Aquila Ukulele Strings

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.

On Video

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)”

Todd B.

Ukulele Evangelist

Non-recovering Uke-Aholic

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!

Happy Strumming,



  1. Simon February 20th, 2016 5:19 pm

    A friend and I have been playing ukulele and singing for the senior citizens for seven years (no charge). My take on the ukulele sound from different sizes and brands has evolved tremendously through the years, looking for that perfect string sound. I started with the Soprano down to the Baritone and finally settled on the Tenor uke. My first strings were D’Addario, GHS, then went and stayed with Aquila for a long time. Aquila strings (nylgut) sounded really nice but required frequent re-tuning so I changed-over to Worth which was more stable with temperature changes. Worth strings has a firm, exact, sound with some “bite” to it. However after about a year, I finally realized I really preferred the nice mellow sound from Aquila strings (wound low G) that goes very well with the mellow sounding songs that I sing. I have been rejuvenated with the very nice mellow string sound coming from my ukulele. Aquila… you are my favorite.

  2. Fred Messerly September 14th, 2016 2:31 am

    I have used Aquila Nylagut on my ukes since new. I use a low G set on my Cordoba 35 TS CE tenor. It is really loud. The only problem is the short life of the wound low G. I use a set of Aquila REDS on my
    25 series Cordoba Concert with the high tuning. It has a bright sound and the RED strings are thin and very easy to play. The tone is mellow, but could be a little louder. I would like to try a n unwound low G on the tenor. Any suggestions?

  3. Terry Last October 19th, 2016 3:34 am

    I used Aquilas for ten years. I cannot believe anyone would use the new series Aquila strings.
    I know what I know. I played my Bruko since 1983.
    The original Aquilas were fine.
    The new series Aquilas (red is the worst) killed the Bruko tone and turned it into a Maharlo. (I have great respect for the Maharlo company who have brought music to millions)
    All the new series Aquilas were tested in turn on my Bruko (as good as any friggin Martin), my Sky Lark and then my Acme bangelele. TONE KILLERS!!!

    My Sky Lark has $8 strings now, the Acme nothing and the Bruko soon to have worth strings.
    My guess is the Aquila company has been bought out and the new owner’s product put into the Aquila packaging.

    Use em if ya like em, personally if I wanted to play a Maharlo I’d buy one.

    Stay Tuned T

  4. John January 9th, 2017 4:01 am

    HELP PLEASE!I have been using the Aquila Reds, low G tuning on my Lanikai tenor and I really like the deeper mellower sound. The wound G string can wear out rather quickly but that’s OK, because they’re worth the sound.

    Lately thoughI have gone through 4 PACKS because the C string keeps breaking right after being strung up. It’s always the C string, never any of the others. I’ve tried everything, and have gone through FOUR packs now so I’m DONE with Aquila. Can someone recommend another brand that is similar in sound to the Reds but won’t immediately break. I don’t mind the wound G string, nor do I mind paying a little bit more for quality strings. Please help.


  5. Mahalo Mike April 7th, 2017 10:48 pm

    JSD – it might not be the (“C”) strings, it may be the bridge or nut cutting/abrading the string.

    You don’t mention that it ONLY happens with the Aquila Reds (I can only presume that from your post).

    BTW, are your putting “nut grease” on your nut slots and bridge to lubricate them?

    Mahalo Mike

  6. Mandy May 12th, 2017 12:19 pm

    I recently bought Aquila reds for my soprano and I’ve had waaaay too many issues with trying to keep them tuned. I’ll play a song and then have to tune all over again. Play another song and tune AGAIN. Frustratin!!! They DO seem to sound louder… And they DO sound good when they are in tune but they are taking too long to settle down and stay in tune. My previous set of Aquilas were great (clear polycarbon) but I thought I’d try a new type for this string change to see the difference.

  7. Flymo August 29th, 2017 7:58 am

    The Aquila Reds sound fuller and warmer without losing the attack of Nylgut and were a great improvement over vanilla nylon strings on our Tanglewod tenor and baritone as well as on a quirky skeletal electric tenor with piezo bridge and a rather less skeletal solid baritone with piezo.
    But . . .
    1. They are tricky to install on some bridges (eg Tanglewood) which have anything resembling a sharp internal edge (some Martins eg) and often need a bit of cotton wrapped around them to take tension without breaking. Very fiddly. Care is needed when threading into machine heads too.
    2. The wound Baritone strings have a short life. The winding is fragile beyond belief, and the first set started to fail within ten days iirc.
    With careful playing I can often get a month out of them, but substituting Martin wound strings cured the problem. Tried a full set of Martins on an inexpensive Baritone, still sound after nearly a year’s use, but starting to look doggy.

    We don’t use “Nut Grease”!
    But I do lap and polish the nut slots and fair our bridge saddles very carefully.
    Then a rub with a soft-ish pencil (1B or 2B) deposits a smidge of graphite that seems to work OK.

    Used to think that the Reds were worth the effort but would now suggest that Living Water can be a better option – the solid electric baritone has a truly stunning sound on Living Water strings, and they _seem_ to be wear free even when used heavily for a year. Remarkable.


  8. Ukulacy April 7th, 2018 3:47 pm

    I just tried to fit Aquila Super Nylgut ‘tenor’ strings to one of my tenor ukes and I gave up on the G i.e. the first I fitted. The string was only 61cm long and kept coming adrift at the bridge end as I tightened it. My normal tenor strings are generally in the 90 odd cm range. I’ll have to try the Aquilas on a soprano.

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