Aquila Alchimia strings, made from sugar cane

Choice of classical guitar strings and technical issues connected with their use.
Lexos
Posts: 30
Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2018 12:33 pm
Location: Bergamo, Italy

Re: Aquila Alchimia strings, made from sugar cane

Post by Lexos » Tue Sep 03, 2019 12:26 pm

I think that you can predict the potential for squeakiness before playing. Just plant your RH finger pads (i,m,a) onto the trebles and slide left and right. You will see that Alchemia tend to squeak much more than others.... (Rubino, Alliance, etc) does not squeak at all even in this scenario). So now, if your playing includes any flesh sliding even slightly on the surface (it happens to me in some arpeggios), you will get some squeaking. It maybe a sign of bad technique (in fact, I now see this as an additional advantage of Alchemia - it helps me "correct" that). I have even committed to grow nails thanks to these strings :). It pays off.

Carter53
Posts: 86
Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2016 1:36 pm

Re: Aquila Alchimia strings, made from sugar cane

Post by Carter53 » Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:21 pm

Over the past year I have tried Cristalos, Alabastros, Sugars, and as of yesterday, Alchemia. Despite the initial squeaks, the sound from the Sugars astounded me when I put them on my John Mills 15. The trebles are bright, yet full and very loud. The basses are deep and the attack and sustain is unmatched by any strings I've ever played. The Alchemias are bright, but more restrained to my ears, less punchy than the Sugars. I have not noticed any squeaking. I love the sound of the Cristalos on my 68 Hiroshi Tamura, a very romantic Spanish sounding guitar that compares well to the 1a. Basses are deep and the trebles are clear and mellow with good attack. Aquila has something for everyone.
1964 Sakazo Nakade "D"
1971 Masaji Nobe (gifted-no model#)
1983 Asturias John Mills JM-15
1988 Masaki Sakurai Concert-R

Leo
Posts: 487
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2011 3:45 am
Location: Bay Area, California

Re: Aquila Alchimia strings, made from sugar cane

Post by Leo » Sat Sep 14, 2019 12:44 am

Carter53 wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:21 pm
Over the past year I have tried Cristalos, Alabastros, Sugars, and as of yesterday, Alchemia. Despite the initial squeaks, the sound from the Sugars astounded me when I put them on my John Mills 15. The trebles are bright, yet full and very loud. The basses are deep and the attack and sustain is unmatched by any strings I've ever played. The Alchemias are bright, but more restrained to my ears, less punchy than the Sugars. I have not noticed any squeaking. I love the sound of the Cristalos on my 68 Hiroshi Tamura, a very romantic Spanish sounding guitar that compares well to the 1a. Basses are deep and the trebles are clear and mellow with good attack. Aquila has something for everyone.
I agree with what you say, the Sugars are the brightest strings, but still full sounding, but I think the Alchmia strings can work on some guitars that are too bright already.

On a good spanish sounding guitar, (I have a Takamine 132s), I think the Cristalos may sound the best of any of the Aquila strings, I get such a rich sweet sound out of them on this guitar, but they don't seem to work as well on my other two guitars. The Cristalo g string does seem tubby sounding to me, so I use a carbon string in repacement. I use the Seaguar florocarbon pink label 80 pound fishing line, but probably any carbon would work well.

In my opinion Aquila has the best line of strings that are all different, and at the same time innovative, of any of the current string companies.
2012 Hippner, Spruce-birdseye maple
1985 Takamine C-132S
2002 Casa Montalvo, Spruce, Ziricote

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RJVB
Posts: 654
Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:29 am
Location: La Ferté Milon, France

Re: Aquila Alchimia strings, made from sugar cane

Post by RJVB » Sat Sep 14, 2019 9:19 am

Leo wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 12:44 am
In my opinion Aquila has the best line of strings that are all different, and at the same time innovative, of any of the current string companies.
I agree, and wait until the Sugar Rubinos hit the market...

They only thing missing IMHO is a bass string that's wound with a brass or bronze alloy, possibly polished like the LaBella 900 Elite.
Gretsch G9240 "Alligator" wood-body resonator converted to non-metal strings (China, 2018?)
Bolink baroque violin (Hilversum, 1982)
Formerly: Brian Cohen baroque violin (London, 1985), Nadegini modern violin (Paris, 1924)

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petermc61
Posts: 6887
Joined: Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:11 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Aquila Alchimia strings, made from sugar cane

Post by petermc61 » Sat Sep 14, 2019 10:04 am

After endless frustration with the squeaks from the Sugars, I installed some normal tension Alchemia trend on my spruce Stenzel. Far fewer squeaks (but still a little). Tone seems quite bright with a little less sustain that the Sugars. Intonation seems good. Let’s see how they settle in.

paskin
Posts: 50
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2018 1:10 am
Location: Palo Alto, California

Re: Aquila Alchimia strings, made from sugar cane

Post by paskin » Sat Sep 14, 2019 3:44 pm

After reading so many positive reviews on this thread, I gave the Aquila Alchemia normal tension a try. I'm a die-hard D'Addario EJ45FF (carbon) normal tension fan, so this review uses those as a basis for comparison.

After playing on Alchemia for a couple of weeks I think I might be switching. Here are the some key differences from EJ45FF:

Feel: The Alchemia trebles feel thicker, making their thickness more consistent with the basses. For some reason, my fingers really like that consistency. One downside of this extra thickness (on my guitar, with my action) is that I get buzz on the 1st string when fretting high and playing loud. The other big difference in terms of feel is a "tackiness" in the trebles, which makes it slightly harder to start a slide; but curiously, once the slide is in progress they feel very smooth to slide on. The net effect is nice: fretting fingers feel secure at rest, and glide well on slides. I've noticed this tackiness property feels slightly different on different days -- perhaps due to weather or the condition of my fingertips? Finally, slides on the basses seem less squeaky than EJ45FF, and they feel a bit thinner.

Sound: One big improvement in the sound is the consistency of tone across all the strings. With EJ45FF I've felt the different strings have slightly different characters, and it takes effort to compensate with the right hand and alternate fingerings. The Alchemia sound much more consistent across the strings --- it feels much closer to a single voice across the range. Another similar improvement is the consistency of tone across open and fretted notes: open 1st E sounds similar in tone to fretted F, whereas on EJ45FF the open string sounds more "harsh." Finally, the overall tone is, of course, different. Whereas EJ45FF sound like a buttery, even, strong voice, the Alchemia sound a bit more nylon-ish -- "hollow" is a word that comes to mind -- but unlike nylon, with a stronger attack and perhaps sustain. The Alchemia have a lot of character. The basses have a very nice, robust sound. One last detail: pull-offs on the trebles sound a lot stronger and fuller on Alchemia, and I'm wondering if the extra thickness is why.

Last detail is that the Alchemia take a long time to stretch to stable tuning, perhaps a bit longer than EJ45FF, but not by much.

Overall, I'm a bit fan. Kudos to the Aquila team!

Mark

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