- How to choose strings for your banjolele
- The best ukulele strings for any budget
- How to restring your banjolele
I really don’t think there is an instrument with a more unique character than the banjolele. A quirky little instrument that combines the distinctive resonator of a banjo and the small package of a ukulele. Just super cool.
So, you will probably want to put strings on that will bring out the best characteristics in your instrument, right? Well, obviously, who doesn’t?
Looking around, though, the choices can seem so overwhelming that you don’t even know what the right questions are. Are banjolele strings different from ukulele strings? Are they made of different materials? What is the right type for what I play?
All worthy questions, and all questions that we hope we can help you demystify.
What Are The Best Banjolele Strings?
For quality banjolele strings with a great tone and feel, our top pick is Aquila Super Nylgut strings.
If you’re prone to snapping or losing strings and must keep costs below budget, you can’t go wrong with D’Addario Black Nylons.
However, if you’re accustomed to the finer things in life, and are happy to pay for them, then Martin Premium Ukulele Strings are a must.
We tested each of the string sets on material, quality, and tuning stability and have put together a selection of the best strings for banjolele that will fit any budget.
- Aquila Super Nylgut (Our Pick)
- D’Addario Black Nylon (Best Value)
- Martin Premium Ukulele Strings (Best Premium)
- Worth Clear Ukulele Strings
- Pepe Romero Fluorocarbon
1. Aquila Super Nylgut (Our Pick)
With a fascinating pearl color and a smooth surface, these strings under the fingers will feel as good as natural wax. They are rather soft, but at the same time they stretch less than Nylgut, so they are easier and faster to tune, and will be more stable right from the start.
When it comes to ukulele strings, Aquila hardly needs any introduction. They have long been a favorite among ukulele players for their stability, durability, and feel. The Nylgut series is no different. They feel great, sound great, and are a joy on the fingers.
- Made from Nylgut composite
- Feels like natural gut strings
- Warm and mellow tone
- Prices from $9.00
Nylgut strings are named that way because Aquilla wanted to make a nylon alternative to gut strings, giving all of the tone and warmth that you associate with gut strings without the… well… guts.
They certainly do feel like natural strings, and I love the warmth that they coax out of my banjolele. It really lends itself to those mellow summer vibes.
I find that the nylgut strings have always added a bit of resonance to my ukes, and they were. No exception on the banjolele, and that extra resonance really brought out the banjo twang I was looking for.
I love the feel of these, and they will be familiar for nylon string guitar players making the switch, but if you are used to nothing but steel strings, then the feel may be a little unfamiliar, but will definitely be much gentler on the fingers.
The Aquillas did take a little bit of time and several re-tunings to settle, but once they did, they were quite stable and held tuning well.
With a great tone and great feel, you could do a lot worse.
- Feel like natural gut strings
- Warm, mellow tone with lots of resonance
- Can take a while for the tuning to settle
2. D’Addario Black Nylon (Best Value)
Optimized for Soprano Ukuleles tuned to standard GCEA tuning, with Black precision rectified nylon ensuring that the roundness and dimension control of each string are unsurpassed.
D’Addario markets their black nylon ukulele strings as warmer than clear nylon, and I can’t dispute that. These strings have a wonderful warmth and even tone that really brings the resonance of a banjolele to life.
- Black nylon
- Precision finished diameter for tuning stability
- Smooth feel and consistency
- Prices from $6.00
I really love the feel of these strings on my ukulele. The tension feels quite forgiving, especially for new players. The feel of the black nylon is quite gentle on the fingers, and honestly, I like their look.
Looks aren’t everything, though, so what do they sound like?
Honestly, they sound great. I like a really warm tone and a lot of depth on my banjolele and these strings certainly deliver that while also giving a slightly brighter attack to bring out that banjo twang.
Be aware, though, that I did feel like there was a bit of a drop in projection compared to the clear strings. Not a deal breaker for me, but it might be something to keep in mind if it is for you.
- Feels really great to play
- Warm tone with a brightness that cuts through
- String tension is forgiving
- Loss of projection and volume compared to clear strings
3. Martin Premium Ukulele Strings (Best Premium)
Martin has teamed up with Aquila to develop Premium Ukulele strings, providing punchy intonation, pristine tone, stellar sustain, and great projection for your concert uke.
Martin is hardly a name that needs any introduction. Any guitar player knows the quality the Martin name evokes, but does that care extend to ukulele strings? I am happy to report that it really does. Their Premium ukulele strings have wonderful clarity and real punch. They feel great under your fingers too.
- Made with polygut
- Good intonation
- Clear, crisp, and punchy tone
- Prices from $9.00
If you want sustain and projection, Martin has you covered as Martin’s Premium string series delivers. They gave my banjolele some real clarity and made the sound really cut through.
Martin’s proprietary polygut material feels great to play. The texture was a little unfamiliar to me, and it was odd feeling the texture under my fingers. Although, I am a guy who is super sensitive to texture, which really affects my playing.
So, if that is you, you might want to consider that before changing to these strings. Or at least get comfortable with them before playing a gig.
Having said that, though, I really cannot fault them for their sound. I found they really brought the banjolele’s character out and gave it some real clarity and volume.
Fingerpicking these strings was lovely, and each note was clear and distinct. The polygut material does not have any of the sometimes muddy characteristics of nylon.
Overall, a real pleasure to play.
- Great sound
- Good projection and clarity
- Settles into tuning stability really quickly
- Might be a bit pricey for some
- Texture may be an issue for some
4. Worth Clear Fluorocarbon Ukulele Strings
These really are excellent Worth fluorocarbon concert and soprano ukulele strings. Worth strings come in double length packs, so you are effectively getting two sets for the price of one!
Worth strings have a reputation for excellence among ukulele players. This set of clear fluorocarbon strings is a great addition to the banjolele. They have a clear, powerful, and bright sound that just goes perfectly with the resonance of the banjolele.
- Fluorocarbon material
- Long enough for two sets
- Clean, bright sound
- Prices from $13.00
Worth’s clear fluorocarbon strings add a lot of brightness and projection to the sound of your instrument. The fluorocarbon material is naturally brighter than nylon, and Worth has done an excellent job here.
The string tension is also higher than nylon but incredibly comfortable. This makes playing them quite easy on the hands and fingers.
The projection and volume of the strings are good, although they did take a while to settle. Once they did, it was well worth the wait for the sound. Clean, clear, bright, and punchy. Not bad at all.
Another thing to note is that these sets are long. That means that each of them gives you enough string for two sets. So great sound and value for money. Definitely worth a mention.
- Very responsive
- Great volume and projection
- Bright and clear tone
- Tone may be too bright if you are used to mellower nylon
5. Pepe Romero Fluorocarbon – La Bella
Pepe Romero Ukulele Strings feature state-of-the-art fluorocarbon treble strings that have been thoroughly tested and refined by Pepe Romero.
La Bella developed this line of Fluorocarbon strings in partnership with legendary luthier Pepe Romero. A seemingly winning combination, as they have received plenty of praise from ukulele and banjolele players alike. These strings are known for their high quality, exceptional sound, and tuning stability.
- Fluorocarbon material
- Quick tuning stability
- Punchy sound
- Prices from $14.00
Overall, I found La Bella’s strings to have a balanced tone. The strings added some power and sustain to the sound of my banjolele. The fingerpicked sound was bright and clear and had a bit more volume than the nylon sets I had tried before.
The strings feel like they are made with quality materials, and I was genuinely surprised at how quickly the strings settled and held their tuning.
I liked the feel of these strings under my fingers and found them to have a slightly higher tension than nylon strings, but not so much that they may bother new players.
This is definitely a high-quality string that is worth considering. They do tend to be a bit on the pricier side, though, so keep that in mind if you are on a budget.
- Warm tone
- Very high quality
- Holds tuning stable faster than nylon
- Can be a bit pricey for some
- May not be best if you are looking for a very bright tone
Is a banjolele different from a ukulele?
Yes, it definitely is different from the ukulele, but maybe not as different as you think. The banjolele is a hybrid instrument. So it takes influences from both the banjo and the ukulele and combines them into one cool little instrument.
The banjolele takes the neck of a ukulele and combines that with the drum of a banjo to give us the banjolele.
For a deep dive into the differences, check out Banjo vs Ukulele (Differences & Which Is Right For You?)
Do banjos use steel strings?
Yes, banjos definitely do use steel strings. That doesn’t mean banjoleles do, though.
A banjo is a much larger instrument, and the neck and body can withstand the much higher tension of steel strings. A banjolele, on the other hand, is not built for string tension like that and is much better suited to the lower tension of nylon and fluorocarbon strings.
That is not to say that you can’t get banjoleles that are built for steel strings. Those certainly exist, but they are not the norm, and a standard banjolele would struggle with the tension.
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