Aquila Thunderblack Strings Tested



Aquila Thunderblack

Aquila says its Thunderblack strings for the uBass are superior to the standard Pahoehoe strings.                                      Photo: Aquila Corde Armoniche


If you have been thinking about trying the Thunderblack strings from Italian string maker Aquila Corde Armoniche for your uBass, but don’t want to plunk down $29.95 for something you might not end up liking, take a look at this video by our friend Magnus Sjöquist.

Magnus puts the strings through their paces on his acoustic uBass. The video will give you a good idea of what the strings sound like so you can make an informed decision whether to buy them or not.

If you prefer to read about the strings rather than watching a video, Magnus did a blog post about them on his site PlayUbass.


Separated at Birth?



Notice any similarities between these two string packages? The Rotosound Nexus Bass strings on the left have been around for about four years. The Kala Silver Plated strings are fairly new. But the packaging is eerily reminiscent of each other.

So what’s the deal? Great (marketing and design) minds think alike? Imitation? Coincidence?

Who knows.

It’s probably more like, when you hit upon something good, you go with it.

I guess just as in Western music where everyone is working with the same notes, there’s just so much you can do with string package design.


Changing Strings? Try Metal.

The packaging for Kala's new metal round wounds uBass strings.

The packaging for Kala’s new metal round wounds uBass strings.


Let’s face it. Sometimes you just need to change things up. You need to try something different. Well, if you’re about to change the strings on your uBass, or are getting bored with your Pahoehoes, why not try Kala’s new metal round wound strings.

The strings are constructed with a nylon core with silver plated windings. In a video touting the new strings, Mike Upton says while the strings are “boomy” like the Pahoehoes, they do tend to offer a bit more treble than the other strings. So if you want your uBass to sound more like an electric/acoustic bass and less like a double bass, these may be the strings for you.

“These round wound strings provide a warm booming sound that the U-Bass is known for,” Kala notes. “They feature lower tension compared to traditional built bass strings, making them easy on the fingers with a great overall feel.”

The new strings feature the following:

  • Nylon core with Silver-plated windings
  • Specifically constructed for use with the Kala U-Bass
  • Provides player with extreme playability
  • Warm, powerful sound with clear note articulation
  • String construction and gauging gives player very accurate intonation

The new strings are very responsive and very articulate, according to Mike Upton. They still feature the “boomy” sound the uBass is known for, but with a bit more clarity and top end.

These new strings should not be confused with Kala’s Silver Rumbler strings made by Aquila. The Silver Rumblers feature Nylgut and a proprietary formula and are not metal strings.

Check out a video with Mike demoing a set of the strings HERE.

Add a Little Color to Your Life

Mike Upton trying out a set of Dreads strings in the uBass.

Mike Upton trying out a set of Dreads strings on the uBass.

Spice up your playing and add a little color to your life by replacing those boring, old, black Pahoehoe strings on your uBass with a new set of brightly colored “Dreads” strings.

They’re the same Pahoehoe formula as the regular strings, but they come in black, green, yellow and red. And while you’re at it, might as well play some Reggae in honor of these colorful babies.

According to Mike Upton of Kala, the Dreads feel a bit smoother than the black Pahoehoe, even thought they are not significantly different in formulation. He also notes they are a bit brighter (in sound) than the black strings.

Check out Mike playing a set of Dreads in THIS VIDEO.

Pyramid Black Nylon Tapewound Strings

Pyramid Strings' new Black Nylon Tapewounds for uBass. Photo © Magnus Sjöquist.

Pyramid Strings’ new Black Nylon Tapewounds for uBass.
Photo © Magnus Sjöquist.


Our friend Magnus Sjöquist over at PLAY UBASS! has done a pretty thorough review of Pyramid’s new Black Nylon Tapewound strings on his fretless uBass. These strings are not to be confused with Pyramid’s copper-wound tapewound strings, these are new.

Here’s some of what he had to say about the strings:

The strings has a texture that feels a bit like ”cloth”. If I compare the feel of my La Bella Tape Nylon strings, the Pyramids feels more like a regular roundwound string. The higher tension makes playing faster passages easier. So if fast is your thing these strings might be just right for you 🙂
I really like the added tension of these strings, they obviously feel more like a regular bass string. The sound is also very nice ranging from fat, thubby low end (perfect for thumb mute style playing) to a nice top end (making harmonics sing more than other Ubass strings).

I won’t give away the ending. You’ll have to head over to his blog and read it for yourself.

The strings are only available for the acoustic uBasses right now, but that could change in the near future. The strings are available from Pyramid directly and at retailers, according to the company, but I could not find any online retailers that stock them. They may be easier to find in Europe than the U.S. right now.

It’s A RoguBass!

I came across THIS VIDEO on YouTube recently. This guy built his own uBass from a Screen Shot 2013-02-17 at 12.41.34 PMRogue Baritone Ukulele, Pahoehoe strings, a Belcat EQ and some odds and ends.

For those of you that don’t know, Rogue is the house brand of online musical instrument retailer Musician’s Friend. They produce inexpensive guitars, basses and ukuleles in Asia.

This RoguBass is a valiant effort, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. Also, it’s hard to tell how it turned out because the recording is terrible (with feedback and distortion throughout).

I give him an “A” for effort and “C-” for execution.

New Forum Dedicated to the uBass Goes Live

Visit the uBass Forum

We know you live and breathe the uBass. So you might as well just admit it.

If you love playing the uBass and want to discuss everything about it with like-minded musicians, the new uBass Forum is the place for you.

The uBass Forum is a dedicated discussion board for uBass players and those who like ukulele bass in general. We started the forum so we could have a dedicated forum to talk about all things uBass, without anything else getting in the way. And it’s nit restricted to just Kala uBass topics either. Anything  having to do with a ukulele bass from any manufacturer is fair game.

Forums include those dedicated to the Kala California Series, Kala Acoustic uBass, Kala S.U.B. Series, Strings, Repairs, Electronics, music and TABs, Recording and live gigging.

If you feel the need to speak uBass, then head on over to the uBass Forum and start a thread or two.

We are looking forward to some scintillating discussion about the uBass.