Aquila Red Ukulele Strings

Since I started playing the ukulele, the de-facto string for me has been standard Aquila strings. Great sounding, they have been standard fitting on most of my ukes.

Eddy Finn with standard Aquilas

Eddy Finn with standard Aquilas

Recently, I tried Worth strings, these do have a slightly better sound and the strings feel softer under the fingers – good on the fretting hand, but somehow not as nice to strum. The Worths feel less substantial and seem to flex a little more with the occasional mis-strum snagging the strings (for me anyway). I don’t play by finger picking much, so they might be better for that style.

So, as someone who likes to have tried as much as possible in case there’s a better way, I thought I’d try out a set of these new Aquila Reds. I have a couple of ukes with the Aquila Red Low G string, but these are complete sets all made of the same red material. Sets are available for soprano and concert, and both high and low G for the Tenor size. (I’m not a fan of low G strings on Soprano anyway).

Fitting the strings is fine of course, but they do feel a bit more ‘stretchy’ than normal strings. As you tune up, you’ll hear them go down in note almost as if they are slipping on the tuner. It seems as if it’s part of the installation process. So don’t fit these on the same day you expect to play them, they’ll drop half a note or so during a song within an hour of installation! I left mine to stretch over a couple of nights, they were then OK.

Eddy Finn with Aquila Reds

Eddy Finn with Aquila Reds

As for looks, they are a bit unique, with the red on all four strings. On the uber-cool Eddy Finn I have, they add even more interest!

As for the sound and playability? Well, again like the Worth strings, they feel softer and more pliable – nicer on the frets. They also feel of a similar dimension to the standard Aquilas (Worths feel smaller) so they don’t give me that snagging problem. They have a bright, but not too sharp and punchy sound, which I like. Where some have reported that a low-G setup has a difference in the tonality of the strings, of course these would give you consistent tone. As something different to normal Aquilas, I like them a lot, and they don’t annoy me like the Worths do (but some swear by Worths over Aquilas!).

The only possible downside (and a very minor one) is that if you are one who looks at the fretboard a lot, the lack of contrast with them being red rather than white might put you off a little if your sight is poor, but it’s a very small point, and you ought to be working instinctively and by feel shouldn’t you? I might be more sensitive to this as because of my photography background, I doubt it will worry anyone else!

Overall, we will see how durable they are, and how I get on long term, but first impressions are really good. Of course, these are all my own opinions, your own mileage will vary…

My strings were supplied by Omega Music (I paid for them, so these really are my opinions here!), via Amazon. Click here – Soprano High G, Concert High G, Tenor Low G, Tenor High G.

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13 Responses to Aquila Red Ukulele Strings

  1. Joe Dan Boyd says:

    Generally speaking, I prefer Worth strings over Aquila most of the time, but I do use both. However, I have experimented with Living Water strings, and find them superior to both Aquila and Worth. On some instruments, I also find Hilo strings to be a competitive choice. String choice is a very individual thing, and I urge everyone to experiment. Thank you for informative post.

  2. Friday Links says:

    [...] Review of Aquila’s Red Series strings. [...]

  3. Jon says:

    Do the reds feel “ceramic” to you? I have a set on a soprano, and it’s the only word I can think of to describe how they feel.

    It’s not a bad sound- I’ll have to play some more to see if it fixes some of the finger hangups I’ve been having with my Worth’s.

    • simontaylor says:

      Yes, that’s a good way of explaining it, like an unglazed ceramic. But not in a bad way, it’s just a texture.

  4. mikeormsby says:

    Thanks Simon, useful review. I have been looking for the full set of Aquila soprano red, for a while; no joy, only the low G, but you cracked it : ) Question from a new player… why do you have doubts about the low G? I bought but have not fitted it yet. Just curious. M

  5. Jon says:

    I’ve given up on the red low g on my tenor- I’ve had two snap, both from the “reformulated” batch from March 2013, both while still tuning barely past F#.

    Makes me leery to ever use a full set.

    • simontaylor says:

      Might be speaking too soon, but my set have done three weeks of acoustic jam, and my low G’s before have been fine – in fact, on a Low GCEA Baritone, the A string broke.

  6. Slim Symes says:

    The Aquilla A strings has all ways been too snappy I put a G string there, it’s tighter and will not bend over .

    • simontaylor says:

      Nice idea. I had to buy another set, so if it goes again, I’ll use the G! Thanks for that point.

  7. [...] Aquilas are just fine, the Aquila reds look cool and have a different playing experience (see http://simontaylor.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/aquila-red-ukulele-strings/ ) Worths are not for me, but for sheer playing versatility, Savarez will be my standard fit from [...]

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