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.
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.
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…