If you don’t know what you’re doing, finding the best ukulele strings can be a nightmare. There are different types of ukulele, which means different types of strings. There simply isn’t a one size fits all solution, so it is vital that you find Ukulele strings to fit your instrument. Baritone, Tenor, Concert and Soprano ukuleles all have a slightly different set of characteristics, and the tunings can be different, which means you need to buy the correct, specific strings to suit the Ukulele in question. It is a minefield if you are doing it for the first time, so we’ve created both a guide to finding the right strings and reviews of the strings that we recommend.
Certain brands crop up over and over again in the world of strings for stringed instruments including guitars and of course, Ukuleles. D’addario, Martin and other popular brands are prolific. Aquila is another brand which specialize more in Ukulele strings, and some of their models are definitely commendable.
Criteria for the Top Strings
As with any ‘best-of’ list, there are certain criteria that we are judging the best strings on.
- Type of Ukulele. It has to fit, if you have a soprano uke, you need soprano strings. It is vital that you are buying strings that fit the instrument you have.
- Quality and sound. Of course, the sound quality is vital. The strings are such a key ingredient in making sure that you have a clear and crisp sound, and getting something that isn’t up to the task is an error for most musicians!
- Reliability. Nobody wants strings they’re going to have to replace straight away after breaking. Eventually, all strings need replacing, but it is worth finding something that is at least somewhat robust to ensure the work is less on your part. Keeping your strings in good shape can also be heped by the use of a ukulele humidifier.
- Material. This is definitely something that you should be looking into when making your choice. Commonly, nylon strings are used on Ukuleles, but this isn’t strict. Titanium can be used, with a brighter tone and slightly more robust feel. Wound nylon is a common material for tenor and baritone ukuleles. Some Ukuleles even use Flourocarbon which is commonly used as a fishing line! Paying some attention to the string’s material is definitely worthwhile. Most of us will start with Nylon, but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t try out the other types of string for a different sound.
Trying out different strings is something most instrumentalists will tend to do over time. They all have their own quirks and unique sound. There’s nothing wrong with stringing and restringing until you get it right. Fortunately, strings are among the cheapest peripherals so finding the best doesn’t have to cost the earth.
Tuning and Sizes for Different Ukulele Types
The length of your ukulele and its size will mean that different strings are required depending on which you have. Each of the tenor, baritone, concert and soprano types all have their own tunings, which means that different strings can be used on each.
Reentrant means that the G string is tuned higher than the C and E.
Linear is a tuning whereby the G is an octave lower.
Simply put, the following strings will fit these types of ukuleles:
- Soprano. High G, Reentrant
- Tenor. Low G, Reentrant
- Baritone. DGBE
The strings you purchase will say on them the type of Ukulele they are designed to work with and a quick read of the manufacturers description will show you if they are suitable for your instrument.
Aquila New Nylgut AQ-4
A best seller and popular choice for both seasoned players and beginners. Aquila is a real market leader when it comes to ukulele strings, and the AQ-4 is a great choice for a lot of favorable reviews. The technology behind them is pretty impressive and the ‘Nyglut’ material is somewhat unique.
It has been made by using three elements to make a material that is designed to stay in tune and have a nicer tone than nylon strings, but also with the feel of ‘gut’ strings. They are made to absorb moisture a lot less than nylon strings or other strings and this has a big impact on the sound and tuning.
These are designed for Soprano Ukuleles, though the brand, Aquila, have a big range and can provide strings in other tunings for different models of ukulele. If you have a quick read through the reviews, you will see how impressed people tend to be with the sound of these, and the fact that they stay in tune better than other sets of strings can be great for live performance and casual players alike.
D’Addario EJ87 Ukulele Strings
With basically any stringed instrument, you can rely on D’addario to provide at least one viable option, and they’ve done so here with their excellent titanium ukulele strings. The EJ87S are designed to be a versatile range, meaning they offer strings for the following types of ukulele: Baritone, Tenor, Concert, Soprano and “Hawaiian”.
There are also multiple materials available in the D’addario range. Nylon, Titanium and a unique technology called “Nytech” which is a clever blend of materials. D’addario strings also have great value on offer and it isn’t expensive to stock up on strings fro the brand, knowing that the quality will be in place.
What I love about these strings is the fact that there are a lot of different variations, all of which have great sound quality, and there is something for you no matter which type of Ukulele you play.
Martin M600 Standard Ukulele Strings
It is entirely unsurprising that Martin have created a model to make our list of the best strings for ukuleles. Martin are a wonderful manufacturer of acoustic instruments and of course, their strings. It is fair to say that some of their sets of ukulele strings, including the flourocarbon models, have been met with mixed reviews, but the M600 standard ukulele strings are excellent.
The gauges of these Nylon strings are .0191 .0256 .0340 and .0216, and the strings are both robust and high quality with a good tone. Another option worth considering for the standard ukuleles.
The tried and trusted ukulele brands are out there providing some good quality strings. There is no reason why you can’t mix and match and try different brands, but the above models won’t see you go far wrong, and come with our top recommendation. Every player is different and will be looking for something different from their sound, but it is mainly important that you get the correct strings for your Ukulele and something you are happy with, which will stay in tune and not break at the first opportunity.
If you have any other ukulele string brands to recommend, feel free to let us know your experiences below in the comments section.