View Full Version : String change anxiety

10-07-2017, 06:23 PM
I was changing out some strings on a few ukes and had a couple of strings snap on me as I was tuning them up to pitch. Now every time I change out a set and tune up, I dread it because I'm afraid of the string snapping again or worse, damaging the uke. I've used the Aquila red sets before and this was the first time I've had any snap on me. I know several people have said the reds snapped on them too so I'm sure it was string related. I'm using different sets now but I still have that anxiety whenever I tune up and hear that creak of the string stretching.

Anybody else have this problem? Should I tune up slower...let it sit for a few mins and then tune up all the way? Or just get over it and tune the thing up like normal?

Patrick Madsen
10-07-2017, 06:54 PM
You may have a sharp edge on the nut that causes the snap. Just a stroke or two on the edge with a thin fingernail file may help. Or, use graphite; lead pencil, on the slots to help them slide as you tune up the string.

10-07-2017, 07:10 PM
Aquila reds have a nasty history of snapping. Don’t let that stop you from changing strings. New strings are the best $5 you can spend on a uke.

10-07-2017, 08:18 PM
@OP - just dont fret it - go slow and all will be well :)

Croaky Keith
10-08-2017, 01:14 AM
When I change mine, I do one string at a time, bring it up to tune, do the next, then when I do the third string, I retune the previous ones again, do the fourth, & retune, leave it a few hours, retune all the strings, & so on.

(The first string I start on is actually the fourth string on the uke, the G, & work my way down to the A.)

10-08-2017, 06:57 AM
I do something similar on the guitar but a little less structured. Initially I just tighten them up so they make some kind of a plausible note, and then I'll start rotating through the strings getting them closer, then when they're maybe a note away I'll go do something else but just leave the guitar out and throughout the day I'll keep retuning it until it's stabilized out.

10-08-2017, 07:35 AM
What Pat said.......on REDs and carbon blacks. It's almost always a sharpe edge on nut, tuners hole, saddle. I like both string but have experienced same thing. If you look close you will find what is causing you problem. File or Sand paper should be able to clean thing up. Best way to cure squmishness on changing string is to change strings more often and try different strings. You will find what you like and get better at changing in the process.
My .02 cents worth

10-08-2017, 10:47 AM
The only time I've had a string break was on a set that had been on some time and which I tuned up and down between GCEA and ADF#B and I tuned them up to ADF#B once too often and the A string broke.

That said I always have an anxious few moments when I'm tuning up new strings for the first time. I have just once fitted a red and that was OK.

I'd just add one thing to the comments about sharp edges and that is to check that's where they are actually breaking. If they break somewhere in the middle then it won't be sharp edges at the nut or on the bridge assembly. In which case you've maybe been unlucky and the main thing is to tune up carefully at first.

10-08-2017, 10:59 AM
All my main players have either UPTs, Pegheds, or friction tuners. I have learned that I really have to be careful restringing the ones with friction pegs. Because of the 1:1 ratio you get up to pitch very quickly! I have almost snapped a few without realizing how far above pitch I was!

10-08-2017, 01:08 PM
Thanks for the suggestions. I've never had any issues with string changes until just recently. It's mainly been the 1st string that breaks. The uke has a string-through bridge and I've noticed the strings snapping from the underside of the bridge, inside the body, right at the knot.

10-08-2017, 01:28 PM
Thanks for the suggestions. I've never had any issues with string changes until just recently. It's mainly been the 1st string that breaks. The uke has a string-through bridge and I've noticed the strings snapping from the underside of the bridge, inside the body, right at the knot.

Ah, my kind of uke (although I'm pondering that). Two things: Look very carefully at the string-through holes. They were probably drilled straight down at 90 degrees. Get a tiny rat-tail file or the like (even a small, dull knife) and round over the edge of the hole on the peg head side. Don't make the hole bigger, just slightly round over the edge. That's probably not where the problem is, but it's easy.

Next, hunt around the house and find yourself some thick sheet vinyl, firm rubber, soft plastic, whatever you've got. Cut a little square and poke a hole through it. You just made a washer. Now, after you've threaded the string through the top of the uke and pulled it out of the sound hole, thread on the little washer you've just made and tie your knot. When you pull the string back up the washer will sandwich between the top of the uke and the knot, cushioning it and protecting it from sharp edges.

Croaky Keith
10-08-2017, 11:24 PM
Yep, sounds like a sharp edge, use a washer or a bead on the string end. :)

10-08-2017, 11:54 PM
I use small glass beads I got at a craft store on my string-through bridges. I tie a figure-eight knot after the bead and the bead sits against the underside of the bridge.
Also be sure to use some needle-nose pliers to set that knot tight and then trim off the excess tail of the knot so that it does not create a buzz on the underside of the soundboard.

I also tune to some type of tension, strum a lot, let sit for a few mins, then tune up a bit more, strum some more, I go on like that for a couple of hours while watching TV.
Only after doing that for some time will I ramp it up to the correct pitch /tension.

10-09-2017, 05:44 AM
I've changed strings dozens of times on tie bridges, pin bridges and slotted bridges, never had any snap except for a set of Reds...