How to string a ukulele
Resetting strings is generally a nightmare for most first-timers, but as with all things, after the first few times, it won’t be a painful experience. If anything, you’ll look forward to it because new strings mean better sound. Here we’ll walk you through how you ought to go about making these changes by yourself. Luckily, they aren’t too complicated that you’d have to find a professional to get it fixed. Once you’re done, you’ll be on your merry way enjoying the ukulele.
The process of stringing the ukulele
Begin with unwinding one of the tuners (or tuning pegs) on the headstock until the string is loose or at unwinding. Then, push the string through the bridge hole and thereafter undo the knot on the string to remove the string. Repeat this process with the other strings, unwinding the corresponding tuner.
Grab a new string and pass it through the bridge hole. Ensure that what’s left is long enough to reach past the headstock. There is no right side when it comes to the string so that shouldn’t worry you. Once it’s through, taking the shorter end of the string left on the boy’s side of the bridge, take a shorter side under. Once it’s formed a loop, wrap the shorter string two to three times inside of the circle.
Holding the shorter end down against the bridge, pull at the longer side of the string until it is tight around the bridge. Don’t use too much force as you might break the string. A getting tug is enough to secure it. This doesn’t seem overly high-tech, but it’s enough to keep the string in place until the next change.
*There are other ways of securing the ukulele string to the bridge but the above is by far the easiest and most common.
Now run the longer end of the string through the hole in the tuning peg. Ensure that the gap is directly opposite the string. Once it’s through, there are three options. You can either tight a knot or wind the wire around. These, however, tend to be messier.
Once the string is through, pull back what’s left to form two parallel lines. Don’t pull the string back using too much force; turning the tuner peg is what will secure it, doing the job for you. Hold down on both strands, so that when you are setting, the strings perfectly overlap each other for a better finish.
Lastly, cut off the excess string without affecting the new wound string. Proceed to tune it using your ear, piano or even an app. Enjoy the unique sound!
When starting, you’ll find that you’ll have to retune a few times. With time you’ll develop a keen ear, and you’ll be able to know when it’s time for tuning or even change the strings as the music quality dwindles slightly.
When to change the strings
The changing ukulele strings largely depend on usage and how hard you strum or pluck. Some people make changes every few weeks while others after almost six months. The next best time is to change ukulele strings when one or more break. When doing the change, do it for all of them because they are all just as worn out.
Ukulele strings are primarily made of nylon which, like any material, will wear out eventually and become weak. They are however the most commonly used and are reasonably priced. Strings made of this material aren’t affected by humidity (the instrument does have its origins from Hawaii), but they will stretch due to temperature changes. After you’ve changed the strings, give it time to settle before doing some fine tuning. It’ll mean making slight variations each time, but it’ll finally get to the rights sound.
Other materials for ukulele strings are fluorocarbon, what you have for fishing nets. Ideally, if you’re looking for a brighter sound, this is what you should consider getting. Titanium offers most strength and durability, and they give off more volume and a fuller sound when you play. This added quality does come with a price markup.
Different ukuleles require other types of strings. Tenor ukulele and baritone ukulele tend to use wound nylon strings which have a polymer wound around a nylon core for the two bottom strings. Wound metal strings are for low notes and typically reserved for lager ukuleles. For these strings, the primary winding materials are either aluminum or copper. Apart from sounding somewhat high-pitched, one ought to be careful when cutting them because the two parts can begin separating.
Lastly, you have steel strings, which aren’t recommended for the ukulele. For starts, the sound they produce is not reminiscent of a ukulele but rather a guitar. They also cause a lot of tension on the instrument that could eventually damage the ukulele
Cheap and expensive also reflect quality when it comes to ukulele strings. If you get super cheap ones, the chances are that they won’t last very long and you’ll be constricted to frequent purchases or even extra gentle playing of the ukulele. At the same time, unless you have due cause like you’re on a musical platform, the strings you get don’t have to be of an expensive nature. Find something that’s reasonably priced that boast quality and can last you many days of producing music.
Changing the ukulele strings will be somewhat hard at first, but practice is what breeds confidence. You only have to ensure that you replace them when they need to; a tutor, app or even your ear when they are due. The other thing is getting strings that are tight for the ukulele you own. When selecting these, be sure they are from a trusted brand, a mark that they’ll be durable. Once you’re used to it, you’ll look forward to changing the strings because of the sound quality of the ukulele when you play it the first few times.