Aquila strings are one of the most popular brands of ukulele strings around, if not the most popular.
They are made in Italy of their own, special Nylgut material. Nylgut is a synthetic material that is intended to combine the best qualities of nylon and gut strings (hence the name). The strings are easy to play and have a warm tone to them.
There’s plenty of debate on the ukulele forums on this subject, different people prefer different strings. Overall, it seems like Aquila are winning the string wars. Even though I’m a Worth man at heart, I regularly and quite happily use Aquilas.
Bosko and Honey go on a tour of the Aquila factory.
On eBay US
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On eBay UK
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Aquila String Colors
When I first used Aquila strings, I was a little confused by the color coding system. It took me a while to find the strings each color refers to on the back of the packet. In case you’ve lost the packet, here’s what they refer to.
1st (A) = Red
2nd (E) = Blue
3rd (C) = Green
4th (G) = White
A review of Aquila Ukulele Strings
“Further thoughts on turning your Mahalos into Martins (I concur with Woodshed)”
The rambling introduction: I’ve been a musician for around 20 years. I’ve been thrifty as long as I can remember…..thrifty is not to be confused with “absolute tightwad.”
If I’m spending, and you put a 500.00 Alvarez acoustic guitar and a 1000.00 dollar Martin in front of me, I’m gonna go with the Alvarez.
The same could be said with regard to my new found love, the ukulele. Put a Bushman Jenny or a Fluke up against some hand crafted instrument from a very talented Luthier (let’s say a Glyph or an Earnest) and unless they’re working some sort of promotional deal, I’ll choose the former two….it’s a matter of pragmatism.
I love the sound of plenty of high end instruments, but with the way I play (not gingerly) and handle my instruments (sometimes not as thoughtfully as I should) mixed with the decent sound you get out of most mid-level rigs, I just won’t do it (unless I suddenly experience a windfall in the area of finances).
Working on the Point: Let’s cross over to the subject of strings now……for some time now, I’ve been a pretty big stickler on keeping my strings both clean and changed on my instruments. I play steel string guitar, bass, nylon string guitar (classical), and the uke.
**I’ve never had any trouble with using lower end guitar strings. The only thing I’ve ever noticed was the need to perhaps change them a little more often (btw, Dr Stringfellow’s string cleaner can help greatly with this
***Not so with our diminutive friend…..In my three short years of playing, I’ve tried Martin Strings, GHS black nylon strings, La Bellas, and Hilo black nylon strings. While they have all served there purpose, I believe I have crossed a threshold……
As a result of reading Woodshed’s article “Turning your Mahalos into Martins,” I was inspired to enter into the land of “high-end” strings just this past weekend. I called around and found a purveyor of the infamous “Aquila Nylagut” strings. So far, I’ve slapped them on my Lanikai Tenor, my Ovation Soprano, and I’ll be putting some on my Fluke later this week. Now, for curious uke-aholics, please take note that these strings (at least here in the States) run at about 10.00 a pack as opposed to the normal 3.00/4.50 for most of the other brands. Say what? Yes you read correctly.
O.K. now we’re getting somewhere: Here’s the rub….I may never go back. They really do make “that much of a difference.” Please allow me to share my observations.
Aquilas and the soprano Uke: One of the things that has chafed me a bit about the other strings I have used on my soprano uke is this, unless you tune them up a whole step (A, D, F#, E) every type of string I have use just felt downright “floppy and sloppy.” I put the Aquilas on my soprano and immediately I could tell a difference. The tension is better and there is more “bite” to the sound. I would venture to say that the volume output may even be slightly higher.
Aquilas and the Tenor Uke: I opted for the “non-wound” C string set with this uke. My Lanikai is the lowest end uke of my collection and I can honestly say that the Aquilas have improved the sound of this rig by 5 points (what constitutes a point? Well, I’m not sure, but it sounds good) at least. Not to mention they just “feel” right. I had GHS strings on it before and they felt “too-tight” almost. I’d say there’s just enough bend to the Aquilas and the tone is much warmer, and again, I’d say the volume output might be slightly higher.
Aquilas and my concert Fluke: I haven’t got there yet, but I’m pretty confident I’ll come up with the same results. Do yourself a favor….save your pennies and spend the extra few bucks to invest in some higher-end strings for your uke J
You’ll be glad you did!