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gustophersmob
07-11-2018, 02:24 AM
Howdy!

I'm fairly new to the uke, having picked it up in 2015. In that time, I've played two ukes consistently for more than a year: a Bushman soprano with Aquila (?) strings and a 1950's martin concert with martin m600 fluorocarbon strings.

I come from the guitar/bass world and on my steel-string acoustic guitars I consistently get 3-4 weeks of string life (assuming regular playing) before they become dull and lifeless. On my electric bass, I get anywhere between 3-6 months, mainly depending upon the string brand.

On both of these ukuleles, with different string types, they've been going for over a year and the strings still sound good to me. Its hard to say if the sound quality has deteriorated over that time, but they seem good. I'm a little surprised that they seem to last so long, especially as I play that Martin A LOT. :)

Is this normal? What string life do you folks experience? Since they're relatively cheap, I'm thinking about changing the strings on the martin with a new set of m600's just to see if I notice an improvement.

hendulele
07-11-2018, 02:33 AM
String life depends on how and how vigorously you play. The main test for me is checking intonation and “life,” for lack of better term. If one or more of your strings tend to go out of tune or they lose brightness in sound, they’re probably wearing out.

I’ve had strings on regularly played ukes last six months or more. On my infrequently played ukes, strings can last 18months or longer.

Some folks like to change every few weeks just because they like that new car smell, or something. :D

gustophersmob
07-11-2018, 02:40 AM
String life depends on how and how vigorously you play. The main test for me is checking intonation and “life,” for lack of better term. If one or more of your strings tend to go out of tune or they lose brightness in sound, they’re probably wearing out.

I’ve had strings on regularly played ukes last six months or more. On my infrequently played ukes, strings can last 18months or longer.

Some folks like to change every few weeks just because they like that new car smell, or something. :D

Yeah, that's kind of what I figured. I do play the martin a lot, and pretty vigorously. The strings still hold tune and intonate properly and seem to have good brightness. It is hard to say as I don't have another similar uke with new strings to compare.

Ziret
07-11-2018, 05:53 AM
Since you're new to uke, maybe your playing has improved so it is now making up for the strings. If you change them, I bet you'll be surprised how much better you sound! Anyway, it's worth five bucks to find out.

Croaky Keith
07-11-2018, 08:02 AM
If you don't have many ukes, just change them when you feel the need - if like a lot of us who have a 'few' ukes, it could get expensive. ;)

kypfer
07-11-2018, 08:16 AM
Wound strings tend to "clog" with residue from your fingers, so can end up being fairly lifeless quite quickly ... I'll be prepared to bet your bass has flat-wound strings, so less opportunity for clogging ;)

Old school tip - for "dead" wound steel guitar strings that have little or no other signs of wear, boil them in water for a few minutes with a drop of detergent. Wipe dry, re-fit and be pleasantly surprised :)

As ukulele strings are (mostly) unwound "nylon" there's little opportunity for residue build-up that won't be wiped off when you wipe your fretboard after playing, so the strings will last until they physically distort from being fretted. A low action and an "educated" fretting hand can mean this may well be many months, if not longer!

YMMV ... enjoy ... :music:

UkingViking
07-11-2018, 08:35 AM
I never got to notice strings going dull on my ukes, but my ears are perhaps not the best.
I change them when dented by the frets from playing. Easily 6 month life or more.

Rllink
07-11-2018, 09:14 AM
I changed strings much more often when I first started out than I do now.

kissing
07-11-2018, 04:42 PM
I hardly ever change the strings, nor feel the need to.
Nylon strings for ukulele and classical guitar follow different rules to the steel strings of acoustic guitars and basses. Nylon does not oxidise and lose tonality as quickly as steel does, and don't need to be replaced that much.


Usually, when I get a new ukulele - I'd change the stock strings to new ones after my personal setup process (saddle adjustment, etc).
Then the same strings could stay on for... years (?) I don't keep track.
They don't seem to noticeably lose their tone or brightness, even my wound strings*.

But I'm not a heavy player nowadays. My ukes sit next to my computer desk, and I would pick one up for occasional play sessions a few times a week.


I'd also change the strings if I see visible damage on the strings (which is rare anyway), or simply feel like changing to a different brand/set for a different sound/feel.




*wound strings depend heavily on brand. For example, Aquila ones disintegrate within months. But some other brands like D'addario, Thomastik flatwound, etc seem to stay fresh for ages.

Nickie
07-11-2018, 05:03 PM
My luthier, Charlie Jirousek, asked Doc Watson how he knew when to change strings.

His answer...."When I break one."

I consistently get at least 5 months out of a set of strings, on a uke played daily. Fluorocarbons seem to fare better than Aquilas. Aquila Reds....broke the A string the 1st week.

fromthee2me
07-11-2018, 06:13 PM
I change them when dented by the frets from playing. by Uking Viking x 2

Tudorp
07-12-2018, 01:42 AM
Fluorocarbons seem to last longer than nylgut strings to me. I have to change out the nylguts on the concert about once a year because they start to sound "dead". I have fluorocarbons on my sopranino and they still sound good after a couple years. I may not play as much as some though. I go several days, playing one or the other all day, then might not pick them up in a couple days, then back and fourth. But the point is, for me, fluorocarbons tend to last longer than the Aquilas.