Ukulele Plastic or Metal Strings the Best Ukulele Strings

Ukulele Plastic or Metal Strings: Best Ukulele Strings 2021

Replacing ukulele strings can provide your instrument with several benefits.

Although plastic and nylon are standard, especially on entry-level instruments, upgrading to new strings can improve the way your ukulele sounds and plays. Although nothing can make a $30 item sound like a $500 one, you’ll notice an incredible improvement to each note and sustain.

Knowing what strings to purchase will depend on the instrument’s design. Some ukuleles may only use nylon or plastic strings, while others have the supports in place for metal ones.

The goal is to create something that matches your strumming technique while providing that island twang that only ukuleles can produce.

If you have a broken string or want to improve your sound, these reviews of the best ukulele strings will help you choose the most appropriate one for your instrument.

How to Change Your Ukulele Strings

Some ukuleles have pegs that insert into the instrument’s body through the bridge, much like a standard acoustic guitar.

When you want to change your strings with this design, you must “pop” the instrument’s peg. Once the bottom piece is free, you can start unwinding the wire from the rest of the tuning board.

If your ukulele has plastic or nylon strings, they’re likely knotted to keep them in place. You’ll want to start unwinding them, one at a time, from the tuner to encourage them to loosen. Once you can start moving it, you can undo the knot to complete the removal.

Some people cut the strings near the knot when changing them. This method is not recommended because it could damage the instrument or cause an injury.

Ukulele strings are under tension when they’re correctly tuned. Snapping them in that state causes one end to fly upward toward your face.

Once the old strings are off, the new ones can get put on. If you have a bridge with pegs, insert the bottom end into the appropriate area based on the size (1-4). Insert the other end into the tuner, give it tension, and you’re finished!

If you must tie knots in plastic or nylon strings, the steps are a little harder to follow.

  1. Take your new string, pulling it through the bridge hole. The longest end should be at the headstock, with the shortest near the bottom.
  2. Wrap the short side around the long end of the string. You’ll need to have it go around itself twice to create a secure knot.
  3. Hold the short end against the bridge. Pull the long end until it becomes taught, making the knot lock correctly.
  4. Adjust the tuning pegs to align the holes, placing the long end through and pulling up to three frets back.
  5. Wrap around the tuning head.

For either installation method, clip excess string to prevent any from sticking out when you try to play. Once you tune the instrument, you may have more to trim.

It takes time for ukulele strings to adapt to their environment. You may find that the instrument needs to get tuned after each playing session for the first month or two.

When Should I Restring My Ukulele?

When you decide to put new strings on your ukulele is typically up to your preferences. Although a broken one requires an immediate swap, it depends on the wear-and-tear that you put on the instrument.

If you’re practicing or playing gigs regularly, you may need to use the best new ukulele plastic or metal strings about every 4-6 weeks. When you play about 1-2 times per month, your strings could last for the entire year.

It is a best practice to change out your strings about once every six months, no matter how often you play. Plastics and metals can degrade in storage, eliminating the warmth and twang that ukuleles lovingly produce.

When you replace one string on a ukulele, please remember that you typically need to upgrade all of them.

When do I Have to Change my Ukulele Strings?

The best way to tell that your ukulele strings need to get changed involves your tuning efforts.

If you’re tuning your ukulele almost every time you play, it is probably time to give them new strings. Plastics and metals stretch when you strum, eventually creating enough slack where the instrument cannot keep the correct note for extended periods.

The tuning issues that you encounter when restringing a ukulele should not be confused with what happens as the strings age.

You’ll need to tune your new strings frequently until they get set at the appropriate tone for your playing style. They’ll hold for several weeks once they get warmed up with minimal maintenance needs.

Once you get past that period and have tuning difficulties, it is time to purchase the best new ukulele strings to restore your sound.

The Best Ukulele Strings

The best ukulele strings provide high-quality sounds over extended periods. They should restring easily, hold their shape, and present with excellent intonation.

Some ukulele strings will not fit every instrument type. When you start shopping for replacement products, you’ll need to keep the following information in mind.

Soprano Strings:13-inch scale length21-inch overall lengthG-C-E-A tuning
Concert Strings:15-inch scale length23-inch overall lengthG-C-E-A tuning
Tenor Strings:17-inch scale length26-inch overall lengthG-C-E-A tuning
Baritone Strings:19-inch scale length30-inch overall lengthD-G-B-E tuning

Some string manufacturers offer more overall length with the expectation that the player trims it to the appropriate distance for their instrument.

Although any strings are better than none when you want to strum, these are the best plastic or metal ukulele strings you should be using.

1. D’Addario Titanium Ukulele Strings

This brand uses a titanium monofilament to create the look and feel of a nylon string, but with improved brightness, sustain, and projection. You can choose from soprano, tenor, bass, or concert options with this brand.

You’ll notice an immediate improvement to the dynamics and clarity of your strum. It’s optimized for standard G-C-E-A tuning, projecting a tone with denseness and character that you must hear to believe.

GAUGES:.025
 .033
 .040
 .020

The strings come with a translucent purple color that makes you and your ukulele stand out in attractive ways. Although they’re a little thicker than what you probably play right now, they stay soft to the fingers while consistently staying in tune.

If the titanium ukulele strings from this brand are out of your price range, consider the more affordable nylon variety to receive many of these benefits.

2. La Bella Ukulele Strings

This brand used to reserve its ukulele strings for the best luthiers in Hawaii. Now, this affordable model is easily one of the best in its category. You have two options from which to choose: concert/tenor or soprano.

You can finally play your fretboard with consistency and in tune when using these strings. If there’s been a solo you have wanted to tackle, the superior quality found here is perfectly balanced for your playing enjoyment.

GAUGES:.025
 .033
 .040
 .020

La Bella packages these ukulele strings with Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) to prevent tarnishing while on the shelf. When you open the product up to improve your instrument’s sound, the freshness encountered will make you want to play right away.

If you opt for the Soprano series, these gauges are available.

GAUGES:.022
 .036
 .032
 .025

3. Aquila Nylgut Ukulele Strings: Red Series

Most ukulele manufacturers use strings from this brand to help you start playing immediately after purchasing an instrument. They’re made in Italy using a proprietary material that does an excellent job of emulating the traditional gut-style’s sound and feel used in previous generations.

You’ll notice the impressive volume of these strings right away. Each note rings crisp and accurate, whether plucked or strummed. Your songs and rhythms will have rich, full sounds that echo in the ears long after you’ve moved to the next measure.

Players used to need to increase a string’s gauge to reach the lower Hz for bass notes on the ukulele, but that isn’t necessary with this product. The manufacturer raised the specific weight of the materials used to form the strings, producing a more potent and responsive range throughout the entire fretboard.

The finish is a little rough compared to other items. Still, this design does an excellent job of removing the squeaks you encounter with finger movement on different strings. You have more sharpness to the note bends, a bit of friction to enjoy, and virtually no dull spots where you can lose intonation.

4. GHS Ukulele Strings

If you’re on a tight budget, consider giving these ukulele strings a try. Although the crispness and brightness don’t compete with the premium brands, you’ll still get a beautiful tone that fills a room with mellow joy.

The other reason to consider these strings involves visual appeal. The aesthetics of black strings on your instrument is something to consider.

You have three tones from which to choose.

  • Baritone
  • Tenor
  • Soprano/Concert

If you have an entry-level ukulele that needs a new set of strings, this product takes a no-frills approach to getting the job done.

When you want to upgrade, try the GHS fluorocarbon strings with tie ends to create more tone. Fingerstyle players will appreciate the softness of the tension that doesn’t compromise on intonation. Since the length is 42 inches, it’s a wonderful solution for any beginner.

If you prefer the black strings for your ukulele, an upgraded nylon version is also available from GHS.

5. Martin Ukulele Polygut Strings

If you purchased a Martin ukulele a long time ago, the quality of the strings you received was likely questionable. Most players swapped the default ones out for something new almost immediately.

What inspired the improvement in their string manufacturing processes? The polygut strings from Martin are developed under an exclusive partnership with Aquila. They use graphite gray polygut to produce a balanced tone, clear projection, and precise intonation.

Every Nazareth-made Martin ukulele comes with these premium strings.

You have three tones from which to choose if you prefer this option:

  • Concert
  • Tenor
  • Soprano

Cheaper options made with fluorocarbon are perfect for practicing, yielding a bright, rich tone that fills a room with warmth.

The string style is medium-soft, making it suitable for plucking without extra reverb. That smoothness produces a gentle tone for fingerstyle players, creating beautiful melodies and rhythms that seem to harmonize with the surrounding environment.

Do Plastic or Metal Strings Sound Better on Ukuleles?

Once you find the brand of guitar strings you like, it is essential to choose between plastic or metal strings.

Nylon and fluorocarbon are the most common materials used when producing non-metal strings. These items are considered “plastic” in the industry, with most products having a blue hue that’s reminiscent of fishing line.

Traditional metal strings are challenging to use on most ukuleles. The reverberation from each strum or pluck generates more vibrations than the small instrument’s body can handle.

That’s why the strings in this area use a core instead of being 100% metal.

Metal strings produce squeaking sounds when played. They don’t have the same attack value, creating a different resonance that alters your playing. Plastics have a softer release that generates less confidence in the notes or chords played.

Metal Strings Add Stress to Your Instrument

Ukuleles are not meant to encounter stressful situations. If you play one as if it were a guitar, you’ll find the experience to be overly disappointing.

If you have metal strings, it is usually fine if the G note is made with a metal core. You’d want the remainder to be nylon or fluorocarbon to reduce the pressure placed on the body.

Having all-metal strings on a standard ukulele could break the instrument.

If you have an electric ukulele with a solid body, this instrument can adapt to an all-metal string design. The equipment it contains produces more heft and sturdiness to handle the weight and stress, offering a unique sound that can be quite enjoyable.

Playing an electric ukulele with steel strings creates clear notes and country-genre tones that add a lot of character to your music.

Conclusion on Choosing the Best Plastic or Metal Strings for Ukulele

The best ukulele strings help your instrument play its best notes with each pluck or strum. Because each set produces unique sounds, it is up to you to decide the character of the audio you create when playing.

Each of the products listed in this guide has proven themselves countless times for tens of thousands of ukulele players.

If you’re looking for the best ukulele strings, choose one of these options today so that you can play your best tomorrow!

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