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View Full Version : New Uke, Nylon Strings, Will I ever get it tuned???



jerky656
03-22-2010, 12:00 PM
Greetings all. I've had my Oscar Shmidt uke for a week now & I think I have tuned it about a dozen times now. I've heard the nylon strings take awhile to 'stretch out' a little, but when will this flatness end? Any info...suggestions...:confused:

Tudorp
03-22-2010, 12:03 PM
A dozen in a week? I just had my new Ohana for 3 days now, and must have tuned it about a dozen times a day, lol.. Of course I have been playing on it all day long and night for these three days. But, I understand it will slow down once everything gels. Actually, today, I have played it the hardest now getting more comfortable with it, and only tuned it about 4 times, so I think it's starting to get settled into it's new enviornment.

darkwater
03-22-2010, 12:07 PM
I use Aquilas, which settle in after a couple of days. Clear strings seem to take longer. I usually bring them to pitch, then pull them out away from the fretboard a bit to stretch them, then tune about a step high and let the uke sit a bit. Then I tune to correct pitch and play for a while, tweaking the tuning if it gets obnoxious.

Tudorp
03-22-2010, 12:12 PM
I have Aquilas on mine too, and makes sense, because it has been 3 or 4 days now, and I did notice they seem to be settling in today more than it has the past couple days..

happyslappysoong
03-22-2010, 02:31 PM
Be patient, and give it another week or so. This is an age old dilemma.

ukecantdothat
03-22-2010, 02:33 PM
I use Aquilas, which settle in after a couple of days. Clear strings seem to take longer. I usually bring them to pitch, then pull them out away from the fretboard a bit to stretch them, then tune about a step high and let the uke sit a bit. Then I tune to correct pitch and play for a while, tweaking the tuning if it gets obnoxious.

Stretching is the key. Whether it's metal or nylon, stretch the bejeezes outta them! I pull from side to side, tune high and repeat until no significant change occurs anymore. They'll still need daily tuning if I care about accuracy, but in general they'll stay pretty much in tune with themselves. I'll reach for the tuner if I'm playing to a track, or with other instruments. Another thing you can do is tune them way tight and leave it overnight, but I find the manual stretching to be most efficient.

brickerenator
03-23-2010, 02:00 AM
It took 3 weeks of playing for 30 minutes to 1 hour a day to get my Mainland settled in.

cornfedgroove
03-23-2010, 04:30 AM
if you got friction tuners...make sure they're tight

heyjude
03-23-2010, 04:47 AM
if you got friction tuners...make sure they're tight

Which brings up the question "how tight is tight"? Just tight enough so they stay where you put them, no more. If you get them too loose they won't hold the string in tune and it's obvious that they are too loose. But, if they are too tight you have to exert too much effort to move them and you'll adjust too far and then when you try to go in the other direction you go too far again. Then you begin to hate friction tuners. Adjust them so they'll just hold the string in tune and you'll find they turn much smoother and it's much easier to do those little tweaks to bring it spot on.

Another thing. When you finally get the strings stretched out so your uke is staying in tune with just a small teak now and then, the burning question will arise, "I've got brand X on now, I wonder how brand Y would sound". Then you get to start all over again.:)

Jude

mailman
03-23-2010, 05:13 AM
I have three ukes, two with Aquila Nylguts. They settled in nicely after a few days, but I still remember the frustration of constant tuning. I've since bought replacement strings for all of them, knowing that they should be replaced periodically. Now I find that I'm reluctant to change them....I don't want to go through the whole stretching/tuning hassle again. I love it that my ukes stay in tune now, but I'm going to have to break down and replace those strings sooner or later....

MTGuru
03-23-2010, 05:35 AM
I guess it also depends on what you mean by "tuned".

If it's consistently a quarter-tone or more flat when you pick it up, possibilities include: 1. Your strings are still stretching / settling; 2. Your tuners are slipping, or the strings are slipping on the posts; 3. The strings are binding in the nut slots (and you're tuning by approaching the notes from above).

If it's just a matter of frequently "touching up" the tuning - that seems perfectly normal to me on any string instrument. Changes in temperature and humidity throughout the day can do that. Just normal plucking and strumming and fretting, string bending, etc. can do that. A dozen touch-ups a day? Sure, why not. That's why you have tuners! :cool:

Tudorp
03-23-2010, 05:42 AM
About friction tuners. If you read my first post (I'm a newbie), you would see that is how I broke a tuner on my cheapie Uke. Actually I'm glad I did, because that is when I felt I wanted to take Uke more seriously, and buy a better uke anyway. That gave me the incentive to do just that which resulted in my purchase of my solid mahogany Ohana. But, the cheaper uke I had to really crank down on the tuners to make them hold. They didn't seem to want to hold at all until I did. BUT, like mentioned above that resulted in having to turn hard to get them to move. This resulted in busting a tuning nut. I could have just replaced the nut, or better yet, the tuners (which I also did) but it just gave me the incentive to buy a better uke anyway. So, I bought a set of geared tuners for the cheapie uke, and my Ohana. I didn't look back. I LOVE the Ohana. Very nice action, and is a joy to play, and it doesn't fight me like the cheap Kola uke did. If I stayed with the Kola uke, I may very well have gotten frustrated and gave up the Uke altogether, so I am glad I ditched it when I did, and just bought a better playing instrument.

SailingUke
03-23-2010, 05:56 AM
I love Aqulilas, but they stretch for days. I have even had to loosen them and trim off some excess string at the tuning posts because the wraps were overlapping (causes more slippage).
It is not only the strings that stretch, but your knots and wraps tighten up as well. When I change strings I tune then a step high and pretend my uke is a bow and pull the strings away from the fret board.
I repeat this process a few times, I then strum chords until I hear the strings go flat. I tune the uke sharp again and put it away, when I take it out next if it is flat I tune it up again and strum a while and put it away sharp again.
I repeat the process until it is close to pitch or sharp when I take it out. I can usually get a set of Aquilas settled in a day or two.

harpdog
03-23-2010, 07:37 AM
When I change strings, I leave a tuner clipped on and retune every 5 or 10 minutes for a couple of days.

ceviche
03-23-2010, 11:17 AM
Pre-stretching seems a normal thing with stringed instruments in general. I always have to do that with my guitars whenever they get a new set of strings. Before I figured this out to be a time-saving move, those steel strings would take most of a week to stabilize. Stretching trims things down to a day or two.

How long it takes for my ukulele to shape-up is something I can't answer yet. My KoAloha Soprano still has the original nylon strings from Y2K. Not that much of a need for retuning, but it will drift a touch over 24 hours, due to playing, in-the-case jostling (friction tuners), or large enough changes in temperature.

I do like SailingUke's idea of tuning sharp, after stretching the stings, and leaving sit overnight. If you see yourself playing a gig the following day, that would be a smart thing to do.

--Dave E.

peacepaddler
03-23-2010, 05:52 PM
I've got the same uke. After about a month of playing a couple of hours per day, it settled in really well. Now it's only the A that needs tuning and not much about every other day. I've been told that a major factor is the humidity that your instrument is stored at. I have a friend that keeps all her instruments at 65% and she hardly has to tune them.

scottie
03-23-2010, 11:45 PM
I stretch them after I get them on, tune, and stretch again. (tip - hold the string in the nut slot to avoid possible damage to the string when you tug on it) I like to string instruments in the evening, then they're settled a bit for morning practice. The nylguts settle reasonably quickly.

the52blues
03-24-2010, 02:59 AM
With a new uke or a re-string I like to tune them about a tone higher (i.e. A,D,F#,B since i use G,C,E,A tuning) for a day or so also constantly tuning and stertching. Then when I re-tune to regular tuning it stays in tune better. Apparently the "A" tuning is used quite often by many so it won't hurt the uke to tune it up a tone.

Sambient
03-24-2010, 04:01 AM
I was surprised to find that that Aquilas my husband put on a new uke yesterday seemed to have settled in very quickly. I've never experienced anything like that.

MTGuru
03-24-2010, 04:39 AM
Apparently the "A" tuning is used quite often by many so it won't hurt the uke to tune it up a tone.
That's what is usually called D tuning or D6 tuning - because the open strings form a D6 chord, in root order DFAB. The other tuning is C or C6 tuning, with CEGA in root order.

I'd think some ukes will tolerate the higher tuning better than others, depending on the top, bracing, etc. But for a day or so, probably fine. As you say, it's also a normal tuning anyway.

paraclete
03-24-2010, 07:03 AM
There's an old classical guitar joke... You know it's time to change the strings on a classical guitar when they finally stay in tune.

The last time I changed strings, I did the usual stretching (hold the strings down in front of the nut and tug gently up and side to side). But then I retuned every time I walked past my uke, so I must have retuned about 2 dozen times the first day. Played it like crazy. It settled after about 4 days. Those were Aquilas. Jimi and I discovered that if you take stretched Aquilas off a uke and then put them back on (we put different tuners on his uke), they still take another day or so to settle back in and stop stretching!

gibel
12-12-2011, 11:13 AM
I’m glad I found this thread, I put on new Aquila strings several days ago and was frustrated they would never settle. (Not to mention my wife screaming about “how many times do I have to tune that thing”:mad:)

gyosh
12-12-2011, 11:28 AM
I don't know if I'd be comfortable stretching the strings by "pulling them out." The bridge isn't used to stress from that angle. I "pinch" the strings between my forefinger and thumb and then turn either clockwise or counterclockwise, but I'm careful not to "lift" the strings. It hurts the thumb and forefinger a little, but it's bearable. Then I tune it up and leave it someplace I pass often. With each pass I tune it and give it a few strums. Felt pretty good about myself when Gordon from Mya-Moe described the same process during a workshop!

-Gary

austin1
12-12-2011, 11:47 AM
tune your uke twelve times a day, instead of twelve times a week, and the process will go faster!

mm stan
12-12-2011, 12:05 PM
I don't know if I'd be comfortable stretching the strings by "pulling them out." The bridge isn't used to stress from that angle. I "pinch" the strings between my forefinger and thumb and then turn either clockwise or counterclockwise, but I'm careful not to "lift" the strings. It hurts the thumb and forefinger a little, but it's bearable. Then I tune it up and leave it someplace I pass often. With each pass I tune it and give it a few strums. Felt pretty good about myself when Gordon from Mya-Moe described the same process during a workshop!

-Gary
Your Strings need to break in...means stretch.. I cannot guage by days on how long it takes for the strings to stretch, because everyone is different and the time they play time daily is different..
As for Aquila's...I had some take up to 3 weeks because I didn't play them much...As for the breaking in process...I do not recomment pulling the strings..what I do is ...first after stringing
your uke, I get a clip on chromatic electronic tuner....I personally like cherub WST 550C, http://eu.musicianuniversity.com/Guitars/Cherub-WST-550C-Tuner.html and tune the strings, the I bend each string starting from the top form
side to side 3-4 times ...do all the strings... and repeat the process 3-4 daily before playing.. it should quicken the breaking in process greatly...as for tuning, even with broken in stings I still
make small adjustment whenever I pick up the uke and when it needs it...listen for the pitch or when you play certain riffs..you will notice and hear it off...Good Luck and Happy Strummings..