PDA

View Full Version : string bending, causing string to go out of tune?



hal1001
10-28-2016, 08:26 AM
I have a stock Kala KA-15S ukulele with stock strings/everything bought new about 2 months ago; I've put a total of ~5hr of playing time on it.

It's been staying in tune more or less now (either stayed in tune or not needing much adjustments between plays) compared with when it was new.

I'm trying string bending and have been bending the E string (bending only to the C string). I noticed that the E strings doesn't stay in tune after playing (but C string does, the C-string only gets moves a small amount).

Is this to be expected for an ukulele?
If so, then I'm thinking we can't bend strings (because it falls out of tune during play) on a ukulele?

johnson430
10-28-2016, 08:52 AM
Check the tuning machine, it could be loose and causing the string to slip.
FYI, I bend all the time and don't go out of tune.

Picker Jon
10-28-2016, 09:46 AM
The strings on ukes take a long time to fully stretch and bed in. 5 hrs playing isn't that much so it may be that it just needs more time. I give my strings a good pull away from the neck to stretch them when I tune up for the first few days after changing strings. After that, they bend OK without going out of tune.

Dan Gleibitz
10-28-2016, 10:08 AM
I'd wager that the string is binding at the nut. In this case, when you bend, some of the tension gets trapped between the nut and tuner. A little lubricant in the nut slot works wonders unless it's a really tight fit that needs filing. There are all kinds of nut lube, or you can use graphite.

It'll make tuning a lot easier too.

SailingUke
10-28-2016, 10:35 AM
The strings on ukes take a long time to fully stretch and bed in. 5 hrs playing isn't that much so it may be that it just needs more time. I give my strings a good pull away from the neck to stretch them when I tune up for the first few days after changing strings. After that, they bend OK without going out of tune.
This is dangerous as you can pull up the bridge. When stretching strings use a twisting motion applied up and down the string. Stretching can cause the string to stretch unevenly. I like to tune my strings up a step and strum chords allowing the strings to settle down.

Brad Bordessa
10-28-2016, 02:31 PM
I've yet to see a factory lower-end uke shipped with strings put on correctly. Their string jobs are passable, but if you want tuning stability, get a new set of strings and put them on yourself. It will sound better too.

stevejfc
10-28-2016, 02:32 PM
Uke strings, unlike a guitar, tend to go out of tune faster when bending notes, due to their comparatively higher tension.

Rllink
10-29-2016, 06:13 AM
I'd wager that the string is binding at the nut. In this case, when you bend, some of the tension gets trapped between the nut and tuner. A little lubricant in the nut slot works wonders unless it's a really tight fit that needs filing. There are all kinds of nut lube, or you can use graphite.

It'll make tuning a lot easier too.I bend the notes all the time. I've never popped a bridge off my uke, caused the top to belly, and I've never found it to stretch the string out of tune after they have settled in. I'm thinking that Dan's suggestion is a good one, or maybe it is the tuners slipping like johnson430 said.

jer
10-29-2016, 01:09 PM
I'd wager that the string is binding at the nut. In this case, when you bend, some of the tension gets trapped between the nut and tuner. A little lubricant in the nut slot works wonders unless it's a really tight fit that needs filing. There are all kinds of nut lube, or you can use graphite.

It'll make tuning a lot easier too.
This was my first thought also.

Sharpen up a #2 pencil to a fine point and rub the tip through the string nut slot to coat it. That's a cheap and easy way to get the job done. If that doesn't help any and it's actually binding, that's a much more delicate job for ideally the proper file.

Brad Bordessa
10-30-2016, 03:00 PM
Proper tuning technique will help wonders too. If you always tune UP to a note there won't be slack trapped on the reverse side of the nut. For instance, if you tune the string sharp, instead of tuning down back into tune, tune FLAT - past the note - and then tune up again. I've never had to do the #2 pencil trick using this technique.

Choirguy
10-30-2016, 04:06 PM
I think it is also possible that the action on your entry level Kala is too high, potentially at the nut and at the saddle--this is particularly true if you didn't purchase from one of the vendors who does set-ups (e.g. The Ukulele Site, Uke Republic, Mim's Ukes). At that point, if you are pressing too hard on the strings, the strings will stretch beyond what they need to...and sound out of tune.

All that said, the stuff ukulele strings are made of continue to stretch--at least until they reach a point that they are all stretched out, which incidentally, is also when you want to replace them. The stretching decreases after they initially settle in, but if you tracked intonation, your ukulele would be slightly flat every time you put it away.

But it can take strings a while to settle in.

You will also get a wide variety of opinions on strings on Ukulele Underground. My advice is that if you don't like the stock Aquilas, try the Martin 600's next. Both of these are readily available from most dealers. If those two don't work...start the process of finding strings you like...but for many players, the Aquilas and Martins cover a huge part of the spectrum (Super Nylgut and Fluorocarbon).

Picker Jon
10-30-2016, 08:48 PM
The strings on ukes take a long time to fully stretch and bed in. 5 hrs playing isn't that much so it may be that it just needs more time. I give my strings a good pull away from the neck to stretch them when I tune up for the first few days after changing strings. After that, they bend OK without going out of tune.


I have been doing it for years on all kinds of instruments and never had a problem. The angle of the string on the bridge and the overall tension actually only increase a small amount when you stretch the string but it helps tighten the strings on the knot at the bridge and the tuning peg and helps the strings settle faster.