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Spot
04-05-2018, 04:53 AM
Hi all,

I just bought a new Uke with a slotted headstock from a reputable dealer. I noticed that the strings are not locked off as I was taught on my old tuners. The wound low G is staying put ok but all 3 nylgut strings are loose on the first wind. The strings have been cut really short so I can't restring them myself.

It's hard to tell if there is a tuning problem as the strings haven't settled in yet - will it be? Should I get back to the dealer and ask for a new set of strings so I can restring and lock them off?

All the youtube videos I have watched about slotted headstocks all say to lock off the tail end on the first wind, but maybe that's optional?

Thanks everyone :)

Dean Beaver
04-05-2018, 05:13 AM
I've been working on one of my ukes with a slotted headstock, a couple of weeks ago I was contemplating stuff to do with the nut/saddle/action , so I was of course loosening and tightening the strings as required, Nylguts btw. I also experienced the strings slipping, no low G on mine, I think the g was the only one I didn't have problems with, the other three, and particularly the C were slipping and coming loose, even when they were locked which I always do anyway, so I think it could be a common thing, at least to some extent, I would think that's why it's suggested to lock them off because it is common.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
04-05-2018, 08:38 AM
Putting the tail of the string through the tuner post hole twice should keep the string from locking.

anthonyg
04-05-2018, 01:48 PM
Sorry I'm not 100% sure what the problem is. Is it an aesthetic problem or a functional problem? If you have never come across Nylgut strings before they will stretch a LOT before they become vaguely stable. Nylguts will keep stretching a fraction their entire life and in fact when they stop stretching at all they probably need replacing for the best tone.

Uke Don
04-05-2018, 02:27 PM
Putting the tail of the string through the tuner post hole twice should keep the string from locking.

What Chuck said. Solves the problem perfectly and works better than locking them off by bringing the string around and under. The locking off technique works really well with steel strings but not so much with nylon.

Dean Beaver
04-05-2018, 03:24 PM
I ended up putting the string through the hole twice on the E & A , C was too thick to thread through twice and that was the string giving most difficulty for me, about six times I re-strung the C until I finally got it to stay put. It's ok once it's all done, but the OP has said in their case there isn't sufficient string length to wind on properly , that seems to be the issue for the owner.
Anthony, the problem isn't aesthetic, the strings slip and then come loose, the OP has stated that the wound G is staying put, and all 3 Nylgut strings are coming loose when winding, in my experience they slip right out of the thread hole and are loose as a goose, you need an amount of string to allow for slippage before it actually stops slipping, and it does stop slipping once it grips of course, but you need the extra allowance of the string, if it is slipping. I'm familiar with Nylgut strings, I generally don't have a problem with them, only the Uke with slotted headstock gave me difficulty in winding on, so I can understand what the OP is referring to, I only work on my own ukes so I have experienced it, but can't answer if it happens with every slotted headstock type machine heads.
As a note, I have an 8-string with slotted headstock, which I've had for around 6 years , and I can't recall having the same amount of difficulty with that one, I did have it strung with Nylgut strings, last year I switched to Fluorocarbon on that one, but either way I don't recall it being so difficult on that Uke, so for me it's a case of saying, ok it could be a common problem, not necessarily guaranteed to be the case for every Uke though with slotted headtsock though. It could even be the metal used in the machine heads, I don't know with certainty why it happens on one and not another.
The problem for now is, the owner hasn't been able to wind the strings on so far, apparently due to insufficient string length, and wants to know should they take it to the dealer and ask for another set of strings ? Well, I can't answer that, but I am assuming (with no details) that the owner has loosed the strings, otherwise the owner must be saying the strings came loose by themself, which I have my doubts about, it's another of those cases, who is responsible ? Well, from my perspective that's between the owner and the dealer to negotiate on, in the meantime, perhaps the owner can try the suggestion of threading through twice and see if that works, otherwise yes maybe new strings are in order, owners decision.

Spot
04-05-2018, 09:56 PM
I ended up putting the string through the hole twice on the E & A , C was too thick to thread through twice and that was the string giving most difficulty for me, about six times I re-strung the C until I finally got it to stay put. It's ok once it's all done, but the OP has said in their case there isn't sufficient string length to wind on properly , that seems to be the issue for the owner.
Anthony, the problem isn't aesthetic, the strings slip and then come loose, the OP has stated that the wound G is staying put, and all 3 Nylgut strings are coming loose when winding, in my experience they slip right out of the thread hole and are loose as a goose, you need an amount of string to allow for slippage before it actually stops slipping, and it does stop slipping once it grips of course, but you need the extra allowance of the string, if it is slipping. I'm familiar with Nylgut strings, I generally don't have a problem with them, only the Uke with slotted headstock gave me difficulty in winding on, so I can understand what the OP is referring to, I only work on my own ukes so I have experienced it, but can't answer if it happens with every slotted headstock type machine heads.
As a note, I have an 8-string with slotted headstock, which I've had for around 6 years , and I can't recall having the same amount of difficulty with that one, I did have it strung with Nylgut strings, last year I switched to Fluorocarbon on that one, but either way I don't recall it being so difficult on that Uke, so for me it's a case of saying, ok it could be a common problem, not necessarily guaranteed to be the case for every Uke though with slotted headtsock though. It could even be the metal used in the machine heads, I don't know with certainty why it happens on one and not another.
The problem for now is, the owner hasn't been able to wind the strings on so far, apparently due to insufficient string length, and wants to know should they take it to the dealer and ask for another set of strings ? Well, I can't answer that, but I am assuming (with no details) that the owner has loosed the strings, otherwise the owner must be saying the strings came loose by themself, which I have my doubts about, it's another of those cases, who is responsible ? Well, from my perspective that's between the owner and the dealer to negotiate on, in the meantime, perhaps the owner can try the suggestion of threading through twice and see if that works, otherwise yes maybe new strings are in order, owners decision.

Thanks Dean,

I think you've mostly understood what I mean. I'll try to be more specific. The Uke came set up by the dealer as I had asked for the action to be lowered and to be set up with a low G. The nylgut strings are wound round about 3-4 times and it's difficult yet to say if they are well fixed yet as the strings are not stable yet, being new.

The strings have been wound on straight, that is - put through the hole and wound on in one direction with no overlap or tuck in, as you would on vertical tuners (I was taught to wind the first turn and then cross over to wind the rest so the tail locks in between the first and the second wind.

What is happening is that the the wind next to the cut off tail has come loose and a couple of the tails are so short that they are on the way to popping out of the hole altogether. So what I'm wondering in whether the process will continue and end up with the whole string slipping and coming out of tune all the time. I don't want a Uke that goes out of tune every 5 minutes!

I hope that makes the issue clearer? Thanks for the replies everyone.

Croaky Keith
04-05-2018, 10:22 PM
Depending on how many turns you have on the tuner post, I'd redo them, as it sounds like the strings are actually slipping, & not just stretching.

Personally, I don't cut the excess of, I make small loops of it - I also push my string ends through the post twice, never had one come undone. :)

Dean Beaver
04-06-2018, 04:42 AM
Thanks for feedback Spot .. Yep I'm understanding what's happening better now, so you haven't loosened them, they are simply slipping due to the way they've been threaded through. It's really hard to say whether the strings will continue to slip or not, with my experiences I would say there is a good possibility it will continue.. As Keith has said it sounds like you've got enough length on the string to fix it, so it doesn't seem like a problem to worry about, just one to rectify. At least strings are one of the easiest things to fix on a new Uke and it does happen sometimes.
I would most likely simply loosen the strings off and where possible thread it through twice, so in other words thread it through pull it around the peg and thread through again and that should give you a firm hold. If you have trouble doing that with the C string just lock it over as you do and with some patience you should be able to get it right, I know it can be frustrating, I have a feeling your machine heads are likely similar to the ones I have had problems with, mine were slipping as it started to get up to tension, I think you'll be able to rectify it, juts have patience and work at it easy, it's not a difficult job to do and once it's right it will be ok I'm sure.
I just checked mine, I'm pretty sure they are chrome and they are very smooth, my guess is the smooth surface with the Nylguts is a bit of a slippery situation and just takes some determined effort to ensure they are strung on securely.
But you know if you do have real difficulty there's nothing wrong with communicating with your dealer and speaking with them to see if they could just help you to get it strung properly, I don't think it's much to ask under the given circumstances. With good details of the issue, and being able to sight the problem, even work on it, it can help to have a better insight into the instruments they are dealing.
Feel welcome to let us how you are progressing with it, I think most people here like to see outcomes and hopefully good outcomes :)

Jerryc41
04-10-2018, 10:14 AM
The strings have been cut really short so I can't restring them myself.

I ran into that with a used uke I bought. Very annoying. All I could do was put new strings on it.

1931jim
04-12-2018, 04:39 AM
As others have written earlier in this thread.........put the string through the tuner hole twice.
No doubt you have acertained all is good at the bridge. If you have a bare minimum of string left at the tuner before you begin tightening, with your long nose pliers try putting the string through the tuner hole twice. From what I deduct there is not much slack so with patience and some dexterity with the long nose you might be lucky and get a half or even full turn on the tuner post before you reach pitch.
PS: The tuning post on a slotted head stock will be more fragile so if you are used to the metal posts please be extra gentle.