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View Full Version : When to change strings?



Oliviakay
10-29-2015, 07:01 AM
Nube alert!

Just wondering if strings have a shelf life? Or do you just keep playing them till they break?

Thanks in advanced

DownUpDave
10-29-2015, 07:18 AM
They will slowly deteriorate in sound quality over time. If you are playing everday for 30-60 minutes think about changing them inside of 6 months. Some people go much longer than that. I just changed strings on one of my tenors that had been on there for about 8 months. The improvement is sound was very noticable.

Oliviakay
10-29-2015, 07:24 AM
Thanks! This is where I'm at, 6months of solid playing and just "felt" something was off!

Woo hoo new strings!

vanflynn
10-29-2015, 07:36 AM
One test is to run your fingernail under the string. If you can feel grooves from the frets the you need to change them. Different types have different lifespans, BTW.

SailingUke
10-29-2015, 07:54 AM
They will slowly deteriorate in sound quality over time. If you are playing everday for 30-60 minutes think about changing them inside of 6 months. Some people go much longer than that. I just changed strings on one of my tenors that had been on there for about 8 months. The improvement is sound was very noticable.

I always tell folks if you can hear a big difference, you waited to long to change strings.
I am a string junkie, strings are cheap and I change them every 3 or 4 months.
The tip about the fret grooves is a good hint as well.

Down Up Dick
11-14-2015, 05:49 AM
I, too, like Aquilas and change them every six months--Ha!-- sometimes . . . I've only used one set (black) or two others, but I changed them to Aquilas when I thought it was time.

Anyway, I like Aquilas okay, and I probably don't play well enough to notice any difference between them and other kinds. But I don't like the red ones! I find that they don't fit the nut slots as well, and I've had trouble with their boominess. And, of course, with their snapping. I'd be happier with wound Low G and C strings, but how can one tell which packaged sets have reds and which ones don't? If one buys from the internet, he has no way of knowing, of course, but some stores will let one open the packages.

I'm just wondering what others are doing about the red string problem. What strings are comparable to Aquilas? :old:

bazmaz
11-14-2015, 09:18 AM
It depends on play time

When I was gigging a couple of times a week of 2 hour sets I would change them about once a month. Perhaps every 2.

Now i am not so much - about 5 months or so.

More generally, when they start to sound dead or I can feel ridges on the underside of the strings from fret wear.

I hear odd stories about people keeping strings for years... they are disposables. They are MEANT to be changed. Think tires on a car. Strings are pretty cheap.

JackLuis
11-14-2015, 07:29 PM
I found Fremont blacklines to be easier to play, they aren't as stiff as Aquilas and sound as good or better. Change when you want and can afford too. Saving the older ones for back up in lean times or when a string breaks.

Picker Jon
11-14-2015, 08:29 PM
One test is to run your fingernail under the string. If you can feel grooves from the frets the you need to change them. Different types have different lifespans, BTW.

If you give the frets a good polish it prevents abrasion and reduces the grooving considerably, making your strings last even longer.

bookoo
11-14-2015, 09:25 PM
... they are disposables. They are MEANT to be changed. Think tires on a car. Strings are pretty cheap.

Yeah, but my problem is they take so long to set. When I change steel strings on a guitar, they are pretty much immediately set. Other people may play harder/longer than me and stretch their strings better, but for me, it can take WEEKS before ukulele strings don't need constant retuning.

Tootler
11-14-2015, 10:34 PM
[...]
I hear odd stories about people keeping strings for years... they are disposables. They are MEANT to be changed. Think tires on a car. Strings are pretty cheap.

I'm one of those who change strings infrequently. As long as the strings sound OK I leave them on which has been up to 2 years in some cases. I've recently changed strings on a few Ukes and not noticed a huge difference.

This guy who is a professional repairer is talking in terms of 2 - 5 years so I'm clearly not alone.

http://antebelluminstruments.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/1920s-oscar-schmidt-taropatch-ukulele.html

Scroll down to the bottom for the relevant comment.

Nevertheless, each to their own. I agree that strings are not expensive nor is changing them difficult but I'm happy to leave mine on as long as they sound OK and there is no noticeable wear.

Brian1
11-14-2015, 11:27 PM
As far as I know change strings when they break. I've bought used ukes over two years ago so who knows how long those strings have been on there but its been over two years and I don't have a problem with them. I don't agree with those saying a package of strings is cheap. At least not for what they are, would people think they are getting a good deal on thread if they are paying a dollar or more per yard ? . Not all ukes come with decent strings but most do.

If you listen for it you'll probably hear what seems like a difference when you change them sometimes that might be a real difference sometimes it might be imagined.

I think a good rule of thumb would be unless you know you need new strings you probably don't. But if you want to try different strings go ahead.

mm stan
11-14-2015, 11:53 PM
When your uke sounds flat and off tune, usually they deteriorate slow and unnoticeable until it gets real
Bad for the average uker. When you put new strings on, youll notice usually right away and think i should
Have changed them sooner

UncleMoon
11-15-2015, 02:20 AM
I just read something about string changes in a writeup Jake Wildwood of Antebellum Instruments did on a taropatch.

(http://antebelluminstruments.blogspot.com/2015/11/1920s-oscar-schmidt-taropatch-ukulele.html)

He said:

"I also don't know about you, but unless I hate the tone of the strings, I leave my uke strings on until they start wearing out too much from the bottom of the frets -- which can be a process that takes 2-5 years for me."

Made me feel not so bad for having 3 year old Living Waters on my baritone.

bazmaz
11-15-2015, 06:53 AM
Think it must therefore depend on how hard you play them - I get wear spots on the underside of my strings from the frets in a couple of months, not a couple of years!

Tonya
11-15-2015, 10:23 AM
FWIW, on a recent visit to Chuck Moore's shop (Moore Bettah Ukulele), Chuck said that the legendary Led Ka'apana had been in for a uke "check up." Chuck asked Led what strings were on his instrument these days and related that Led laughed and said he hadn't changed 'em so they were still the same ones.

'Makes me feel better 'cause I don't change my strings unless...well, never. Now I don't feel so guilty about not changing ;-)

Brian1
11-15-2015, 10:57 AM
Some are reporting more ware and tear on their strings than others, I wonder if this has to do with frets that may have been lowered or adjusted during a set up.

Picker Jon
11-15-2015, 11:28 AM
I've got a couple of Kala Brands, a Gretsch and a Tanglewood and I noticed that the frets on all of them were slightly rough and and abrasive and it was causing wear to the strings. I gave them a good polish and now I get no string wear from the frets at all from playing a couple of hours a day.

Nickie
11-15-2015, 04:07 PM
I average about 5 months on a set of strings on my Kala, which gets played most each day. My Ohana, which I don't play as much, I get at least 6 months out of a set before I wear em out. I change when they start to buzz or sound crummy. I rarely get ridges.
I agree that treated fretboards help. I use LoPrinzi's fretboard butter, with each string change.

bazmaz
11-15-2015, 09:47 PM
No - never adjusted my frets on any instrument - and I get the same wear in a short period on all my ukuleles - from high end to bargain basement

Tootler
11-21-2015, 11:48 AM
I just read something about string changes in a writeup Jake Wildwood of Antebellum Instruments did on a taropatch.

(http://antebelluminstruments.blogspot.com/2015/11/1920s-oscar-schmidt-taropatch-ukulele.html)

He said:

"I also don't know about you, but unless I hate the tone of the strings, I leave my uke strings on until they start wearing out too much from the bottom of the frets -- which can be a process that takes 2-5 years for me."

Made me feel not so bad for having 3 year old Living Waters on my baritone.

Don't people ever read through a thread before posting?

vanflynn
11-21-2015, 07:05 PM
Strings are what, $5? Fresh strings give you uke a new bark and changing them gets you more familiar with your instrument. Just try it. You can always swap back

http://www.myamoeukuleles.com/restringing.html

UncleMoon
11-22-2015, 09:30 AM
Don't people ever read through a thread before posting?

LMAO. Apparently not all the time. You're kinda snarky there kitten, but point taken.

Tootler
11-22-2015, 11:15 AM
I'm not usually snarky and in a long thread, I can understand missing a post and making a point again but in a short thread...

No hard feelings, I hope.

igorthebarbarian
11-22-2015, 11:52 AM
I think I buy them more often than I change them. So I have amassed a backlog of extra sets.
Also it's fairly cheap to try out new strings to try to tweak the sound of your uke.

UncleMoon
11-22-2015, 03:21 PM
I'm not usually snarky and in a long thread, I can understand missing a post and making a point again but in a short thread...

No hard feelings, I hope.

None at all. I'm good.

Henning
12-13-2015, 11:28 AM
Hello, I strongly recommend you to change more oftenly then I did on my first banjo ukulele. I had the strings on for +25 years.

Cheers

Rllink
12-15-2015, 11:11 AM
The first year that I played the ukulele, I changed on a regular schedule based entirely on my calendar. Every three months, I think. But hen, I took to feeling the underside of the strings, and if they were grooved, I went ahead and changed them. I don't know what the heck I'm doing now. I think that I'm just not changing them. Who knows what will befall me because of this. I try not to think about it.

blodzoom
12-16-2015, 01:06 PM
I change them a lot. I don't have to, but I think it's fun. I have 3 ukuleles and I probably average changing one per month. I also tend to start playing the one that I changed more directly afterwards. It's like a bonding experience.

I also haven't been playing all that long, I could definitely see settling on one type and leaving them on for a long time after I try a lot and choose a favorite string.

kaizersoza
12-16-2015, 07:53 PM
the only time I would ever change a string before a gig is if it broke, and even then it would only be the broken one, the others can wait until you get home, I have some ukes with strings on them that are 4 years old and then there are my other ukes which I change every 6-8 months or if they are starting to sound dead, by dead I mean they sound plunky and dull and don't ring out, another pointer that I look for is the strings ability to keep in tune if it is erratic, I will swap them all out