View Full Version : How often do you change your strings?

10-03-2015, 02:25 AM
It seems that everyone has their own rules and preferences when it comes to changing their ukulele strings.

What are your guidelines? Do you wait until they peel, snap, or go out of tune every five minutes? Or do you replace them every two months, regardless of how much you've played? Half a year?

This is just about regular string changes, not the experimental (looking for nicer sounding strings) or addictive (can't afford a new uke, but strings are cheap and stop the itch!) changing. :)

Personally, with my first ukes I waited a long time, because I was intimidated by the prospect of changing strings. There was the "Ugh, what if I mess it up and can't play?" fear in the picture. I haven't run into peeling or snapping or de-tuning with strings, so changes only happened when I was curious about what other strings sound like. (I'm not very experimental and seem to stick to the same brand/material that worked on a uke, which is usually what it came with.)

Chopped Liver
10-03-2015, 02:31 AM
Yeah, um . . . I don't change strings. Scares the begeebers out of me . . .

Not that my strings get much wear. I am hoping to change that now that I have graduated from seminary and have some free time again.

10-03-2015, 02:37 AM
I generally change then when tone starts to go downhill or six moths. That is , unless I'm trying to the "string" for a particular ukulele, then it might be two weeks or a month. I have my "go to" I always try on a new ukulele and if I don't like tone or feel on any string set, I just change it.

Key is to change string a lot when you first start to get the technique down and then you feel confident doing so. Lots of good video's on the net but getting hands on is KEY.

10-03-2015, 02:44 AM
Yeah, um . . . I don't change strings. Scares the begeebers out of me . . .

I can absolutely relate! Still haven't tackled the uke that has a pin bridge, or the one that has friction tuners (but it's just two weeks old). The slotted and tied bridges turned out to be pretty easy, after much fretting about! What provided courage was this lengthy video by HMS (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-eqwZmlVpQ). I also bought one of those string winders (manual one, just a couple euros).

Chopped Liver
10-03-2015, 02:45 AM
Yeah, but . . . this, too > http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?110601-Re-Strung-my-uke-and-seriously-regretting-it

10-03-2015, 03:08 AM
I change them when either I nick a string or when it starts to sound off.
Time seems to be a less reliable gauge, because not all strings wear as well.
For me, worth sound great new, but wear fast, especially the trebles.
Nylguts on the other hand seem to last really long on both wear and tone, if you like that tone.

10-03-2015, 04:50 AM
Roughly every three months on the two ukes that are my main players. I tend to wear out A strings faster than the rest so those might get an extra change from time to time.

10-03-2015, 04:55 AM
I change strings only when I feel like the tone is going downhill, or if I'm looking for a change in sound and want to try different strings.

10-03-2015, 05:11 AM
Me, change strings? Feh. That's the servants' job. I say, Jake, have you finished restringing them all yet? Well, hop to it!

10-03-2015, 05:20 AM
Right with you on this, Natalie!

10-03-2015, 05:46 AM
I have a uke on ebay right now. 11 months old and I never changed them. Fact is...

I'm fine with changing guitar strings, but my ukuleles all have tie bridges and I cant make them neat so I'll leave it to a shop to do.

2 weeks and a change? that's a week of settling in. :P Never had a broken string or a loss of tone. Mainly Aquila's or Martin M600's.

10-03-2015, 05:57 AM
I change them after they get those little grooves on the underside of them where they rub on the frets. I say "after", because I'm lazy, and sometimes I check and find those grooves, and don't get around to changing them for a month or more. But my indicator is the grooves. I might add, that I do not hear the tone deteriorating until I change them. The change in tone is so gradual, that my ear just doesn't notice it. But then I change the strings and I think, "wow, I should have done that a long time ago."

10-03-2015, 07:15 AM
I change strings when I'm looking for a better sound. I rarely do it otherwise. I've been playing my pono hard with southcoast strings since I got it. I've replaced one that broke and I think it still sounds superb after maybe near a year. I play it most days.

After reading the above post above mine I think I'll change the strings and see if they are correct. However I have several others to compare it to and it still blows them all away with their newer strings. One exception is my Opio which sounds every bit as good but different. It has new strings.

10-03-2015, 07:27 AM
When they break.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
10-03-2015, 07:38 AM
Ledward Kaapana has played one of my ukes for about three years. It goes on tour with him and it gets a lot of use. He came by my shop last week to pick up a new case from me. When I asked him if he wanted me to put new strings on he replied: "No need". When I asked him when he changed strings last he replied he never has! OTOH, I have a customer who changes string every week. I think it's highly a matter of personal preference and based on the type of string used and technique in playing. I think OCD works in there somewhere too. :)

Kayak Jim
10-03-2015, 09:39 AM
I change them after they get those little grooves on the underside of them where they rub on the frets.

Yes, me too.

10-03-2015, 10:13 AM
I think it's highly a matter of personal preference and based on the type of string used and technique in playing. I think OCD works in there somewhere too. :)

Probably very true on all counts, including the OCD :)

I don't play amplified, and I notice that after a couple months' worth of constant play, my strings start losing volume, so that's one reason I know it's time for a change. I also begin noticing intonation issues, particularly on the thinner strings, and since I don't have a lot of patience - nor the ear for - tuning on the fly, for me it's easier to just take five minutes and change the strings. If I were a professional the tuning bit would probably be less of a hassle, and volume wouldn't be an issue since there would be amplification.

I've always been a little puzzled by those who avoid string changes because they think it's too hard, or who pay their local shop to change their strings. I've never found it difficult - my dad taught me when I was little and I can say from experience that it's so easy a seven year old can do it! As for the problem of settling in - maybe it's more of an issue with certain types of strings, but with the Martin fluoros I use it's maybe a problem for a day at most.

10-03-2015, 11:00 AM
Every few months for me. Or, when I want to change the sound by changing strings.

I used to change the g string form low to high or high to low depending on mood. Now I have more than one uke so don't have that issue. Good reason to have more than one uke.

Also, I find that stretching my strings by hand helps shorten the break in period. I do this by gently pulling out on the string after it is installed.

10-03-2015, 11:57 AM
I don't think I've ever "needed" to change an unwound nylon string on guitar or ukulele. When a wound string finally fails I'll change the whole set if I don't have a suitable single replacement. I suspect I have the action on my instruments suitable low so I don't need a "death grip" to fret the strings, consequently there's no noticeable wear from the frets on the strings.

Inevitably ... YMMV ;)

10-03-2015, 12:12 PM
Every 4 to 4 months. But I only play one ukulele so it gets a workout.

10-03-2015, 12:27 PM
On my old ukes, I changed strings constantly - always searching for the magical combination that would make my ukulele sound best. It was probably every month or so. With my older Moore Bettah - that I have had a little over a year - I think it is four or five times, and two of those were because a string broke. When one breaks, I always change the entire set. The others were on the recommendations of other owners to try their set.

For the newer uke, I had never changed them in the three or four mnths I have had it - until one of the strings frayed last week. So I for the first time in my life did a string change on an offset soundhole, slotted headstock. You haven't lived until you have done that. Whew! After doing so, I saw Chuck's recommendation for a different C string so I swapped that out, only because the other three were already settling in anyway. Now that it has had its first string change, I don't intend to do it again until another frays or breaks - or maybe in three months.

10-03-2015, 01:01 PM
Unless I'm searching for a better string match to a particular uke, I usually change about every 6 months. If I feel noticeable notches on the fluorocarb strings I'll change sooner and I'll do the whole set. The only thing I change sooner (probably every 3 months is the wound D (Savarez) on my Bari. Wound strings go bad quicker for me, possibly because I'm in hot humid SW Florida. I get corrosion where they hit the fret and if I ignore it too long, they'll just spontaneously pop.

10-03-2015, 01:50 PM
The luthier that taught us this summer at Hana Lima suggested that strings be changed once a year and the fretboard given a little bit of mineral oil at that time too.

10-04-2015, 03:09 AM
I never change strings until reading threads like this guilt me into it.



10-04-2015, 04:59 AM
I change strings about every six months, as that is when, to my ear, the tone gets less crisp and precise. Unless of course.....wait a minute, there's a nick on that string!!