While you consider playing the ukulele, you in all probability think about studying the notes, discovering strumming patterns, and performing your favorite songs.
Nonetheless, with exploring the ukulele comes studying to care for it, too. This entails changing ukulele strings out from time to time.
Musicians must restring ukuleles when the strings begin to sound boring because of wear and tear. In this article, we will focus on how to change ukulele strings and show you different ways of changing strings depending on your instrument bridge.
Clearly, it would be best to do a ukulele string change when one of your old strings snaps, however instead of simply changing that one, you’ll probably need to replace all of them because, one after the other, they’ll ultimately begin to lose their tone.
Not to point out, for those who only change that one string, it’ll sound unnecessarily brighter than the remaining. It is best to change strings completely and not only the broken one. The new string will sound different and you want to avoid that.
So how often will you need to exchange your strings? This may vary relying on your environment and how often you play, however, a great rule of thumb is for those who’re performing publicly it is best to change your strings every one to a few months.
When you play much less frequently as a hobby, it is best to change them every 3 to 6 months. Additionally, for those who break a string, it would be best to restring your complete set.
One other sign you should restring your ukulele is while you notice the strings beginning to discolor or fray.
As for the best time to change them, you need to most likely think about a change if any of the factors below apply:
Are there any nicks or flat spots cut into the strings? This could happen from constant stress on the frets, or, because the string stretches, as the string is retuned the part that was resting within the nut becomes visible between the nut and the tuning peg – the telltale signal are little horizontal strains throughout the string.
These can have an effect on tuning, intonation, and can ultimately break. If you cannot see any marks, it doesn’t imply they aren’t there.
Attempt hooking a finger beneath the strings close to frets 1-5 and have a feel. Can you feel notches or grooves? In that case, they’re starting to wear down.
Are you having hassle holding your tuning? – While uke strings are usually an actual pain to maintain in tune when they’re brand new due to the stretching they endure, once they have stretched to their optimum, they actually should keep in tune when left alone.
In case you have some seasoned strings, however, are finding that tuning goes off, or the intonation is turning into a problem, you may need to think about a string change.
Do they simply sound dull or off? As ukulele strings age, they are going to ultimately lose their tonal qualities and chances are you’ll discover that your uke simply does not sound very vivid anymore – again, time for a string change.
That is maybe the hardest to quantify as it is so subjective. However, we suppose if the ukulele was sounding lifeless and never doing it any longer, the very first thing we might do is change the strings.
Tools for Restringing your Ukulele
- Brand new strings to switch the previous one(s).
- A pair of wire cutters, sharp scissors, or string cutters.
- A garbage bin close by, to place string off cuts in once you’re done with them.
- A string winder (non-obligatory).
- A clear, flat working floor or desk. Someplace you’ll be able to safely put your ukulele down, and rest your ukulele on when tightening the strings if wanted.
Be certain that there’s nothing around that may harm or scratch your instrument.
Suggestions Before You Restring
Only restring strings separately! This implies you’ll by no means get muddled as to what string goes on which machine head or peg, and as an added bonus you should have a different set of strings to have a look at to guide your own stringing.
In case you are changing your entire ukulele strings, begin with the C string first after which string the E string, A string, and finally the G string.
Higher strings can really feel extra intimidating to tune as they’re thinner, and also you are more likely to break them by chance (though this is not as much of an issue when you have nylon strings). Nylon strings are much more flexible and can endure such twists.
Loosen the string till it slides simply off the tuning peg. In case you are not sure which route to turn the peg, pluck the string while turning the peg in a single direction.
If the pitch goes down, you’re doing it right. If the pitch rises, merely switch the direction you’re turning. Take away the string from the tuning peg when it’s loose enough.
You probably have a slotted head ukulele then you will want to unwind the string enough to have the ability to push the string through the hole.
Alternatively, you could need to unwind the string till it’s slack after which cut the string along with your scissors or wire cutters, and then take away the top part of the string from the headstock.
Tip: To make winding quicker, you may like to think about buying a string winder. These are comparatively low-cost and really simple to use to wound strings and pull the best out of them.
Carefully take away the string through the bridge. What technique you utilize will depend upon what kind of bridge you might have.
Standard Bridge: Your string has a knot on the tip that holds it in place on the bridge. In this case, your string must be slid off, parallel to the body of the ukulele.
Typically the string can get wedged in fairly tightly, so it could take a while and patience to coax the string out. Watch out that you do not harm the bridge with vigorous tugging on the string. By no means pull up on the string to free it from the bridge!
Tie-Bar Bridge: Your string is tied to the bridge as the title suggests. You will have to carefully untie the string from the bridge, pushing the free end of the string into the knot till it loosens sufficiently so that you can untie it fully. The knots could also be fairly tight, and it could require persistent effort to loosen the knots.
Now that your outdated string is detached out of your ukulele and discarded, you’re able to string your new string.
Standard Bridge: To connect a string when your ukulele has a regular bridge, first tie a knot in a single end of the string, leaving a tail about an inch lengthy.
Tie a knot in the string (another one), on the identical point as the first knot, ideally reversing the second knot (in order that the knots oppose one another) Slip the double-knot you might have made into the notch on the bridge, where your previous string was hooked up.
Be certain the string is sitting comfortably within the notch by pulling the string in the direction of the headstock of the ukulele. Pull the string so that you create a major amount of pressure, to examine that the double-knot will hold.
After you have checked that the knot will hold, you’ll be able to take the string back out of the notch and trim off the surplus string beneath the knot, leaving 5mm or so beneath the knot in case it slips a little bit. Then put the string back within the notch. A properly strung ukulele tie-bar bridge
Tie-Bar Bridge: Slide one end of the string into the small gap on the bridge, inserting the string in order that the tip comes out the bottom (the side opposite the sound gap). Slide the string through the hole till you might have about an inch and a half of size popping out the end.
Take the tip of the string that you’ve got threaded through and loop up and behind the string on the top.
Then, loop the end of the string beneath the length of string that runs over the bridge at the very least twice (ideally 3 times loop) before pulling the tip of the string out the underside in order that the loops tighten.
Now that the string is mounted on the bridge, you’ll be able to proceed to lock the string on the headstock of the ukulele.
Slip the opposite end of the string through the steel gap within the tuning pegs or slot, pulling most of the extra string through the hole. Pull the string taught, and start tightening it with the tuning pegs.
It could help to press the string down with your finger within the area between the nut and the tuning peg, in order that the string winds on down in the direction of the bottom of the peg.
Snip off the excess string ends on the top of the string by the headstock with your wire cutters or scissors. For ukuleles with the tie-bar bridge, now you can additionally snip the excess off at the bridge too.
Now that your new strings are on your ukulele, you’ll be able to proceed to tune your ukulele utilizing a ukulele tuner. Remember, be aware that your strings will proceed to stretch out over the next few instances you play.
You may hurry this process alongside by stretching your strings away from the ukulele (putting a finger beneath the string and pulling up slowly) after which re-tuning. Though, in fact, the easiest way to stretch out these strings is by playing them! But in case you are in a hurry, you can stretch the strings and then tune them again.
There are different types of strings, from nylon to metal, but when it’s your first time doing this to your instrument, make sure to tighten your new set of strings to start losing the tension that new strings bring. Just follow how your instrument sounds and you will be good!
Conclusion on How to Change your Ukulele Strings!
Once you do it, you will see that the process on how to change ukulele strings is easy, but needs some patience. Just be careful not to pull too hard to ruin some of the wood from the ukulele or any of the tuning pegs.
Follow your ukulele strings and how they react over time when you play your instrument. They might stretch and change pitch and tone which is a clear sign that you need to change them and replace the old strings.
Change your ukulele strings as well if you want to improve the quality of the ones you already own. Actually, there are a lot of reasons to restring your ukulele and you need to trust the process at the end.
If you are having any questions in regards to this process, don’t feel tension and shoot us a tight comment below – pun intended!