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Thread: Pre-stretching of strings?

  1. #1

    Default Pre-stretching of strings?

    I restrung some ukes a month ago and their pitch now is so stable, that I worry, if time soon will come to restring them again.

    Many years ago I read a book about The Royal Opera Orchestra in Copenhagen. Part of their life in the old pit, which since has been enlarged, was about the inevitable pinging of the high E-strings of the primo violins, which was an unhappy thing with the then fairly small string sections.

    To minimize the problem the violinists hammered nails in the pit wall towards the public, where they tied up E-strings under some tension, so that they, when an E-string pinged, could take a prestretched E-string down from the wall and mount it on their violin.

    Have ukulele players tried something similar?

    One might imagine a stiff board with a bridge-like block at one end with slits for the strings and notches at the far end for the knots. The other end then could have tuners to stretch the strings. Would have to be longer than the scale length of the given uke, so that the oscillating part of the string was not harmed by being bent.

    Klaus

  2. #2
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    I would think that a string settling in would have as much to do with the knots and the wrappings getting pulled up tight as it does to the elasticity of the strings.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.
    There's more than one road into Richmond. Lil' Rev
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  3. #3
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    Good business idea.
    Current main players: Moon Bird concert and Barron River tenor. My other ukes are listed on my profile page.

  4. #4
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    If you have problems with stretching strings, just re tune after every tune/song you play.
    Keith M --> likes a long neck - & baritone.

  5. #5

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    I pre stretch mine before installing, just with my hands. Pinch the knot with pliers or something and grab with the other hand and stretch. You can get them noticeably longer doing this and then when you install them, it doesn't take as long for them to settle in.
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  6. #6
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    I just tune them a 1/2 step sharp, play a bit, retune a 1/2 step sharp, play a bit, etc. My strings are totally settled within a couple of days. When I put new strings on a uke, that's the one I grab MANY times a day and keep retuning it sharp. Pre-stretching can damage and weaken strings in my opinion.
    Covered Bridge Cedar/Myrtle Tenor
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    50's Roy Smeck Soprano
    guitars, mandolin, fiddle, harmonica

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by weeshan View Post
    I pre stretch mine before installing, just with my hands. Pinch the knot with pliers or something and grab with the other hand and stretch. You can get them noticeably longer doing this and then when you install them, it doesn't take as long for them to settle in.
    I'm skeptical: for a number of reasons, I've found insufficient advantage to pre-stretching (particularly, pre-stretching by hand) to justify the bother. Instead, I overtune in a similar manner to what deschutestrout described. Obviously, this doesn't help in the situation where a string snaps during a performance and must be replaced, but I don't believe than any form of pre-stretching helps sufficiently in this situation.

    If you do believe in pre-stretching, why not just use a cheap uke as both a pre-stretching rig and a backup instrument? If a string snaps during a performance, replacing it then and there isn't a very viable option: pre-stretching will not keep a replaced nylon string from going out of tune almost immediately. But if you have the foresight to bring a backup uke, you just tune and go, and you'll stay true. Then you can transfer its pre-stretched string(s) to your main uke at leisure, with minimal resting time during which the effect of pre-stretching can be largely nullified.
    Last edited by ubulele; 04-16-2017 at 07:49 AM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by deschutestrout View Post
    I just tune them a 1/2 step sharp, play a bit, retune a 1/2 step sharp, play a bit, etc. My strings are totally settled within a couple of days. When I put new strings on a uke, that's the one I grab MANY times a day and keep retuning it sharp. Pre-stretching can damage and weaken strings in my opinion.
    This is the process I use as well. Stretching the strings evenly is key. Unevenly stretching can cause thick and thin spots on the string causing buzzes and intonation issues. I almost always carry a second uke for gigs as a backup.
    Keep Strummin'

  9. #9
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    I have been lucky I guess and have never broken a uke string while playing ... guitar strings? That's a different story :-)
    Covered Bridge Cedar/Myrtle Tenor
    KoAloha Longneck Soprano
    Concert Flea
    Mele Mahogany Tenor
    Mele Mahogany Concert Pineapple
    Mainland Mahogany Soprano
    50's Roy Smeck Soprano
    guitars, mandolin, fiddle, harmonica

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