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Ukecaster
03-17-2017, 01:01 PM
OK, this is a new one for me. New/Used Outdoor soprano, metal friction tuners. Consistently, I tune up, sounds great. Then play a song. After the song, most strings have gone way sharp :-0 What the?? I've experienced strings going flat, but NEVER strings going sharp, on any instrument so suddenly. Wooden instruments sometimes go sharp when exposed to higher humidity over a few hours, but never in 2 minutes, and I especially don't expect this from a plastic uke. What gives??

UkerDanno
03-17-2017, 01:10 PM
weird...is it always flat when you start? Maybe play a tune, then check your tuning. What kind of strings? Is it stored in a warm place? Maybe it cools off a bit from being played and the strings contract...

Ukecaster
03-17-2017, 01:20 PM
Weird for sure. I tune, play a song, and it goes sharp! Not sure on the strings, whatever was on there. It's been in my basement racket room for 4-5 hours now, where all my other instruments love it. But, with a plastic Outdoor uke, environmentals should not be the issue. Guess I can change strings and see what happens. But if it's gonna be this flukey (no pun intended), it'll see the door real soon. I'll give it a while to "settle down". One thing fer sure, friction tuners suck, these are way worse than the old ones on my 50's Kamaka, even after adjusting the screws slightly. If I change strings, I'll disassemble and clean them. No wonder they switched to geared Gotohs. Maybe I'm just over reacting, and should leave it alone and have another Guinness. Tomorrow is another day.

kohanmike
03-17-2017, 01:29 PM
I shy away from anything with friction tuners, much prefer geared.

Ukecaster
03-17-2017, 01:35 PM
I shy away from anything with friction tuners, much prefer geared.

+1. If I keep it, I'd like to replace with geared Gotohs, like the new ones, just not sure if any special installation required on these ukes, or if the headstock is hollow too, like the neck. I sent Outdoors an email for tuner advice.

Ukuleleblues
03-17-2017, 01:55 PM
Most likely the strings are binding in the nut. There is tension on the strings between the nut and tuner. As you play, the strings vibrate and get pulled tighter by this residual tension. I have had this happen many times when I file a nut and don't make the slots quite wide enough. Easy fix, just make sure the strings slide freely in the nut.

jer
03-17-2017, 01:59 PM
In my opinion, the newer ones are much better in sound, feel, and tuning. I sent the version one back after I tried it. I did look at it while I had it to see if it could take geared tuners, and decided it wouldn't. The new ones have a special design to accept the geared tuners, but are still hollow otherwise.
There is another geared tuner, I think 4B that will fit it that is better than the stock...but still friction.

I can't remember for sure, but the nut slots may be too narrow. If they are too narrow, or even not slick enough the strings have trouble returning to pitch. If they look to be the right width (just slightly wider than each string) you can try running a sharp number 2 pencil through the slots to get the graphite on there for lube.
You really do have to play with a lighter touch with the higher frets on those too.

jer
03-17-2017, 02:00 PM
Oops. Looks like Ukuleleblues beat me to it.

jer
03-17-2017, 02:13 PM
I remembered the main reason you can't upgrade the old ones with the newer tuners. The holes in the peghead are too small. It's not like wood where you can just ream them larger....That in addition to the hollow build...the set screws wouldn't work in the old design either.

DownUpDave
03-17-2017, 02:16 PM
I have two ukes with friction tuners and both stay in tune forever. As a matter of fact my Opio with friction tuners is the most stable instrument I own.

Those above have identified the issue. I have used the pencil trick many times, graphite is a great dry lube, works a charm

Camsuke
03-17-2017, 03:49 PM
OK, this is a new one for me. New/Used Outdoor soprano, metal friction tuners. Consistently, I tune up, sounds great. Then play a song. After the song, most strings have gone way sharp :-0 What the?? I've experienced strings going flat, but NEVER strings going sharp, on any instrument so suddenly. Wooden instruments sometimes go sharp when exposed to higher humidity over a few hours, but never in 2 minutes, and I especially don't expect this from a plastic uke. What gives??

Hi John, play for a while then tune, give the instrument, strings & yourself time to warm up before tuning.

Mivo
03-17-2017, 04:59 PM
Friction tuners are fine. The ones on my vintage uke are ninety years old and they stay in tune for ages. They wouldn't cause the strings to go sharp anyway. I'd say it may be a string settling issue or maybe something related to the plastic material combined with body warmth. Or pressing too hard.

70sSanO
03-17-2017, 05:11 PM
Ukuleleblues has it right. I have found that it is not just the width of the slots that can cause a bind, sometimes it is the material and how it interacts with the strings. I have ukes with bone, ebony, and plastic and quite often I will lift the strings out of the slot and let it back down and a particular string might be a few cents or more sharper. Not always, but it happens. On some ukuleles I have found it is more prevelant. At other times it happens for no apparent reason... maybe the weather.

As someone who is more obsessive about exact (or as close as possible) tuning and checking intonation at various points/strings on the fretboard it seems to be noticed more. What is hilarious is that when playing it is almost possible to perfectly fret the strings so they are never perfect intonation when playing.

John

Ukecaster
03-17-2017, 05:23 PM
Thanks all, this is weird for sure. These strings may be trash, so I'll probably swap on a set of Regular Nylguts I have here, graphite up the nut slots, and see what happens. I examined the nut slots closely, and notice on the Outdoor that there's hardly any slot at all, more like just a slight divot where the strings sit up on top. I'm not sure if that's normal, but wouldn't be surprised if that's part of the design. I can easily lift each string and slide them back and forth over those divots/slots. By contrast, my Kamaka has deep nut slots, where the strings are totally below grade.

70sSanO
03-17-2017, 07:14 PM
As long as the strings don't move out of the divots, there shouldn't be a problem. Boat Paddle ukuleles didn't have any nut slots, just pins.

John

Ukecaster
03-17-2017, 07:25 PM
Took it apart tonight. Once strings were off, I couldn't believe how hard it still was to turn the friction tuners, and they turned with a real scratchy feeling, even after screws were loosened. This one saw water for sure, as the metal screws and bushings had rust, posts weren't bad. Cleaned rust off with WD-40 and steel wool, oiled the screws and screwed them into/out of the posts a few times, very lightly oiled the post exteriors and bushings, and reassembled. They turn much more smoothly, but hey, they don't call them friction tuners for nothing. Graphite in the nut divots, strung her up. We'll see tomorrow and in the days ahead.

70sSanO
03-17-2017, 07:57 PM
One thing I do is run some 600 grit wet and dry in the nut slots (divots) to make sure they are smooth. With an outdoor uke, the divots are probably molded and not cut, but smoothing them out might help a little.

John

zztush
03-17-2017, 10:16 PM
Same thing happens to me, when I visit friend house. I think outside cold temperature may cause this problem. My uke always shift sharp and I have to tune down under warmer room temperature.

Ukecaster
03-18-2017, 03:41 AM
The OU is acting more normal now after the string change, no more going sharp. Now going flat, which I suspect will subside as the strings settle in.

hoosierhiver
03-18-2017, 04:24 AM
I remembered the main reason you can't upgrade the old ones with the newer tuners. The holes in the peghead are too small. It's not like wood where you can just ream them larger....That in addition to the hollow build...the set screws wouldn't work in the old design either.

Widening holes with a hand reamer is no problem, I've done it dozens of times.

Ukecaster
03-18-2017, 07:48 AM
Settling down now...me likey! ;)

70sSanO
03-18-2017, 08:02 AM
Congrats!

John

stevepetergal
03-18-2017, 10:26 AM
Most likely the strings are binding in the nut. There is tension on the strings between the nut and tuner. As you play, the strings vibrate and get pulled tighter by this residual tension. I have had this happen many times when I file a nut and don't make the slots quite wide enough. Easy fix, just make sure the strings slide freely in the nut.

This is correct. You have to widen the nut slots. Happens all the time.
(I wouldn't lubricate)

jer
03-18-2017, 02:04 PM
I think there is a bit of a misunderstanding here:

Widening holes with a hand reamer is no problem, I've done it dozens of times.
Me too. I think it's the best way. I have a nice 3/8" reamer I got from Stewmac years ago. That said, we're talking about the Outdoor Ukulele (FIRST version) specifically. The headstock is hollow and it is only reinforced a bit around where the friction pegs go in.

P.S. - I've heard great things about your instruments!


---------------------
Bill1 might've figure out the issue here.
Hopefully the new strings work out well for you.

Ukecaster
03-19-2017, 05:04 AM
Hey, check this out (no affiliation) https://www.shopgoodwill.com/auctions/Outdoor-Ukulele-in-Clear-Plastic-w-Zippered-Bag-38044869.html

jer
03-19-2017, 08:31 AM
Hey, check this out (no affiliation) https://www.shopgoodwill.com/auctions/Outdoor-Ukulele-in-Clear-Plastic-w-Zippered-Bag-38044869.html
One of the "clear" first versions. I bet there are fewer of those out there than the black ones. Didn't they have a camo version too early on? Or maybe that came with the later versions only. Hm.

Ukuleleblues
03-19-2017, 01:04 PM
One way you can check to see if the nut is binding under tension is to tune the string. Then press down hard on the part of the string between the nut and the tuner and release. Then check the tuning. If it is sharp it may be binding. Now go to the playing part of the string and bend it sharp and release. Check the tuning, If it is flat you need to work the nut/string clearance, as there is an issue. It should slide free.

Culprits include, soft plastic nut, nut slot V shaped or too narrow, sharp spot on nut that nicked or cut string making the string un-smooth (is that a word?), dried sweat/beer/other unidentifed sticky stuff on string, sunspots or demons/evil spirits (build a blue bottle tree for your yard, instructions here: https://youtu.be/UyBEhtFU3D8)

Ukecaster
03-20-2017, 10:29 AM
FYI, Outdoor emailed me back saying that yes, the headstock on my OU v1 is hollow, as are the newer ones, and they don't use any special backing plates or fasteners to secure the geared Gotohs they use now. If changing mine to the same geared Gotohs they use, they advised proceeding slowly when drilling the mounting holes, to avoid cracking anything. If I try it, I'll use a drill bit slightly smaller than the Gotoh mounting screws. Another benefit will be that the tuning pegs will be a bit further away from the nut. The location of the friction tuners now can sometimes crowd your hand on some cowboy chords...oh, that's all I know so far! ;)

9865098651

jer
03-20-2017, 02:30 PM
FYI, Outdoor emailed me back saying that yes, the headstock on my OU v1 is hollow, as are the newer ones, and they don't use any special backing plates or fasteners to secure the geared Gotohs they use now. If changing mine to the same geared Gotohs they use, they advised proceeding slowly when drilling the mounting holes, to avoid cracking anything. If I try it, I'll use a drill bit slightly smaller than the Gotoh mounting screws. Another benefit will be that the tuning pegs will be a bit further away from the nut. The location of the friction tuners now can sometimes crowd your hand on some cowboy chords...oh, that's all I know so far! ;)

9865098651
Hm. Interesting....Every time I've replaced friction tuners with those particular Grover geared tuners (stewmac.com is where I get them: http://www.stewmac.com/Hardware_and_Parts/Tuning_Machines/Ukulele_Tuning_Machines/Grover_Ukulele_Tuning_Machines.html) I've had to also ream out the peg hole on the headstock. On these OU's there's a thickened solid ring around the peghole itself, which I suspected would disappear if reaming that hole out....not good.
I was thinking there were also thickened little rings molded in where the set screws went on the new OUs...I may be wrong about that last thing...but as for the first thing I said about the reaming, it has always been that way when going from friction to those Grover gears....I'm skeptical about it really working...

EDIT: Okay wait I found one friction peg that requires the same peghole: http://www.stewmac.com/Hardware_and_Parts/Tuning_Machines/Ukulele_Tuning_Machines/Grover_Champion_Dulcimer_Uke_Friction_Pegs.html
If that's the one they used originally maybe it woud work. The others definitely use smaller pegholes.
Hm. Interesting. If it will fit, I'd still suggest putting some Loctite on the set screws as they go in at least. they won't have anything to grab onto and could easily strip.

Ukecaster
03-20-2017, 04:02 PM
Hm. Interesting....Every time I've replaced friction tuners with those particular Grover geared tuners (stewmac.com is where I get them: http://www.stewmac.com/Hardware_and_Parts/Tuning_Machines/Ukulele_Tuning_Machines/Grover_Ukulele_Tuning_Machines.html) I've had to also ream out the peg hole on the headstock. On these OU's there's a thickened solid ring around the peghole itself, which I suspected would disappear if reaming that hole out....not good.
I was thinking there were also thickened little rings molded in where the set screws went on the new OUs...I may be wrong about that last thing...but as for the first thing I said about the reaming, it has always been that way when going from friction to those Grover gears....I'm skeptical about it really working...

EDIT: Okay wait I found one friction peg that requires the same peghole: http://www.stewmac.com/Hardware_and_Parts/Tuning_Machines/Ukulele_Tuning_Machines/Grover_Champion_Dulcimer_Uke_Friction_Pegs.html
If that's the one they used originally maybe it woud work. The others definitely use smaller pegholes.
Hm. Interesting. If it will fit, I'd still suggest putting some Loctite on the set screws as they go in at least. they won't have anything to grab onto and could easily strip.

Yes, that's the same Grover set I will use, which requires 11/32" peghead holes. The holes on my OU are 11/32", so reaming should not be needed. I'm getting used to the stock vintage 50's friction tuners on my vintage uke, but these ones are just brutal. There was rust on the screws, so probably also rust inside the post threads, which I can't get to.

On these v1 models, the peghead holes are way wider (11/32") than the tuner post (6/32"), see pic below. I agree, many other ukes with friction tuners would need to be reamed out to take these Gotohs. Based on the OU having much smaller posts than hole size, there doesn't seem to be much friction going on there, which is the whole point of friction tuners, unless I'm mistaken? :confused:

98652

jer
03-21-2017, 12:57 PM
I think I see what you're saying. Maybe at the top (face side of the headstock) where the bushings are it's a tighter fit?
I took off the stock tuners and replaced them with Grover 4B temporarily, before I sent it back, and those were a lot better and smoother...but still I'm a geared tuner guy all the way.

Ukecaster
03-24-2017, 05:09 AM
Installed those open back Grovers, black buttons. Ended up I needed to ream the holes a bit for the bushings to fit. Gently did that with a standard wood reamer. I was scared I'd break through the reinforced edges of the holes, but didn't. The hardest part was positioning them exactly, before drilling the screw 1/16" holes, just enough to pop through the plastic, since the headstock is also hollow. Tunes like a dream now, and stays there. I'm SO glad I did this, the rusted friction tuners were just terrible, they took all the fun out of playing it

9877298773`

jer
03-24-2017, 05:17 AM
Looks like you did a nice job, John! I'm glad you were able to make it work. See, that was my worry with reaming... I didn't want to break through the reinforced edges. You did a better job describing those than me probably...but that's what I was trying to say earlier.

I'm planning to get another soprano for myself...but not sure when their shipping is going to start up again or where I'm at on the wait list.

Ukecaster
03-24-2017, 05:28 AM
I think shipping stopped due to some new molding facility problems, but their site says shipping was to resume March 22nd.

jer
03-24-2017, 10:49 AM
I think shipping stopped due to some new molding facility problems, but their site says shipping was to resume March 22nd.

Yeah they changed molders completely, so there was a gap while doing that. Then there was a one week delay on when they thought they'd get their first new parts back. That's a lot less delay than the originals, thankfully. I was a bit worried.
They just posted a note on Facebook a few hours ago that sopranos are back in production. Tenor parts haven't arrived yet.

kkimura
03-25-2017, 07:15 AM
Might be the plastic expanding as it warms up when you hold it against your body. Plastic will expand a lot more than wood when it warms up. As you play that first song the plastic ukulele body expands so the strings will get tighter and go sharp.