Ernie Ball Ukulele Strings

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1 Mar 2019

Ernie Ball Ukulele Strings

One of those things that always causes a lot of buzz in the ukulele world is when a new ukulele string offering hits the shelves. And I must admit that I was rather interested to learn about this brand new line from Ernie Ball.

Ernie Ball Ukulele Strings


As always with Got A Ukulele this is NOT a string review. You will have heard my 'spiel' before on this subject. Strings are 100% personal and what I say about them you might not agree with if you try them. Heck, what I HEAR from them you might not hear..  So this is just a heads up to tell you they have launched.

Ernie Ball are a US brand from the Coachella Valley of Southern California and a brand I know very well. That's because I have long used their electric guitar strings (the Slinkies!) and currently have a set on my Stratocaster. I am sure the guitar playing ukulele fraternity will know them too and will be looking closely. Anyway, consider me a fan. As for ukulele strings however... these are a first from Ernie.

The brand sent me a couple of packs of their new release to take a look at, labelled simply as 'black' and 'clear' on the packs in orange or blue packaging. These denote different colours of the strings themselves but the material itself in both is the same. It is named as 'monofilament' so that's nylon. I had expected fluorocarbon, but there you go and more on that below. Once again, because this isn't a review - you might spot a difference in the sound... Then again you might not. You might like one set and not the other or vice versa.  And because of that I'm only showing you the black set in the video below, but his article refers to both.

Both sets come in exactly the same gauges clearly labelled on the front in typical Ernie Ball packaging style - these are 28, 32, 40, 28. What does that mean? Well, as with guitar string styling they represent fractions of an inch in diameter - in particular 0.028, 0.032, 0.040 and 0.028. In case it isn't obvious, they are listed in A, E, C, G order - 1, 2, 3, 4. These packs suit both concerts and sopranos too, so similar to Martin sop / concert strings in that regard. I have no word on tenor or baritone versions, so for now it's just soprano and concert players. You'll note that the 1st and 4th strings are identical gauges which is not always the case with ukulele strings, but works.

For me they look a little heavier a gauge than I normally prefer but then I do tend to go for very light flourocarbon, particularly on a soprano. That is just me though. These feel more like Aquila gauges which, whilst not my choice will be welcomed by most people and are certainly playable.

In what is a first for me, on opening the packs I note that the strings are 'ball ended'.  That is to say that they come pre threaded with a small plastic washer at one end. That's a really handy addition and is commonplace on guitar string sets for either steel strung acoustics or electrics with metal bridge tails. On a ukulele they will serve to provide an anchor for when they are used on pin bridges in place of a large knot or perhaps a bead or washer. Sure, you don't need them for tie bars or slotted bridges (and the instructions state you should snip them off for the former, but not the latter strangely - I still wood as the stoppers would look ugly), but it's a neat addition that will serve to help out a lot of people who struggle with pin style bridges when they are fiddling to tie beads on the strings or make the knots hefty enough to hold. I like that. One thing that was just pointed out to me though is that they won't work on through body style bridges - because they involve threading the string into the body and fishing it out of the sound hole to knot it. You can't do that with the ball end in this position.

Ernie Ball Ukulele Strings ball ends

So, on with the 'black' set first for my Rob Collins Reclaimed Mahogany Soprano. They are quick to fit and being suitable for concert have lots of spare length. If you are thrifty you 'might' just get a double set out on soprano scale, but don't hold me to that. I certainly had lots spare without being too careful on the loose ends. They also settled into tuning pretty quickly. They replaced as set of my usual choice of Seaguar fishing line in admittedly, thin gauges. The first thing that struck me was how they felt more like fluoro strings. I often try nylon strings and whilst I know they are a more traditional and preferred choice for some (they come on Kamaka ukuleles as standard for example), I don't like the feel myself. These don't feel like that though and that's a good thing for me.   Whilst trying to sidestep the 'review' thing once again I can tell you that I, personally, found them to be good on volume and sustain and comfortable on the fingers. They have a warmer almost darker sound to the strings they replaced, but that is hardly surprising considering the thicker gauge. Looks wise they are very much black as apart to the almost dark red/brown of Worth Browns. The clears (as in the video) were equally straightforward and have the same feel but with a very slightly brighter tone. There's not much in it and anyway - different people will hear different things so I didn't go with a side by side (and don't ask!)

Ernie Ball Ukulele Strings black

All in all.. well, that's where I stop. I like the sound and feel of these a lot, but that's just me. And there you are! Strings are consumables and they are cheap - why wouldn't you want to try them? That's the best thing I can suggest.

So I'd certainly suggest you give them a go They are a much respected string brand, and I love the ball end addition. Let me know what you make of them. Oh, and the launch RRP is also pretty keen to at £5.99 a pack. Available from today at all Ernie Ball retailers.

Take a look and listen!



https://ernieball.co.uk










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1 comments :

  1. The charm of Ernie Ball guitar strings is that the color coding always means different gauges. Not colors. It would be fab to have that gauge diversity offered for uke strings. But instead we get color options. Hmm... Seems pretty shallow for the EB brand.

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