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View Full Version : Each time you switch to a different set of strings you set up your uke again?



Ukettante
09-06-2015, 07:51 PM
I'd like to experiment with different strings, like many of you. But I'm wondering whether it's necessary to have the uke set up for the new set of strings. I hear you guys report on multiple changes of strings and can't help wondering do you tweak your saddle and nut each and every time?

mm stan
09-06-2015, 08:42 PM
only if you have issues in intonation, buzzing or string spacing in the nut.... best is to stay within the same gauge strings unless you prefer a different tone, comfort or playability

k0k0peli
09-06-2015, 09:45 PM
only if you have issues in intonation, buzzing or string spacing in the nut.... best is to stay within the same gauge strings unless you prefer a different tone, comfort or playability I have done a bit of fairly radical restringing with no need for a new setup. Except for the issues mentioned, the major problem I foresee would arise from reversing the strings on a long-scale 'uke that has a compensated / angled saddle. But only a perv would do that, right?

Tootler
09-06-2015, 09:53 PM
It shouldn't be necessary, IMO. If you need to make changes to get the strings to fit, don't fit them.

I ordered a set of Aquila tenor dGBE strings to give them a try. They wouldn't fit on my Bruko tenor. The slots both at the nut and the bridge were too small. I could have got out a file to open them up but I felt it simply wasn't worth doing so I didn't fit them. They went on my tenor Fluke instead and I put some Worth CF strings on the Bruko.

Ukettante
09-06-2015, 11:16 PM
Thanks to everyone for the replies. And thanks to Bill1 for the fresh perspective!

I was worried that each time I tried a new set of strings I would have to pay for my uke to be set up again! Haha. Yes, I intend to try fluorocarbon strings! Can't wait.

The Aquila strings that Ohana ukes ship with aren't fluorocarbon, right?

Tootler
09-07-2015, 07:13 AM
The Aquila strings that Ohana ukes ship with aren't fluorocarbon, right?

That's correct. Aquila strings are mostly composite materials based on nylon.

southcoastukes
09-07-2015, 05:44 PM
Excellent post Bill, but I'll disagree with just one part:


Personally I keep the same strings that come with the uke these days, it is what the uke was designed for.... If you can "fix" the problems with your technique you will save a lot of money on strings.

Goodness, gracious! We certainly don't want people saving money on strings now, do we?

Well, to be serious, it's just that in my experience, very few instruments are truly "designed for strings". It's a good idea, you'd think folks would operate that way (we certainly do), but in practice, we've found that manufacturers often design for "worst case scenario", as in "avoid warranty issues above all other considerations" and custom luthiers (we sell strings to a number of them in our Builders Program) aren't all that specific in the relation of string to design.

Even with us, a design with a certain type of stringing in mind allows for a range of similar tension that in turn gives changes in tone and for most players, comfort as well. The bones of an instrument are elements that are purposely made to be altered and I don't think you can assume an instrument truly performs best for your style of playing the way you get it. Changing your technique to try to get the most out of a set-up that may not suit your playing seems much like "cart before horse"

70sSanO
09-08-2015, 04:58 AM
Over the years I have used all sorts of different strings. This includes everything from classical guitar strings to fishing line. So your answer is really... it depends.

Aside from making sure the string will fit into the nut slot I have found the majority of string change issues occur when there is a significant difference is string tension. I have found that if I change from lower tension to a higher tension strings the intonation will be off and I will have to make a new saddle.

I have to admit that over the years I have been pretty anal when it comes to intonation and I will make my own saddles to fit the occasion. I have gone as far as taking a wider saddle than the slot and then cutting it narrower to fit into the bridge but leaving it wider at the top to give me more compensation.

As for the nut, I have gone back and forth on how close it has to be to match the string diameter. In the past I have tried to match to nut slots to fit the strings. If you go from a high g to a low G, unwound, the slot has to be made to accommodate the wider string, but I'm not sure that a thinner string can't be used in the wider slot. I look at Boat Paddle ukuleles that only use pins.

As for factory strings, there is nothing wrong with using only the same strings that came on the ukulele. That said, I have never owned any stringed instrument where I did not change the strings to suit my taste. Unless you happen to have the perfect setup, for a lot people, there will always be that quest for tone.

John

stevepetergal
09-08-2015, 08:33 AM
If you want your set-up to be absolutely perfect in every way, you'll probably want to set it up with every string change. (Nobody does this [do they?])

k0k0peli
09-08-2015, 10:01 AM
If you want your set-up to be absolutely perfect in every way, you'll probably want to set it up with every string change. (Nobody does this [do they?]) I dunno. Does maybe The Jake have an 'uke tech to fine-tune his axes at shows?

hendulele
09-08-2015, 01:35 PM
If you buy a uke that comes with Aquilas standard and it has been set up, then your nut slots may be too large for many fluorocarbon strings. In that case, you can use string spacers to stabilize the thinner strings.

Even those that don't require set up (like Fleas and Flukes) may be manufactured for thicker strings. I've had to use string spacers for the C and E strings on my Flea and Fluke because I prefer Worth browns to Aquilas on those ukes. It's not a big deal, because spacers are cheap: you can find them for about a buck apiece and each one could handle several sets of strings.

Tootler
09-09-2015, 08:13 AM
If you buy a uke that comes with Aquilas standard and it has been set up, then your nut slots may be too large for many fluorocarbon strings. In that case, you can use string spacers to stabilize the thinner strings.

Even those that don't require set up (like Fleas and Flukes) may be manufactured for thicker strings. I've had to use string spacers for the C and E strings on my Flea and Fluke because I prefer Worth browns to Aquilas on those ukes. It's not a big deal, because spacers are cheap: you can find them for about a buck apiece and each one could handle several sets of strings.

I've replaced the default strings on my Fluke and Flea with fluorocarbons strings without making any changes and not had any problems. As far as I'm concerned the zero fret means there's no need to do anything with the nut. I used Living Water on the Flea and Worth CF on the Fluke.