PDA

View Full Version : how often do you change strings?



mentalfloss
08-05-2008, 09:31 AM
Just a novice uke question....how often do you change strings on your uke?
I have hilo low g on my tenor if that makes a difference.

NotoriousMOK
08-05-2008, 11:40 AM
While I've seen people swapping strings in as little as two to three months, I play mine until I just can't tune them anymore, which so far has taken about a year. For me, the Hilo's just were not a good match for me. I tried and liked the Aquilas for a couple years, and now I'm using Worths.

My ears are probably not as sensitive as others, so this may be a difference. If it sounds good to YOU, play 'em til they melt!

Lanark
08-06-2008, 01:04 AM
There really seems to be no hard and fast rule for ukulele string changing. Kind of up to personal preference depending on how much you play.
I'm one of those every couple months kind of string changer. I play almost daily and there just comes a day when the strings kind of lose their luster to my ears. Then I change them. YMMV.
I've also been experimenting a bit with different strings a little bit. You get pretty different sounds depending on the brand. (MGM has multi-brand sampler packs you can get) I liked the Hilos on one of my ukes quite a lot, but recently switched it back to Aquilas again. The Aquilas have a much sharper attack for fingerpicking, but the Hilos had a much sweeter strumming sound.

Keonikapila
08-06-2008, 08:41 AM
I usually change strings every month-and-a-half to 2 months (at the most).

tuscadero
08-11-2008, 11:24 AM
If you swap out your strings to try and find what you like and you're not pleased, can you put your old ones back on, or are they ruined one you take them off?

Guting
08-11-2008, 12:50 PM
till they break, I still got a 2 year old E on mine.

SamJ1206
08-12-2008, 12:18 AM
i play mine for hours everyday and ive had strings on mine for about a year, and mien are still going strong. i did change them once, but i found the sound wasnt what it was with the old strungs so i changed them back. so i would change them when you have to, asin they snap or wont tune, or you dont liek the sound

nalini6
12-07-2016, 01:55 AM
Hi everyone,

I know this is a very old thread, but I'm wondering if anyone can share their experience on changing tone/volume and even string tension with time? I've been playing several hours per day for only about 2.5 months on a set of nylon strings (using the top three strings from a Thomasik Infeld set) on my mango tenor. I've noticed just in the past week that the string tension seems to feel lower, as if the strings have become floppier (but they are still holding their pitch). There is a small amount of stretch visible near the nut from the act of tuning, which I think is pretty normal for nylon strings. But, oddly, from a playability perspective, it almost feels to me like the action of my uke has lowered (hence the impression of "floppiness").

Another factor that may be coming into play is that winter has definitely set in here, and it's really dry. I keep an Oasis humidifier in my soundhole with the uke it its case whenever I'm not playing, but it is still exposed to very dry conditions in the room (only about 30% humidity) when I'm playing it. So for 3 or 4 hours per day it is in a very dry room. Could this be impacting everything?

I will change the strings and see, but I'd love to know if anyone has experience of this "dulling" of sound over time. I'm assuming fluorocarbon strings are more resistant to these external factors. But having tried Oasis, Worth browns, and Aquilas (reds and white nylguts), as well as the Ko'olau strings and d'Addario titaniums, I still come back to these nylons and just rejoice at the beauty of their sound and their ability to respond to changing dynamics so well. That said, I'd love to discover a less expensive, more resilient alternative that still sings to me.

I'd love to know if these end-of-life issues are normal. I've only been playing ukulele for about 8 months, so I don't have enough experience yet to know if this is common.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

zztush
12-07-2016, 02:15 AM
It is very subjective issue. I changed strings after one and a half year. The old strings had still no problem at that time. But the difference was so big and I am very happy with new strings. I decided that I will change my strings at least evry 6 month. I play about a couple of hours a day.

Reno Dave
12-07-2016, 04:45 AM
I had this very same question (how often should I change my strings?) as a beginner 14 years ago. I did get many different responses as well. I play nearly everyday for at least 2 hrs. sometimes longer (during the local and nightly news hours) so I put in a lot of time. For me, I have several parameters that tell me it time for a string change.

1) they start sounding dull, not as bright and crisp
2) The strings don't have or are loosing proper intonation

Theses things mentioned above and combined playing time generally indicate to me a string change is required every two months. I buy my strings in bulk.

nalini6
12-09-2016, 06:16 PM
Hi zztush and Reno Dave. Thanks so much for your replies. I guess I'm in for an expensive time! I will look into ordering in bulk, not sure if I can on the Thomastiks... Many thanks for your advice and insights.

JackLuis
12-09-2016, 10:24 PM
I change strings to try them. I don't think I have ever worn out a set i the 2 years I've been playing uke. I have one Tenor that has had the same stings for at least ten months. They are Fremont Blacklines and I like them, but I may change them out , just because I can afford a new set, or because I have lots of sets I've removed. I'm debating that now. I don't consider changing stings to be a major job though.

I'm trying a set of GHS Bari-tenors now and waiting for them to settle down before I pronounce judgement.

Rllink
12-10-2016, 07:24 AM
At first I thought that this thread was about wearing out strings. I was going to say that I used to change them more often than I do now. Now I change them when I feel like it, and I haven't felt like it for a long time. But then I got to thinking that maybe it was how often I change brands and types strings, and for me that would be never. I've been using Aquila Nylgut strings since my first uke, and I've never used anything else.

Down Up Dick
12-10-2016, 07:54 AM
I agree with Rllink wholeheartedly. I also use only Aquila Nylguts, however I did stop using the reds. I usta keep track of when I'd changed 'em, but I don't any more.

If and when I get to where my Uke music sounds acceptable, maybe I'll start experimenting with other strings. :old:

Rllink
12-10-2016, 08:10 AM
I agree with Rllink wholeheartedly. I also use only Aquila Nylguts, however I did stop using the reds. I usta keep track of when I'd changed 'em, but I don't any more.

If and when I get to where my Uke music sounds acceptable, maybe I'll start experimenting with other strings. :old:

Well, you know because you were there, but several years ago the Aquila Nylgut was the wonder string. They made a cheap uke sound good, and a good uke sound better. People were saying, "I put Aquila Nylguts on my ukulele and it changed my life." I couldn't wait for those old black strings to wear out so that I could put the Nylguts on my new uke. So I bought maybe ten or twelve sets of them on sale. I'm still working on that pile.

JackLuis
12-10-2016, 03:31 PM
Well I for one, don't care for Aquila Nylguts. To me they sound brash and I prefer fluorocarbons or what ever PhDs are made of. I do like to sound of Aquila Reds but can't get them to last more than a couple of weeks. However that's what keeps the world turning I guess. I haven't tried the Lavas but with seven sets of Nylguts in reserve (take offs) I'll probably end up playing Nylguts some time when I'm broke.

strumsilly
12-10-2016, 03:53 PM
I replace the wound ones when they start to unwind, and the solids when you can start really feeling the wear on the underside of the strings. or whenever I want to try new strings.

Down Up Dick
12-10-2016, 03:53 PM
Well, JackLuis, different strums for different thumbs. You use what makes tones sound just right, and I'll study my tunes with all my might.

I wonder what great singers quibble about . . . :old:

Rllink
12-10-2016, 05:00 PM
Well I for one, don't care for Aquila Nylguts. To me they sound brash and I prefer fluorocarbons or what ever PhDs are made of. I do like to sound of Aquila Reds but can't get them to last more than a couple of weeks. However that's what keeps the world turning I guess. I haven't tried the Lavas but with seven sets of Nylguts in reserve (take offs) I'll probably end up playing Nylguts some time when I'm broke.Of course you don't like them. They are too passe'. ;) But there was a time where they were quite fashionable.

Mivo
12-10-2016, 05:36 PM
Well I for one, don't care for Aquila Nylguts. To me they sound brash and I prefer fluorocarbons ...

To my ears, Aquila Nylguts sound full and perhaps a little muddy, definitely warmer/mellower than fluorocarbon strings, which I would say sound "colder". Then again, it also (and maybe mostly) depends on the instrument. My vintage soprano definitely sounds best, by far, in Aquila d-tuning Nylguts (U33), and it's not a cheap or overbuilt ukulele (it's in fact lighter than my Kiwaya/Famous FS-5G). I like fluorocarbon strings on my Black Bear soprano, but only in C tuning. In D tuning it sounds far better with Nylguts also. My Barron River tenor was built and set up for Worth strings, so I keep using them. Sounded really good with Reds, but they were thicker and threw off the intonation.

I usually replace strings when I feel like it. Either because it's been a few months or because I want to try something else. I moved beyond the "trying out strings" phase, though. Did that for a while, was rather costly, and I have gained a good idea what strings I like on which uke (using flourocarbon, nylon (if that is what Titaniums are), and nylgut). I now just look for grooves under the strings and would replace strings if I find any.

Rllink
12-11-2016, 04:34 AM
The one thing about changing strings for me is the time that it takes them to settle in. I like it if I can just grab up my ukulele and start playing when the opportunity comes up. No one wants to sit around waiting for me while I'm constantly tuning up my ukulele. So for that reason I have become hesitant to change them out. I've got to have a ukulele that is ready to play.

Axelband
12-11-2016, 05:25 AM
New strings are a pain in the ass for the first couple of weeks so I don't change them too often. When I first tried a low G setup, I got Aquilas. The wound G was a piece of crap. It had big cuts in it in like here weeks. I took it to the shop and they replaced just that one string with a classical guitar D string and it's held up well for months.

JackLuis
12-11-2016, 07:18 AM
It might be that my Zebra wood laminates don't sound as good with Aquilas as with Fluorocarbons? Or maybe my hearing isn't the best (understatement) but Hey! Play what suits you guys and gals. I change strings mostly to experiment. If I had Trump's money I'd play more expensive Ukes, but being financially challenged, and only 20 months into this hobby I play what I've found to be best in my humble opinion.

I agree with the folks who find new stings to be tedious. I have several ukes so I always have something to play in tune. I shift from C6 to G6 tuning many times a week, right now I'm experimenting with a Spruce topped Tenor in dGBE which has a whole different voice than my Zebras. I've, so far tried two different string sets and have four more types to try to find a set that fits it's voice. That may take more that a couple of weeks.

Mivo
12-11-2016, 09:30 AM
The one thing about changing strings for me is the time that it takes them to settle in.

That's one of the advantages of having more than one!

With some bridge types restringing is also a little tedious, making it less tempting to change strings all the time. The Black Bear soprano has a string-through bridge. I like the idea behind it, but it's a pain in the back to replace strings since you have to fish the ends out of the sound hole. Sometimes this works really well, and other times you twist and turn the strings endlessly. (There are probably tools to make this easier.) The Kanile'a guitarlele I had for a while (sold it eventually and am buying a short scale guitar at a third of the price) had really tight bridge pins and I sweated water and blood when I pulled them out. Eventually got a tool for that, but still worried about pulling too much on the top.

chainyanker
12-11-2016, 05:26 PM
Sorry so late to give my two cents, but I had to do some serous pondering on this. And after carefully calculating over my last few times of changing my string, and you may repeat what I say if you like."as often as you need to"

zztush
12-11-2016, 08:28 PM
I think the link below is the very good thread for this topic.

3-year-old-vs-new-fluorocarbon-strings-sound-comparison (http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?124491-3-year-old-vs-new-fluorocarbon-strings-sound-comparison)

I really change my mind when I change my strings. I will keep them at least one year or two.

Choirguy
12-12-2016, 04:55 PM
I am in the process of changing every string in our program to the new KIDS strings, for instructional purposes. It is amazing how fast I have become in the process now that I have changed over 100 sets of strings! You can see my thread on those strings elsewhere.

This evening, I grabbed my "old" Makala CE (purchased January 2016, my oldest ukulele), and played it for a while. I simply wasn't enjoying the Aquila Super Nylguts that were on it, and had a pack of Martin 600s around, so I changed my strings. It is like having a whole new instrument.

I'm not going to get into string wars, but I have found that I am a fluorocarbon guy. I love the colored Aquilas for my students--for educational purposes, but for my ukuleles, I like the Martins, which I understand are very plain fluorocarbons. I do need to find out what other full fluorocarbon solutions there are for my Opio, which comes with the stock KoAloha. Nothing wrong with the stock strings...but replacements from the company are $8 plus shipping where the Martins can be purchased for less than $6, shipped.

At any rate, I'm changing strings right now because of preference versus need. My Rye Rabbits on my Outdoor Ukulele didn't last long before one of them frayed and broke--so there are Martin 620s on that ukulele right now.

Thank goodness strings are so (relatively) inexpensive.

Mivo
12-12-2016, 05:07 PM
I do need to find out what other full fluorocarbon solutions there are for my Opio, which comes with the stock K

The Worth Clears (CT) are the closest to the KoAloha stock strings. I feel they are identical, but this has been a point of argument. In any event, everyone agrees that they are at least very close, if not identical.

I like the CTs on my tenor. It originally came with Browns (the builder favors them) and I felt there were a little warmer than I liked on the instrument, though that may also have been a perception influenced by the color. I do like the Martin strings, but the C string is substantially thicker than the C from the Worth CT set, which makes it more thuddy. Worth strings are double-length, so a pack is good for two re-stringings. There are other Worth types, with more or less tension than the CT (medium) set.

Choirguy
12-12-2016, 05:22 PM
Are the Worth CT available in Low G? That's what my Opio came with.

Mivo
12-12-2016, 05:27 PM
Yes, the CT are available with either a high-G or a low-G, both unwound. When I used low-G, I preferred the wound Fremont Soloist low-G string (sold as singles), though. It fit very well with the other three strings from the CT set. But if you are used to the unwound low-G, the unwound Worth will be the same (or nearly the same - would actually be interested in whether you think the are the same, if you get a set).