaks, I’ll check the nut for a harsh well on that low-A. :(

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