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View Full Version : An Observation About The Effects of Tempratures on Ukulele Tuning



captbaritone
02-08-2010, 09:14 AM
I live in a neighborhood with a two hour limit on parking. For reasons that are too complex to explain here, I move my car every two hours during the day. These outings serve as welcome breaks throughout my day, and I generally take my ukulele with me and get a little playing in as I walk down the street.

I live in San Francisco, so the weather is pretty tame, but it is generally cold enough outside to need a jacket of some sort, and we keep our tiny apartment pretty toasty My observation is on the effects that this temperature change has on my ukulele's tuning.

By the time I have been outside a few moments, the low C string on my ukulele is about a half step sharp, and the E string is about a quarter step sharp. Now I assume that all of the strings are being effected, but apparently the thicker strings are contracting more than the thinner strings. Or, now that I think about it, the higher strings are expanding more than the thicker strings. (I can't be sure which strings are changing, as I only know that the instrument is out of tune with it's self).

Anyway, for what it's worth, this has been useful for me to learn, because it allows me to know how to know which strings to re-tune and which way to tune them.

WhenDogsSing
02-08-2010, 09:47 AM
There was a Seinfeld episode with Kramer moving cars around outside...Ha! Ha! Ha!

ambrose
02-08-2010, 10:09 AM
It was George.

rogue_wave
02-08-2010, 10:37 AM
The NYC subculture surrounding "alternate side parking" wouldn't make sense to most logical people. At any given morning, there are thousands who are sitting in their cars until 10:30am when the street cleaner has passed. The dance the cars make as they jockey for position is insane.

vehement
02-08-2010, 11:50 AM
I live in a neighborhood with a two hour limit on parking. For reasons that are too complex to explain here, I move my car every two hours during the day. These outings serve as welcome breaks throughout my day, and I generally take my ukulele with me and get a little playing in as I walk down the street.

I live in San Francisco, so the weather is pretty tame, but it is generally cold enough outside to need a jacket of some sort, and we keep our tiny apartment pretty toasty My observation is on the effects that this temperature change has on my ukulele's tuning.

By the time I have been outside a few moments, the low C string on my ukulele is about a half step sharp, and the E string is about a quarter step sharp. Now I assume that all of the strings are being effected, but apparently the thicker strings are contracting more than the thinner strings. Or, now that I think about it, the higher strings are expanding more than the thicker strings. (I can't be sure which strings are changing, as I only know that the instrument is out of tune with it's self).

Anyway, for what it's worth, this has been useful for me to learn, because it allows me to know how to know which strings to re-tune and which way to tune them.

When I was first starting to read your post, I was thinking to myself, "this guy is talking about San Francisco"!

It true that the weather has effects on the wood of the instrument, shrinking and contracting the wood of the neck. I see this happen moreso on my bass guitar before I swaped up to a graphite neck!

casarole45
02-08-2010, 01:34 PM
graphite neck!

ooo' graph neck, sounds cool, any links to a photo?

GrumpyCoyote
02-08-2010, 01:43 PM
You are correct in assuming it's the strings themselves, and not just the instrument... I play at a venue with and unheated "green-room" of sorts. When I practice there and then go to the heated stage, the strings expand and generally cause a mess until temperature equilibrium returns.

All of my instruments react largely the same, – nylon or steel strings – plastic or wood bodies – high or low tension, makes no difference. Just good old physics making our job harder. String materials expanding and contracting can make ya nutzo.