Ukulele Strings

Using good quality strings on your ukulele can make a big difference to the way they sound. New ukuleles often come with low quality strings – which can make them sound disappointing straight out of the box. Changing them for something like Worth or Aquila will improve the sound a great deal.

Buying ukulele strings is a little complicated. Two things you have to check before you buy your strings: the size of ukulele and the tuning they are intended for.

It’s very important you check the size of ukulele the strings are made for. Strings will be a different length and thickness depending on what size ukulele they are made for.

Soprano strings
Tenor strings
Baritone strings

You’ll also want to double check the tuning they are intended for. In particular, check whether they are low-G or high-G strings. If you are playing a re-entrant ukulele (which is most common ukuleles) the the G string has to be thinner (and therefore higher) than the C-string. If you get the wrong type, you won’t be able to tune them the other way. Usually, if the description doesn’t state either – they will usually be high-G. If you’re not sure, it’s worth asking.

You can usually use a low-G set of strings on a high-G ukulele with minor adjustments depending on the type of ukulele.

You don’t need to worry so much about whether they are intended for C tuning (gCEA) or D tuning (aDF#B). The tuning are close enough together for it not to matter.

Getting the wrong set of strings happens to everyone. I’ve done it. But finding yourself with a set of strings that don’t fit on any ukulele you have is a great excuse to buy yourself a new ukulele.

The most popular strings are Aquila and Worth. I’ve tried other makes of strings, but always come back to these two.

Worth vs. Aquila String Comparison

In this clip Ken Middleton has Aquila strings on the cutaway ukulele (the one he plays first) and Worth strings on the normal ukulele.

84 Comments

  1. Jeff Ritterpusch November 26th, 2009 3:48 am

    Would it be worth it to put a set of high quality strings on a plastic ukulele?

  2. Woodshed November 26th, 2009 2:13 pm

    Jeff: It depends on the quality of the uke. If it’s one of the toy plastic ukes probably not. But if it’s a quality plastic uke, definitely.

  3. Captured by Jess May 19th, 2010 7:21 pm

    Are the strings always nylon? And what would you use on a concert-sized uke?

  4. Megan July 14th, 2010 8:58 pm

    I second Jess´s question. What would you use for a concert-sized uke?

  5. Thomas August 23rd, 2010 7:31 pm

    Hi!

    First time poster here.

    I bought my first uke two days ago and I already love it. It’s a Greg Bennett UK-50, concert size. The only one they had that wasn’t a toy :-)

    So I’m the third to ask what strings fit a concert-sized uke. As a backup, I bought (without having a clue) D’Addario Pro-Arte tenor strings. Does anyone have an idea about their quality and if they fit a concert-sized uke?

    Great website btw!

  6. Nick H September 7th, 2010 12:00 am

    I am waiting on a Keli’i Koa Tenor that I managed to save for, partly by selling my Pono MTE Tenor.
    While selling that Pono, somebody requested information about strings I’d tried on that uke, since I’d mentioned I’d tried a ton of them. Here’s what I wrote, regarding the Pono. Hope it’s of some help….

    -Aquila Nylgut are the brightest and most resonant by far. But they aren’t as smooth on the fingers, if you fingerpick, and for me they were too bright for the uke. The Pono is really deep and mellow naturally, and I felt like the Aquilas weren’t complimenting it’s natural sound. They’re definitely awesome strumming strings…just, too bright for the Pono. Still loud and awesome strings though. (*after thought: I am putting Aquilas on the Keli’i)
    -Ko’olau Golds were nice and thick and I liked them the first time around. They were meaty-sounding, mellow, calmer, more island-y. Soft feel. But I started feeling like they weren’t giving much volume, and indeed the second time I tried them, later on, I felt they sounded sort of dead at times.
    -Worth CT’s were better than the Ko’olau Golds for fingerpicking…they were way smoother and a little louder, but still mellow. Like the Ko’olaus, I felt like they had way, way too little volume for straight strumming.
    -Ko’olau Alohi’s are Ko’olau’s “bright” strings, and actually I’d try them again. I liked them a lot but I was eager to hear other strings and didn’t give them much time. They were another in-between Aquila and Ko’olau Golds…they were definitely brighter and more strum-friendly than the Golds, but still I found them a little round and dead at times and sometimes at higher notes.
    -Kala Reds had great sound…maybe the best of the ones I tried. They were very bright, only the Aquilas were brighter. But the Kalas are weird…the high G and high A are nylon, and the other two feel like rough nylon cords, wound the same way metal strings are. So when you slide your fret hand along, it makes that squeaky sound that metal strings do. BUT the Kala strings were bright and nice.It’s just that those two low strings sounded just a little different than the nylon ones.
    -Fremont Blackline Strings are the ones that are on there now. I think they’re the closest thing to a bright AND thick sound. They sound and feel really awesome. BUT I can kind of hear how they sound a little like a cheap keyboard version of a uke, sometimes. Some people mentioned it. I’d use them or the Kalas for the most part. Maybe the Ko’olau Alohi strings, maybe. The Fremonts are pretty but I can see how some might be turned off.

  7. Larry Booher February 1st, 2011 3:26 pm

    I have a Lanikai cut-away tenor uke with sound pickup tuned with a low D. When the original strings started sounding dead, I decided to try better quaility classical guitar strings. Finst I bought Savarez (about $10 ast Sam Ash). Since the uke is shorter than a guitar, i used the second guitar string (B) as the high A uke string and so on down to the guitar A sting for the low D on the uke. I got a tremendous sound – rich, loud, resonant. After a few days, however, I became concerned over how tight the strings were to get proper pitch and feared that I might damage the uke. So I got another set of Savarez and started with the high E guitar string for the uke A string. The sound is still very rich and loud, but not as good as when using the larger strings with the higher tension. There are several top brands of classical guitar strings, and I plan to try different ones every four to six months or so. If you think your uke is strong enough, I would go with the higher tesnion lower guitar strings, But either way, the sound is VERY good.

  8. Audrey February 15th, 2011 9:31 am

    I bought my first ukelele 2-3 weeks ago now and I’ve never learned how to play an instrument before. Your website has REALLY REALLY HELPED. But unfortunately I need a little more help.

    Its a Lanikai LU-21, and no matter how hard I try to tune it (since it already sounds bad) it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. I have a feeling its because the strings are bad quality and I’ve been looking at buying the Aquila strings however I have no idea which ones to get? Any advice?

    Please help! :)

  9. Andrea March 3rd, 2011 11:16 pm

    Hi!(: I got a ukulele last Christmas, I’ve been playing it for a whie now, I’m wondering my ukulule keeps making a squeaky sound when I switch to a new note, it just recently started doing that? Is that normal? Because it wasn’t doing that before? (And I’ve left the same strings that my ukulele came in). Hope you can help!
    Thanks!

  10. Kara March 10th, 2011 2:52 pm

    I am new to the ukelele and so far I am really enjoying it! As far a strings go, is it better to get nylon or brass strings? I have noticed that with the nylon strings they seem to stretch a lot, and was wondering what the differences in string types were?

  11. Eron G. March 15th, 2011 3:27 pm

    After looking at a few articles (Making your Mahalos into Martins, Aquila Strings, and this one) I’ve decided that my comments need to go here.

    First up:

    Ko’olau Strings. http://www.koolauukulele.com/strings.html
    They actually have multiple different varieties of strings now (head over to http://www.elderly.com: http://elderly.com/search/elderly?terms=ko%27olau+strings&x=0&y=0 for a full listing of Ko’olau strings)

    Anyway, the strings that Ko’olau makes aren’t as “popular” as Aquila strings, but wow do they make a difference.

    I have an Applause Soprano. It sounded dull, not bright. I put Aquila strings on it and it sounded louder, but still didn’t have that traditional ukulele tone I wanted. I stumbled onto Ko’olau strings while looking for another set and snapped up Ko’olau Gold. They were (are) what I’ve been looking for: traditional “island” sound, bright, mellow, not too loud.

    When I got a Lanikai Concert, it came strung with Hilo strings and actually sounded ok. But when restrung with Ko’olau ‘Alohi Low G strings, it really popped; more projection and a less muddy tone.

    Anyway, my point being: I completely agree that quality strings will make nearly any ukulele sound better; but I’d disagree that Aquila strings are the best. In my experience, Ko’olau makes ’em better.
    Note of Caution: Ko’olau Gold strings take FOREVER to break in. You’ll be tuning them for a few months before they settle down.
    My opinion: Ko’olau ‘Alohi strings are the best I’ve ever put on any ukulele.

    NOW… to all the folks asking what to put on their Concert ukes:

    It depends:
    If you like the traditional “My Dog Has Fleas” sound of the ukes of old, then go with all nylon strings in Standard tuning.

    IF, however, you’d a more guitar-ish sound out of your concert (like I do) then go with Low G tuning: Nylon set with a Wound 4th.

    In either set up, yes, I DO recommend you find Ko’olau ‘Alohi and string those onto your Concert uke.

    AND, to Audrey, if you’re still checking in here:

    1. Get a good digital tuner like the Intelli IMT500 and make doubly sure that the strings are perfectly in tune.

    2. Make sure you’re holding the uke correctly: http://ukulelehunt.com/2008/03/26/ten-tips-for-ukulele-beginners/ See Tip #7.

    3. Check the frets on your Lanikai. Get a tape measure and measure from the Nut (the strip of bone or plastic at the top of the fretboard) to the 12th fret. Then measure from the 12th fret to the Saddle (the strip of bone or plastic that “ends” the strings run). These two measurements should be the same.
    On my Lanikai Concert, the measurements are more than an 1/8 inch off (5mm), which means my uke goes out of tune pretty fast as I go up the fretboard.
    If your uke sounds off no matter what you do, this could be part of the problem.

    4. If everything checks out (or you don’t care about the setup being slightly off) then get a set of quality strings: Aquila Nylagut or Ko’olau ‘Alohi.

    Quality strings make a big difference!

  12. Ash March 19th, 2011 11:58 pm

    Just got my boyfriend a Stagg US40-S, I love it already… just have to get me one! But I got D’Addario strings for it, are they any good?? :s

  13. Claudio April 1st, 2011 4:32 pm

    Jake Shimabukuru uses D’Addario strings. Depends which ones and some strings are better on different ukes or for different uses.

    Any decent strings that cost a few quid are going to be better than the strings that come with a <£50 uke.

  14. Art Wytners April 24th, 2011 1:04 am

    Since they don’t make low A-strings for ukuleles, can I use a low G-string (wound or unwound) and crank it up 2 half steps to “A” without breaking it? Art Wynters,Las Vegas

  15. Shawn May 13th, 2011 8:26 pm

    Can a tenor ukulele be tuned like a concert using low g wound strings??

  16. Sifcell May 21st, 2011 2:41 am

    Chalk me up as another fan of the Ko’olau Alohi strings.

    I’ve got an entry-level Luna that came with Aquila strings. I really liked the sound and the volume of the Aquilas, but after a bit they started sounding a bit dull, so I thought I’d swap and give the Ko’olau strings a try.

    Like expected, they took a few days to settle, but the sound is really nice. Mellower than the Aquilas, but not subdued at all. They’ve got a nice, bright projection and seem to feel a bi softer. I have to say, I dig the sound.

    The one negative is actually more about the construction of the ukulele. After switching the strings, I noticed that the G has way more sustain and the C tends to have some really booming resonance – way more than the Aquila. I may try to just deaden the part of the top to muffle it a bit, but it’s quite noticeable. Maybe that will go away after a few more days as the strings do their final settle.

    Anyway, my two cents is that either the Aquilas or Ko’olau Alohis are a good bet.

    Oh, and I really dig your site. It’s a stone groove.

  17. yitzhak yitzhaky August 31st, 2011 12:57 am

    hello,
    I’m a guitar player from Israel and i just order may first ukulele (a kamoa tenor E-T) i did’t check if its high or low g ukulele, latter i found out that it is a low G and already shipped.
    my question is:
    can i put a high G string on a low G string ukulele?
    thank you

  18. Tracy Woodard September 2nd, 2011 4:55 am

    I have a concert and a tenor. I practice on my concert and play my tenor. The difference is that I have strung my tenor to play an octive lower than standard. Although I like the sound, the action is a little more firm than I would like it to be – it is harder to play.

    I have learned that a D string for a Classic Guitar can be used as a low G for a Tenor, which of course can be stepped up one whole note to be a low G. So I have a Martin Darco string for the low G.Both silver plated wound.

    My low C is a D’Addario NYL043w. Which is silver plated wound on nylon.

    My low E is a Classic guitar A or fifth string, a GHS brand T5S Silvered Copper Wrap.

    My low A is a GHS Classic Guitar D or fourth string T4S Silvered Copper Wrap.

    I love the deep rich sound, but I have developed this through trial and error and could probably acheive better tone and action if I knew what I was doing. And if all 4 strings were the same manufacturer and construction.

    Any advice or direction would be appreciated.

  19. Frank September 8th, 2011 9:37 pm

    I have a Tenor Koa Pili Koko and had them with Aquila’s for awhile. But after changing them over to Ko’olau golds made a whole lot of difference in tone and resonance of sound holding much better. The separation of each string rang out just beautifully, especially for picking. But every ukulele will never sound the same, it always depends on the tone wood each time. I’m not putting Aquila’s down but you never know what your ukulele will sound like when you do change strings. It’s good to experiment. Quality strings does make a difference.

  20. jerry Rushing November 4th, 2011 3:14 am

    i was gifted a ookulele for my 52nd birthday it is a luna concert size with the cool design on it.

    yes i am planning on trying other strings but the main thing is playing it. it has a sweet spot. it seems to be that little space between the sound hole and the base of the neck. I mean Bam these Aquila’s sing my wife says wow i am surprised at the sound. I have seen these type if discussions take place before, film vs digital,NIKON vs Canon,Ginger vs Mrs Howell, Fender vs Gibson
    Hands down Nikon, film but medium format size, Ginger but with Mrs Howells money.

    Some of the best music we all have ever heard was played on instruments that were primitive and second hand.

    Love music

  21. Chris C November 8th, 2011 11:16 pm

    I’ve heard that a wound G and C make for a mellow tone, which I like. I have a concert. Will it work to place a tenor wound C on the concert (have been unable to find a set with wound G and C for the concert size instrument)? Or is there a string manufactured who makes a set with wound G and C that you could recommmend? Love the website!

  22. Marissa December 4th, 2011 11:59 pm

    My friend suggested Martin strings for my uke. Are Martin strings pretty good too?

  23. willisoften February 14th, 2012 7:34 pm

    Martin M600 strings sound great on my Kiwaya laminate and they sound fine on my KTS-5 as well.
    They do feel a bit thin and they are not the loudest. But they seem to tune with a very even tension and sound balanced, seem come between the more modern long sustain and the old-time plunk.

  24. Aaron J Shay February 22nd, 2012 2:22 am

    I’ve been playing a soprano Kala with high-G Aquilas for a few years, and I’m only now starting to gig with it more consistently. So far, I have been extremely pleased with this set-up.

    My playing style is fairly aggressive and rock-inspired, which means my strings take a lot of damage over the course of a set. Does anybody have a suggestion as to the most durable strings? I want to get the right balance of endurance, volume and brightness. Thanks! This site is a wonderful resource.

  25. Jeannie March 13th, 2012 5:53 pm

    I got my concert uke two years ago (its a Laka…very pretty little thing, nice sound). It’s currently strung with Aquilas, high G.

    Now, I want to restring it to low G…should I restring the whole thing at the same time? Loving this site…thanks for the info! x

  26. Brendak April 6th, 2012 4:29 pm

    I got my concert ukulele a month ago and I must say my top favorite strings are Aquila the new Nylgut material. They are soft and very flexible therefore they resonate so much better than stiff nylon. I love them!

  27. Keith May 7th, 2012 4:30 pm

    I have a Kala Ka Kc Concert Ukulele and find that the Aquila Nylgut strings give this Uke a really great sound. There is plenty of volume, heaps of sustain, and just the right combination of bright & mellow tones to bring the best out of this instrument.

  28. Lainey May 25th, 2012 5:50 am

    what are your thoughts on putting soprano strings on a tenor?
    I’ve found a source of cheap aquila soprano strings.
    I understand soprano strings are a tad thinner (less than 1/10mm) and have less tension.
    Also has anyone dyed their strings funky colours?
    Ta for any replies.

  29. Lainey May 25th, 2012 8:38 am

    plus has anyone a review on the new red series unwound low g aquilas? or the eco freindly Bionylons?

  30. alastair June 9th, 2012 9:07 pm

    what is the difference between plain and forth wound strings, apart from price?

  31. ken h June 10th, 2012 4:14 pm

    i bought a martin smith soprano its still got its factory strings on it its tuned to g c e a and its plays ok at the nut end but ive noticed when you go down the g string frets 8and 9 sound exactly the same get past these frets and its ok again theres no problems with the other strings so to me its a mystery.

  32. Timothy Scott June 11th, 2012 12:51 am

    I am gonna restring my used Kamaka 6-string tenor..I ordered it from Hawaii and so have never chosen what strings…are Aguila the way to go? Thanks!

  33. Mark C June 29th, 2012 6:00 pm

    I play a Kamaka Concert.
    I had Ko’olau Golds and really enjoyed them.
    When I started playing with a group with guitars, drums etc. I switched to the Aquila’s. I needed the brighter sound. They lose brightness after about 4-6 months after playing “hapa-haole and haole-hawaiian” gigs.
    For the hulas I would go back to the Ko’olau Golds
    and just play acoustic. I prefer ‘dat anyways, yeah…

  34. Rebecca July 6th, 2012 3:37 am

    Hi, I have a pineapple shaped uke, and I really don’t know what kind of strings to get for it.. Any idea?

  35. Veritas July 28th, 2012 2:16 pm

    Rebecca, your pineapple shaped uke should be a pineapple soprano I believe. Since it’s a Soprano, I would recommend Aquila Nylgut for it. Get the BioNylon if you like, it’s environmetally friendly!

  36. keith August 30th, 2012 11:26 pm

    The Koolau Golds with the wound 3rd and 4th have a nice mellow sound. But the Aquilas have that brighter more resonant sound so I am presently using the low G Aquilas and replacing the 3rd string with a wound 3rd from D’Addario. The wound strings seem to give a longer last and more resonance on the notes and have a nice honky tonk sound playing jazz or blues.

  37. Camilla September 2nd, 2012 3:30 am

    Hello!
    I bought a new uke and it is a cheap wooden one with nylon strings and I want to buy new Aquila strings but I want to know:
    1. Is it worth putting good quality strings on a cheap uke?
    2. What strings to buy and where do buy them?
    3. How to determine what type of ukulele you own (soprano etc…)

    Your help would be very much appreciated, this site has helped me so much!

  38. Camilla September 2nd, 2012 3:36 am

    Also, another question, can you reuse your strings on other ukes? And how often do you have to replace them? Thanks!

  39. Charlie September 4th, 2012 3:23 am

    I want to start experimenting with steel strings, so is there any kind of ukulele in particular that I should buy because I know that some aren’t designed to withstand the tension of the steel strings? Thanks!

  40. steve September 24th, 2012 7:11 am

    I’m surprised not much is being said about Worth Strings. I bought a KPK(ckeck them out)which came with Worths. All I’ld ever played before were Aquias – ouch! at first Worths hurt my fingers since they are so much thinner therefore smaller pressure points on fingers – but after getting used to them I love them! I’m re-stringing my laminate ukes with them to try & get their muddy sound out.(laminates all seem to be muddy-I learned the hard way Worths take getting used to & are most expensive but they beat Aquila for punch & clarity. Comments?

  41. Bruce November 5th, 2012 10:07 am

    I’ve always preferred Aquila Premium strings. I have just bought a Kala _ SMAC – S, Solid Acacia Soprano. I had Guitar Brother fit Orcas Black Fluro carbon Light Low G strings to the soprano. “SICK”. I cannot believe to full . mellow beautiful sound. There is not mush said about these strings, you can get them in light, medium and Hard. I chose the light as I’m have a few problems because I ran a power saw over my left hand , and it is a lot easier to play with the light strings.The strings are made in Japan, Check out http://www.maurue-jp.com. I certainly recommend these strings, give them a go, you wont be disappointed. In Australia a set costs $14.95 au.

  42. Bil December 13th, 2012 2:36 am

    I am interested in how often you should change uke strings? I have an ANueNue soprano that I purchased in April and it had Aquila strings on it. It sounded great until this week. It has developed a duller sound, plus it seems like the A string is “buzzing.” I thought I was maybe sloppy on my fretting but it there is a slight buzz when I play it open. Could it be old strings? It holds a tune very well, so it doesn’t seem as though the strings are stretching. I haven’t been able to find any advice on line about how often to change the strings.
    Any advice would be appreciated……

  43. Al Be December 28th, 2012 9:25 pm

    Hi all. as a beginner I bought a Kala KA-SMHC from MGM back when he sold on eBay. It came setup and I believe with Aquila strings to replace the stock ones. I’ve really started playing in earnest lately and am learning to finger pick better but I don’t believe I’m getting the full sound I should be from the uke when using my fingers (preferred) and not a pick. The uke is tuned and holds it’s tune well but I’m not real happy with the sound. It seems dull almost as if the strings are too soft loose. Thanks for your input.

    One other question. Is there much difference in the tone and volume of picking a Soprano as opposed to a Concert?

  44. Mon December 29th, 2012 10:08 am

    Hi I have a vintage ukulele which was pretty cheap as I am a begginer but if I change the strings how much better will it be? Does the sound depend on the type of ukulele or just dependant on the type of strings ? Thanks

  45. Hokulea January 4th, 2013 3:40 am

    Think of a stringed instrument as a ‘system’. The strings work with the instrument itself. So the sound will depend on both. I bought a 1950s Martin soprano and when I replaced the strings it absolutely increased in volume and sound quality a lot.

    To Al Be’s question: since the concert is larger it will sound bigger in tone and volume.

    Hope this helps.

  46. marshall January 16th, 2013 4:46 am

    would i be able to use guitar strings on a Ukulele. Phosphor Bronze type

  47. Tex January 24th, 2013 5:34 pm

    What adjustments need to be made on my ukulele if I wanna replace the high-G string to a bronze low-G string? FYI mine is a concert size uke. Thx.

  48. alascal January 30th, 2013 10:05 pm

    Tex

    Assuming the low G is made for concert size, probably the only adjustment you may wany to consider is the notch in the nut. It is most likely a bit too narrow to accommodate the thicker low G. It can be played but will wear both the notch and the string. I’ve done it but it’s just not kosher.

  49. Gary February 13th, 2013 8:37 am

    Does anyone know about Aquila red low g strings?

    I use Worths at the moment.

    Thanks for your time.

    Gary

  50. Alan April 6th, 2013 9:53 am

    I use Aquila on my Flea soprano and they sound fantastic,and i also use them on my Risa acacia concert and they also sound great.I have just got hold of a Takamine tenor and have restrung it with Worths and i must say they are brilliant,its so hard to decide which is best..

  51. Larry Rice May 16th, 2013 10:35 pm

    I have a student whose concert size uke has heavy strings which makes it harder for her to play. Is there a set of lightweight strings that I could recommend to her? It’s tuned GCEA, with a high G.

  52. Thomas May 18th, 2013 9:31 pm

    I got a baritone ukulele that I would like to play as a regular one. can I replace the original with concert nylon strings?

  53. Tim May 18th, 2013 11:41 pm

    I play concert size. My 3 Lanikais and my Vineyard came with the black GHS strings. My cheapo Hilo had similar, and now wears GHS, too. I was so sold on them at first, I bought up a lifetime supply, about four dozen sets, IIRC.

    They sound and feel fine. I find some of the higher dollar strings to feel too stiff, making play more difficult.

    A few comments ask about when to replace strings. That is one beauty of small ukes. The strings are plastic, they don’t go dead like metal ones, if you just keep them clean Only when they are noticeably worn underneath, do they have to be replaced. They don’t wear your frets out, either. I love that.

  54. Riley Potts August 26th, 2013 6:40 pm

    I have a DU 150 soprano, what type of strings should i get?
    I was looking at Aquila AQ-S Nylgut Soprano. Also would a clip-on tuner be a good thing to get.

  55. soumya September 10th, 2013 6:23 pm

    can i use aquestic guitar strings/tenor banjo strings/nylon guitar strings to an Ukulele?..which type of Ukulele sounds closest to tenor banjo?

  56. Charles Catlow November 6th, 2013 11:16 am

    I have a new Kala U-Bass and I replaced the original black polyurethane strings with Aquila Thunderguts, the intonation and volume is improved; they also take less time to “stretch and settle” than the stock strings. Q: Does anybody know about the Pyramid metal strings? It says they are designed for Acoustic Ukulele Bass…

  57. Gunnar Börjesson November 8th, 2013 9:50 am

    What strings on ukulele is most commen
    on ordinär ukulele?

  58. jharp November 8th, 2013 9:58 pm

    I have a concert-size uke with 19 frets…should I get strings meant for a concert uke or a tenor uke? Does it matter?

  59. Ruairidh November 22nd, 2013 7:58 pm

    I just got my first ukelele fo my birthday last week and was wondering what kind of strings to put on it? It’s a wooden mahalo (not quite sure of the specific model) and it’s not full size from what I can tell, more like one of the toy ones but a wee bit better quality.
    I’m not looking to spend a lot of money on strings at the moment, I understand with a uke like mine it wont make as much of a difference to the sound, but would like something better than came with it.
    Please help if yous can, even if it is just telling me what strings to avoid or anything small that might help.
    thanks,
    Ruairidh

  60. Ruairidh November 22nd, 2013 7:59 pm

    I should also say, as a size guage, my uke has 12 frets

  61. grace December 31st, 2013 2:53 am

    I have an eight string ukulele. what kind of strings would I use for that?

  62. Jack Teertstra January 20th, 2014 1:45 am

    Great playing on ‘Comparing Ukulele Strings, Aquila or Worth’, but sound difference could be the instrument, or the strings, who knows. The comparison should be done on the same instrument.

  63. Brian January 25th, 2014 8:21 pm

    Hey folks!
    Ill throw in my two cents. When I first bought my ukulele, I was coming from classical guitar and was super psyched. I took it home and immediately slapped a set of D’Addario string on to it. (The brand I had come to love through years of classical-ing) I was immediately disappointed. D’Addario is fantastic for bright, strong, intense classical playing, which is about the opposite of the sweet mellow warm tone I bought the instrument for the first place. I now have a set of red Aquila strings on it, and it has that that island-y sound back that I love.

  64. Cynthia February 11th, 2014 1:45 pm

    I host a one-week Suzuki Institute each summer. We will be offering Ukelele as an enrichment class for the next several summers. What brand of plastic ukelele would you suggest? Strings? Thank you – Cynthia

  65. Hailey February 17th, 2014 10:28 am

    All the strings have different colours, which one do I put in for each space?
    (red, blue, green, white)
    They are Aquila.

  66. Woodshed February 17th, 2014 3:34 pm

    Hailey: The strings are:

    1st (A) = Red
    2nd (E) = Blue
    3rd (C) = Green
    4th (G) = White

    It should also say on the packet.

  67. Maxwell May 17th, 2014 4:23 am

    I need to replace the strings on a Lanikai LU22CGC Concert Ukulele, what exactly should I be looking for?

  68. Mia Mannion June 27th, 2014 12:26 pm

    Hi. How can I find out what gauge of strings to use on my new baritone ukulele? As a guitarist, I am used to choosing my own selection, rather than relying on the pre-prepared sets.

  69. Eron Garcia August 30th, 2014 10:51 pm

    Oh, so so many questions since my last post here!

    Let’s start with this one:

    Q: “What’s the most common type of strings on ukuleles?”
    A: The cheapest. That said, there’s no easy way of answering this question as it varies per ukulele brand and geographic location.
    Still, Aquila strings are quite popular.

    Q: “What strings should I put on my Concert uke?”
    A: Concert strings. Aquila, Fremont, Worth, Ko’olau, and most others do offer specific “Concert” packs of strings, and that’s what you want.

    Q: “Can I put Soprano strings on my Tenor uke?”
    A: Maybe, but why would you want to? It’s likely that the Soprano strings won’t be long enough to fit properly on a Tenor. But even if they are, the strings will not stay in tune up the fretboard.

    Q: “I have a 5/6/8 String ukulele. What strings should I get?”
    A: Again, most major string manufacturers make sets that will match up with what you want.

    Q: “How are Aquila’s Red Low Strings?”
    A: Absolutely fantastic.

    Q: “My uke didn’t come set for a Low G string. Are any modifications necessary to go Low G?”
    A: Sometimes. Since the usual re-entrant tuning means that your G is very thin, it’s possible that your new wider (possibly wound) Low G string won’t settle in. It may also mean that it won’t tune easily. I’d recommend taking your uke to a shop to have it set up to accept a thicker G if necessary.

    Q: “What are the gauge strings on a Baritone Uke?”
    A: I found this answer: .025 .031 .038 .027. BUT, I think that’s for plastic, not steel.

    Now for the big question:
    Q: “What strings do you prefer?”
    A: Ko’olau ‘Alohi and Aquila Nylagut. Hands down, those two are my faves. After years of trying strings, they are the real standouts. Don’t be fooled by the lure of Aquila’s “Bionylon” strings… they sound dull to me.

    AND… this is not an endorsement, but if I buy string online, I tend to get them from Elderly.Com. They’re very descriptive.

    AAAND… I’m out! Talk to you all later!

  70. paulmoody24 September 4th, 2014 11:10 am

    I wonder, with an electric acoustic uke, would metal strings require pickups to be fitted?

  71. majort5 September 15th, 2014 4:06 am

    what if i tune my soprano gCEA, but using strings aDF#B? it would be a problem?

  72. Paddy Quay October 24th, 2014 3:38 am

    Can I use Tenor Ukulele strings for Baritone ukulele

  73. PinoyUke November 11th, 2014 10:35 pm

    A year ago, I made a commitment to try different strings to come up with a favorite. I tried:
    * Aquila
    * D’Addario
    * Worth
    * GHS
    * Koolau
    * PHDs

    They all have their merits, except for the Koolaus as they were my least favorite. I found the PHDs sounded best on my uke. They had great tone and resonance. I also like the thinner strings vs. the thicker Aquila. My 2 cents.

  74. 2Ukulelemac December 23rd, 2014 12:32 pm

    I brought a soprano ukulele but didn’t like the sound of the strings , so as I had some Aquilla G,C,E, tenor strings spare so I put them on my soprano. I still have the original A string on it. I am getting a totally new sound will I have any problems playing anything with them? Or should I put some soprano strings on?

  75. clay tomcak January 11th, 2015 12:15 am

    I am purchasing a beautiful 8 string tenor ukulele and need new strings for it. I don’t know which ones to buy, how to purchase them, or how to put them on (I hear its not as straight-forward as other insturments).. anyone that knows how to help me with this I would be really grateful. thanks!

  76. Ventruella January 26th, 2015 5:04 pm

    Notes:

    1) When you first purchase or receive a fretted instrument as a gift, you need to take it to a luthier to be properly set up. This will insure that all of the frets have been examined and adjusted to produce a level “playing field”. If the frets are not properly leveled, or if they have been improperly installed, some may protrude above others. If you have two frets that produce the same note, you probably have two frets that are aligned at heights such that when you fret, the string always makes contact with the lower fret first. Classical guitars are always set up by master luthiers using a specific procedure that you can find if you search appropriately on YouTube.

    2) Nylon strings produce much less tension than metal strings. Ukuleles today are normally strung with nylon strings. If you use metal strings, you can exert excessive tension on the instrument. Even in the absence of catastrophic collapse, the significantly greater tension of some metal string sets, combined with heat and humidity, can produce an instrument with a neck that begins to warp. Stick with nylon or Nylgut (TM) strings to avoid this problem.

    3) If you need strings for a six or eight string ukulele, the “Aquilacorde” web site has them, and can mail them to you. You might be able to find them on E-bay as well if you search, and the shipping fees will be less, since they will likely come from the U.S. You can also look on the Elderly.com website for Elderly instruments. They stock a lot of Aquila products.

    4) The “red” string set that I recently purchased from Aquila helped with a minor fret buzz issue that occassionally materialized. The strings in that set are not as thick as the strings in the other Aquila sets. I love the sound and the appearance of the concert ukulele on which they were installed.

    5) I like Martin ukulele strings on baritone ukuleles, but they do not have a great deal of volume, and the package I purchased contained strings that wore out very quickly, leaving my fingers covered with black material when I would play.

    6) Metal strings on a ukulele do not require pick-ups, but the tension load is likely to be an issue. I hope you know how to calculate the total tension on the ukulele, including that due to the segments extending past the nut and the bridge (however small).

    7) Concert size is based upon the scale of the instrument, not the number of frets. Use the right string set for the scale.

    8) In my experience building ukuleles and guitars, when a string does not initially buzz, but then starts to buzz, something has changed. This is usually due to wear on the string. You can check it by loosening the string and running your fingers along it near the nut when there is NO tension on the string, so that it is very loose. There is usually a rough spot on the string. This happens more often with the very first set of string installed on a ukulele while it is being set up, if the string is nicked or abraded. You may need to replace the string. Something may also have fallen into the nut groove, so check that and make sure the bottom is smooth.

    9) Technically the lowest frequency that a sound box will amplify is based upon the largest dimension of the sound box. If a soprano ukulele has a smaller sound box than the concert, it will amplify a somewhat higher set of frequencies than the concert sized sound box.

    10) If you are considering a low G string, which can produce a very emotionally satisfying result with a ukulele, keep in mind that Aquila now sells the red label low G strings, which are not wound. They may fit the slot in your nut better than the wound strings.

    11) Ukulele strings are made to fit a specific instrument scale length. If you buy “concert” strings, they should fit a concert scale ukulele. Again, just go to E-bay and search for “concert Aquila ukulele strings”. I’d try out the red string set version if it were me, the white string sets can over-emphasize the high end frequencies with some ukuleles.

  77. Ventruella January 26th, 2015 5:13 pm

    Note: The “Nylgut” string sets being sold by D’Addario are essentially identical to those same plain, white Nylgut sets sold by Aquila.

    The black nylon D’Addario ukulele sets are the best black nylon sets on the market. They produce a nice, mellow tone. I have nothing bad to say about D’Addario’s ukulele string sets, although for my own use, when dollars are not an issue, I prefer the red string sets from Aquila.

    I often wonder how many complaints that people have regarding the tone of their instruments is the product of failing to set-up the instrument properly and/or related effects on how one frets.

  78. bob burnside March 5th, 2015 8:59 pm

    a friend of mine has (soparano?) ukulele and it’s out of tune (strings very loose). we tried to tune it and I noticed immediately the G string is much smaller gauge than the C string. Is that normal? Can the much smaller gauge string be tuned to G? Isn’t it going to be drawn too tight? Also, since the C string is larger (thicker) gauge, can it be tuned to true C?

  79. Andy March 11th, 2015 11:04 pm

    Bob,

    Yes, that’s normal. The standard tuning is C E G A, but the G is the fourth string (nearest to your face when playing). The C (third string) is normally the lowest string, so they’re arranged on the neck as G C E A.

    The C you’re normally aiming for is middle C, on a piano, or the low C on a concert flute. With normal high C tuning, all the open string notes are in the same octave.

    There’s also a D tuning, D F# A B (two semitones / half steps higher) – arranged as A D F# B – and a low G tuning: G C E A. The first three strings are the same, but the low G is now a thicker one, an octave lower than the normal one. Yours has a normal one.

    So, you have the highest string at the bottom, when you’re playing, but that’s called the first string. The string at the top (fourth string) is the G, tuned two semitones (half steps) below the high A, and it’s usually just slightly thicker. My guess is that it started as a way of balancing the tension in the neck.

    Thicker gauge strings tune lower, though it’s actually due to the mass (weight), rather than the thickness. Think of a weight on the end of a spring, bouncing up and down. A bigger weight bounces slower, on the same spring.

    In my very limited experience, I’ve found you can tune strings quite a bit lower than they’re designed for, if you don’t mind less volume, a different tone, and getting used to the strings feeling a bit slack. It’s probably best to start with new strings though, and tune them up to where you want them, rather than trying to tune down a string that’s been tuned higher and stretched out.

  80. Andy March 13th, 2015 8:10 pm

    Sorry, a couple of typos in my last post. That was meant to say:

    The C (third string) is normally the lowest tuned string, so they’re arranged on the neck as G C E A (from top to bottom, as you hold it while playing).

    With normal “high G” C tuning, all the open string notes are in the same octave.

  81. Clive April 30th, 2015 8:10 pm

    I have a Barnes & Mullins soprano banjo ukulele and would appreciate any advice on stringing. It has been suggested that I use nylon strings and in particular:
    Daddario-EJ53C-Pro-Arte-rectified-concert strings
    Or
    Daddario-EJ65C-Pro-Arte-custom-extruded-concert strings

  82. anthea July 2nd, 2015 12:07 pm

    Hi I bought my first uke which is a mahalo pineapple looking ukulele (purely cause the design was cute and I’ve never played the uke before didn’t want to shell out too much $$$ for the unknown).
    Is it worth while changing the strings or is the mahalo’s too much of a toy it won’t make a difference?

  83. Woodshed July 2nd, 2015 1:43 pm

    anthea: I think it’s worth doing. Mahalos are certainly better than toys.

  84. Peter Rollin August 18th, 2015 1:37 pm

    Hi,

    I have a Pono 8 string Tenor. When I bought it I was told that it is strung with Ko’olau Golds with a wire wound low G (the strings are certainly yellow and have a metallic look from a distance).

    I love the sound of these strings, and get lots of complimentary comments about it.

    I would like to get a replacement set of strings, especially as I have no spare strings if one breaks.

    Problem is I have been told that the Ko’olau Golds are no longer available. Is this correct and if so what is the nearest “sound-alike” alternative?

    I am going to have to re-string at some stage but don’t want to lose the lovely tone,

    Thanks guys.

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