Now before I start, this is the same blog on which I wrote recently that the only way (in my humble opinion) that anyone should choose ukulele strings is by trying a few sets and trusting their own opinions. Every uke differs, as do playing styles and your own ears, and therefore what works for one person may not work for you. Therefore, why on earth am I giving you a ukulele string review? Well because if nobody spoke about strings, people would only use the ones they found locally. A review may serve to prompt some of my readers to try them. They may like them, they may not, but at least they gave them a chance!
So, this set is part of a relatively new line from the highly regarded string maker D'addario. They have a long heritage in making excellent quality classical quite strings, and perhaps came to wider attention in the ukulele world when it was made known that Jake Shimabukuro used them. Jakes set were actually just a selection of guitar strings, and in time D'addario packaged them as a set for ukulele, called Pro Artés. You can find my review of them having tried them on my Kanile'a tenor on this site. My feeling with those strings was that, whilst clearly great quality, we're
A) a little too thick in gauge for my tastes, and
B) gave the Kanile'a too much of an earthy tone - kinda like a guitar. Some may like that, but the Kanile'a tenor is naturally quite woody in sound and I just felt the Pro Artés accentuated that. When I saw the T2 set being launched with a reportedly brighter tone, I was keen to try.
They arrive in very nice packaging like all D'Addarios and look beautiful. The guitar heritage shows itself when you unravel them as they appear to be guitar length. Sadly not long enough to string two tenors, but loads and loads of string left over. They are a monofilament string which the maker claims is particularly beneficial to ukes. They have an attractive purple ish hue and are extremely smooth and polished.
Stringing them was no chore and with a bit of stretching they got to holding tuning reasonably quickly. So how we're they?
Well, my views are mixed, sadly. Firstly, whilst they certainly feel a little lighter than the Pro Artés, they still feel a little to thick for my liking. That is purely personal opinion though. Sound wise, picking, they really are, quite wonderful! They are certainly bright, but have a real dynamic chime to them and are a pleasure to play. They are loud too and speaking honestly, they make my Kanile'a, when picked, sound the sweetest I have heard it.
But, there was a downside. Strumming. Strummed I actually found the strings needed quite an effort to get them to ring, ie a hard strum, and even then felt it was hard work and they sounded a little, muddy. I took the tenor to our local uke jam with the T2s loaded and asked others their opinions. They too found that the strum was uninspiring, I suppose using a pick for a strum may I prove them but I don't favour that. And there lies my problem. I DO strum. I pick too, but when playing I suppose I strum a little more than I pick and as such, these strings are not delivering for me. I'm going to leave them on for one more jam session to make my mind up, but if they don't improve to my ears on the strumming side, I may switch the Kanile'a back to the Worths that I like on it so much.
And there you have it - a set of strings getting rave reviews elsewhere that don't do it for me. Of course, your mileage may vary and I would still urge you to try them and let me know! To put that in perspective, I bought a concert set of the same strings too and put them on my wife's mahogany Pono uke - she loves them!!