Rather excited to receive a pack of these recently, hot of the press (or hot off the string machine). Ukulele strings that are a collaboration between Aldrine Guerrero and Aquila. Their AGxAQ tenor strings.
Everyone knows the Aquila string brand really - makers of such things as their world famous Nylgut strings, which are incredibly popular and used by an enormous number of players. So, take a very well known string brand and throw a very well known and respected musician into the mix. Do that and you get something like these AGxAQ strings.
It's something of a complex name, but really (and obviously) a combination of the work of Aldrine (AG) and Aquila (AQ) in working this set up. In fact, reading Aldrine's comments on these, it's a set he has been working on with Aquila, testing and re-testing for quite some time. In fact, his aim was to meet his high standards. And when you see his playing, you can see what high standards those are!
The AGxAQ sets come in an attractive pearlescent paper card pack, similar in style to regular Aquila strings, but extremely sparkly and, I am told, eco friendly too. They are also labelled as 'nylon' strings, so whether that is a 'first' for Aquila (ie a departure from their synthetic gut) I don't know.
Opening up the pack, you are immediately struck by the colour. These strings are a really attractive aquatic pale green colour which I really like. Now, of course, string colour shouldn't matter a jot to sound and playability, but they are so attractive, I had to mention it! They look great on my instrument!
As usual with Aquila sets, they come in individually labelled wrappers and also with a gauge chart which tells you the following
String 1 (A) - 0.28 inch 6.2kg tension
String 2 (E) - 0.32 inch 4.7kg tension
String 3 (C) - 0.41 inch 4.7kg tension
String 4 (G) - 0.29 inch 5.3kg tension
That will tell you that these are a high G set, and I don't believe there is a low G offering. The other thing to bear in mind is that these are gauged and designed for tenor ukuleles only.
So, those are the specs, on to testing them. I re-strung my reliable Kanile'a K1 Koa Tenor ukulele with these. Well, it seemed suitable as Aldrine himself plays Kanile'a and I can only assume he had them in mind when he was working this set up with Aquila. Bear in mind what I say above though - this is not a review as such, more just my views - with ANY string - what I feel and hear may not necessarily concur with your own experiences!
On the fingers they feel very nice to me. In fact, both visually and in feel they remind me of the fluorocarbon strings I normally use, perhaps a bit harder on the fingers and something a little more like the D'Addario Titaniums. Strangely though, I never really got on with Titaniums and felt they were a bit hard and harsh for my tastes (sound wise) - these though are mellower to my ears than those. They are also one of the first Aquila brand strings that I actually like the feel of. That's just me, and I know many people like the feel of Aquila, I just didn't so much.
Sound wise they have a nice punch and ring to them, and good sustain. I had tried regular Aquilas on my Kanile'a before and never liked them much as I found the sound a little too muddy. In fact it's why I moved to clear fluorocarbon with it. On this ukulele at least, I could happily get along with these and I'm not finding anything I am disliking. They really are rather nice!
As I say though - you really need to try them YOURSELF to make a judgement call. You can't argue with the knowledge of the brand and the artist who has given his name to these though can you? I believe these are available to order direct from Aquila now, and will be in good ukulele stores very soon. Thanks to Sutherland Trading for the early release pack to take a look at!
Worth a try!
© Barry Maz