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kissing
06-16-2012, 06:49 AM
I've heard two conflicting references to this, so I would like to ask (I can't find an answer from using Search).

When putting on new strings on a ukulele (or any string instrument for that matter), does it matter how many times it winds around the tuning head?


I recall in one of Ken Middleton's videos, where he comments that he's unsure why the folks who setup the ukulele he was reviewing had coiled the strings around the tuners so much, as this could adversely affect intonation, etc.


But then the repairman at my music store said to me the other day that he always does at least a good 3-5 windings of the string around the tuning head, as it has an effect on the tone.



This has me confused. Does the way you wind the string on the tuners matter? :confused::confused:

I'm asking because sometimes I put strings on ukes/guitars with hardly any windings around the tuners...

coolkayaker1
06-16-2012, 07:59 AM
I'm not an expert and will wait for the luthiers, but I thought the number of windings, per se, doesn't matter so much as to make sure there are enough to get the string to eventually come out at the base of the tuning peg so that the "break" angle is optimal at the nut.

Let's see what the pros say. Good question, kissing.

Brad Bordessa
06-16-2012, 08:39 AM
I've never heard that more winds equals better tone. The more winds you put on an 'ukulele, the harder is to tune. So I always go for as few winds as I can get away with. If I could use locking tuners I would!

experimentjon
06-16-2012, 09:25 AM
I've never heard that more winds equals better tone. The more winds you put on an 'ukulele, the harder is to tune. So I always go for as few winds as I can get away with. If I could use locking tuners I would!

That's a good point. If locking tuners exist for guitars, the number of winds probably doesn't matter too much.

I just get enough winds to make sure it's going to stay on, and doubling back the head of the string to go in the tuner again for extra holding strength.

ricdoug
06-16-2012, 09:31 AM
I wind them at least one over and one under to pinch the string and prevent slippage. Always tune up to the desired note, never down. Ric

bazmaz
06-16-2012, 09:33 AM
As far as i am concerned, and this goes back to 20 plus years with guitar

1. Make sure the winds go down the post not up to ensure a break angle from nut.

2. I don't use as few winds as poss but you need a couple to stop slipping

3. Don't have so many such that they overlap. Bear in mind with uke strings they stretch a lot!

Who've followed those rules and never had issues with tuning, intonation, slipping or breaking.

When I put a string on, I pre-stretch first. Then when tied to bridge, put through tuner and pull taut and begin winding. Doing this I have between two and four turns on each post. It varies as the fatter strings need less. The C string in my experience the least

Plainsong
06-16-2012, 10:53 AM
Being that I don't deal with tying knots in slippery wire very well, I don't loop the string around multiple times like how the experts on youtube say to do it. I just pull through the tuner, and then slip the head of the string back up again into the tuner if it fits, like experimentjon. If the string is too thick, like the C and E strings of some string sets, then I do an over under knot, after much swearing. I do pre-stretch the strings and I've never had a problem running out of post or being in any danger of the string doubling over itself. If it doesn't wind towards the headstock, I've done something wrong. I've not had frayed or broken strings or slippage using this method.

stevepetergal
06-16-2012, 12:16 PM
The more windings you have, the farther down the shaft of the tuner you go. So, too few and you may not have enough down-bearing (a piano stringing term) and the string may not seat effectively in the nut slot, depending on the instrument. Too many, and you may have too much down-bearing (same term) and the string may have a tendency to stick and jump through the slot, making tuning harder, again depending on the instrument. If it has any real technical effect it's either going to buzz because the string doesn't angle down enough or it may be a bit problematic to tune because the angle is too great, depending. Intonation problems? I doubt it.

I always shoot for about three windings and get all four strings to look as uniform as possible. Trim the strings nice and short. Neatness counts.

BlackBearUkes
06-16-2012, 01:16 PM
I've heard two conflicting references to this, so I would like to ask (I can't find an answer from using Search).

When putting on new strings on a ukulele (or any string instrument for that matter), does it matter how many times it winds around the tuning head?


I recall in one of Ken Middleton's videos, where he comments that he's unsure why the folks who setup the ukulele he was reviewing had coiled the strings around the tuners so much, as this could adversely affect intonation, etc.


But then the repairman at my music store said to me the other day that he always does at least a good 3-5 windings of the string around the tuning head, as it has an effect on the tone.



This has me confused. Does the way you wind the string on the tuners matter? :confused::confused:

I'm asking because sometimes I put strings on ukes/guitars with hardly any windings around the tuners...

For a uke, 3-4 times around the post in a neat manner is plenty like "stevepetergal" mentioned. If after a time you have more then that, trim the string a bit. The string wound around any post, uke or guitar, isn't going to have much or any effect on the tone IMO. It is not going to have any effect on the intonation either. Intonation is a matter of string length between the nut and bridge saddle, string height over the fingerboard, string diameter, fret spacing and how hard or soft the player presses the string without sideways movement. It is my opinion and some music store employees will tell you anything that gets you to fix something that doesn't need fixing to spend some money or, they are idiots, or both.

coolkayaker1
06-16-2012, 05:30 PM
The more windings you have, the farther down the shaft of the tuner you go. So, too few and you may not have enough down-bearing (a piano stringing term) and the string may not seat effectively in the nut slot, depending on the instrument. Too many, and you may have too much down-bearing (same term) and the string may have a tendency to stick and jump through the slot, making tuning harder, again depending on the instrument. If it has any real technical effect it's either going to buzz because the string doesn't angle down enough or it may be a bit problematic to tune because the angle is too great, depending. Intonation problems? I doubt it.

I always shoot for about three windings and get all four strings to look as uniform as possible. Trim the strings nice and short. Neatness counts.

Yea, spg agrees with me (and he knows). I got this one!

sukie
06-16-2012, 07:12 PM
I have never heard that too few or too many windings affects the sound. Actually that thought seems really quite silly. I've heard you want to wind it enough so that the strings won't pop off. Is this not correct? I always wind so that I have 3 loops.

Manalishi
06-16-2012, 10:30 PM
With nylon based strings, (as opposed to steel on a guitar)
I was always told that no more than three winds around the
capstan was maximum,as the string will continue to stretch
on there and make tuning new strings last even longer!

Plainsong
06-16-2012, 11:07 PM
Once I'm up to pitch, a string has no more than three windings. It'd be an alarm bell if I had more, thinking ahead to when the strings stretch more. I've not ever had intonation issues or other glaring problems, other than knot-tying. Bead endings for uke strings is an idea whose time has far past.

Are you guys winding the string around three times and then tuning up to pitch? What happens when the string stretches and there's only so much room on the post?

stevepetergal
06-17-2012, 12:59 AM
Once I'm up to pitch, a string has no more than three windings. It'd be an alarm bell if I had more, thinking ahead to when the strings stretch more. I've not ever had intonation issues or other glaring problems, other than knot-tying. Bead endings for uke strings is an idea whose time has far past.

Are you guys winding the string around three times and then tuning up to pitch? What happens when the string stretches and there's only so much room on the post?

I cut each string at a point where it will come up to pitch with about three windings. Then after a week or so, each may have perhaps another half a winding, and there it will stay.

Plainsong
06-17-2012, 01:25 AM
I cut each string at a point where it will come up to pitch with about three windings. Then after a week or so, each may have perhaps another half a winding, and there it will stay.

I still don't really get it, but that's because I'm not generally handy at things like this. How are you getting the string to stay on the post before tuning? I just loop the string head back through the hole, if there's room. I loop the string under itself (with swearing) if there isn't room.

On YouTube, the experts loop it around once or twice and I never got why you need to do that. It doesn't make it easier or better in my experience. Maybe I'm just not meant to understand these things, but it seemed a good thread to ask. At least one person does it like me.

kissing
06-17-2012, 02:33 AM
1. Make sure the winds go down the post not up to ensure a break angle from nut.

I think this could be the crucial factor...

Sometimes when a particular string has trouble winding around the tuning head (cheap ukes?) I just tie a knot to affix it onto the tuning head and turn.
This would sometimes result in the string just being wound once or twice around the posts.

Would this result in a lack of break angle affecting the tone... perhaps?

I've got one of my bass guitars tuned like this too.. only 1 or 2 windings... ah well.. I guess next time i change strings, I'll do at least 3 windings.

coolkayaker1
06-17-2012, 02:41 AM
I have never heard that too few or too many windings affects the sound. Actually that thought seems really quite silly. I've heard you want to wind it enough so that the strings won't pop off. Is this not correct? I always wind so that I have 3 loops.
Well, now you know from stevepetergal and bazmaz, it's not silly. Fun to learn from UU.

Plainsong
06-17-2012, 03:09 AM
So yet another thing I don't understand and am not doing right and should be having all sorts of problems when I'm not. Great.

I seriously don't have enough skills with my hands to argue with the string getting it to wind around a few times and then doing.... (what, I have no idea) something and tuning it up. Or else I should be having problems? I still don't get it.

roxhum
06-17-2012, 03:25 AM
So yet another thing I don't understand and am not doing right and should be having all sorts of problems when I'm not. Great.

I seriously don't have enough skills with my hands to argue with the string getting it to wind around a few times and then doing.... (what, I have no idea) something and tuning it up. Or else I should be having problems? I still don't get it.

If it works don't worry about it. I think you don't understand because you need a visual or hands on instruction. It ain't rocket science. I started to stress that I was doing mine wrong, but wait, the uke plays, no buzzing and good intonation stays in tune. Let's not over think it.

stevepetergal
06-17-2012, 04:57 AM
Here's a great video by Aaron from Hawaii Music Supply. He perfectly explains everything you need to know. I cut my strings before winding, (that's how I learned it working on pianos) but everything else I do stringing the ukulele I learned from this video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwNDkh43oqc

Plainsong
06-17-2012, 08:19 AM
If it works don't worry about it. I think you don't understand because you need a visual or hands on instruction. It ain't rocket science. I started to stress that I was doing mine wrong, but wait, the uke plays, no buzzing and good intonation stays in tune. Let's not over think it.

Yeah, if I heard a doink or the strings were winding up the post instead of down or the strings were doubling up or too heavy for the tuners, then I guess that's a red flag. I'm just not handy at string material that doesn't do what you want and flops all over the place. The less I deal with that, the better. :)

Ken Middleton
06-23-2012, 08:49 PM
Which video was it that I was reviewing? I want to find out what I said.

When I am putting strings on I don't wrap them round the capstan much at all. Strings stretch so much that they end up with plenty of string wrapped around once it is in tune and settled. If they are wrapped around too much, and I see this quite a lot, it makes it harder to tune and sometimes the tuner becomes tight and unresponsive.

Plainsong
06-24-2012, 04:29 AM
Which video was it that I was reviewing? I want to find out what I said.

When I am putting strings on I don't wrap them round the capstan much at all. Strings stretch so much that they end up with plenty of string wrapped around once it is in tune and settled. If they are wrapped around too much, and I see this quite a lot, it makes it harder to tune and sometimes the tuner becomes tight and unresponsive.

That was my thinking too. Once the strings are up to pitch, you're talking about three winds anyway. That's the bit that's confusing me here. And I've been doing it my way for years and never had an issue where "All my strings have poor intonation!" or "Why do all my ukes suck?" or "My ukes are too hard to fret!" or "My strings/tuners keep breaking!"

coolkayaker1
06-24-2012, 07:56 AM
That was my thinking too. Once the strings are up to pitch, you're talking about three winds anyway. That's the bit that's confusing me here. And I've been doing it my way for years and never had an issue where "All my strings have poor intonation!" or "Why do all my ukes suck?" or "My ukes are too hard to fret!" or "My strings/tuners keep breaking!"
Plainsong, you're well read on UU and have ukulele knowledge. You might have heard and read that a slotted headstock has, minimally so, but to some degree, a truer string tone than a pegged headstock. The reason is the improved break and downward string tension at the nut for a slotted headstock. I'm curious...do you believe that theory? Perhaps you do not...and that's cool. It's the same thing as string winding downward (and no one is saying to have excessive string windings.).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nv2O-PfdFWU

Listen to Gordon at 2:30min in this video. It's the same principle with tuning downward on the peg head. It can only be strung with some downward bias if it has more than one winding on the head...right?

So, enjoy the learning. You've defended that you can perceive no difference, plainsong, in at least three posts below. No one is arguing with you on two points: (1) you are perfectly welcome to continue to do anything at any time to your ukuleles precisely as you wish to do them, and (2) you don't hear any difference at all in the way you string your uke.

Fabulous!

southcoastukes
06-24-2012, 08:17 AM
... You might have heard and read that a slotted headstock has, minimally so, but to some degree, a truer string tone than a pegged headstock. The reason is the improved break and downward string tension at the nut for a slotted headstock....

This can be true, but there is the most basic element of all when you look at break angle - the angle of the headstock itself. We use pegheds, for example, and our headstocks have a pretty strong backbreak. You'd be surprised how flat an angle some headstocks have. It can be cheaper to build that way. On those flat angled heads, even with a slotted set-up, the break is not that great. You should select the angle of your headstock with tuners in mind.

Plainsong
06-24-2012, 12:06 PM
Of course I wind my strings towards the headstock. For heavens sakes I said as much in this thread.. And that's sorta common sense, and not what the subject of the thread is about, but never mind.

Sometimes I wish forums didn't have a quote option...

OldePhart
06-24-2012, 12:37 PM
Most important thing, of course, is that the string not slip on the tuners. I use the one over and three under approach I've always used with guitars and I"ve never had one slip. In practice, the "three under" ends up being anywhere from two to four depending on how well my calibrated eyeball is working that day.

The other thing is I like the string to wind enough turns that it is near the bottom of the tuner shaft, but without any overlap. The theory is that it being near the bottom of the shaft causes a sharper break over the nut and thus better sustain but I've never done any testing to confirm or debunk this.

I avoid overlapping the windings because I have seen that make the tuning really, really "jumpy" before. The overlap can make the string windings no longer be a cylinder so the tuning becomes uneven as you turn the shaft.

John

Edit - note to self - next time pay attention to how many replies a thread already has... :)

mm stan
06-24-2012, 01:15 PM
If I am tuning by year, it makes tuning easier and more noticable to hear to stay under 3 wraps... I have noticed with brands like aquilas that stretch alot I go one wrap because they stretch to about 3 times when they break in, if it goes more I simpily adjust it....it also looks neater to me and a whole lot easier taking off the strings..

thiam
06-24-2012, 03:10 PM
A very good discussion with tips for a novice uke player like me...thanks.