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View Full Version : Improving my ukulele



collmaria
08-02-2009, 08:35 AM
About three or four months ago, I ordered my first ukulele- a Lanikai LU-21. Considering I had never played the ukulele before or ever really even seen one in real life before, I didn't want to spend too much money and then find out that I didn't like playing the ukulele (little did I know how addictive it was!). Although the ukulele is not bad, I would like to improve it a little until I can get a new one. My ukulele is sounding a little dull and not staying in tune for very long. I was thinking about buying some new strings and tightening the tuners. What kind of strings should I buy? I was thinking maybe some bushman strings. Can you use them on non-bushman ukuleles? Or what are some other good strings? Are there any others ways as well to improve a ukulele?

ukerazy
08-02-2009, 08:48 AM
I use aquila strings, them and worths are popular among the UU users here on the forum. You could use Bushman strings as they are not just for Bushman Ukuleles.

yookyoolayleeh
08-02-2009, 08:50 AM
It seems like Aquila Nylguts are the internet-favourite brand of strings. Another popular brand seems to be Worth strings - and I think those come in clear or brown colours - each having a different character.

If you're tuning by ear you might consider buying a clip-on tuner for your uke. I just bought an ET-3000 tuner and my uke sounds so much better.

I've also seen people mention that holding their uke loosely and a little away from your torso can improve the sound it produces.

The last thing that comes to mind is that people talk a lot about adjusting the nut and saddle of their uke to lower the action - the distance between strings and fretboard. I don't know if that would improve the sound, but it might make it easier to play. Let me know if you try doing this because it's something I'd like to find out more about.

Hope that's helpful - I'm a total noob so take my advice with a big pinch of salt.

collmaria
08-02-2009, 08:58 AM
I am pretty sure that the ukulele came with Aquila strings but I am not sure exactly...

hoosierhiver
08-02-2009, 09:17 AM
I don't think Lanakai's come set up with Aquila's unless a shop put them on. As before mentioned most people seem to prefer Aquila's or Worth's.

seeso
08-02-2009, 09:17 AM
What color are your strings?

leftovermagic84
08-02-2009, 09:17 AM
I am pretty sure that the ukulele came with Aquila strings but I am not sure exactly...

are they clear or black? If they're black, they're probably GHS strings, which are the cheap strings that come on most starter-ukes. You should replace these. Clear strings might just be aquilas.

seeso
08-02-2009, 09:24 AM
are they clear or black? If they're black, they're probably GHS strings, which are the cheap strings that come on most starter-ukes. You should replace these. Clear strings might just be aquilas.

I would say that Aquila strings are white, not clear.

collmaria
08-02-2009, 09:25 AM
my strings are white

seeso
08-02-2009, 09:37 AM
The only white strings I know of are Aquila strings. They're very good strings, so they shouldn't be going out of tune too much. You say you got the ukulele 3 or 4 months ago? Hmm... that should have been long enough for your strings to settle. Perhaps they're old?

Whatever the answer to that question, you should get new strings. The easiest way to change the sound of your ukulele is to change the strings. I haven't tried Bushman strings, but I have heard from a friend that they were nice. Like others have mentioned, the most popular string brands are Aquila and Worth. I would also add D'addario Pro Arte strings to that list.

D'addario strings seem to have a sweet sound, Worth Brown strings will sound more mellow and warm, and Aquila strings are the brightest and loudest strings. You say your ukulele sounds dull, but you have Aquila strings on it. This leads me to believe that the strings are just old, so you shouldn't be discouraged from buying another set of Aquila strings.

For what it's worth, I have two similar ukuleles, and I love them. I have the LU21-C and the LU21 TE.

collmaria
08-02-2009, 10:43 AM
thank you so much!
i will definitely look into some new strings!

leftovermagic84
08-02-2009, 12:53 PM
I would say that Aquila strings are white, not clear.

You're right, sorry about that. Brain fart.

uber_goober
08-02-2009, 03:47 PM
I have an LU-21 as well; and Aquila, Worth browns, and D'Addarrio Pro Artes all sound nice (but different). Have fun experimenting with different strings. I like the D'Addario, but that's just me.

-John

EdLew1s
08-05-2009, 06:49 AM
Use aquilas strings... They make a really warm sound even on cheap ukuleles and sound even better on more expensive ones.... You could also paint your ukulele.... That looks quite good too!

leftovermagic84
08-05-2009, 06:56 AM
Use aquilas strings... They make a really warm sound even on cheap ukuleles and sound even better on more expensive ones.... You could also paint your ukulele.... That looks quite good too!

I'd recommend against painting your uke. The paint will kill the resonance of the soundboard. There's a few threads on that somewhere.