PDA

View Full Version : E string???



garyg
08-11-2011, 04:28 PM
Why does it seem like the e-string on *all* my ukes is the one that is most difficult to keep in tune? It seems like it's always the first string to go out of tune and always the takes the longest amount of time to "settle" after a string change (I use flourocarbon strings). Is there some physical reason for this, string diameter, arrangement of tuners, etc.? Inquiring minds want to know.

mds725
08-11-2011, 05:41 PM
I believe there's a conspiracy among your ukuleles.

chiefnoda
08-11-2011, 06:39 PM
Why does it seem like the e-string on *all* my ukes is the one that is most difficult to keep in tune?

Hi garyg

They probably belong to the same union.......

Seriously, what size? Are all of your ukuleles of same size? What do you have anyway. Also when do you notice (such as, when I play G chord, the E string sounds off, etc)? How do you tune your E string? By ear? By an elec. tuner (and do you use one single tuner, or do you have several)?

There are many variables, but one possibility that you can hear is (brace yourself - this is nerdy and simpified):

The E string is unique in that it is tuned at 4th fret of C string (theoretically, the E string is minor 3rd above C), and that interval makes it sound off-tune in certain chords. This arises from the well-temperament of a diatonic scale which is designed to sound "nearly in-tune" for all notes in all keys. Unfortunately, "nearly for every note" is not "perfectly in tune all the time". You may notice that an open Am chord (2000) sounds in tune but an open A major chord (2100) sounds off. That is possibly due to the well-temperament (versus the perfect temperament). Keep in mind this has nothing to do with mechanical intonation of ukulele or anharmonicity (deviation from the ideal string theory) (too nerdy)

Cheers
Chief

Brad Bordessa
08-11-2011, 07:13 PM
The E string is unique in that it is tuned at 4th fret of C string (theoretically, the E string is minor 3rd above C), and that interval makes it sound off-tune in certain chords. This arises from the well-temperament of a diatonic scale which is designed to sound "nearly in-tune" for all notes in all keys. Unfortunately, "nearly for every note" is not "perfectly in tune all the time". You may notice that an open Am chord (2000) sounds in tune but an open A major chord (2100) sounds off. That is possibly due to the well-temperament (versus the perfect temperament). Keep in mind this has nothing to do with mechanical intonation of ukulele or anharmonicity (deviation from the ideal string theory) (too nerdy)

Brilliant. That makes sense.

My E string doesn't go out of tune on me very much, but getting it there is tough.

garyg
08-14-2011, 02:23 PM
Wow, I love this list! Okay Chief, I have all soprano's and they're all good quality ukes but the E string problem isn't common to all of them but to more than one. I use those little battery operated tuners and I have more than one. Some of my problems are typical vintage uke problems, like I have a 30's Gretsch and the E tuner is starting to go so that's why it goes out of tune on that uke, but I also have a KoAloha Pikake and the E string goes out of tune most frequently on that uke too. I have noticed that "slightly out of tune" on some chords that you mention - great explanation btw. The e-string also is the most common out of tune string on my 40's Martin 1M too. It just seemed like maybe there was something about the e - string (I keep wanting to write g-string but of course that's another story) itself that caused it to go out of tune more frequently than the other strings but it seems like that's not the case. Thanks again, g2

Hippie Dribble
08-14-2011, 03:09 PM
Great thread Gary. Thanks so much for that info Chief. I'd also recommend getting yourself a top notch chromatic tuner Gary. I have a great one that doesn't give you any peace until it's dead on. It won't let you even be 1 or 2 cents sharp or flat. Some standard tuners will say it's in tune when it's just a whisker off...

garyg
08-14-2011, 03:16 PM
Thanks Jon, I hope that all is well with you! cheers, g2

Ukulele Etc.
08-14-2011, 04:57 PM
I have that same problem with my lanikai and my eleuke! Weird.

dawhealer
08-14-2011, 10:36 PM
The solution is easy. You need more ukes. I have my father-in-law's old early 1960s Silvertone/Harmony soprano uke. All solid mahogany. I probably went through three or four sets of strings (Martin crystal, Martin fluorocarbon, a couple sets of Aquilas) before I realized that I didn't have a wolf note on the E string, but that I just needed to let the strings settle in. Before they settle in the E string is annoyingly louder than the other strings if played open, but fine when fretted. So after restringing it with Aquilas and letting it just sit and mellow for a couple of weeks, it sounds great. Balanced, loud, good tone. I also have a Lanikai concert which came with Aquilas and which I haven't changed yet (they probably settled in when it was in the store), and a Mitchell. The Mitchell had Martin crystals on it when I got it and they're not my fave string, so I restrung it with Aquilas. Had a LITTLE bit of the same problem with the E string, but only for a few days. Probably the difference between the solid top on the Silvertone (which is VERY responsive) and the laminated top on the Mitchell.

The strings on all three of my ukes are settled in and life is good.

I should have figured this out early on. I've played classical guitar for decades and would NEVER think of changing out the strings on my three classicals at the same time. It's the nature of nylon strings I think.

More than one uke, stagger string changes so that they're a couple of weeks apart, and you should be ok. Hey, it's a good justification for UAS. :p

I use a tiny little Planet Waves tuner that is sensitive as hell. Has a zero tolerance policy for sharp or flat. I also had a little trouble with the friction tuners on the Silvertone so I changed to gold-finish, geared Grover tuners from Stew-Mac. Tuning is now VERY accurate and the tuners look just fine.

kissing
08-14-2011, 11:41 PM
Ha! My E strings are fine :P

dawhealer
08-15-2011, 03:44 AM
Ha! My E strings are fine :P

Kissing, I think you just helped make my case for more ukes. :o