Curt's Personal Ukulele Strings Recommendations
It can be a challenge recommending strings for a particular brand and model of ukulele, as each ukulele responses differently depending on it's construction, material, season, weather conditions, string tensions, tunings, and the players technique. It might seem like a never ending quest — but it's well worth the effort once you find that right combinations of strings for each of your ukuleles. The hard part is to remember what strings you liked the best out of all that you tried. Take notes and even record yourself.
Be sure to try the different string materials that are used for strings: Fluorocarbon, Nylon, Nylgut, Titanium, gut, etc. Ukulele all respond differently to each. Try various tensions, often listed as soft, normal, high, etc. For a low G try wound, smoothwound, flatwound, un-wound.
NOTE Ukulele strings are basically Classical Guitar strings on a ukulele. The only difference is the packaging and the length of the strings. Ukulele (a.k.a. classical guitar strings ) strings are primarily made of materials such as nylon, fluorocarbon, blended combinations, and other synthetics . The Classical Guitar world has a lot longer and demanding history of figuring out what string material to use.
A Few High-end Options
- Thomastik-Infeld - Classic-N Strings — These are the strings that I use for my Ko'olau CS Tenor ukulele. And, have available through Funky Frets Music Store .
- Ko`olau Guitar & Ukulele Company - Ko`olau Alohi & Manaha Strings — Curt's choice for all other ukes.
- Savarez Alliance Strings - Savarez Alliance Strings
- Hannabach Strings - Hannabach Strings
2022 Update — After many, many years of using Savarez Alliance strings for strings one, two, and three. I've now gone full Thomastik-Infeld. I've used their strings forever on my guitars and since 2019 I've used the Classic-N CF27 and CF30 Chrome Steel Flat Wound strings for the Low G and the C string on my Ko'olau CS Tenor Ukuleles. Their strings are pricey but well worth it.
Thomastik-Infeld Classic-N Strings
Abe Lagrimas came through Funky Frets during his 2018 east coast tour for a concert and workshop, and I noticed a different C string when I played his Ko'olau CS tenor, the same model I play. Abe was using a Thomastik-Infeld CF27 – 3rd string (g) .027 Chrome Steel Flat Wound string for his C string. It had great balance and didn't wear out as quick at the frets as a round would string typically does.
I use a low G, so I got the CF27 for the C string three as well as a Thomastik-Infeld CF30 - 4th string (D) .030 Chrome Steel Flat Wound for a low G. I play a Ko'olau CS tenor as well and this string combination is great. I don't know why I didn't consider Thomastik-Infeld before, I've been using their guitar strings on my guitars for decades. A bit pricey, but given that you use less of them, over time it is well worth it.
The Curt Sheller Custom Tenor Uke Set is a combination of singles from two Thomastik-Infed Classic Guitar sets. The Classic N Supernova and The Classic Guitar sets.
C Tuning, Low G
The below custom string sets are what I'm currently using for my two Ko'olau CS Tenors in Low
G, C tuning. For my Solid Koa Top, Tenor Fluke it prefers Ko'olau Golds or Ko'olau Golds Manaha strings.
Ko'olau CS Tenor Tenor Ukulele Set
Thomastik-Infeld String Option
Curt's custom set is available at Funky Frets Music Store, Boyertown, PA USA and on the on-line store .
- String 1 — Thomastik-Infeld Classic Guitar, Carbon Nylon Hybrid Material CPK24 (.024in/62mm, 19.40lbs/8.80KG) tuned to A (A4)
- String 1 — Thomastik-Infeld Classic Guitar, Carbon Nylon Hybrid Material CPK27 (.027in/69mm, 14.55lbs/6.60KG) tuned to E (E4)
- String 3 — Thomastik-Infeld Classic-N Supernova CF27 Chrome Steel Flat, .027, 039 (.027in/69mm, 14.20lbs/6.50KG) tuned to C (C4) a.k.a. Middle C
- String 4 — Thomastik-Infeld Classic-N Supernova CF30 Chrome Steel Flat, .030, 039 (.030in/76mm, 14.70lbs/6.50KG) tuned to G (C3) a.k.a. Low G in the Uke world
Tension Note: This set is a higher tension, so be sure to verify with the manufacture or builder that the ukulele can handle it.
Tenor Ukulele Set
Savarez Alliance String Option
This are the strings I used prior to 2022 an are still a great option, I only switched because of my access to TI strings and my personal preference for the flat-wound option. The gauges, the material, the feel are the same for the plain strings.
- String 1 — Savarez Alliance KF Plain Treble Standard Tension .024, 541R (.024in/62mm, 17.44lbs/7.9KG) tuned to A (A4)
- String 2 — Savarez Alliance KF Plain Treble Standard Tension .027, 542R (.027in/62mm, 13.02lbs/5.9KG) tuned to E (E4)
- String 3 — Thomastik-Infeld Classic-N CF27 Chrome Steel Flat, .027, 039 (.027in/69mm, 14.20lbs/6.50KG) tuned to C (C4) a.k.a. Middle C
- String 4 — Thomastik-Infeld Classic-N CF30 Chrome Steel Flat, .030, 039 (.030in/76mm, 14.70lbs/6.50KG) tuned to G (C3) a.k.a. Low G in the Uke world
C Tuning, High G
This is the set that (Curt) currently recommends for tenor ukuleles in C Tuning with a High
Strings are one area where different ukuleles might prefer different strings. A ukulele can be very opinionated as to the stings that it likes and brings out its best. Basically, your mileage might vary.
For my (Curt) Magic Fluke Solid Top Tenor Fluke I use Ko'olau Golds. I have a few sets left for personal use, as these are discontinued.
- String 4 — Thomastik-Infeld Classic-N, Carbon Nylon Hybrid Material CPK24 (.024in/62mm, 19.40lbs/8.80KG) tuned to G (G4)
Strings one, two, and three are the same as the Low G, C Tuning sets above.
Sources of Some Great Information On-line
For a ukulele string recommendation that you can pretty much find at any music store, go with Martin Ukulele strings - which are fluorocarbon and their new premium strings are a special Aquila string.
For some great information on strings checkout the Strings by Mail - String Basics page .
Note: Ukulele strings are really just strings and typically classical guitar strings, cut shorter and re-packaged as ukulele strings.