Thursday, March 25, 2010

How to pick strings for your Ukulele

There are certain qualities you should look for in ukulele strings. In order to find the ukulele strings that are right for you ,there are a few things to decide.

To Low G or not to Low G
Traditional ukuleles are tuned to  GCEA, however the strings don't go from low to high like a guitar. Generally speaking the C string is lower than the G string (no pun intended). This gives the instrument that Hawaiian tropical feel that tickles your ears. It is possible to buy a set of strings in which the G string is lower than the C. It doesn't really change to sound of the instrument but some people don't like it because it takes away from the traditional feel. I really like the Low G and its the only way you can play lead, or solo if that's what your into.

Gut or Nylon strings
 If gut sounds gross to you should. Gut strings are produced from the intestines of sheep. Again, these are regarded as traditional, but to be honest, they suck. They're super susceptible to the heat and are very difficult to keep in tune. They do sound good, but they are rapidly being replaced by nylon or other synthetic strings. 

The other most popular string material , Nylon, is quickly monopolizing  the string industry because It's cost effective,  resist to heat and has good tone.You really cant go bad when purchasing Nylon.

 This can sometimes be misleading. The more expensive strings are  not necessarily better. I have seen strings from about $3 to almost $15, but have been happy with strings only about $7. Some strings may even come packaged long enough to string your Ukulele twice. It all depends.

My Top Three

3. Ko'olau Gold Series       
I got these strings as a gift one year. They have a strange yellow coloring that is unappealing because of how they look on my uke, but its worth it for their sound. They supposedly have perfect pitch and are used in professional recording. The small string gauges tend to pull through the bridge of my Uke's so it helps to sneak up on the right note when tuning.

2. Hilo- Low G Wrapped C
These strings are kind of strange as far as regular strings go. They have a Low G string, but also a normal C string that is wrapped in a thin metal cord. They make the ukulele mellow and give you some more volume. The best part is they are only about $5

1. Aquila- Nylgut Low G
By far, these are my favorite  strings. They are synthetic gut-type strings that are still resistant to heat, have almost perfect tone, and come in sets of Low G and High G. They will run you  about $7,but its well worth it.

Stay Tuned

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