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View Full Version : do you notice one string needing retuning more than the others?



australe
11-24-2011, 05:31 AM
So obviously I'm new at this, actually I just brought home my first uke yesterday. Its a Lanikai LU-22 CFM for reference.
I noticed that with it tuned to g-c-e-a the g, e, and a strings seem to be staying pretty consistent and the C string twice now needed to be loosened to bring it back into tune. The Lanikai Ukes, as you may know come with aquila strings already on them. Does this seem off to anyone that the string would tighten itself up? I would think that they would relax with play.

roxhum
11-24-2011, 05:41 AM
It seems I used to find the a string needing tuning the most. But not anymore.... Maybe some strings take a little longer to stretch out. Maybe depending on the way we play determines what gets broken in the fastest. Just a thought. Once broken in I rarely need to tune my strings.

gokidd
11-24-2011, 05:49 AM
Welcome and congratulations on your new ukulele! If it were me, I'd continue to monitor the strings for the next few days before taking action. Let those strings and your new instrument get to know their new home and humidity. Then, if the very same symptom continues with your C string, the width of that slot in the nut might be slightly too tight for the string. Happy Thanksgiving!

australe
11-24-2011, 01:48 PM
Thanks for the thoughts, Ill keep an eye on it over the next few days. It makes sense that its going to need to get used to the new environment. The music shop actually had all of them in a climate controlled room, so between our house being a little colder, and the fishtanks I'm sure that could make a difference with this uke. Though I would think that might effect all of the strings and not just the thickest... I dunno, we shall see :)
I'm open for more ideas if anyone has them

willisoften
11-24-2011, 02:07 PM
C strings take longer to stretch and will need retuned more frequently when new. Once stretched they seem to need less tweaking than other strings. If the instruments set up is such that the C sits particularly high, then it will be strummed a little harder than other strings (struck more positively) this will either sound out of tune, though it isn't or actually cause it to go out of tune quicker. Might need to get it looked at.

australe
11-24-2011, 02:15 PM
I totally get that the C string would take longer to break in since it is thicker... but does it make sense that I have to loosen it instead of tightening it? I don't really consider it a serious issue yet... I've only played around with it for 2 days so far. Who knows, the temperature change overnight could of made it "grumpy"

Big_e
11-25-2011, 09:23 AM
That is strange. I would loosen that C string completely slack overnight and the next morning tune it up to pitch.

When I put new strings on my ukes (and I put new ones on as soon as the uke gets home!), before I put a string on, I wrap the ends around my 3 fingers and give it 2-3 gentle tugs. This gets some of the stretch and play out of them and them I install them on my uke. If the string hurts your fingers as you tug then you are tugging too hard! Just 2-3 gentle tugs then install each string.
Ernest

Kitters
11-25-2011, 09:27 AM
Then, if the very same symptom continues with your C string, the width of that slot in the nut might be slightly too tight for the string.

I suspect this might play a part with my Dolphin at least. I often find I need to gently pull the C string a little and then it is back in tune. Of course it might be some of the other reasons mentioned here. My Risa Solid is a pain to tune anyways (although the geared tuners are okay), sometimes it's almost in tune but sometimes I could spend an hour trying to tune it. There's no difference between different strings there. My Mainland is different from my other ukes, almost always in tune straight out of the case!

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
11-25-2011, 09:52 AM
I've noticed that same issue on a new Makala. I tune up the (still fairly new) strings, after a minute or two of playing, the C-string and the E-string go a little sharp. I've been thinking the tuning machines are to blame. Maybe the tuning machines are a little "slow"?

australe
11-25-2011, 11:50 AM
Haha... I suppose my tuning machine could be a little slow ;)

I'll try that loosening the C string up tonight and reset it in the morning... The other 3 strings seem to stay pretty consistent, though they change a little bit overnight too. I'm not a real fan of this tuner, it's my husbands, I think soon I'll be investing in a clip on tuner soon. I'm still having a blast with this uke in the meantime, been spending the day repeating twinkle twinkle over and over again... my one and a half year old son sure likes it :)

Blrfl
11-25-2011, 12:10 PM
Does this seem off to anyone that the string would tighten itself up?

The usual cause of strings going sharp is a change in friction between the string and the slot in the nut. When you tune up, you're using the tuning peg to pull the part of the string you play to the right tension to make the note you're after. Sometimes when the nut grabs the string, not all of the pull from the peghead side gets transferred across the nut. Over time, the extra pull from the tuning machines overcomes the stiction and the string's tension equalizes across both sides. Where it was in tune earlier, there's now more tension on the bridge side of the nut and the pitch increases.

Some of that will get better as time passes; you have a new instrument with new strings, and new stuff tends to misbehave. If you find a sharp string, pluck it and apply just enough pressure to it behind the nut that you hear the pitch change. Doing this a few times will help break the string loose and make sure you don't put too much tension on it.

--Mark

Big_e
11-25-2011, 12:17 PM
Blrfl beat me to it.


I've noticed that same issue on a new Makala. I tune up the (still fairly new) strings, after a minute or two of playing, the C-string and the E-string go a little sharp. I've been thinking the tuning machines are to blame. Maybe the tuning machines are a little "slow"?

I bought me the same Lanikai Lu-22 as Australe 3 weeks ago. It uses basic closed tuning gears. While it is top of the line for Lanikai, they aren't that fine toothed to be slow. If the string don't settle down overnight, Australe's C string may be sticking at the nut. She turns the tuning gear to get the string tuned and when it finally unsticks, she ends up with a C sharp or worse.
Ernest

PS: Now that I think about it, seems there was a discussion thread here about Makalas and the string slots on their nuts being too narrow and Aquilas getting stuck in them. My Lanikai LU-22 came with Aquilas and I didn't notice any problems the first/ last hour that they were on. Aquilas are way too thick for me so I changed them for Martin Flouracarbons.

australe
11-26-2011, 03:53 AM
Blrfl beat me to it.



I bought me the same Lanikai Lu-22 as Australe 3 weeks ago. It uses basic closed tuning gears. While it is top of the line for Lanikai, they aren't that fine toothed to be slow. If the string don't settle down overnight, Australe's C string may be sticking at the nut. She turns the tuning gear to get the string tuned and when it finally unsticks, she ends up with a C sharp or worse.
Ernest

PS: Now that I think about it, seems there was a discussion thread here about Makalas and the string slots on their nuts being too narrow and Aquilas getting stuck in them. My Lanikai LU-22 came with Aquilas and I didn't notice any problems the first/ last hour that they were on. Aquilas are way too thick for me so I changed them for Martin Flouracarbons.

Okay... so as was recommended to me in an earlier post I completely loosened up the C string last night before bed, now I don't know HOW tight is too tight for the nuts, but I could very easily take that string out of the nut and replace it. I retuned it this morning and I'm letting it rest for a little while before I play with it again. If the nut were too small would it try to grab the string a bit when I was "plucking" it out of the nut? It very easily came out, of course I do understand that there could be a difference when its actually tight. Noticed a HUGE difference on how much I needed to turn the peg to tune it... then a couple minutes later tuned again... well then it went out of tune again, I'm just assuming its the strings relaxing since the note is going flat.
Here's my theory about possibly why the string was going sharp, correct me if you think there is no way this is possible... a string that is over tightened, way too much, then loosened up to a C, once it gets a chance to sit will go sharp? I tried telling hubby that but I think he had a hard time wrapping his head around it. We had over tightened the string by accident while trying to tune it one of the first times. I'm hoping letting that string rest over night will solve this.

BTW Big_E Did you know that Lanikai is currently offering two free sets of Aquila strings to new purchases at authorized retailers if they were bought between Oct (I forget the exact date) and Dec 31st? I know you said you use different strings, but they are FREE and you could always resell them as it seems many people prefer Aquila strings. They didn't even need money for shipping. You can find the voucher on their website.

Blrfl
11-26-2011, 06:48 AM
Noticed a HUGE difference on how much I needed to turn the peg to tune it... then a couple minutes later tuned again... well then it went out of tune again, I'm just assuming its the strings relaxing since the note is going flat.

New strings stretch out as you play and have to be tuned more frequently. You can accelerate the process of getting to the point where playing doesn't have as much effect by stretching them, as Mike shows in this video:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tD2kZO_Tc0

Notice how the strings go flat after they've been stretched? That's because once they're stretched, there's less tension overall and you have to apply more tension to bring them back up to pitch.


Here's my theory about possibly why the string was going sharp, correct me if you think there is no way this is possible... a string that is over tightened, way too much, then loosened up to a C, once it gets a chance to sit will go sharp?

Once a string has been stretched, it doesn't un-stretch. Something external, like the string slipping in the nut or applying more tension with the tuner, has to add tension for a string to go sharp. The laws of physics don't allow it to work any other way.

Side note: Despite being labeled as, say, E, strings don't have an inherent pitch. Pitch is determined by a combination of the scale length of the instrument, the string's composition (e.g., steel or nylon), construction (e.g., plain or wound), diameter and how much tension you put on it. For each string and scale length combination, there's exactly one level of tension that will result in a particular pitch. Add more tension and the string goes sharp; reduce it and the string goes flat. As a string stretches, you have to wind more of it onto the tuner before it will pull to the right level of tension, but it will eventually get there or fail in the process if too much stretching has weakened it.

Bottom line: What you're experiencing isn't a problem, it's just something that happens with new strings. Get yours properly broken in and it will go away.

--Mark

mm stan
11-26-2011, 07:48 AM
You say the strings go up in tune....that is not the streching or breaking in process..I notice with my ukes on cold nights all my string go up +10

Big_e
11-26-2011, 11:09 AM
BTW Big_E Did you know that Lanikai is currently offering two free sets of Aquila strings to new purchases at authorized retailers if they were bought between Oct (I forget the exact date) and Dec 31st? I know you said you use different strings, but they are FREE and you could always resell them as it seems many people prefer Aquila strings. They didn't even need money for shipping. You can find the voucher on their website.

Thanks for that. I looked into that but looks like Guitar Center isn't listed as a participating store? I refuse to order any instrument online anymore since I want to test an instrument first and like to walk out of the store with it right then.
I've been lucky with online purchases for awhile but the last two instruments (a ukulele and a recorder) were duds and I suspect one got damaged during transit.

To your problem, if your string didn't settle down by now then, as Blrfl said, it seems your C string is getting stuck in the slot at the nut. Right here:

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b396/Gordo_Ruckus/Foo/lu.jpg

As you tune up and the string tightens, it will stick in that tiny slot. Finally it slips and you end up with an overly tightened string. As Blrfl said, let the string and the slot get broken in to each other. Your one other option is some minor surgery which I wouldn't recommend on a nice uke like the LU-22!
Ernest

Nickie
11-26-2011, 01:06 PM
My new Kala stays in tune much better than my Cordoba. 'Course, the Kala cost a lot more.

FlyedPiper
11-26-2011, 02:49 PM
Yeah, some strings have higher tension and thickness than others. I would try stretching them by hand a little as shown in the video above. Helps shorten the break-in period.

I've had my Flea for a month or so now and the strings are just now starting to settle in. I wished I would have stretched them a little more when I got it... constant retuning with friction peg tuners is lame.

australe
11-27-2011, 10:16 AM
Your one other option is some minor surgery which I wouldn't recommend on a nice uke like the LU-22!
Ernest

I would in no way be comfortable doing any surgery to her at this point, I don't know enough about them. And thanks for the sweet comment calling my LU-22 a nice uke, it made me feel good. <3

Well I did what I said in a previous... loosened the string completely up overnight and brought it back into tune in the morning... a few times... It seems to be holding a tune more consistently now. I didn't really figure this was a serious problem, but thank you all so much for your input!

ProfChris
11-27-2011, 11:44 AM
It's not a problem, and to be honest you should want to re-tune every time you play. Any reasonably decent uke is made out of such thin wood that it will move around as the climate changes, and that will require the tuning to be tweaked.

As an example I own a 1920s Kumalae which weighs only 220 gm (just under 8 oz), and I recently made a mahogany soprano which comes in at 280 gm. For each of these, if I tune them and then play the uke for 2 minutes, the tuning goes out, because the wood is moving just from the heat of my body. Solution - cuddle the uke for 2 mins, then tune.

australe
11-27-2011, 04:37 PM
Thanks I'll keep that in mind... I'm sure that this uke is changing some with being in a new environment too... it went from a climate controlled room to our house, which has 3 fish tanks and not a steady temp this time of year... Delaware is still getting pretty warm during the day and pretty cool at night...

australe
12-10-2011, 04:23 AM
I wanted to come back to this and let anyone who may be interested know that my uke is holding its tune very well now, the C string is just as stable as the other three :) Thanks so much for everyone's help!

Mauimaster
12-12-2011, 12:49 PM
I had this problem with my ukulele. After I played it for about a week, the issue stopped. I think that your C string just needs to be broken in.

mm stan
12-12-2011, 01:53 PM
I had this problem with my ukulele. After I played it for about a week, the issue stopped. I think that your C string just needs to be broken in.
Yes it is the thickest string...

hapuna
12-15-2011, 04:58 PM
The A string always seems to need the most tweaking IMHO

mm stan
12-16-2011, 01:07 PM
The A string always seems to need the most tweaking IMHO
...but when breaking in, I notice the thicker C and E strings from certain brands need longer time..