The ukulele has become a popular and easy instrument to play, but having the best ukulele strings is also important.
When choosing strings for your ukulele, the first feature that you will most likely consider is the quality of sound.
Whether you own a soprano, concert, tenor or baritone ukulele, some string types will be better suited to your specific instrument.
Today, you can choose from various brands of nylon, fluorocarbon, gut, titanium, wound nylon, wound metal, and steel strings to achieve excellent playing style, comfort, and performance.
What Do I Look Out for When Buying Ukulele Strings?
Before selecting strings for your ukulele, a primary quality to consider is the type of sound. While some string varieties will produce fatty, complex sound levels, others will render a warm, concise and more simplistic sound.
New string types will provide a brighter sound with more volume, and others will offer a more profound, more resonant response.
These strings are composed of is the main contributor to the type and volume of the sound they produce. However, your unique touch and playing style will also have a strong influence on the resulting audio response of your ukulele.
It is best to select strings that provide you with the most significant degrees of playing comfort, ease, responsiveness, and most importantly, the quality of sound.
Different Ukulele Types
The various sizes and styles of ukuleles currently available and their different characteristics and qualities are as follows:
This type is considered the standard, or most common, size of ukulele you will find. It has a body that is 21 inches in length. The scale of this ukulele measures 13 inches in length.
These soprano ukuleles produce a bright, clear sound that can be enhanced further with the use of the most appropriate strings. These instruments tune in GCEA or ADF#B.
With a body measuring 23 inches with a 15-inch scale, this ukulele has a somewhat deeper sound and plays at a louder level than the soprano instrument. However, the tuning is the same: GCEA or ADF#B.
The tenor ukulele offers a 26-inch body. Its 17-inch scale makes it an excellent choice for anyone with large hands who is buying a ukulele.
This larger size body also offers more space for resonating tones, which produces a significantly deeper, fuller, and more resonant sound. Tenor ukuleles tune in GCEA, ADF#B or DGBE.
The baritone is the largest instrument in the ukulele family, with a 30-inch body and a 19-inch scale. This instrument has the appearance and similar sound of an acoustic guitar.
It offers the capacity for players to produce lower and even more resonant notes than the tenor model. This ukulele is especially suitable for playing with other acoustic instruments and tuned in DGBE.
Re-entrant vs Linear Tuning
Ukuleles can be tuned using re-entrant or linear tuning methods.
When using re-entrant style tuning, the strings are not tuned in order from lowest to highest pitch, and the deviating pitch refers to as the “re-entry” in this sequence of tones.
In linear tuning, the G string is down one octave to provide a broader range of tone.
Best Type of Ukulele Strings
There is a variety of good ukulele strings currently available on the market. Different types of ukuleles require specific string varieties. It is essential to have a thorough understanding of both your instrument and the various string types that you can use on your instrument.
There are two types of nylon ukulele strings in use today, Ground and Extruded.
When hot nylon is forced out through a hole that’s a bit bigger than the supposed string, it creates a ground nylon string. Ground strings must be ground down to ensure a nearly consistent diameter, but they retain a somewhat rough texture due to microscopic surface variations.
By forcing hot nylon through holes that are equal size to that of the string, it produces extruded nylon strings.
Both extruded and ground nylon strings require some stretching time before settling into and retaining their correct tune.
The sound you can produce when playing the ukulele with nylon strings is warm with apparent precision and purity. It can also be sharply concise and even spunky if you like.
Since humidity levels do not have any effect on nylon, these strings will not deteriorate as quickly as steel strings can.
Also, when playing nylon strings, your fingers will not be painful and callused like they do when you play steel strings. Some brands of advanced nylon uke strings are mainly to maintain perfect intonation.
Strings composed of fluorocarbon, or plastic, will render sound very much like the sound created by playing nylon uke strings.
Same as the nylon, fluorocarbon strings will not put as much stress on your fingers and fingertips as metal strings do. Although these strings can feel thin and inflexible to the touch at first, your finger will soon grow accustomed to them.
Another advantage of choosing to use these plastic strings on your ukulele is that they are generally less affected by changes in environmental temperatures than nylon strings.
You can easily cut both plastic and nylon strings in your desired length. For this reason, if you purchase longer strings than you intended to buy, you can cut them to size needed quickly and simply with a pair of scissors. Cutting these strings will not in any way influence their snappy, and clear sound when played.
Fluorocarbon was first produced as fishing line. However, it is now used to create durable ukulele strings that hold their tune well.
These plastic strings create a brighter, crisper sound when played than strings made of gut, synthetic gut or nylon.
Even tricky or fast-paced playing on plastic strings will not tire your fingers or create fingertip calluses.
Most musicians favor gut strings. These strings provide a more vibrant, fuller and more complex or sophisticated sound than other string types such as nylon, fluorocarbon or metal. Gut strings offer more traditional notes when played, making them well-suited for performing classical and other older songs, forms and styles of music.
These strings, made from different dried sheep or goat intestines, were the first kind of strings used on acoustic instruments.
Gut strings offer better finger slide capacity than other string varieties.
They also offer a comfortable feeling for the fingers during ukulele playing. Perhaps, this is because natural material forms the gut strings.
Atmospheric temperatures and humidity levels affect gut strings quickly. This situation makes it challenging to keep them in tune. They also require stretching before they can settle into and remain in tune.
Uke strings made of titanium offer much more exceptional durability, and more prolonged use than nylon or fluorocarbon strings provide. Although they are monofilaments like their nylon and plastic counterparts, these metal strings are unlikely to snap when under pressure.
With titanium strings on your ukulele, you will enjoy higher volume and projection from your instrument.
It is best to refrain from cutting these strings unless you have experience at trimming them. Titanium strings have a distinctive bright sound and tuned with standard GCEA tuning.
These strings have a translucent purple color, and they are smooth to the touch, much like nylon or plastic strings.
These strings add clarity, volume, and dynamics to ukulele performance. They will withstand heavy, rhythmic playing while staying in tune and maintaining their brilliant, clear sound and resonance for the long-term.
Other Types of Good Ukulele Strings
Placing a nylon core within plastic material creates wound nylon strings. This material will ensure its low, resounding bass tones.
These strings are in widespread use for the lower strings of tenor and baritone ukuleles.
Their only major disadvantage is that they can squeak loudly when incorrectly fretted during playing. Cutting is also not a good idea since it will result in being unwinded.
Larger tenor, baritone, or hybrid ukes use these strings. They sound more like guitar strings during performances.
These wound metal strings produce tones in the lower frequency range, but can also squeak rather loudly when incorrectly fretted.
If you cut them, they will begin to unravel similar to how synthetic wound strings will start to unwind if severed.
Strings made of steel are not suitable for use on a ukulele of any type or size.
What makes them unacceptable is the tension they apply to the bridge area and body of the instrument can cause significant damage.
However, if used on a hybrid like banjoleles or guitar-ukes, they will produce a brisk, concise sound very much like the tones of titanium strings.
Best Sounding Ukulele Strings
The following best uke strings are suitable for different scale lengths of ukuleles (soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone), as indicated:
Aquila Nylgut Series
These ukulele strings have a pleasing melodic sound with sweet, mellow overtones. They are available in different sizes for use on the different types and sizes of instruments.
Combining three separate synthetic materials forms these innovative strings with ultimate quality sound and the playing ease of natural gut strings.
This brand’s composite string material resists absorbing moisture, ensuring longer in-tune playing before re-tuning.
These uke strings sell in both High and Low-G tuning. These Aquila strings are accurately gauged for more precise fret intonation and packaged in sets of four.
Even low-cost ukuleles acquire good sound quality when strung with these unique strings. These quality strings are far superior to any other nylon strings on the market today.
Not so much of a disadvantage, but it takes approximately 30 minutes of steady playing and continued stretching for these strings to settle in tune.
When you choose the Aquila Nylgut Series for your uke strings, you will enjoy playing more than ever. The sound you produce will be brighter with more clarity and well-blended tonalities.
Aquila Super Nylgut Series
Nylgut materials offer the tones most closely aligned with the sounds of natural gut strings. These unique materials form these advanced design strings.
These strings are very comfortable to play, and they provide impressive volume levels and excellent intonation. The polymers in these strings allow only small degrees of moisture absorption, which keeps their tones and volume consistent.
The significant advantage that these unique synthetic strings offer is their improved durability and stability during travel or seasonal climate changes.
The sound produced by these Super Nylgut strings is rich, well-rounded and extensive, with crisp and resounding plucked notes for outstanding performance.
These strings are the choice of many experienced ukulele players, and they also make playing easier for beginners.
D’Addario Nyltech Ukulele Strings
D’Addario and Aquila collaborated to produce these Nyltech strings. Their unique composition enables them to provide superior quality warm yet spunky tones and precise intonation.
Comfortable to play, these advanced design strings retain good tune longer than many other brands on the market.
These strings are known for their similar sound of the natural gut string. They can deliver traditional uke tones or more of the contemporary crisp, dynamic music you might want.
Their versatility attributes to their unique blend of proprietary materials, which make it possible to produce a wide range of color and expression in tone, timbre, and intensity.
The fluorocarbon content of these strings enhances their harmonic possibilities while raising their amplitude levels. These contemporary synthetic uke strings create rich tonalities, full resonance, good volume.
Due to their significant tensile strength, these strings will hold their tune well during a performance.
The Martin M600 line of strings is designed mainly for use on the Tenor ukulele. Their gauging also makes them compatible with Soprano and Concert instruments.
These strings are less costly than some other top brands, but offer consistently good quality for playing.
GHS H-10 Hawaiian Ukulele Strings
These practical, no-frills ukulele strings from GHS deliver an authentic Hawaiian style sound with warm, mellow and lilting tones.
They also offer excellent intonation and comfortable playing. Lengths are available for use on all ukulele sizes, but these strings are best suited for use on Concert or Soprano instruments.
Now available in black, these stylish strings embellish the appearance of ukuleles during a performance.
These strings are priced to suit any budget and offer long-term, regular use.
They have smooth playing and crisp, fresh quality sound to perk up your jam, encouraging you to play more.
After considering the information discussed above, my choice for the best ukulele strings is the Aquila Super Nylgut Series.
With their unique proprietary string composition and design, these advanced style ukulele strings deliver pure, full, and mellow sound quality while offering long-lasting use.
They also hold tune well and offer smooth, comfortable playing for both experienced professional uke players and beginners.
These strings are easy on the fingers and fingertips and slide well. They also offer reliable and beautiful intonation.
Of course, the ultimate purchasing decision is yours when selecting new strings for your ukulele. I hope the above information has been somewhat enlightening and helpful to you in making your choice of strings.