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View Full Version : A string keeps breaking HELP !



Maineuker
11-24-2012, 04:10 AM
Hi just got a new Occar Schmidt Baritonr Uke. I wanted it mostly for my big hands so I got the Aquila Baritone GCEA strings for it. Sounds great but the A string keeps snapping around the 3rd fret.3 times now in 4 days. Nothing looks or feels sharp on the fret. GC and E stay in tune but A seems to go out all the time. So tighter and tighter to keep it in tune. I've changed strings on my Tenor many times so comfortable with string changes never had problems. Getting frustrated any help would be great Thanks Much

Bill Mc
11-24-2012, 04:19 AM
What do you mean by "tighter and tighter to keep it in tune? " Are you overtightening the strings ? Do you use a tuner to get it at the correct pitch ? If you are overtightening the strings the A string will likely be the first to snap.

OldePhart
11-24-2012, 04:22 AM
I would check the nut for any sharp edges or perhaps a bit of flashing in the slot. I know you say it's breaking around the third fret but I bet it's actually breaking at the nut and when the tension is off the string it shortens up so it looks like it's at the third fret.

Of course, examine the frets, too, but usually breaks occur at the nut or bridge saddle (or sometimes right at the tuner). Just for piece of mind, run a folded over bit of 400 grit wet-or-dry paper through the nut slot a couple of times - not using a lot of pressure, just knocking down any rough edge.

I had a friend years ago with a very expensive Taylor guitar that kept breaking strings at the saddle. He had it in the shop twice and they couldn't find anything wrong with it. I finally convinced him to let me take a look at it. I made about two or thee light passes with 400 grit paper along the top and edge of the bridge saddle and he never broke another string.

Finally, make sure you're not tuning an octave high! I'm not sure but I think the Aquila baritone GCEA strings are supposed to be tuned an octave down from the standard ukulele octave.

John

SailQwest
11-24-2012, 04:40 AM
If all of the A strings came from the same lot, they might just be a bad batch. It happens occasionally.

blue_knight_usa
11-24-2012, 05:18 AM
GCEA is not a typical tuning on the baritone and much has to do with strings. I wanted a baritone tuned GCEA and tried a few but the tension is not right so I can see someone cranking the A to the next octave which will cause exactly what your experiencing. I wonder if you are tuning the A an octave above where it needs to be because it shouldn't be super tight. I always stretch my strings when I put them on. It's called power tuning. I stretch, tune, stretch, tune, stretch tune....takes me about 20 minutes and then the uke stays in very close tuning. I only have to make minor adjustments to tune it over a few days and after a week or so, it's darn near in perfect tune say for a few cents if I don't play it for a few weeks. There are many ways folks stretch strings.

Here is a technique that work well: http://www.300guitars.com/300s-tips/guitar-strings-stretching-them-to-stay-in-tune/
You'll see he talks about pulling with one finger and making a circle motion although he does not use that method. I use that method now as I can do it holding the uke like I am playing it without laying it down which for me is quicker and less awkward. I modified that method through someone I know that showed me and I've used it ever since.

I hold down the string around the 1/2 fret while I do it then move to 2/3 then 3/4, etc and I stretch the string at the 12th fret while working my other hand up an down the fret board, holding the strings down. This gives me an even stretch I have found.

It has worked extremely well. However, everyone is going to have their own way and I think as long as you stretch the strings properly to get an even stretch, you might avoid the breaking. Then again if your an octave above where you are supposed to be, even with stretching, your going to bust that string.

Good luck.

barrybush
11-24-2012, 05:42 AM
I have a new Kala baritone with the high G CEA and I am having exact same problem with the A string breaking. I kept having to tune it. I was tuning it like my tenors in the same octave. I will try the sand paper before trying another string. Would love to hear from others using this tuning as to whether we are supposed to tune it an octave down. Thanks guys. UU is a great resource.

DaveVisi
11-24-2012, 06:50 AM
???? Unless you have a special set of strings, tuning should be DGBE. If you get the high E string to even reach A, no wonder it's snapping.

Bill Mc
11-24-2012, 07:31 AM
The OP, Mark, clearly stated he has the Aquila Baritone GCEA strings for the ukulele. It would be helpful to hear from him and exactly how he is tuning the instrument.

DaveVisi
11-24-2012, 07:45 AM
Oh, I missed that part. Snapping around the 3rd fret? Not at the nut, tuner or bridge? Very weird. I think he's right about the slack string retracting. My guess its snagging at the nut, in which case the fine sandpaper trick might help.

Bill Mc
11-24-2012, 08:16 AM
Tuning the Aquila baritone gcea strings an octave down in pitch from standard ukulele tuning would make the gcea baritone tuning lower than the dgbe baritone tuning. The configuration on a guitar for this lowered gcea tuning would be
3322xx; for baritone dgbe it is xx0000. Now that's a baritone !

Maineuker
11-24-2012, 08:26 AM
Hey All
Thanks for all the advice. OldePhart I was wondering about the nut slot either way I will keep that fix in my bag of tricks. But IF what blue knight says is true in my case cause the strings are pretty tight. Tho I did try tuning down and everything seemed to loose to me. Guess I'll try both suggeations and see what happens. I'll let you know. Thanks so much guys !

Maineuker
11-24-2012, 09:33 AM
Well I tried tuning down the GCEA Aquila Bari strings just still does not seem right to loose and to low as someone here said. So I tried the sandpaper fix but will now have to wait for new strings to come luckily I ordered some on Friday and they have been shipped. Oh well I'll have to go back to The tenor for now. I'll keep you guys posted . Thanks again great forum and I've learned so much from Aldrine (sp?).

strumsilly
11-24-2012, 12:01 PM
I put these same strings on a heavy plywood bari, and it was like magic, it now is an awesome uke, never had a string break. don't know why yours is breaking.

mm stan
11-25-2012, 05:01 AM
LIke mentioned before...may be a octave too high....make sure you are not overtightening them strings and ruin your baritone....first mistake many make when changing strings...

blue_knight_usa
11-25-2012, 06:14 AM
That's the problem, the baritone scale is not designed for GCEA tuning. Scale is very important as it will require certain tension and gauge strings to get the right notes. I had a lot of discussions with some Luthiers as I wanted a baritone in GCEA and it became very clear that it's just not the right size scale for that tuning. If you get it to work well, please post the strings you are using as I have not seen anyone with a baritone in GCEA that actually sounds like it should with the correct tension strings. I was told not to kill myself trying so I gave up on it and am having a custom built larger scale steel string instrument that will be GCEA with steel strings (acoustic with pickup).

jimmybookout
11-25-2012, 06:33 AM
As the OP pointed out, he is using Aquila Baritone strings gauged to be tuned GCEA. The problem (I imagine) is that these strings must be SO light in gauge (so they don't yank the bridge off when brought to pitch) to be tuned to GCEA on a Baritone scale length, that they are VERY fragile.

Jimmy

Maineuker
11-25-2012, 08:00 AM
LIke mentioned before...may be a octave too high....make sure you are not overtightening them strings and ruin your baritone....first mistake many make when changing strings...

So I got looking around in here and see that tuning down would meen tuning to FBDG ?? Is that what it is ?? I have tuned my tenor to this and it sounds pretty good.

Maineuker
11-25-2012, 08:21 AM
Yup thats why I've been trying tuning down one to FBDG trying it on my tenor now . Maybe this will be the answer for my Baritone. Mostly I like the bari with my big hands but did not really want to learn new cord shapes at least not at this point.

mm stan
11-26-2012, 10:07 AM
Aloha Mark,
Try buying DGBE and drop tuning your baritone, not sure what your scale is...or if you can tune by ear...go down 1-2 half steps and try that out...you will have a richer sound....
D -30, G-50, B-50, E-40 play around there and make adjustments....let me know how it goes...you will need a good clip on chromatic tuner...check into a Cherub WSt 550C
it is good for altered tunings and digitial, it has the complete scale and user friendly....MM Stan

Caddy65
11-26-2012, 10:13 AM
Still seems that tuning the uke to normal baritone tuning would be the best solution, and save undue, and unnecessary, stress on the instrument. Either that or play a tenor uke.

strumsilly
11-28-2012, 08:01 AM
I've had Southcoast linear tuned to C on my Gibson bari and have never had trouble with tension or strings breaking. I'd give them a try, or talk to Dirk about other options. He seems to be happy to answer questions. His site has a lot of info on strings too.

strumsilly
11-28-2012, 08:05 AM
I have a new Kala baritone with the high G CEA and I am having exact same problem with the A string breaking. I kept having to tune it. I was tuning it like my tenors in the same octave. I will try the sand paper before trying another string. Would love to hear from others using this tuning as to whether we are supposed to tune it an octave down. Thanks guys. UU is a great resource.
no, if you are using strings on your bari like soucoast linear or Aquila GCEA for bari, you are able to tune to C with no problem. I have used both and like both.

Maineuker
11-29-2012, 02:42 AM
My Uke came with DGBE strings but really got the bari for my large hands and I can play chords on it that were really tough on my tenor which is great.I really like GCEA . So I got new Aquila GCEA Bari strings and sanded the grove in the nut down on string1 and have been playing with tuning down to FBDG which I like the sound of too. So far working well . This has been a great .I learned so much. One question though not sure what people meen by open tuning ? Thanks down
Aloha Mark,
Try buying DGBE and drop tuning your baritone, not sure what your scale is...or if you can tune by ear...go down 1-2 half steps and try that out...you will have a richer sound....
D -30, G-50, B-50, E-40 play around there and make adjustments....let me know how it goes...you will need a good clip on chromatic tuner...check into a Cherub WSt 550C
it is good for altered tunings and digitial, it has the complete scale and user friendly....MM Stan