Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Aquila Super Nylgut Ukulele Strings review

I decided awhile back that when it comes to reviewing strings, I'm not going to give a report card. The sound of strings can be so subjective that comparing one brand or type to another just seems moot. In order to find the "right" strings for your individual ukulele, you just have to try a bunch of different kinds and it all comes down to which ones YOU like the best. But that's really a topic best reserved for it's own blog post so I'll stop there.

This time around, we're testing out some new strings from Aquila - Super Nylgut. Almost every uke player has tried Aquila strings at least once so we're all pretty familiar with the overall solid reputation for their strings. Most ukulele enthusiasts seem to agree that Aquilas are best reserved for laminate ukuleles since the volume and tone of the strings tend to overpower the natural voice of solid wood ukes. I have concluded that this is generally a good application (but not absolutely always).

These strings don't seem to be widely available yet. They told me that I'm one of the first U.S. residents to try these out which made me feel pretty cool!

Before I really get into it, I want to mention that the first set they delivered to me had a defect in the E string. They were super cool about sending me another set quickly. I'm sure this kind of defect happens from time to time, but wanted to mention it because this is a credit to their stellar customer service!

So what makes these strings different than the regular Nylgut strings? 

Well, according to the back of the package....

In case you don't want to try to read the font in the picture, I'll sum it up for you: pearl color, smoother feel, and they are supposed to tune up and stay in tune quickly. Actually, to quote the back of the package they are "ables to achieve the required pitch and stability in a few seconds". They could probably use an extra employee or two to catch the typos on their packaging. I'm too much of a grammar slammer to let that one go. :) 

They are also touted to have greater acoustic output with a more penetrating sound than regular Nylguts. 

Do they live up to all that hype?

I like the look. The pearl looks very classy. 

They do have a very smooth feel. I think it's safe to say that they feel smoother to the touch than the regular Nylgut strings. It makes for easy transitions up and down the neck. I might also add that the overall balance of the strings feels nice. I didn't feel like any string overpowered any other and the tension on all strings seemed very even.

As far as the claim that they reach the pitch and stay in tune "in seconds"...I've gotta say that they are reaching a little too far there. Maybe I'm just reading to much into that....maybe I'm misunderstanding what they mean, but they have roughly the same stretch period and break in period as any other ukulele strings. 

Regarding the volume and overall sound, I didn't hear a noticeable volume difference. I do find them to have a more full sound than the regular Nylgut Aquila strings. 

I thought it'd be interesting to compare these strings against some Oasis Warm ukulele strings (which are fluorocarbon). 

They both sound great, but much to my surprise, I didn't hear any discernible difference between the Super Nylgut strings and the Oasis strings.

I'm interested to see how these will be priced alongside their regular Nylgut strings...if the pricing is equal, I'd probably buy these over the regulars, but I'm not so impressed with them that I'd be willing to pay a dollar or two more per pack.

I do tip my hat to Aquila for not resting on their laurels and attempting to find ways to improve and perfect their already great product.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the review! What song are you playing to demonstrate, and do you have the tab for it?