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View Full Version : My Mahalo arrived this afternoon!



CountryMouse
08-25-2009, 09:36 AM
This is my first ever ukulele. It didn't cost much, but I think it's pretty. :-) It's one of those pale blue ones with fruit. Here are pics (from amazon.com, where I got it):

http://www.bookmice.net/fleur/diary94.html#ukulele

But OWEEOWEEOWEE! I don't remember my fingers hurting this much back in the day when I was trying mandolin (late 70's). Are my fingers more sensitive because I'm older? What is up with this? :-/

I'm going to have to practice for fairly short periods of time each day. Does it get better? It must. Otherwise, you guys and gals wouldn't be playing and enjoying.

So far I am just doing the C chord and G7. And it's gonna take me a while to be able to switch back and forth comfortably. Strumming feels very natural though, both with my index finger and/or with the provided felt pick.

Anyway, I'd better warn you now so no one asks: I don't put pics of me online, so there will be no videos. I had a stalker some years back, so that's why. Sorry!

Going to have some lunch, then will practice some more. :-)

CountryMouse

KC8AFW
08-25-2009, 09:54 AM
Congratulations! Enjoy your new uke. Yeah...your fingers will hurt a bit for the first few days...but they'll toughen up pretty soon. Just play for a few minutes at a shot instead of sitting down and going at it for an hour. :nana:

the.ronin
08-25-2009, 10:02 AM
Yeah you grow these weird calluses on the tips of your fingers. Iíve only been playing less than a couple months but playing a lot. And now Iíve got these calluses. Trippy stuff.

Ukeffect
08-25-2009, 11:30 AM
I had an old blues guitar player tell me a trick he used to speed up the process. Take a small strip of coarse sandpaper (like 80 grit) and carry it with you, when you sit down or just get a chance, put it on a flat surface and press your fingertips onto it. You don't have to press hard, (try tapping out rythms) this will help those calouses develop faster, and your fingers won't get as sore from playing! It really works...and costs next to nothing!:D

Playscool39
08-25-2009, 11:35 AM
Congrats on the Uke.Good luck and let the fun begin:cool:

UkeNinja
08-25-2009, 01:48 PM
C and G7, those are the chords of the Gods. You have chosen well to become friends with those elite members of the pantheon of harmonies.
Your Mahalo rocks, now don't go cradling it like a baby, afraid the bananas will wear off. There is a secret society (which is now officially not secret anymore) of Mahalo owners who have rocked the fruit of their axes, and received heavenly fast fretboard technique in return. Have fun! :music:

Tagaen
08-25-2009, 01:55 PM
I've just got my first Uke today to, a Malaka Soprano and my fingers hurt a little bit, but I'm used to playing cello so it didn't bother me too much. I've spent all night doing nothing but playing it! It's so exciting getting a Uke for the first time isn't it?

the.ronin
08-25-2009, 02:14 PM
It's so exciting getting a Uke for the first time isn't it?

... and your second, third, fourth, fifth ... :D

CountryMouse
08-25-2009, 04:36 PM
Thank you all for your advice and encouragement.

I had to lay off for a few hours--I went and played Rock Band 2 instead. :-P First I only sang, as I wasn't sure my ring finger could take even using the RB guitar! But then I wanted to get to playing some bass, so after about an hour of singing, I played for...hours? Time flies when music is involved!

So I'll do short practice sessions often. :-) My uke is such a cutie--how can I stay away for long? ::grin::

CMouse

the.ronin
08-25-2009, 05:47 PM
My uke is such a cutie--how can I stay away for long? ::grin::

CMouse

You can't!! But that's a good thing. You'll get better faster. At least that's what I'm hoping for myself haha.

Greeno
08-26-2009, 02:02 AM
The factory strings are very hard (plain nylon?) - you might find it easier if you change them for some with lower tension (if you can justify the cost).

CountryMouse
08-26-2009, 03:24 AM
The factory strings are very hard (plain nylon?) - you might find it easier if you change them for some with lower tension (if you can justify the cost).

What kind should I get? I don't know anything about different brand names of strings. Please tell me I don't have to get black strings...I will if I have to, but they won't be pretty on my pale blue uke!

Thanks!

CountryMouse

Skrik
08-26-2009, 03:59 AM
Brown strings look nice on a blue instrument. They sound good, too. Worths (http://www.elderly.com/accessories/names/worth-bl-soprano-/-concert-uke-set--WSBL.htm).

CountryMouse
08-26-2009, 04:07 AM
Brown strings look nice on a blue instrument. They sound good, too. Worths (http://www.elderly.com/accessories/names/worth-bl-soprano-/-concert-uke-set--WSBL.htm).

Okay. My next question: I've changed strings on autoharps and dulcimers in the past--they have that ball ending. I am scared of changing the strings on my uke. How do I do this?

Help? This whole string-changing thing so soon after getting my uke is making me nervous.

CMouse (timorous)

Skrik
08-26-2009, 04:10 AM
Okay. My next question: I've changed strings on autoharps and dulcimers in the past--they have that ball ending. I am scared of changing the strings on my uke. How do I do this?

Help? This whole string-changing thing so soon after getting my uke is making me nervous.

CMouse (timorous)

Tie the strings off on the bridge (so the knots don't slip) and then tie with a simple overhand knot to the string posts at the top end (but through the holes in the posts), tighten to pitch, and you're rosy.

Be careful that you string the uke up the right way. I won't mention how many times I have got the string order backwards, but it's too many for me to find funny any more.

CountryMouse
08-26-2009, 04:28 AM
Tie the strings off on the bridge (so the knots don't slip) and then tie with a simple overhand knot to the string posts at the top end (but through the holes in the posts), tighten to pitch, and you're rosy.

Be careful that you string the uke up the right way. I won't mention how many times I have got the string order backwards, but it's too many for me to find funny any more.

My strings are attached at the bridge with some kind of fancy figure-8 knot. Is there a good chart or something somewhere that can help me with this?

I can see how to do the part with the nut and tuning pegs--I have gear tuning pegs (thank gods! I used to have a dulcimer with hand-carved friction pegs--never again!).

Thanks!

UKISOCIETY
08-26-2009, 04:42 AM
My strings are attached at the bridge with some kind of fancy figure-8 knot. Is there a good chart or something somewhere that can help me with this?

I can see how to do the part with the nut and tuning pegs--I have gear tuning pegs (thank gods! I used to have a dulcimer with hand-carved friction pegs--never again!).

Thanks!

The strings are just wrapped around itself. Loosen the tuners and push the strings in toward the bridge. That should loosen them enough.

CountryMouse
08-26-2009, 04:53 AM
The strings are just wrapped around itself. Loosen the tuners and push the strings in toward the bridge. That should loosen them enough.

I'm not worried about removing the strings; I'm worried about how to attach the *new* strings at the bridge. :-D

Thanks!

CMouse

Skrik
08-26-2009, 05:12 AM
I'm not worried about removing the strings; I'm worried about how to attach the *new* strings at the bridge. :-D

Just pass the end of the string through the loop twice or thrice. It's just to make sure the knot doesn't slip. The tone comes from the saddle, so the choice of knot is quite insignificant.

russ_buss
08-26-2009, 05:23 AM
My strings are attached at the bridge with some kind of fancy figure-8 knot. Is there a good chart or something somewhere that can help me with this?

I can see how to do the part with the nut and tuning pegs--I have gear tuning pegs (thank gods! I used to have a dulcimer with hand-carved friction pegs--never again!).

Thanks!

this page has a diagram that might help:

http://www.tikiking.com/how_to_change_strings.html

Greeno
08-26-2009, 05:26 AM
It's a bit fiddly the first time but not difficult. There are plenty of YouTube videos which cover the process, e.g. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pq1YvC1GE8 and sites like this: http://www.staffordguitar.com/help_strings.asp (this shows only one loop-through, I would use two) http://www.learnclassicalguitar.com/guitar-string.html

You can always practice a few times with the old ones before attempting the new ones

Make sure you put the strings onto the tuning pegs the right way.

I'm still using the factory strings so I can't recommend anything, but others suggest Aquila strings are good (if a tad expensive).

If you take the strings off it's a good opportunity to make sure the saddle is a tight fit in the bridge. On mine, I noticed that the saddle was being pulled forward under the tension of the strings and was not quite upright, so I added a sliver of card (the red strip in this picture (http://www.studio128.co.uk/temp/saddle.jpg)) to fix it - I was surprised by how much of an improvement this made. Get a tight fit with the thickest card you can get in - I used a business card.

CountryMouse
08-26-2009, 06:02 AM
this page has a diagram that might help:

http://www.tikiking.com/how_to_change_strings.html

Woohoo! Thanks! This will help me do it!

I ordered the Worth strings that Skrik recommended, from Elderly. They'll be here in a couple or three days. :-)

CountryMouse

hawaiianmusiclover06
08-28-2009, 11:56 PM
Congrats on your new uke! Yes, your fingers will hurt when you first play it but it will get better. I been playing the ukulele for 9 months and I already have callusses on my fingers from practicing 15 minutes to an hour.

Matt Clara
08-29-2009, 04:36 AM
Nice! Love the pineapple headstock. Dave Talsma does the same thing with some of his customs.

CountryMouse
08-29-2009, 06:22 AM
Nice! Love the pineapple headstock. Dave Talsma does the same thing with some of his customs.

Thanks!

I got the Worth strings today--nervous about putting them on. I've only ever changed ball-ending strings. Eep!

CMouse

Skrik
08-29-2009, 06:52 AM
Thanks!

I got the Worth strings today--nervous about putting them on. I've only ever changed ball-ending strings. Eep!

If it goes wrong, then simply try again.

CountryMouse
08-29-2009, 06:57 AM
If it goes wrong, then simply try again.

Each string is supposed to be 46 inches long, so that each string can actually fit two soprano ukuleles. In other words, this is two sets. So I'm gonna measure, then cut. Is this a scary idea? My uke is about 20 inches long.

CountryMouse

KC8AFW
08-29-2009, 07:19 AM
Each string is supposed to be 46 inches long, so that each string can actually fit two soprano ukuleles. In other words, this is two sets. So I'm gonna measure, then cut. Is this a scary idea? My uke is about 20 inches long.

CountryMouse

That it the theory. Your soprano should have a scale length of about 13.5", plus about 2 inches on each end for tying and wrapping around the pegs, should leave plenty left over to do it again. Good luck!

CountryMouse
08-29-2009, 09:00 AM
I never want to get a ukulele again that has the classical guitar tie-the-knots.

I am having terrible trouble with the 1st/A string. I gradually tuned all the strings bit by bit, switching off. The other strings are holding okay.

The 1st string popped out of its mooring the first time I got it near its pitch. I have it tied again, but now when it's almost up to the right tune, it's suddenly going down in pitch again. I just know it's going to come loose again.

I don't know what I'm doing wrong, especially if the other strings are holding.

CMouse, totally frustrated and can't get tuned up

Skrik
08-29-2009, 09:40 AM
Put the end through the loop a couple more times.

CountryMouse
08-29-2009, 10:15 AM
Put the end through the loop a couple more times.

I put it through one more time and left a good tail, weaving it through the other tail-loops at the back. It seems to be holding.

At present it's in tune with itself. It might be down a key, but maybe if it "sets up" overnight, it might be okay to tune up to pitch tomorrow.

At least I am playing again. :-)

I've put strings on other instruments before with no problem, but I had to have DH help me with this, holding things!

Fortunately, it looks like the Kala Kiwi (which is what I want to get in a couple months) has the knot/slot attachment of strings. :-)

Thanks for all your help!!!

CountryMouse

BoarderDave
08-29-2009, 01:16 PM
Sweet.. good work on the playing again. :D Hope you are havin some fun.