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peanuts56
10-05-2014, 08:08 AM
I bought a Kamaka Tenor last year, I got it around Sept. 1.I generally practice about 90 minutes a day, some times a little more.
Any ideas on how often I should change strings? I mostly fingerpick and don't play particularly hard while strumming.

sukie
10-05-2014, 08:27 AM
Every 3 months is good -- especially if you play a lot. You fingerpicking. How does the underside of the A string feel? I change them when mine feels scratchy.

Ukejenny
10-05-2014, 09:56 AM
Not often enough, as I am in need of a string change for my concert and tenor ukulele. My soprano is still singing along.

Dan Uke
10-05-2014, 10:13 AM
2 to 3 times a year unless I don't play the uke much, then it's once a year

Rllink
10-05-2014, 10:15 AM
Every 3 months is good -- especially if you play a lot. You fingerpicking. How does the underside of the A string feel? I change them when mine feels scratchy.Why, what happens to strings that make them need to be changed? Just curious.

itsme
10-05-2014, 10:26 AM
Why, what happens to strings that make them need to be changed? Just curious.
Over time, the strings develop indentations/wear from the point where they touch the frets. The underside of the string will no longer feel smooth.

UkerDanno
10-05-2014, 10:39 AM
I'd say at least once a year, unless you really play a lot, or when the underside gets rough, you can feel it. You'll be surprised how much the sound changes just with new strings.

itsme
10-05-2014, 10:45 AM
You'll be surprised how much the sound changes just with new strings.
That is so true. Strings deteriorate at a slow rate. You won't hear a difference from one day to the next.

I tend to procrastinate on changing strings, and when I finally do, it's like "Wow, what a difference. I should have done that a long time ago." :o

Tootler
10-05-2014, 11:28 AM
As little as possible.

Otherwise what others have said - when the underside of the string gets rough.

Booli
10-05-2014, 11:59 AM
Since I am still testing all kinds of different strings across 12 different ukes, and I find that the sound does not really settle until about 3 weeks. (the string needs to find it's resting tension, and the neck and top/soundboard also need time to react to the tension of the new set)

The tuning settles in about 8-10 days and stays at that point, but I am finding that the intonation and tone is usually sub-optimal until the strings have at least 30 hrs of playing time on them.

Some ukes, the strings stay on longer, until I get around to testing another set on that uke. Some strings get tested on multiple ukes before they rest on one for a while. Other than little nicks by the ends (tuning peg end and bridge end), for the most part they look and sound as new, and when reused and re-strung on another uke, it still takes a few days for the tuning to settle in.

I dont know what the longevity is for a set, but all of the ones I'm talking about are some flavor of fluorocarbon, except the Aquila SuperNylgut and Aquila REDS. I find nylon strings either lack sustain, the tone I like, or the intonation is too far off on the G and A strings.

I have not yet had a set installed long enough to hear/feel that they are spent and in need of a changing out. Maybe others who have been playing longer can relate their experiences.

sukie
10-05-2014, 12:19 PM
Why, what happens to strings that make them need to be changed? Just curious.

They sound sh*tty. Which you really don't notice until you change them! I HATE to change strings. But, it does make a difference. Plus, my A string gets scratchy on the bottom. Figure at some point it'll break, so why not change them -- head off any break and get better sound. Win-win.

Down Up Dick
10-05-2014, 12:41 PM
When I took my Ka-lai Pineapple Soprano down from the wall, the strings had been on it for 50 years -- 1963 to 2013! And it still played, though I didn't know how to play it then.

I try to change mine every six months, but, when I first started playing, I went longer than that through ignorance.

Change your strings! :old:

stevepetergal
10-05-2014, 12:54 PM
Over time, the strings develop indentations/wear from the point where they touch the frets. The underside of the string will no longer feel smooth.

This is part of the reason. The indentations in the strings become nodes. A node is a spot in the string that doesn't vibrate or at least interrupts the travel of vibrations along the string. With just one node, the vibration arc of the string wobbles rather than vibrating in a consistent motion. This effects the sound. (The worse the node, the more severe the sound distortion) If a node is serious enough, it will divide the arc of the string's vibration causing it to vibrate in two arcs rather than one. These two arcs even cause distortion between each other. This would pretty rare on a ukulele string, but a string in this condition will be hard to tune and sound very ugly. But, wherever a string has a spot of decreased diameter, a dent, or a worn/weak spot there will be distortion to some degree. More indentations, more complex problem.
I probably restring twice a year, more often for performing. If you have trouble tuning, you've waited long enough.

IamNoMan
10-05-2014, 01:48 PM
Has anyone tried changing strings on a hours of use basis rather then passage of time basis. If you have, how many hours do you go between oil changes?

Nickie
10-05-2014, 01:52 PM
We just had this thread. I changed my strings. Now I have to change them again. Darn it you guys!

PeteyHoudini
10-05-2014, 01:59 PM
As little as possible.

Otherwise what others have said - when the underside of the string gets rough.

"rough" or hollowed out.

Agreed with this! hehe

Petey

SailQwest
10-05-2014, 02:51 PM
I usually change mine when the intonation starts getting dodgy on my A string (or the corresponding string on my alternate-tuning ukes).

With my latest favorite strings, I find that on my main player they last about 2-1/2 months, or about 150 hours of playing time.

itsme
10-05-2014, 03:37 PM
Has anyone tried changing strings on a hours of use basis rather then passage of time basis. If you have, how many hours do you go between oil changes?
I don't know about hours, but with ten ukes and several guitars, I try to spread the love around. If I were to go with a change every 2-3 months, I'd be changing a set of strings every week. Nope, that just ain't gonna happen. :p

sukie
10-05-2014, 05:37 PM
I don't know about hours, but with ten ukes and several guitars, I try to spread the love around. If I were to go with a change every 2-3 months, I'd be changing a set of strings every week. Nope, that just ain't gonna happen. :p

Well, heavens, no.
For me, I change them every 3-ish months because I play the same ukulele.

moetrout
10-06-2014, 10:10 AM
Gee.....I thought they were good until they broke or got brittle. Although some got changed due to other issues. My main beater gets played daily and hasn't seen a string change in 8 months! Glad I proactively picked up some the last time strings by mail had free shipping. I have a feeling I will be pleasantly surprised when I finally swap those strings out.

Ukejungle
10-07-2014, 08:29 AM
This is part of the reason. The indentations in the strings become nodes. A node is a spot in the string that doesn't vibrate or at least interrupts the travel of vibrations along the string. With just one node, the vibration arc of the string wobbles rather than vibrating in a consistent motion. This effects the sound. (The worse the node, the more severe the sound distortion) If a node is serious enough, it will divide the arc of the string's vibration causing it to vibrate in two arcs rather than one. These two arcs even cause distortion between each other. This would pretty rare on a ukulele string, but a string in this condition will be hard to tune and sound very ugly. But, wherever a string has a spot of decreased diameter, a dent, or a worn/weak spot there will be distortion to some degree. More indentations, more complex problem.
I probably restring twice a year, more often for performing. If you have trouble tuning, you've waited long enough.

One more thing about nodes - they can cause buzzing on frets, especially when bending a string. Keep that in mind next time a fret buzz appears out of no where.

estreya
10-07-2014, 09:27 AM
Stevepetergal, extremely informative. Thank you!

Ukejungle, also very interesting. I've been thinking my technique must somehow be getting worse, because i'm starting to hear some buzzing. I wonder if it's my strings!

Nickie
10-07-2014, 09:34 AM
Buzzzzzzzzz darn it!

blue_knight_usa
10-09-2014, 07:08 PM
I bought a Kamaka Tenor last year, I got it around Sept. 1.I generally practice about 90 minutes a day, some times a little more.
Any ideas on how often I should change strings? I mostly fingerpick and don't play particularly hard while strumming.

I play nearly every day, at least 1 hr. I change mine every 3 months. I use Savarez, Living Waters, Oasis and Southcoasts. The only string I don't change is my low G which is a Fremont Soloist and you can go and easy 6 months with those, and on some of my ukes I have gone a year with them. Good luck!

Reno Dave
10-10-2014, 04:42 AM
I change my strings about every three months. I play at least one hour per day. When I notice the sound is not as bright or begin to loose intonation then it's time for a string change. Once the new ones are on, I really notice renewed brightness and clarity. The down side of changing strings for me is that it takes a couple days for the strings to settle in and get that stretch that they need.