Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Oasis Ukulele Strings - full review

The Oasis company has been known for quite some time for their awesome humidifiers.  They've recently started experimenting in the area of fluorocarbon ukulele strings, and after testing these strings out, I must say...these guys are onto something good.

These uke strings should be available soon and you can check out www.oasisstrings.com to find out when you can pick some up.

Here's my review, complete with a couple of sound samples/comparisons at the bottom.


The first thing that I immediately liked about these is that there was enough of each string for two sets (as advertised on the packaging).  A lot of ukulele enthusiasts own multiple ukes, so most of us will really dig the idea of having a "2 in 1" set and maybe saving a couple bucks (depending on what they retail for).

Another positive was how little time it took the strings to stretch.  In my experience with different strings, it usually takes 1 to 2 weeks for the strings to stretch to the point where I don't have to re-tune every single time I pick up my uke.  These took about 5 days to stretch on both the ukes that I strung up.

As far as the feel of the Oasis strings, well, they felt really nice.  How's that for being succinct?  Ok, I'll be a little more in depth.  If I had to pick a gauge category I'd pick medium...although they are probably a little more in between a light and medium gauge, but definitely closer to the medium side.  That's right around where I like my strings and it makes them super comfortable to play on. 

While all of that is good and well, the real test is how they sound, right?  The sound samples below compare them to Aquila strings on a Lanikai LU-21C and Martin M600's on a 50's Favilla soprano.  Thought that it would be nice to compare the sound on a cheaper laminate and a vintage solid wood uke.  For these tests, I used an SM-57 microphone through my Tascam neo 2488 DAW.  No processing of any kind on these.  Just straight samples (played poorly) with the mic sitting 6" from the uke...mic placement between the sound hole and the 12th fret.

On the Lanikai, the volume of the Oasis strings was very similar to that of the Aquilas, which kind of surprised me.  Aquilas tend to be some of the louder strings on the market, so I didn't expect the Oasis strings to "sing" as loudly.  As far as tonal differences, the Oasis strings seem to come through with more clarity and a sweeter tone.  The sustain seems to be very similar between the two.

On the Favilla, the Oasis strings sound GREAT!  To me, this is where these strings really shine.  For vintage ukes, I've been a big fan of Martin M600's...but I think that's about to change!  The Oasis strings provide a touch more volume, but the tone is unquestionably better.  The Oasis strings sound sweet and rich and left the Martin's sounding really muddy.  The Oasis strings also have better sustain.

Bottom line, I'm sold on these for my Favilla!  Planning on ordering another set (technically two) when they become available and trying them on my other solid wood ukuleles.  Listen to the sound samples below and tell us what you think!


9 comments:

  1. Definitely a big improvement over the Martins. A less noticeable difference with the Aquilas. One thing I like about flourocarbons over nylgut though is that they don't squeek when I do fingerpicking.

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    1. Very good point! And I agree, the difference between these and the Aquilas isn't huge on the Lanikai. I think that for the most part, you won't notice a big difference between on any entry level laminates.

      But for a solid wood, I think you'd be hard pressed to find fluorocarbons that can make your uke shine like these. I'm curious to compare with some Worths.

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  2. While at first I felt I heard a distinct difference between the martins and the oasis, as I clicked back and forth along the time line I became increasingly hard pressed to note much of a difference at all. In the end I felt it was a case of six to one and a half dozen to the other. The difference I did hear originally was the "distinctness" of the Oasis strings as opposed to the Martins, but felt that one could just as easily argue that the Martins are more full bodied, representing a fuller sound overall. It may be that the distinctness of the Oasis would lend itself well to certain styles of playing, or even to certain musical pieces, while the Martins go well to others.

    I see Oasis offers two types of strings, warm and bright, do you know which are represented here? Thanks.

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    1. These would be the brighter set. I definitely see what you mean. I think it's impossible to say which set is the best since what sounds good to someone else might not sound good to you. Best thing to do is to trust your own ear and what sounds good to you on each individual ukulele. I have a Kamoa that sounds best with Aquila's, but sounds terrible with Martins. I have a Favilla that sounds great with Martin's, but sounds terrible with the Aquila's.

      So overall, just whatever sounds best to you! Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. I don't see what all the fuss is about. I really could hear very little difference in any of the string sets. All sounded very good with negligible difference IMO. Playing the Favilla with either blindfolded testing I doubt many would claim any major difference. I think a type of emotional placebo effect is at work here. I've had several friends listen without telling them the were different strings and no one guessed. Hope I haven't hurt anyones feelings.

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    1. Beauty is always in the eye (in this case "ear") of the beholder. Some string differences are more noticeable and some are more subtle. I personally like those Oasis strings on my Favilla, but didn't really like 'em overall on any of my other ukes.

      Hey, no feelings hurt here! Thanks for dropping by and for making your voice heard!

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  4. Well I think I'm going to try some on my Lanikai as I have the same one as you tested here and the Aquila's are about two years old and badly need a change. (I rarely play it anymore but it was my first love) I think they sound fine and are a good value. I honestly don't find huge differences in any of the strings I hear. Subtle ones yes I guess but it's so hard to get ones emotional bias (often unconscious) out of the equation. I'm going to be the black sheep here as well and say that the same is often true of the Laminate vs solid wood debate. I think laminates can sound amazing (the Fluke would be a good example) and many don't I'm guessing due to poor workmanship and care on the less expensive instrument rather than the materials. Just my 2 cents. I'd rather be a good player with a mediocre instrument than a mediocre player on a good instrument if you catch my drift.

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    1. I know exactly what you mean! I've heard a lot of laminates that sound better than solid woods. Those Kiwaya's come to mind!

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  5. Then I'll check them out. I'm looking for a good quality non Fluke tenor right now.

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