4 strings - 4 ways of string up
Our small instrument only has four strings, but they are all making the sound we love. But which strings are the right ones for you and your instrument? In this blogpost i will give you an idea of which strings are the best for you.
Of course there are a lot of brands, but the first thing you should consider is the material you want to use.
Nylon strings, developed in the 40s, have a warm sound, rounding out the sharp corners that the ukulele can present. Pleasant, but I think they can be a bit boring.
The Flour carbon strings, developed in the 80s, have a bright sound and fast attack. They feel a little tighter and are thinner than the Nylons.
Nylgut strings from Italy imitates the quality of gut strings. They are bright white and not too thin with a warm and rich sound. (They are strung on the most new Ukues from a mid price range on).
The Titanium strings are a recent mixture between Nylon and Carbon, often with a blueish tint.
Choose your strings to underline the character of your instrument or help the sound where it is a little weak.
For my Koa Ukuleles from Hawaii I prefer Carbon strings, I suggest the Worth brand. The instruments are warm and full in the lower range, so the Carbon basses don’t really add any support because of their very bright consitution. But help they do help the high register to sing even more. My Mahogany Ukes, a Martin and a Kala, are strung both with Nylgut. This choice fits the warm and dark sound quality of these instruments. If you own a Uke which isn’t a rolls royce model, these strings will help a lot with the sound and playability.
Tips and Tricks?
If you would like to experience playing with a low G, take a used 4th string from a classical guitar. It works perfectly and there’s no need to buy one because there’s always somebody around with a used D string. As I said there are a lot of brands doing strings for our Ukes. And they are more coming all the time. Nylgut are originally made by Aquila, but you’ll find the same materials from D’Addario.
Perfect in tune?
But sometimes new strings don’t last very long. If they are not in tune, if the string is not made properly the tuning will not be satisfying. You can find out when comparing the tone at 12th fret with the same harmonic. Either the tuner shows a difference, or they’re so bad that you can tune the open strings but the chords or single notes will be out of tune. But if one set from a certain brand doesn’t work, that doesn’t mean the next will be the same…
When do i have to change my strings?
After a while they get scratchy and make noises when you strum or play with fingers. Especially when you use your nails like I do. I love clear sounds, not crackly ones. If you don’t use your nails but use your fingertips there might not be a problem. But after six months, new strings will „sound“ like a breath of fresh air…then the fun factor jumps back up.
I hope that I could open your minds to the many Uku possibilities and give you some good advice!
If you have questions please ask here. I’d love to answer them in our blog.
That’s it for now!