Ukulele Strings – Nylgut or Fluorocarbon?

Where there’s a forum, there’s a fight – or at least that’s what it looks like.

Electric guitarists like to argue for ages about valve amplifiers and digital amp modellers, and which one is ”better”.

Uke players, for their part, get all hot under the collar when it comes to ukulele strings. There are two main camps – Nylgut-fans and fluorocarbon-connoisseurs. Although the uke is classified as an nylon-string instrument, very few instruments are strung with straight nylon anymore.

Nylgut and Supernylgut strings have been developed in Italy. A string company named Aquila came up with a patented way of manufacturing plastic strings, whose sound and feel is as close as possible to traditional gut strings. Gut strings have always been somewhat problematic, because it is hard to produce a string of uniform quality, when the basic material is of animal origin. Additionally, gut strings react far stronger to changes in humidity and temperature (resulting in pitch fluctuations), compared to plastics like nylon.

Aquila Nylguts have become a de facto industry standard, especially for affordable and mid-price ukuleles.

Nylguts are easy to spot thanks to their milky look and silky surface. First-generation Nylgut strings tended to have a coarser surface, which made them susceptible to a bit of handling noise (faint squeaks), but current versions have managed to do away with this problem (almost) completely.

Aquila Nylguts tend to produce a crisp, bright and open sound, which is why they can be a good choice for darker sounding ukuleles (like many plywood-bodied instruments). Some players, though, dislike the soft bendiness of Nylgut strings.

Fluorocarbon strings are a quite recent addition, too, despite the fact that the material has already been in use for fishing lines for quite some time. Fluorocarbon is a sturdy and dense material that makes it possible to make slightly smaller gauge strings than Nylgut. Fluorocarbons also tend to feel a bit stiffer.

C.F. Martin’s ukuleles come strung with fluorocarbons as standard, and many high-end makers have started to follow Martin’s lead. Fluorocarbon strings are also quite popular with progressive players and many vintage ukulele owners.

Most fluorocarbon strings are clear, even though you can also buy coloured versions of this string type, too. In Finland Martin-strings are the most widely available, but many other manufacturers, like D’Addario, GHS or Worth, make their own quality fluorocarbons.

A seldomly mentioned advantage of fluorocarbon strings is that – because of their slightly smaller diameter – they can sometimes solve intonation problems, if a uke pitches slightly sharp with a set of Nylguts.

Fluorocarbon strings tend to sound meatier and punchier compared to Nylgut strings.


The audio clips have been played on a pair of Martin Style 2-type sopranos – a Sigma SUM-2S (Supernylgut) and an Ohana SK-38 (fluorocarbon).


Read Kitarablogi’s Ukulele Round-up 2017 HERE.Save











Ukulelekielet – Nylgut vai fluorocarbon?

Missä nettifoorumi siinä ilmiriita – tai siitä ainakin näyttää.

Sähkökitaristit kinastelevat siitä, onko putkivahvistin parempi kuin digitaalinen vastine.

Ukulelesoittajat taas riitelevät kielistä. On olemassa kaksi pääleiriä – Nylgut-fanit ja fluorocarbon-ystävät.

Nylgut- ja Supernylgut-kielet on keksitty Italiassa. Aquila-niminen kieltenvalmistaja keksi tavan valmistaa muovisia kieliä, joiden soundi ja soittotuntuma on mahdollisimman lähellä laadukkaita suolikieliä. Suolikielten huonot puolet ovat – eläinperäisyyden lisäksi – tasalaatuisuuden saavuttamisen hankaluus, sekä se että kielet elävät tuntuvasti sään mukaan (niiden vire muuttuu).

Aquila Nylgut -kielistä on tullut edullisien ja keskihintaisten ukulelejen keskuudessa tietynlainen laatustandardi.

Nylgutit tunnistaa yleensä kielten maitomaisesta värityksestä ja silkkisestä pinnasta. Vanhoissa Nylgut-kielissä niiden karheammasta pinnasta syntyi joskus kummallisia sivuäänejä (vikinä) soittaessaan, mutta nykyisissä versioissa ongelma on saatu (lähes) sataprosenttisesti halttuun.

Aquila Nylgut -kielten sointi on suhteellisen kirkas ja hyvin avoin, minkä ansiosta ne ovatkin hyvä valinta tummasti soivalle soittimelle (esim. vanerikoppainen ukulele). Jotkut soittajat eivät kuitenkaan tykkää Nylgut-kielten taipuisuudesta.

Fluorocarbon-kielet ovat myös melko uusi keksintö, vaikka materiaalia tunnetaan jo pidemmän ajan kalastussiimoista. Fluorocarbon on hyvin kestävä materiaali, josta saa valmistettua Nylgutia (tai nylonia) ohuempia kieliä, joilla on kuitenkin jäykempi tatsi.

C.F. Martinin ukulelet toimitetaan tehtaasta fluorocarbon-kielillä, ja niiden suosio vintage-ukulelejen omistajien ja progressivisten soittajien keskuudessa on yhä kasvussa.

Fluorocarbon-kielet ovat usein täysin läpinäkyviä, vaikka värillisiä vaihtoehtojakin on olemassa. Yleisimmät fluorocarbon-kielet Suomessa ovat varmasti Martin-kielet.

Yksi etu fluorocarboneissa – josta ei puhuta niin usein – on, että kielet voivat joskus, pienemmän läpimittansa ansiosta, parantaa hieman ylivireisesti soivan ukulelen intonaatiota.

Fluorocarbon-kielet soivat tavallisesti hieman isommalla keskialueella ja volyymillä kuin Nylgut-satsi.


Esimerkkipätkät on soitettu kahdella Martin Style 2 -tyylisillä sopraanoukuleleilla – Sigma SUM-2S (Supernylgut) ja Ohana SK-38 (fluorocarbon).


Kitarablogin suuri ukulelekatsaus 2017 löytyy TÄÄLTÄ.

Rockwayn sopraanoukulele-katsaus ilmestyy marraskuun alussa:






Buying an electric guitar, part 4 – What accessories do I need?

In this last part of our series we take a look at what a beginner needs to make the most of his/her new guitar.

Fuzz 2016 – Fridget Custom Guitars


• Amplification

An electric guitar needs some type of amplification. Yes, it’s true that you can play an electric guitar unplugged, too, but to develop a good technique you should use an amplifier regularly. Especially with solid body guitars there’s always the temptation to play them too hard, when playing unplugged.

You can either go for a headphone amp…

…or a practice amp, meaning a small, low-powered combo.




• A cable (aka a lead)

You will need an instrument cable to connect your guitar to your amp. Most leads that come with less expensive guitars (sub 1,000 €) are very cheap and nasty – don’t use them.

A quality guitar cable is made from sturdy cable material, which is well-shielded from electromagnetic interference, and it sports two quality plugs.

If you use a Gibson SG-type guitar or any semiacoustic with an output jack mounted to its top, you should get a guitar lead that has an angled plug to use with the guitar. The angled plug will put less mechanical stress on the crucial area around the jack.


• A bag or a case

The safest place for your instrument, when it’s not played, is a well-made gig bag or a hard case.

A well-padded gig bag is lightweight and easy to transport, especially if you travel by public transport or by bike.

More expensive guitars – especially those with set necks – should really be stored in a case. You should also opt for a case if you plan on transporting your instrument in the back of a van or in a trailer, as a case is much sturdier than a gig bag.


• A stand

On stage – or during practice session breaks – you should put your guitar in a guitar stand, when you’re not playing it. Leaning it against the amp or leaving it lying on the floor will result in accidents sooner rather than later.

If your guitar is finished in nitrocellulose lacquer (which means all Gibsons, some upper range Fenders, many luthier-made instruments), you have to make sure to buy a stand that won’t react chemically with your guitar’s finish. Some stands have padding that can leave marks on your guitar, or even cause the finish to blister. Some guitarists even line the contact areas of their stands with linen or cotton cloth to protect their nitro-finished instrument.


 • A tuner

A digital tuner will help you play in tune with the rest of the band. It is also an indispensable tool for setting your guitar’s intonation.

Tuners are available as clip-on units…

…table top tuners…

…or as floor ”effects”.


• Strings

It’s a very good idea to have one or two sets of strings in your gig bag or case, in case you break a string.

If you’re unsure about the correct gauge, ask the shop assistant (or the seller) to tell you what gauge the current string set on the guitar is. You can find more information about string changes HERE.


•  Plectrums

Most guitarists use a plectrum (aka a pick) to strum their electric guitar.

Picks are available in a plethora of different materials, thicknesses, colours and sizes. Luckily, plectrums are also quite inexpensive, so I’d suggest you try a few different picks, before deciding on your personal preference.








Changing strings on a steel-string guitar

String change steel string – start

Here’s what you need:

In addition to a fresh set of strings, you should have a wire cutter and a tuner at the ready. An inexpensive string winder makes the process much faster.

A steel rule will come in handy, should you want to double-check your ”before” and ”after” setups. Measure your string height at the 12th fret (top of fret to bottom of string) before taking the old strings off. That way you will be able to use the steel rule to ascertain that your setup has stayed unchanged. Alternatively, you could also measure the neck relief at the seventh fret directly, by using a capo at the first fret, while pressing down the low E-string at the 14th fret.

Ideally, though, you should stick to the exact same string gauge (and even string brand) to avoid inadvertently changing the playability of your acoustic guitar.

String change steel string – loosening string

I find it most convenient to take off all strings at once.

There are some people who claim that taking all six strings off at the same time may cause damage to your instrument. Let me tell you, I have been changing strings on steel-string guitars since 1977, always removing the whole set at once, and have never had any problems at all. Even Martin Guitars suggest you do it this way in their own video, and they should know!

String change steel string – cutting old string

Once the strings are completely loose and flabby, I cut them in half.

This isn’t something you must do, but I find the shorter lengths easier to handle, than having to deal with the whole string.

String change steel string – winder pin puller

For the largest part, steel-string acoustics come with pin bridges. The bridge pins – made out of plastic, bone, wood or even metal – keep the ball-ends locked into place.

Most string winders sport a small cut-out for lifting the bridge pins. I’d suggest, though, that you first try extracting the pins by hand, because, very often, the ball-ends have jammed the pins in place fairly tightly. Trying to pull them out directly might damage your string winder or the bridge pins, or, even worse, the bridge itself.

String change steel string – push end in

Most of the time you will be able to extract the bridge pins by hand:

Start by pushing the ball-end down (into the body) by a centimetre, or so.

String change steel string – pull pin out 1

Usually, this is all that’s needed to unjam the bridge pin.

String change steel string – pull pin out 2

If a pin really is stuck, and can’t be lifted out with your fingers, I’d strongly suggest using a piece of tissue paper (or a piece of cloth) as a cushion to protect the pin and the bridge’s surface.


Some acoustic guitars come equipped with a pinless bridge – most notable Ovation and some Takamines. With these bridges, all you have to do is pull the ball-ends out of the back of the bridge.

String change steel string – take string off machine head

At the headstock end you have to untie the strings and take them off the tuner posts.

If your guitar’s fretboard and/or bridge feel (or look) a little dry, now would be the perfect time for applying a little fretboard oil.

String change steel string – put pin in

You start putting on a new string by feeding the ball-end into the appropriate bridge hole, while inserting the bridge pin.

String change steel string – pull on string

By pulling the string up a little, while holding the pin down, you will conveniently get the ball-end to jam the bridge pin in place.

String change steel string – stringing 1

Next you feed the string through the tuner’s post…

String change steel string – stringing 2

…pull the string away from the body, and around the post…

String change steel string – stringing 3

…and, finally, lock the string end in place.

String change steel string – stringing 4

Keep the string pressed downwards, while you’re turning the crank. Each new winding should pass under the one before it.

String change steel string – keep pin in place

When the string starts getting taut, I move my hand from the headstock to the bridge, to make sure the bridge pin stays firmly in place.

String change steel string – cut off end

I’d recommend cutting off the surplus string in close proximity to the tuning post. Then I bend the stub down towards the headstock face. Be careful, a cut-off string is very sharp!

I put on the fresh strings in pairs, working my way away from the nut – first the two e-strings, then the pair of A and b, and lastly the D- and g-strings.

String change steel string – strings on machine heads

This is what the result should look like at the headstock end.

String change steel string – pin height

The bridge pins should sit at a uniform height above the surface of the bridge.

String change steel string – string stretching

Getting new strings to stay in tune is a much faster process, if you stretch each string carefully. It works like this: First you tune to pitch, then you stretch each string, and retune again. Once you’ve repeated this process four to five times, you should be ready to go.

Your fretting hand should hold down the string you’re stretching at the first or second fret to avoid damage to the top nut.


Once the guitar is in tune you could check the string action at the 12th fret and compare it with the values measured with the old string set.

If the action is noticeably higher, chances are you’ve put on a heavier gauge set of strings. You need to compensate for the stronger string pull by tightening the truss rod (with the correct tool) by a quarter of a turn (or half a turn, at the most).

If the action is noticeably lower, chances are you’ve put on a lighter gauge set of strings. You need to compensate for the weaker string pull by loosening the truss rod (with the correct tool) by a quarter of a turn (or half a turn, at the most).

The truss rod is meant solely for neck relief adjustment. Even though adjusting the neck relief does have an impact on the action, string height adjustment isn’t really what the truss rod is meant for. Adjusting the action on a steel-string acoustic is usually a job for a luthier, and is achieved by changing the height of the bridge saddle.

Custom Sounds Finland uudessa omistuksessa

Helsingin Kruunuhaassa sijaitseva Custom Sounds on saanut elokuussa uudet omistajat. Ensi kuussa uusi tiimi pitää avajaisviikon (10.-15.12.2012) erilaisine teemapäivineen.

Custom Soundsin uudet vetäjät ovat Kimmo Aroluoma ja Jani Marjoniemi. Kimmo on tehnyt pitkän uran maan tunnettuimpien bändien kitaratekniikkona (ansioluettelosta löytyy mm. HIM, The Rasmus ja Michael Monroe), ja hänen erikoisalansa ovat pedaalilautoja. Jani taas on Custom Soundsin asiakkaille entuudesta tuttu mies, jolla on laaja tuntemus kielisoittimista, vahvistimista ja efektipedaaleista.


Uusien omistajien käsialaa näkyy myös myymälän tuotevalikoimasta, johon kuuluvat esimerkiksi kitaratekniikoille tärkeät tarvikkeet…

…iso putkivarasto…

…runsas efektivalikoima…

…sekä kovia laukkuja efektilaudoille.


Kitara- ja bassovalikoimaan kuuluvat sellaiset brändit kuin Reverend, Vintage (by JHS), Fret-King ja Nash.

Korjaukset ja -huollot hoidetaan luotettavien yhteistyökumppaneiden avulla.


Myymälän kodikas tunnelma kutsuu kokeilemaan tuotteita kaikessa rauhassa.


Kimmo Aroluoma käyttää kaiken kokemuksensa rakentaa jokaiselle asiakkaalle rankkaa kiertue-elämää mukisematta kestäviä pro-luokan pedaalilautoja – riippumatta siitä, onko kyseessä kahdesta efektistä ja virtalähteestä koostuva pikkusysteemi vai puolitoista metriä pitkä efektihirviö. Asiakas voi valita haluamansa efektejä vapaasti, myös muiden kuin Custom Soundsin edustamien valmistajien mallistoista.

Sähkökitaran osto-opas, osa 4 – Mitä tarvitsen kitaran lisäksi?

Sarjan viimeisessä osassa mennään sähkökitaran tärkeimpiä lisätarvikkeita läpi.


• Vahvistin

Sähkökitara tarvitsee työpariksi vahvistimen. Kitaraa voi toki soittaa myös akustisesti, mutta silloin soitto muuttuu – etenkin lankkukitaralla – usein liian raskaan kätiseksi.

Hyvää soittotekniikkaa varten kannattaa mielestäni hankkia ainakin joko kuulokevahvistin…

…tai pieni harjoitusvahvistin.


• Johto

Kitaran ja vahvistimen väliin tarvitaan vielä kitarajohdon. Edullisemman kitaran (alle 1.000 €) mukaan tulee lähes aina samassa paketissa erittäin halpa johto, joka kelpaa heikon laadun vuoksi korkeintaan hätäratkaisuksi.

Hyvässä johdossa on kelpo johdin, toimiva mekaaninen ja sähkömagneetinen suojaus, sekä laadukkaat plugit.

Jos käytät Gibson SG -tyylistä kitaraa tai sellaista puoliakustista, jossa jakki sijaitsee säätimien vieressä kitaran etupuolella (kannella), suosittelisin sellaista johtoa, jossa on kitaran puolella kulmaplugi.


• Pussi/Laukku

Kunnon topattu pussi (engl. gig bag) tai kova laukku on paras paikka säilyttää soittimensa varastoimista tai kuljetusta varten.

Topattu pussi on kevyempi kantaa ja toimii erittäin hyvin monissa tilanteissa.

Arvosoittimelle, ja kuljetuksia bändibusissa tai lentokoneen ruumassa varten, kova laukku tarjoaa useimmiten parempi suojaa kuin topattu pussi


• Teline

Kun pitää tauon treeneissä tai lavalla, laadukas kitarateline (ständi) on soittimelle se ainoa oikea paikka. Teline tukee kitaran ja suojelee sitä kaatumista vasten.

Jos kitarasi on viimeistelty nitrolakalla (esim. kaikki Gibson-soittimet) on syytä varmistaa, että telineen kumipinnat eivät reagoi nitrolakan kanssa. Muuten voi syntyä kitarassa rumia jälkiä tai kuplia, siellä missä kitaran pinta koskee telineeseen. Pellava- tai puuvillaliina telineen ja kitaran välillä voi toimia lisäsuojauksena, jos kitaraa on viimeistelty nitrolla.


 • Viritysmittari

Viritysmittari on tärkeä apuväline virittämisen lisäksi myös kitaran intonaation säätämisessä.

Viritysmittareita saa klipsiversioina…


…tai lattiaefektin muotoisina.


• Kielet

On hyvää hankkia kitaran mukaan heti yksi tai kaksi satsia varakieliä, joita kuljetetaan aina mukaan kitaralaukussa tai -pussissa.
Jos olet epävarma, kysy myyjältä, minkäpaksuisia kieliä kitarassa tällä hetkellä on. Lisää tietoa kielten vaihtamisesta löydät TÄSTÄ.


•  Plektrat

Suuri enemmistö kitaristejä käyttää plektroja (engl. plectrum, pleck tai pick) – sellaisia siis kannattaa myös hankkia.

Plektroja tarjoillaan monista eri materiaaleista ja monissa eri muodoissa. Kannattaa siis kokeilla, mikä merkki, materiaali, paksuus ja muoto istuu omaan käsiin parhaiten.


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