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View Full Version : Feeble fingers - lighter strings?



GeorgiaL
04-06-2018, 12:49 AM
Hello, I find it really hard to press the strings down hard enough of the neck. I'm not talking about the pain of the strings cutting in, but actually having the strength in my fingers to push them down. Is it the strings? Am I just feeble of paw?

mikelz777
04-06-2018, 01:13 AM
My guess is that the string action is set too high, i.e., the strings are set too high above the frets requiring more effort to press them down onto the frets. Measure the distance between the top of the fret and the bottom of the string at the 12th fret. If it's more than 3mm, then it's too high (for most people - I like mine at 2.5mm or even lower). I measure the action at the nut/head using a gift card. (like a credit card with no raised numbers or lettering) I place the gift card between the frets and the strings and then with the head of the uke pointing towards the floor, I let the gift card go to see how far down it will slide before it stops. I have my action set low and the gift card stops just above the first fret or half way between the first and 2nd fret. This is a crude method to measure the action at the nut but if you try it and the card slides all the way to the nut or past the first fret then the action is probably too high.

GeorgiaL
04-06-2018, 01:40 AM
Thank you for that. And if the action is too high, is there anything that can be done?

Jim Hanks
04-06-2018, 01:52 AM
Yes, it is called a "setup". You can have the strings lowered to a better height at the nut and the saddle.

Another thing you can do is tune down a half step or two giving a lower string tension and see if that makes playing easier.

mikelz777
04-06-2018, 03:42 AM
Thank you for that. And if the action is too high, is there anything that can be done?

I had to take mine to a local music store that specializes in guitars and who offer guitar repairs. They were able to lower the action on my ukes to a very comfortable and playable height.

Croaky Keith
04-06-2018, 08:59 AM
If it is a tenor scale, you can use concert strings on it, which will have less tension, or change to fluorocarbon strings, I use them on mine. :)

Finch1
04-07-2018, 04:07 AM
Hi
I would second , lowering the action and using fluorocarbon strings . However , if you new to playing , it is a common problem ,to feel the need to press the strings down as hard as you can . But still not getting a clean sounding note . You place your finger , on the string, just above fret . With practice you get a clean note easily , without the need to press as hard as you can.

melensdad
04-19-2018, 05:05 AM
Hello, I find it really hard to press the strings down hard enough of the neck. I'm not talking about the pain of the strings cutting in, but actually having the strength in my fingers to push them down. Is it the strings? Am I just feeble of paw?

As others have said, take it to a local music shop and ask them to check the 'set up' to see if the strings are set too high. They can adjust the action and lower it, which will make it easier for you to play.

Not sure if you bought your ukulele on line, but many people buy from Amazon or similar on-line sellers which do not "set up" the ukulele before it is shipped out. Its actually a very important part of making the ukulele playable. In the future if you buy from a music shop (on-line or a local store) they will typically include a professional 'set up' of your instrument as part of their sales price. This would include checking the string height, adjusting the saddle, etc. Often it is cheaper to buy from a full service shop that includes a full set up of your instrument than it is to buy it at a lower price and then pay to have it set up at a local music store.

WaylonUkulele
05-04-2018, 04:12 AM
Yup, get a set up. Lower action at the saddle, and or the nut. Beyond that, just practice. Lots of practice. No reason anyone should have trouble with pushing any strings down after good practice, if the uke is set up good. You can do this!

Oldtoolie
05-11-2018, 08:44 AM
I don't know if it is helping but I've got a tennis ball to squeeze while watching tv in hope of strengthening my fingers.

actadh
05-11-2018, 09:20 AM
These left hand dexterity videos by the late Ukulele Mike greatly helped me gain strength in my fretting hand.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pse641zHpP8