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.


  1. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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?

  6. 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…

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

    What strings on ukulele is most commen
    on ordinär ukulele?

  8. 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?

  9. 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.

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

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

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

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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?

  18. 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.

  19. 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!

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

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

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

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

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

    Can I use Tenor Ukulele strings for Baritone ukulele

  23. 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.

  24. 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?

  25. 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!

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


    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 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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?

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


    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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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
    Daddario-EJ65C-Pro-Arte-custom-extruded-concert strings

  32. 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?

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

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

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


    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.

  35. Bryan September 30th, 2015 12:33 am


    So my A string on my Soprano finally broke on me. Bought some new strings and a winder and waiting to fix my situation…but then I thought, ‘Should I just change all the strings on it?’ Just popped into my head and would like some opinion on that.


  36. Val January 6th, 2016 12:44 pm

    What good quality brand of uke can u recommend for a beginner like me? I’m just starting to learn and so I bought this $20 cheap uke but I’m not so satisfied with the sound quality. Had the strings changed to aquila locally available here in the Philippines. Thank you! ?

  37. Phil Warrington February 26th, 2016 4:19 pm

    I wonder if anyone can offer advice on the following problem I’ve had with my new (I’ve had it 3 weeks) Banjouke Sidekick. Strings have broken 3 times in total – twice it was G strings and the first time it was the E string. The most recent breakage appears to have been between the 2nd and 3rd fret (although I am not aware how much the strings actually stretch when they are under tension). Both times the breakages occurred while I was fine-tuning the string.
    For background (and because I have a concern that what is happening might be down to me and something I am doing wrong) I offer the following: I do not have huge experience with ukuleles – I have been playing for a couple of years and have 5 other ukuleles all of which I have restrung without any problems and none of which have had string breakages; both G strings were high Gs from sets of Aquila “New Nylgut” tenor reg strings; I have asked someone who I do consider to be an expert and he assured me that strings should not break regularly like this; I have checked for sharp edges on the frets and cannot detect any; in the short periods between string breakages, I have really enjoyed playing my Sidekick. Customer care from the manufacturer has been excellent. I email and they get back to me very quickly. With this last string breakage they suggest that it must be something I am doing wrong and that I should take my Sidekick to a music shop where I can watch it being restrung professionally.
    What I would like is advice:
    1. What do you think is going wrong? Is it something I am doing or might there actually be something wrong with my Sidekick?
    2. How can I ensure this doesn’t happen again?
    Phil Warrington

  38. Graeme March 6th, 2016 10:06 am

    When looking at the Aquila strings there is a number followed by U. I figure the “U means Ukulele, but what do the different numbers mean?

  39. Jeff March 10th, 2016 11:17 pm

    I bought a Luna 8 string uke. I relly like it but I’m wondering if I would like it even more if all 4 sets of string were an octave apart. Rather than the bottom two just being doubled up with the same string? Is this possible or just not even done at all?

  40. chris March 29th, 2016 11:47 am

    What does the U stand for when buying strings.I have an Aiersi concert banjolele.Using 7u Aquila strings at present.What are the different u sizes for. Thanx Chris

  41. Michael DiSalvo April 13th, 2016 4:28 pm

    Looking for tenor strings with metal ball ends. When looking on line, it doesn’t indicate if ball or open end. The Uke I just bought has a bridge like a regular acoustic guitar. Can’t tie strings. Can you advise the exact strings I can purchase? Aquila. Can I tie a knot on the bottom of an open end string, and install?

  42. kev August 28th, 2016 11:53 am

    is it possible to get low A,C,E as well as the low G string for experimental purposes

  43. Bob December 3rd, 2016 11:26 am

    Hi there. Completely new to Ukes & having read all the advice am intending to upgrade the strings on my tenor to Aquila. However I’m confused re. the numbers on the string packs.
    What is the significance of the ‘U’ after the number. Cheers Bob

  44. Woodshed December 3rd, 2016 12:29 pm

    Bob: I think those are just Aquila’s codes referring to the sets they sell. Nothing to worry about.

  45. Alan December 30th, 2016 12:55 pm

    Is there any way that I could get DGBE strings for a soprano ukulele?

  46. saeed March 19th, 2017 3:31 pm

    Hi ,

    the String Daddario EJ65S as i saw in daddario website and says EJ65S is for Soprano Ukuleles tuned to traditional ADF#B , now i have a question , can i set it with G C E A ?

    i would be thankful if you reply and answer me

    thanks in advance

    yours Sincerely

  47. Woodshed March 19th, 2017 4:56 pm

    saeed: GCEA should work without a problem. There’s not much difference.

  48. Don June 13th, 2017 8:58 pm

    I have a new Kaloha Opio concert uke that has a definite punchy Hawaiian sound, but it lacks volume in the treble notes. Is there a particular string set which is more treble-y in sound? Or is there uke strings which have more volume than others, so that I could put mix higher volume strings with the 2 middle lower ones for a more balanced sound?

    Just thought I would ask…any ideas are appreciated!

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