all about strings
- String Types
There are several different types of ukulele strings available, and they all differ in terms of acoustics, feel and durability. There is no "best" string. Like the other acoustic elements of the instrument, it is the player's opinion that matters. We have exhaustively tested three types of strings, and would characterize them as follows:
Fluorocarbon (Worth, Japan): These are smooth and relatively small diameter with excellent durability. The tone is clear and well balanced. The other string types require a wound string for low-G, while the fluorocarbon is available in a low-G available for excellent balance. Furthermore, the strength of fluorocarbon allows for a higher tension #1 string giving excellent note attack.
Clear Nylon (D'Addario, USA): These strings are smooth and have excellent durability. The tone is very warm. Low-G is available with a wound string.
Nylgut (Aquila, Italy): These white strings are medium diameter with a slightly gritty feel and are somewhat less cut resistant than the other strings. The tone is brighter than the other string types. Low-G is available with a wound string.
- Standard Strings
At no additional charge, we will string instruments with the customer's choice. Our instruments have the following strings as standard:
Tradition: Fluorocarbon, high-G (Worth CT for Tenor; Worth CM for others)
Classic (all except Baritone): Fluorocarbon, high-G (Worth CT for Tenor; Worth CM for others)
Baritone: Fluorocarbon/Wound (custom)
Resonator: Fluorocarbon, high-G (Worth CT for Tenor; Worth CM for Concert)
6-String Tenor: Fluorocarbon, high-G (custom)
6-String Baritone: Fluorocarbon/Wound, high-D (custom)
Lap Steel: Steel, low-G (custom)
D6 tuned instruments: Fluorocarbon, wound low-A (custom)
For low-G instruments, our standard is a wound string (D'Addario NYL030w for Tenor; D'Addario NYL026w for others).
Note that the different types of strings are different diameters. Changing strings may require that your nut slot(s) be opened up. This is most often the case when going to the fluorocarbon low-G (.0433" vs. .030" for the wound low-G).
For pricing and ordering, visit this page.
For string diameters & tensions for our custom string sets, visit this page.
- Lap Steel
We string our Lap Steel Resonator with a custom set of D'Addario loop-end steel strings. The standard tuning for the lap steel is open C (G-C-E-g). With the provided strings, it can be retuned to many different tunings including C6 (G-C-E-a) and open G (G-B-D-g), making the instrument extremely versatile. The standard strings that we provide are low-G (wound). We will provide a high-G upon request.
The strings that we use are not available in any standard set, but can either be purchased directly from us (as a set) or from other sources (as individual strings). The D'Addario strings are as follows:
If you would like to tune up to open D (A-D-F#-a) and/or open A (A-C#-E-a), we recommend the following D'Addario strings:
- C6 vs. D6 Tuning
The majority of our ukuleles are shipped and used in C6 tuning (G-C-E-A), though we do supply a number of instruments in D6 tuning (A-D-F#-B). This tuning is most predominant in the Canadian educational system where the ukuleles are tuned up a step in order to align better with the vocal range of grade school children.
We have designed string sets in all 3 string types (fluorocarbon, clear nylon and nylgut) for D6 tuning. We specifically designed these string sets to maximize sustain (keeping less tension on the low-A string) and note attack and clarity (putting higher tension on the B-string). The low-A string is wound for the nylgut or clear nylon sets.
While you can tune our C6 strings up a full step to D6 tuning, they are not designed for this range. Tuning up a step puts approximately 26% more tension on the strings and instrument, resulting in less string life, lower volume and a shorter sustain.