Sunday, 8 July 2012

New Aquila Red Series low strings - review

Presumably in response to a general lack of satisfaction with low G strings for ukulele, Aquila Corde of Italy have developed a new unwound low string, the Aquila Red Series. I couldn't wait to get my hands on one, because all efforts so far to get satisfaction from a low G have ended in disappointment.

Well, mine arrived yesterday and I've put it on my faithful old Greg Bennett UK50 laminate mahogany concert uke. I'm thrilled with it.

So - more information.

The strings are about twice as dense as Aquila's standard new nylgut, and the brick-red colour comes from a copper compound which they have impregnated into the material to alter its characteristics. I find the colour quite pleasing.

The string is very, very stretchy; it takes many more winds than usual to get it up to pitch, so the tuning peg ends up very full. It will obviously take a while to settle in, and will need tuning up for some days - for me, anyway. I haven't done any pre-stretching. It looks slightly thinner than the C string - this can be checked on Aquila's website. Once up to tension it does drop properly into the 4th string slot, and the if you buy from DrClucks Musical Emporium, they enclose a very helpful info sheet about care during installation, including a warning about taking care that the slot at the nut is rounded and smooth. The feel is good - it doesn't feel at all plasticky, but feels rather like the old real gut strings.

What I am really impressed with is the sound. No problems with intonation now, and the sound balance with the other Aquila strings on the uke is good. The loudness and level of sustain are just right. The strings all do seem to belong together.

It's great to have this string now on my "2nd" uke; it means I can now start to get to grips with the pieces that do need or sound better with a low G.


Congrats to Aquila and thank you!

They are not yet widely available but you can buy Aquila Red Series single unwound low G and Baritone D strings easily, either from Aquila Corde of Italy's website, or on ebay from DrCluck's Musical Emporium, US. I got mine from DrCluck's and they were delivered to the UK in five days, dropping through the letterbox with no extra charges. Great service.

POST SCRIPT .... edit April 2013

The Aquila Red Series of strings, for example a low G for ukulele, has raised a lot of interest but as followers of Ukulele Underground Forum will know, some players have experienced problems with them, e.g. strings snapping.

Aquila responded to the feedback very quickly and worked on improving the Red Series, and there have already been favourable responses from folk on the Forum.

I haven't tried the new improved strings yet, but Andrew Kitakis of Hawaii Music Supply has written a detailed review of the new improved strings and you can read it in full on his blog here.

Andrew also talks about fluorocarbon low Gs, and here's a reminder that Living Water Strings, a brand of excellent quality fluorocarbon strings sold by Ken Middleton, now include sets of strings with low G.


  1. These are nice sounding strings, but not worth the money. The A breaks every time I bring it to pitch. The vendor gave me a new A and it did the same thing. Beware!

    1. Better check your fret and nut edges before you consign any more strings to the garbage can. Nylgut snaps quickly if it encounters a sharp edge. Once it's nicked, putting it under tension virtually guarantees the destruction of a string.

  2. I second that opinion. I had 2 sets of these strings and both A-strings snapped. I had known about this problem and followed the YouTube video instructions by Aquila but they still broke. However, if you do manage to initially get them on, they do pretty sound good.

  3. I bought the single Red Aquila low "G" String. I cut it to suit my concert Uke. This has solved the problem of overloading the peg. I left the original three Aquila nylgut strings in place.
    This has resulted in a deeper, mellow and sweeter sound. All in all a very pleasing sound.I have another Concert Uke Oscar Shimidt OU5, with the high G", I swap between them, depending on my mood. (lol) I would recommend fitting the red Aquila low G to a concert Uke,


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