View Full Version : Ukulele Strings Smell

07-16-2012, 05:15 AM
I didn't know where to post this, but it seemed like a beginner type situation.

I've been playing for about 2months now, and recently after I play my fingers smell. Sometimes it kind of smells like onion or garlic. Is there away to fix this without buying new strings?

07-16-2012, 05:27 AM
What kind of strings and what brand of ukulele?

07-16-2012, 05:31 AM
It is a cordoba 15CM and its the standard Aquila strings it came with.

07-16-2012, 05:33 AM
The strangest question I have ever seen.
Do you eat while you play ?

07-16-2012, 05:49 AM
I've known wound strings to leave a slight metallic smell, but nylons? New one on me. Can you detect the smell on the strings themselves, or is it just on your fingers? If you normally keep the uke in its case, does the case have any smell?

07-16-2012, 06:07 AM
I agree this is a strange question. But if you serious, are you cooking before playing? Even if you wash your hands, onion and garlic smells get impregnated into your skin and could get released when playing. This is the only explanation I can come up with.

07-16-2012, 06:12 AM
no i do not eat while i play or cook. but the ukulele is exposed in an open room where my mom does a lot of cooking. Is it possible that the smell caught onto the fretboard not the stings?
Also the onion and garlic smell hasnt happened recently when i started wiping it with cloth before and after i play, but there is still a strange smell after i am done playing.

07-16-2012, 06:18 AM
I'd argue that a room used for cooking isn't a good place to keep a uke in the open. Frying in particular tends to leave a residue on everything, and it's possible your uke is picking this up. If you can't keep it in another room, you'd be better off keeping it in a case or gig-bag to protect it.

07-16-2012, 08:27 AM
I think that I am able to relate to your problem. My ukulele also develops a weird smell after a while, especially when I practice a lot. This might sound gross but that smell is probably coming from the build up of dead skin and other finger junk. I solve this by getting a Kleenex and wrapping it around a string and then running it up and down the strings. Using the Kleenex helps to clean the strings but there is still some junk on the fretboard. When you change your strings find something to clean your fretboard.

07-16-2012, 08:29 AM
Maybe you are playing so fast that your fingers are burning up the fretboard.

07-16-2012, 10:59 AM
Maybe you are playing so fast that your fingers are burning up the fretboard.

I just had a thought, maybe you are playing too many Italian songs.

07-16-2012, 05:16 PM
You should be able to get rid of it by wiping down the strings with a cotton pad with some alcohol on it. Just the strings, not the fretboard.

07-19-2012, 03:53 AM
Thanks for all the help!

Yestyn The Great
07-19-2012, 11:19 AM
Whats wrong with smelly strings. It's just another way to add personality to your instrument. Maby it's like animal smell detection and every body makes a different smell.

07-19-2012, 05:26 PM
Strings do get pretty gross when you play a lot or after a while.
It's good to change them often. All that buildup will affect the sound too.
It also helps to get in the habit of wiping the whole thing down with a microfiber cloth after playing.

When you change your strings it's a good idea to clean your finger board and frets. I use Naphtha (Zippo lighter fluid), but make sure to only use it on your fret board. It can harm some finishes on the other parts of your uke.

As far as the smell issue: I do notice that guitars often smell better than ukuleles. Guitars often have a nice wood smell. I think my ukes smell more like glue or finish...

07-19-2012, 05:39 PM
I'm surprised frequent UU member smellofstrings hasn't replied to this thread.

07-20-2012, 01:33 PM
Im not sure how this would affect the strings but you could try soaking your hands in a 50 / 50 solution of lime juice and water your body absorbs the oil from both vegetables and things that make you sweat or nervous release this oil try cutting back on eating both.:confused: