View Full Version : tuning, and paranoia.

Giant Jack
06-22-2009, 11:29 AM
so i know instruments go out of tune. the go out of tune especially more often when you put them in cases where the walls of the case like to bump into the tuners while you put it in, and take it out. i'm used to fine-tuning my ukulele after taking it out of the case.

however, something odd happened today.

now, let me first mention, because it may be important (or it may not), that some of the hard wire/metal/whatever that is wound around the G (it's a baritone ukulele, so the 3rd string) just kinda came off around the 2nd fret, due to me experimenting with a capo. basically it held the string down too hard, and some of the winding broke off.

now, when i'm especially used to tuning this string, as it's tuner is the one most affected by my weirdo case, but today it felt like it was goin to snap, and it was at least an entire step flat. it's never THIS flat to begin with, but when i started tuning it up it became really resistant to turn, and i heard some creaky noises, as if it was saying "NO.". so i stopped, and detuned it.

so i propose a question;
wtf was that?

suddenly my ukulele can't handle standard tuning? that string has the screwed up winding for a few weeks, and it was never a really big problem, maybe it finally caught up? i pulled out an old old string (i keep old strings as spares) and it seemed about as resilient to that one too. am i just paranoid? i know nobody likes tuning up, and it's always been hard for me to do it, even after 6 years of playing, but i had a bad feeling about that. :{

also, it's a rather old instrument, 30-40 years or so, for whatever that matters. probably. idk, as theres no name on it and it's hard to pinpoint.

06-22-2009, 10:34 PM
If a string doesn't keep in tune anymore, you need a new one (I think...) especially if the wounding is broken. would be the first reason to replace it for me.

some people do change their strings every few weeks. (I would if I had the money:p)

06-23-2009, 04:24 AM
Yeah, before worrying about anything else I'd recommend changing out the string. If it didn't need the winding to sound right they wouldn't have bothered winding it in the first place. :D

Seriously, a surprisingly large number of probs turn out to be caused by string failure.

06-23-2009, 10:55 PM
I'd say change all your strings. If one is that worn down, chances are they all need to go. Also if you keep playing with a frayed string it will pop, scaring you and possibly taking your eye out (well... not really taking your eye out, but it is startling)

BTW- I'm one of those people who change my strings every three to four weeks on the two ukes I play the most. They get worn out... the wound strings get frayed and the nylon strings get all notchy along the frets.

06-24-2009, 04:14 AM
i pulled out an old old string (i keep old strings as spares) and it seemed about as resilient to that one too. am i just paranoid?

So you already changed the string. Good move. I'd have done the same thing, then cranked it til it was either in-tune or the new string snaps off.

Don't let your instrument bully you. Grab it by the neck and say, in a stern voice, "shape up or you're a bird feeder!"

And while you're at it, check for sharp edges around the bridge, the tuners and the frets. And make sure your neck is straight.

06-24-2009, 10:04 AM
Also, what kind of tuners do you have? Friction tuners need tightening from time to time.

Here’s a checklist if your axe won’t hold tune… just off the top of my head. Others may have more ideas.

1) Change your strings – If they are new they’ll settle over time and won’t hold tune. If they are old, they can be damaged or just plain worn out, and again, could go out of true. Also make sure they are not slipping at the knot/peg - especially new strings.
2) Inspect your tuners for damage, or in the case of friction tuners, make sure to tighten them a bit – this is really common.
3) Check your nut, and neck - neck could be bowed, nut could be loose or misaligned
4) Inspect the saddle & bridge - Look for cracks in the bridge. I've had a few guitars do that over the years, and it makes it impossible to keep tuned, the crack keeps growing as you put more tension on the strings. Make sure the saddle isn't loose or angling toward the neck…

That should get it narrowed down.