PDA

View Full Version : what about care and feeding of newly acquired instruments?



Elessar
12-28-2016, 10:14 AM
I see lots of advertisements about humidity and cleaning cloths but no reference to basic care. Any specific advice for noobs?

Rllink
12-28-2016, 10:25 AM
I see lots of advertisements about humidity and cleaning cloths but no reference to basic care. Any specific advice for noobs?

Never leave your ukulele lay where someone can sit on it, step on it, or kick it.

Dan Gleibitz
12-28-2016, 10:33 AM
Ukuleles are social creatures. Responsible ukulele owners know this and play with them every day. Do not bath your ukulele. Do not hit it or sit on it. If your ukulele is having a bad day it might be a bit flat - it's your responsibility to fix this. Never leave an ukulele unsupervised around small children as they can turn nasty... and damage the ukulele.

DownUpDave
12-28-2016, 12:01 PM
Common sense should prevail as noted above. Keep it safe as It is a musical instrument. If it is made with solid woods and you live in a cold climate where you run the heat in the winter you have to be concerned about the wood drying out. Keep it in a case with a sound hole humidifier. If it is laminate you don't need to go through this trouble. If you tell us the make and model we can tell you if it is solid or laminate.

Other than that, wiping it down after each use, including the strings is about all you need to do. Oh and don't play it while eating a greasy cheesburger or pizza, strings coated in goop don't sound good.

kypfer
12-28-2016, 12:26 PM
What about care and feeding of newly acquired instruments?

Mine like cocoa and biscuits ... preferably dark chocolate digestives :music:

jollyboy
12-28-2016, 12:26 PM
A simple microfiber cloth will do for most things. I like to run it beneath the strings and up and down the fretboard a couple of times. Lemon oil is something to think about - but it only really needs to be used occasionally (e.g. at string change time). I would recommend that you avoid using any household cleaning products.

Really, stopping gunk building up on the strings is the main thing to think about IMHO.

Croaky Keith
12-29-2016, 12:39 AM
Not that I do it, but a rub over with a soft cloth is about all that is normally needed, & maybe a humidifier if you have a solid wood uke & have it stored in a hot area. :)

Elessar
12-29-2016, 04:06 AM
I have ordered a Kala Tenor from Amazon.com (Kala MKA-T Makala Tenor Ukulele) with the following description:

The limited-edition MKA series of ukuleles is kin to the best-selling Kala MK series of Makala ukes. Available in all scale lengths, the MKA ukuleles are constructed of mahogany neck and agathis body, along with rosewood fingerboard and bridge. They have black tuning knobs with matching black strings, and the tuners are geared to ensure your uke stays in tune and sounds sharp. In addition, the MKA ukes have a satin finish, so they look as beautiful as they sound. Keep in mind that the MKA series is manufactured in a limited-edited run and is not available year-round. Get your MKA ukulele while they last!

Assembled exclusively by Kala "dealer of the year" Austin Bazaar, this bundle includes everything you need to start playing right out of the box, including a clip-on tuner, instructional DVD, and polishing cloth.

Tenor scale
Agathis body
18 brass frets
Rosewood fingerboard and bridge
Mahogany neck
Geared tuners

This is my first Ukulele and as such is intended to be my "beginner instrument." Provided I continue I have my sights set on upgrading as needed. I understand that these are musical instruments and can be damaged easily so I intend to protect my investment with care. I was just wondering about any specific advice other than general cleaning.


Common sense should prevail as noted above. Keep it safe as It is a musical instrument. If it is made with solid woods and you live in a cold climate where you run the heat in the winter you have to be concerned about the wood drying out. Keep it in a case with a sound hole humidifier. If it is laminate you don't need to go through this trouble. If you tell us the make and model we can tell you if it is solid or laminate.

Other than that, wiping it down after each use, including the strings is about all you need to do. Oh and don't play it while eating a greasy cheesburger or pizza, strings coated in goop don't sound good.

jollyboy
12-29-2016, 04:24 AM
They have black tuning knobs with matching black strings,

This is my first Ukulele and as such is intended to be my "beginner instrument." Provided I continue I have my sights set on upgrading as needed. I understand that these are musical instruments and can be damaged easily so I intend to protect my investment with care. I was just wondering about any specific advice other than general cleaning.

I would try to find out from the seller what make of strings are on your new uke. If they turn out to be black Aquila Lavas then that should be fine. Otherwise you may want to think about changing them for something else.

Did your bundle include a gig bag? If not then seriously consider buying one. And keep your uke in it when it's not being played.

It doesn't look like any set up work was included - so the action on your uke may be higher than is strictly ideal. It's not the end of the world but getting it 'fixed' will ensure optimum playability. And will make learning a whole lot easier... and more fun :)

Edit: After a bit of googling I'm pretty sure the strings are GHS black nylons, so I would strongly recommend that you either buy some Aquila nylguts or Martin M620s.

Choirguy
12-29-2016, 04:42 AM
I understand that these are musical instruments and can be damaged easily so I intend to protect my investment with care. I was just wondering about any specific advice other than general cleaning.

The Makala line is a laminate line of ukuleles...meaning that while they are wood, they are made up of layers of wood versus solid wood. There is nothing wrong with that. Solid woods will (generally) be more resonant and carry the characteristics f the wood; however, solid woods require more care than a laminate. In other words, you don't have to worry about humidity in the same way with a laminate than you do a solid ukulele. And I really don't have a problem with laminates...my first ukulele was a Makala CE, which I still own.

For your Makala, you may eventually want to try other strings than the black ones it comes with. When you do...the first two brands to try are Aquila SuperNylgut (Tenor, likely High G) and Martin 620 tenor strings. Both are pretty inexpensive and represent the broadest differences between strings (Nylon/Nylgut vs. Fluorocarbon). From there, there are a lot of other directions to go with strings, and about 2500 opinions here on the UU forums.

Also, the term "investment" has to apply to your growth rather than the instruments. Most ukuleles decrease in resale value the second they are owned. There are exceptions, but those are usually rare instruments.

At any rate, the advice you have received is spot on for a laminate: wipe it down after playing with a microfiber cloth, don't leave it laying around where is it can be stepped or sat on or abused, when you change strings, consider using a lemon oil to treat the fretboard (look at StewMac) for lemon oil.

Other than that, just play, learn, sing, and have fun with your new instrument. Oh yes, and keep it in tune!

Elessar
12-29-2016, 04:54 AM
Jollyboy: I was figuring on needing to replace the strings, simply because I can't know what is on this ukulele. I may have an opportunity to purchase some new strings even before it arrives. It is supposed to include a gig bag but we'll see. I can't know about set up but the retailer is supposed to be a major Kala outlet so maybe...

Waiting,...patiently...NOT! I'm pretty excited.


I would try to find out from the seller what make of strings are on your new uke. If they turn out to be black Aquila Lavas then that should be fine. Otherwise you may want to think about changing them for something else.

Did your bundle include a gig bag? If not then seriously consider buying one. And keep your uke in it when it's not being played.

It doesn't look like any set up work was included - so the action on your uke may be higher than is strictly ideal. It's not the end of the world but getting it 'fixed' will ensure optimum playability. And will make learning a whole lot easier... and more fun :)

Edit: After a bit of googling I'm pretty sure the strings are GHS black nylons, so I would strongly recommend that you either buy some Aquila nylguts or Martin M620s.

Mivo
12-29-2016, 05:11 AM
One thing I wish I had done earlier is oiling the fretboard with lemon oil once or twice a year. Improved the look and prevents that the fretboard tries out (also cleans it). I use the lemon oil from Dunlop, but there are plenty of other options. It just costs a few bucks and lasts for ages since you need so little.

Elessar
12-29-2016, 05:21 AM
Also, the term "investment" has to apply to your growth rather than the instruments. Most ukuleles decrease in resale value the second they are owned. There are exceptions, but those are usually rare instruments.
Choirguy: I agree with you regarding the "investment" because the price point which I have started would be considered throw-away in most industries. However, the investment of time through the hours practiced and like the memories of our first love, I would think that my first Ukulele will always have a special place in my heart that will make it I a priceless friendship cherished always.

jollyboy
12-29-2016, 05:33 AM
Jollyboy: I was figuring on needing to replace the strings, simply because I can't know what is on this ukulele. I may have an opportunity to purchase some new strings even before it arrives. It is supposed to include a gig bag but we'll see. I can't know about set up but the retailer is supposed to be a major Kala outlet so maybe...

I would suggest living with the included strings for a few days and then making a decision based on how you feel about them:


If you think they sound okay then leave 'em on :) Think about trying something else further down the road.
If you think they sound a bit quiet and restrained then try some Aquilas.
If you think they sound horribly dull and lifeless then try the Martin M620s.


Also... one thing to mention is that new strings take a while to settle in. For the first few days you are going to be doing a lot of tuning - literally every few minutes to start with. This is entirely normal and does not mean that there is anything wrong with either the strings or the instrument :)


Waiting,...patiently...NOT! I'm pretty excited.

Waiting for new toys to arrive is horrible :p

Enjoy your unboxing :)

Rllink
12-29-2016, 06:19 AM
I would suggest living with the included strings for a few days and then making a decision based on how you feel about them:


If you think they sound okay then leave 'em on :) Think about trying something else further down the road.
If you think they sound a bit quiet and restrained then try some Aquilas.
If you think they sound horribly dull and lifeless then try the Martin M620s.


Also... one thing to mention is that new strings take a while to settle in. For the first few days you are going to be doing a lot of tuning - literally every few minutes to start with. This is entirely normal and does not mean that there is anything wrong with either the strings or the instrument :)



Waiting for new toys to arrive is horrible :p

Enjoy your unboxing :) I agree. My advise to beginners is to not start messing with your uke until you know enough to know what you want. Just randomly changing strings because someone tells you that you should will not make your ukulele sound better or make you a better player.

Mivo
12-29-2016, 06:31 AM
My advise to beginners is to not start messing with your uke until you know enough to know what you want.

After almost four years, I still only have a glimpse of what I want! :)

I agree in general (especially in regard to buying more ukuleles too soon), but I'm not sure if I concur when it comes to strings. Inexpensive ukuleles tend to come with pretty bad strings, and bad strings can completely spoil the experience. Either because they don't stay in tune, sound lifeless or offer little volume.

I feel that poor set up and poor strings may be major reasons why people don't stick with the ukulele when they get one as a gift or pick one up to check it out. (Or because they spend less than $60-100, in which case I don't know what they expected to get if they end up with garbage.)

Rllink
12-29-2016, 07:13 AM
I don't want to sound like I do not think that people need to care for their instruments, because I do and I try to be careful of mine, but I'm just always surprised at how rugged ukuleles are.

JeLeh
12-29-2016, 07:42 AM
Choirguy: I agree with you regarding the "investment" because the price point which I have started would be considered throw-away in most industries. However, the investment of time through the hours practiced and like the memories of our first love, I would think that my first Ukulele will always have a special place in my heart that will make it I a priceless friendship cherished always.
I totally agree! My first uke is not my best or most expensive, but it will always be special to me. Enjoy your new uke!

Croaky Keith
12-29-2016, 07:45 AM
I started out with a Makala, just over a year ago - now I have quite a collection, but that is because I was inquisitive & had to try all sorts. ;)

They work well with the Aquila strings they come with if you are a strummer, but I pick melodies & found the strings wanting, so tried flourocarbons, which suited my style better.

(I now have a good choice of ukes, but I still have my Makala)

Elessar
12-29-2016, 08:40 AM
I have already ordered a new set of Aquila strings for my wife and myself. I intend to have them available in case of emergency or until we have enough experience to want to change. I believe in being prepared so this just seems normal to me. The scope of what I don't know is vast so I'll wait a while before I even think about changing strings. I just feel better having them on hand.