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ukecantdothat
08-27-2010, 10:50 AM
So there I am at our summer-long gig at the San Diego Zoo, and it happened. Between sets, and inside its case, a string breaks. I was hoping to make it thru the summer on the same set of Alvarez, but there it was. The problem here was, we were about to start the next set, always at the top of the hour, NO DELAYS. It was the A string, and I considered just muddling thru on three strings. At least there was no space between, like if it were the E string missing, and then change the string on the next break and stretch it out well.

I always carry a spare set of new strings, but then it occurred to me, hey I also have a used set, "pre-stretched" as it were. I quickly grabbed an A and tied it off at the bridge. With about one minute until the down beat, I wound it around the peg. Doh! I had no peg winder! Where was it? No time to search, so I hand-wound the geared tuner faster that anything. I nodded to Greg who counted off the tune ("In The Summertime" by Mongo Jerry... not rocket science...) It was still far from in tune but getting there, so I played the first three strings and, where I could, kept sneaking in a few cranks while holding the second chord for a measure. By the second verse I pulled back on my volume pedal to zero and quickly finished tuning. I tuned a bit sharp and stretched it down to pitch by pulling back and forth. To my amazement it stayed in perfect tune for the rest of the evening. Whew!

Sorry about the long set up to this question, but wouldn't it be nice if new strings came "pre-stretched?" And a reminder: Never toss your used strings. They could come in handy one day!

Graymalkin
08-27-2010, 10:56 AM
A thought I had the other day - is there any reason why you can't tie your new strings to (say) a coat hanger, attach appropriate weights to the other end, and leave them for a day or two before restringing?

Probably, but hey...

ukecantdothat
08-27-2010, 11:06 AM
A thought I had the other day - is there any reason why you can't tie your new strings to (say) a coat hanger, attach appropriate weights to the other end, and leave them for a day or two before restringing?

Probably, but hey...I like your idea, as a truly pre-stretched newbie is preferable to an oldie, tonally speaking, even though I'm a firm supporter of recycling!

Good one, mate!

AzMichael
08-27-2010, 11:44 AM
Way back when I used to flyfish, we pre-stretched our monofilament leaders before tying them to the end of the line. Trick was to keep a piece of bicycle innertube in your fishing vest. Cut a 1" length of tube, then cut that circle open. If you ran that fishing line squeezed inside the piece of rubber two or three times, it took all the loops and most of the stretch out.

I've wondered about trying that on a set uke stings...maybe this weekend. (Changing two four string ukes and one 6 string...)

~Michael

ukecantdothat
08-27-2010, 12:08 PM
Way back when I used to flyfish, we pre-stretched our monofilament leaders before tying them to the end of the line. Trick was to keep a piece of bicycle innertube in your fishing vest. Cut a 1" length of tube, then cut that circle open. If you ran that fishing line squeezed inside the piece of rubber two or three times, it took all the loops and most of the stretch out.

I've wondered about trying that on a set uke stings...maybe this weekend. (Changing two four string ukes and one 6 string...)

~Michael

Leave it to a fly fisherman to figure that out (I confess I'm having trouble visualising it...). Try it on one and compare with the other. After you do the stretch, you could compare the lengths of the unstretched strings and see if it's indeed longer.

Sounds like another good one. Thanks!

Brad Bordessa
08-27-2010, 04:25 PM
I see the optimism in a pre-stretched string, but unless you were superman, I think you'd still be fighting the slack left from the tuning pegs.

Has anyone tried locking tuners? Those would probably fix the problem very nicely.

cletus
08-27-2010, 04:39 PM
So there I am at our summer-long gig at the San Diego Zoo, and it happened. Between sets, and inside its case, a string breaks.The problem here was, we were about to start the next set, always at the top of the hour, NO DELAYS.


Very impressive coping skills! The show must go on and you handled your business like a trouper.

If you didn't get a standing ovation, I'm giving you one. Cheers!

itsme
08-27-2010, 05:11 PM
I always carry a spare set of new strings, but then it occurred to me, hey I also have a used set, "pre-stretched" as it were. I quickly grabbed an A and tied it off at the bridge. With about one minute until the down beat, I wound it around the peg. Doh! I had no peg winder! Where was it? No time to search, so I hand-wound the geared tuner faster that anything.

...And a reminder: Never toss your used strings. They could come in handy one day!
Good idea! I do unwind and save my used strings, usually because I've been experimenting with different ones and the old ones are still good and could just come in handy, like you noted. :)

As far as not having a peg winder, well, the plastic ones are pretty cheap (only a buck or two) so I recommend buying enough of them to keep one in each case, just in case you need it.

TCK
08-27-2010, 09:39 PM
I have read that if you loosen the strings (and this may be just Nylgut) that the break in process starts all over again...not sure if there is any truth to that. After getting the "Uke Bug" three weeks ago, obtaining two ukes and restringing three, and suffering through break in- I will never do them all at the same time again. Fortunately my tenor came online within three days and I can really play it while the sopranos think about where they want to be.

wromble
08-27-2010, 10:36 PM
Isn't there another problem ?

Ok, I imagine you pre-stretch strings by hanging them with a 10lbs weight at the end. You get pre-stretched strings.

But when you mount them, doesn't it take some time for the knot at one end and for the roll around the peg to take their definitive place ?

In other words, is the regular detuning of new strings only due to plastic stretching or also to the time for the strings to reach their definitive place ?

(hope I'm not too stupid in this case :) )

Graymalkin
08-28-2010, 03:15 AM
Isn't there another problem...when you mount them, doesn't it take some time for the knot at one end and for the roll around the peg to take their definitive place?

Absolutely - I'd just wondered if stretching them first would take one of the problems out of the equation and minimise the settling time. And, as I say, it's not something I've actually tried, I'd just wondered if it could help.

No idea what weight would be appropriate, mind you!

cjensen91910
08-28-2010, 05:13 AM
Just finished reinstall of strings on mine. Same strings I removed for pickup install. They still stretch, just not quite as much. Might save a little time. Get an electric screwdriver and a peg winder. Winds them down or up pretty fast.

ukecantdothat
08-28-2010, 08:56 AM
Isn't there another problem ?

Ok, I imagine you pre-stretch strings by hanging them with a 10lbs weight at the end. You get pre-stretched strings.

But when you mount them, doesn't it take some time for the knot at one end and for the roll around the peg to take their definitive place ?

In other words, is the regular detuning of new strings only due to plastic stretching or also to the time for the strings to reach their definitive place ?

(hope I'm not too stupid in this case :) )

The set I've had on all summer really settled in, very minor changes. As time goes by, you find that the number of winds around the peg increases. I start with one tight wind when I first mount it and end up with three to five by the time it reaches the end of its useful life. And, no, you're not stupid!

ukecantdothat
08-28-2010, 09:03 AM
Very impressive coping skills! The show must go on and you handled your business like a trouper.

If you didn't get a standing ovation, I'm giving you one. Cheers!

Thanks, I'll take it! Fortunately, I got no ovation or notice whatsoever, which in this case was a good thing. As a guitarist, of course, I'm used to string breaks, so I usually have another guitar on hand in that event, and just get through the song with the broken string in the meantime. We've all had that happen. But I only have one uke with a pickup right now. Hopefully that will change soon...

Dibblet
08-28-2010, 12:34 PM
I f you look here http://www.ukulelecosmos.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=18794&p=218946&hilit=nylgut+stretch#p218946 you will see a post by mimmo from aquila that explains that the new aquila strings are in actuality pre stretched.

ukecantdothat
08-28-2010, 05:29 PM
I f you look here http://www.ukulelecosmos.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=18794&p=218946&hilit=nylgut+stretch#p218946 you will see a post by mimmo from aquila that explains that the new aquila strings are in actuality pre stretched.

Interesting. If that's the case, I've found that they have as much of a setting in period as any other strings I've used, maybe less, it's hard to remember now... Another comparison experiment is in order, I believe. I certainly couldn't have pulled off that broken string trick using a new Aquila. I'm not kidding. The used string tuned up and stayed tuned up like it had been on the uke for months (which it had been once).