The ukulele is probably one of the enjoyable instruments to play. It is also fairly easy to learn. It originated in Hawaii, and quickly became a big hit all over the world.
These days it's very common to see famous musicians integrating the ukulele into their songs. Take for instance songs such as Hey, Soul Sister by Train, and I’m Yours by Jason Mraz.
These songs show how one little instrument can completely change your mood. When you hear a ukulele playing, it's hard not to stop and listen. The sounds it produces are just so beautiful and captivating.
And because it's such an easy instrument to learn how to play, it's a popular choice for those just starting their journey into the world of music.
One thing you will quickly learn about the ukulele, is it is only as good as its strings. And similar to the guitar, your ukulele will need new strings from time to time.
The problem is, finding the right strings is not as easy as you would expect it to be. There are literally dozens of different strings on the market. This makes choosing the right ones a bit overwhelming.
With so many different strings to choose from, which are the best ones for the ukulele? That’s the million dollar question we hope to help you answer with this article.
We will cover everything from the types of materials used to manufacture the strings, to the best strings for each type of ukulele.
Are you ready to get this party started? Well let’s dive in.
You Must Understand This First
Before we break down the different types of ukulele strings you can choose from, it's important you understand that each ukulele type will use different strings.
Every ukulele type has a different scale length. The scale length is what ultimately determines the type of strings that should be used.
Let’s take a quick look at the four types of ukuleles, as well as their scale length.
Soprano - The soprano ukulele is the most common sized ukulele. The body is 21 inches, with the scale length being 13 inches. Soprano ukuleles are tuned using GCEA, or ADF#B.
The sound they produce can best be described as bright. The strings you choose to use will have a huge impact on the overall sound of the instrument.
Most people just starting out will start with the soprano ukulele. It is perfect for those with smaller hands.
Concert - The concert ukulele is a little bit bigger than the soprano ukulele. The body is 23 inches and the scale is 15 inches.
The concert ukulele has a deeper sound, and is louder than the soprano. When tuning the concert ukulele you will use the same GCEA, or ADF#B.
Tenor - The tenor ukulele has a 26 inch body and a 17 inch scale. If you are someone who has larger hands, this is the ukulele for you.
Because the body is larger, the sound this ukulele produces is deeper, and resonates more. The tenor ukulele is usually tuned using GCEA, ADF#B, or DGBE.
Baritone - The baritone is the big daddy of them all. It has a 30 inch body, and a 19 inch scale. Its size gives it a similar sound to the acoustic guitar.
When it comes to hitting those beautiful low notes, the baritone ukulele delivers. For tuning, it most commonly uses DGBE.
Before you can get the appropriate strings, you will need to know which one of these ukuleles you have.
The Best Ukulele Strings Reviewed
To make things a little easier, we are going to start with the smallest ukulele size and work our way up.
Here are the best ukulele strings for the soprano ukulele.
Aquila is a top of the line brand known for making some of the highest quality strings on the market.
The sound produced by the AQ-4 soprano ukulele strings is very clear and concise.
And unlike regular nylon strings, these strings are made using nylgut, which is a special polymer that has similar characteristics to old school gut strings.
The AQ-4 strings have perfect intonation and they are very durable. This particular set is a high G set. There is also a low G alternative which is the AQ-5.
If you’re looking for durability and great sound, you will love the AQ-4 soprano ukulele strings.
D’Addario is a pretty famous company and their products are used by musicians all over the world.
The EJ87S Titanium Ukulele Strings are manufactured in the United States and they offer some of the best performance you will ever experience.
And the tone these strings produce, is truly amazing. It's very modern, yet very powerful.
Compared to the stock strings you usually receive, these strings produce a far better sound.
For pretty cheap you will get a set of strings that are well balanced, and produce a crisp tone.
Yes, your ukulele strings can be stylish and still produce a great sound. The Aquila Colored Soprano Ukulele Strings are multi-colored, and very durable.
And unlike most competitor strings, these strings are able to stay in tune for longer periods of time.
If you want to give your instrument a personal touch, while still maintaining great sound, these strings will help you do that.
Now let's move on and talk about the best concert ukulele strings.
The GHS H-10 strings are a great fit for any concert ukulele. They have a punchy, well balanced sound, and are very comfortable to play.
These strings are black and will fit nicely with a black turner. Or, if you simply want to add a little contrast, they can do that as well.
Overall, the GHS H-10 strings are a solid choice if you are looking for something that’s durable, yet also very affordable.
If you are looking for comfort, coupled with better volume, the Aquila Red Series strings can deliver.
And being that all the strings have a similar diameter, and they all have a different material density, the intonation is very enhanced.
The Aquila Red Series strings are also very responsive. With these strings it's easy for your skills to shine through.
The AQ-86 concert strings are best for advanced musicians and those who are looking for a significant improvement over the strings they are currently using.
If you are the type of musician who likes fluorocarbon strings, you will enjoy the M600 Standard Concert Ukulele Strings by Martin.
The way these strings are produced make them very precise when it comes to tuning.
It has a higher tensile strength which means it can hold tuning for longer periods of time.
The sound produced by the M600’s is warm and clear.
These strings show the advantages of using fluorocarbon strings. If you are looking for concert ukulele strings that do a great job of holding the tuning, the M600’s are what you want.
Next up we will share the best tenor ukulele strings.
The EJ65T tenor ukulele strings have been precisely manufactured to ensure you always have the best playing experience.
When making their strings, D'Addario uses the knowledge of Jake Shimabukuro, an expert when it comes to playing the ukulele, to make their strings.
This pretty much guarantees the strings will sound amazing.
Since the EJ65T are specifically designed for the tenor ukulele, the low G string is wound. This gives it that extra deep tone you expect from a tenor ukulele.
With these strings you will experience unbelievable intonation and that coveted acoustic tone. For a little over $5 you can give your ukulele a brand new sound.
The Aquila 115U Lava Series is double the price of many of the strings on this list. However, the unique playing experience they offer makes them well worth the price.
Inspired by the volcanic rocks in Hawaii, Aquila made these strings a gray black color. This gives them a look that is not all that common when it comes to strings.
The strings are also very solid and produce a very vibrant tone.
The material used to manufacture these strings is Supernylgut. Supernylgut is a material that imitates the sound of some of the most expensive gut strings.
Similar to other strings on this list, the low G string is wound. However, instead of being wound in nylon or metal, these strings are wound in silver plated copper.
If you can handle the higher price point, we recommend you invest in the Aquila 115U Lava Series strings. We believe they are the best ukulele strings for tenor.
These particular strings are some of the cheapest you will find on the market. For their price point, which is just under $3, GHS managed to manufacture some pretty decent strings.
The GHS H-T10 strings feature a sleek black design that is similar to the Lava Series by Aquila.
The C string, however, is wound and made of aluminum. The remaining strings are all nylon strings.
As a result they produce a very soft and mellow sound.
The GHS H-T10 strings give you a great way to have fresh new strings, without breaking the bank.
Last but not least, we will cover the best ukulele strings for the baritone.
The M630’s are made from clear fluorocarbon. This guarantees they are able to perform for longer periods of time.
To ensure you get that low end punch musicians want, aluminum wrap wire and silver plated copper is used.
Unlike other wound strings, the M630’s don’t squeak as much.
At first these strings may be a bit tough to tune. However, once they have been properly stretched, they will hold their tune just fine.
These strings are a great investment for those on a tight budget.
This is the same model we previously reviewed in the tenor section. However, there is one big difference. These are optimized for baritone ukuleles.
The first two strings are D’Addario’s Pro-Arte extruded clear nylon strings, while the 3rd and 4th are nylon core wrapped with a silver- plated copper wound.
Together the strings work to produce a very crisp and balanced sound.
If you are looking for the best baritone strings, at the best possible price, check out the D'Addario EJ65B’s.
Just like the Aquila’s Red series concert ukulele strings, the Aquila 89U strings are a great choice for anyone looking to improve the sound of their ukulele.
If you are looking to optimize volume, these strings will provide you with a loud, yet very balanced tone. They are also comfortable and very durable.
The Aquila 89U strings are able to hold their tuning without any problems. And once they have been properly stretched, they will perform even better.
Because these strings are meant for low-D tuning, the D and G strings are wound. This makes for a more vibrant sound.
The Aquila 89U strings offer great value at an affordable price.
Top 7 Materials Used To Make Ukulele Strings
The strings you currently have on your ukulele are more than likely nylon. This is because nylon strings are the most popular strings.
There are however, six more types of strings that can be used on the ukulele. All seven strings vary in the type of material used, the way they are wounded, the sound they produce, and their level of comfortability.
Let’s take a quick look at the 7 different materials used to make ukulele strings.
We will start with nylon strings since they are the most commonly used strings. Nylon strings are interesting because they use different types of nylon polymers.
This means nylon strings that come from different companies may have a completely different sound.
The cheapest nylon strings are made using a process known as extrusion. Molten nylon polymer is pushed through holes of all different sizes. Out of it comes a nylon filament.
This process gives each string a different thickness. As a result different tones will be produced.
The best nylon strings are also made through extruding. The difference is they are then ground to ensure they are a precise diameter.
Please note the best nylon strings will cost a bit more. They will also provide a more textured feel.
Some musicians love this, while others hate it.
Benefits of Using Nylon Strings
They better protect your fingers.
They produce a warm, yet very clear sound.
They last longer because they aren’t affected by humidity.
Cons Of Using Nylon Strings
The slightest shift in temperature can affect nylon strings. They stretch in warm conditions, and contract in cooler conditions. When the temperature shifts, it can cause your ukulele to get out of tune. And as you very well know, there is nothing worse than having an out of tune ukulele.
When you purchase new nylon strings, they will need a little time to settle down. It's a good idea to change your strings before a show. Doing so will ensure you get the best sound possible.
However, you must give the strings enough time to fully stretch. Otherwise they won’t stay in tune.
A simple way to get around this is to stretch the strings a bit more than the tuning calls for. Doing so will minimize the chances of your ukulele getting out of tune while you are performing.
Wound Metal Strings
Wound metal strings are exactly what they sound like. A set of strings that have a metal core, and are surrounded by winding materials.
Benefits of Using Wound Metal Strings
These strings are best on larger ukuleles that need a boost in the lower end of the frequency range.
Cons of Using Wound Metal Strings
They can be a bit squeaky at times.
You won’t be able to cut them to your desired length as that has the potential to ruin them. Once you start to cut, the wrapping material may start to unravel.
This may gross a few people out, but gut strings are also exactly what they sound like. They are literally made from the guts of animals. They were actually the first types of strings to be played on an acoustic instrument.
Which makes sense since back in the day a lot of the materials on this list were not around.
Benefits of Using Gut Strings
They produce a really rich sound. Better than that of nylon strings or titanium strings. (we will discuss titanium strings next)
They feel better under the fingers. Most musicians love how easy it is to slide on gut strings.
Cons of Using Gut Strings
They don’t last very long.
They cost more than the average ukulele strings.
With a name like titanium, you can believe these are some very strong strings. They are much more durable than nylon strings.
Benefits of Using Titanium Strings
They are monofilament, but also made of metal. This basically means they are not likely to snap under pressure.
If you are looking for more volume and projection, these are the strings you want. They produce a very bright and loud sound.
Cons Of Using Titanium Strings
We couldn't find any real issues with using this type of string.
Fluorocarbon strings are nothing more than plastic ukulele strings. They are the best alternatives to nylon strings and musicians tend to love them.
The great thing about them is they produce a sound that is similar to the sound produced by nylon strings.
The only difference is they don’t stress the fingers in the same way nylon strings do.
Benefits of Using Fluorocarbon Strings
Unlike nylon strings, fluorocarbon strings are not affected by changes in temperature.
On the other hand, like nylon strings, fluorocarbon strings can be easily cut to the desired diameter. This means even if you purchase longer strings, they can be cut to size with a pair of scissors.
Cons of Using Fluorocarbon Strings
We couldn’t find any real issues with using this type of string.
Wound Nylon Strings
There are two parts to a wound nylon string. The inner core, which is made of nylon, is wrapped using a polymer-made winding material.
Benefits of Using Wound Nylon Strings
If you are looking for a deeper sound, wound nylon strings can help you get it. Most musicians will use this type of string as their two lower strings. These types of strings are usually used on baritone and tenor ukuleles.
Cons of Using Wound Nylon Strings
When fretting these strings, you will notice they make a squeaky sound. For some musicians this is a big turn off.
Steel strings are not all that common on ukuleles. As a matter of fact, they are most often used on acoustic guitars.
Benefits of Using Steel Strings
In all honesty, there aren’t very many benefits to using steel strings on a ukulele.
Cons of Using Steel Strings
Steel strings can be a bit heavy. They therefore cause a lot of tension on the body of the ukulele, as well as on the bridge. As a result, this type of string can cause serious damage to your instrument.
What Type Of Ukulele Strings Should You Use?
The answer to that question is, it depends. Everyone is different and will have different preferences.
What it really boils down is the type of sound you are trying to produce. That is the main factor you should consider when it comes to ukulele strings.
If, however, you are on a tight budget, your focus should be more on durability and overall performance.
For those who play the tenor or baritone ukulele, opt for wound strings as they will provide you with that bass sound you want to achieve.
Don’t Forget About The Tuning
Another important factor to consider when buying ukulele strings, is the tuning. As previously mentioned, each type of ukulele uses a different tuning, with the most common one being GCEA.
Please note this tuning has two different versions. The first one is GCEA, and it is just that. The second one, however, is gCEA. With this version the G string is tuned one octave higher.
On special occasions, alternate tuning methods can be used. As a beginner we recommend you don’t try any alternate tuning methods.
Once you get a little more experience under your belt, you can then try out different tunings.
Be sure to double check each string pack to ensure it is the right one for your ukulele.
Our Final Thoughts
This article has basically covered all the information you need to know when it comes to purchasing ukulele strings.
So now the question is, which strings should you buy?
That all depends on you and what you prefer. For example, is the quality of sound important to you?
What about durability?
Or are you more concerned with comfort and the ability to play for hours on end?
No matter your preference, the strings on this list will help you achieve that goal. Any of the options above will make a huge difference in how you play, and the sound you are able to produce.
The ukulele strings you use can literally make or break your performance. Not only do they affect your instruments ability to stay in tune, but they also determine how comfortable your fingers are when playing.
One thing you will quickly learn about stock strings, is they aren’t very durable. Yes they will get the job done, but they aren’t optimal for those who are trying to take their skills to the next level.
The great thing about all the strings on this list is that they are very affordable. That means you can try out different strings and see which ones work best for you.
Keep in mind ukulele strings can be made from a variety of different materials. While nylon is the most common material used, it isn’t always the best option.
Research each type of material and find the one you are most comfortable with.
We do appreciate you taking the time to read this article all the way through, and we hope you have found it useful.
If so, please share it and help us spread our love of all things ukulele!