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View Full Version : How long does it takes to break in new strings/instruments?



JasonTLC
04-21-2013, 06:35 PM
I had only been playing the uke for the past 6 months. I am now in a dilema to whether to change my strings.

A couple of months ago I took the plunge and brought a K brand tenor online. When it first arrived the sound does not appeal to me at all... the strings needed time to settle in... and I guess so does the Koa..... My Kala solid acacia concert sounds so much better (a display piece which do not require much breaking in) .... even my 20 dollars brandless saprano from Groupon sounds compariable...

I changed the strings to worth clear and took a month, but now I just simply cannot put my tenor down...the instrument has seems to be completely different in terms of sound.

Question is now I want to change my strings of both my concert and tenor to living water strings .... will it take a long time to get settled in? I am afraid I might not like the sound.... can I swtich back to the old stretched strings?

Lastly, how long does it take for a solid wood uke to open up?

Thanks for your advice,

Jason
Uke newbie.

hawaii 50
04-21-2013, 06:53 PM
welcome to the ukulele world of strings(SAS)..

when I get new ukes I sometimes change to different strings 4 times in 10 days..i kind of know how the strings are different..once I find a set I like I stick with it for awhile..everybody likes differet strings..just go with what sounds and feels good to you..

It takes maybe 2 weeks for the new strings..to be stretched out but still needs to be tuned each time you play for awhile..

your uke may have opened up already in 6 months..but the more you play.. it should start to sound better..but kind of hard to hear it change daily..

have fun keep on strumming

Kanaka916
04-21-2013, 07:20 PM
The time frame for strings to settle varies and can take anywhere from 7-12 days. Everyone has a different technique/ritual to stretch them out. For example, once the strings are secured to the bridge and tuner pegs, I'll find the middle of the string and gently pull it up and away from the fretboard several times as it's being wrapped around the tuner pegs. Then I'll tune half step up and let it sit for couple of hours and recheck the tuning. After retuning, I'll let it set overnight. This process works for me and the strings will pretty much stay in tune within 4-5 days. YMMV. . .

Newportlocal
04-21-2013, 07:43 PM
Just try the living waters it's not that big a deal the whole string stretch thing. If you want to put worth clears back on have a new set. It's better just to put new on.

dalamaricus
04-21-2013, 10:11 PM
I just changed strings for the first time a few days ago. When I originally bought my ukulele it had Aquila strings that took around a week to settle down and stay in tune. During that week the strings were never out of tune by too much--one or two bars on my Snark tuner, for what that's worth. I just put on some Worth BM strings two days ago. They're still settling, but the outer strings can go out of tune by almost half a step (G to F#, A to G#) a day. The inner strings are fairly stable, though. The old Aquilas were already on the instrument for a while before I got it but the Worths are brand new, so maybe that explains more stretching in the Worths. I kept the old strings just in case (in case of what exactly, I don't know), but I do have another set of new Aquilas too.

mm stan
04-21-2013, 10:57 PM
It hard to say days and it varies how much you play them and if you prestrech them...also they will all differ and depends on the compound of the strings..

Kevs-the-name
04-24-2013, 09:21 PM
Living water strings settle quite quickly (and sound superb)
Definitely worth 'trying' them out.
If you don't like them you can always go back, you know the sound will come back, the more you play the quicker that will be!

note: Ken doesn't advocate 'stretching' living water strings manually (ie pulling them) , but suggest allowing it to happen naturally.

Tootler
04-25-2013, 12:50 AM
I usually tune new strings sharp when I'm finished playing for the first couple of days. It does the same job as pulling them out but stretches them evenly.

PereBourik
04-25-2013, 03:19 AM
Part of the joy of new strings is the time they take to settle. When they are first on they are likely unplayable. But overnight they will stretch enough to get through a song or two. Then tune. Tuning helps train your ear, anyway. They may take a week or more to settle, but who cares? They're new strings. I don't like to try to hasten the process by stretching or tuning sharp. Just let it be. The ukulele is for slowing down, not for hurrying.

bobO G
04-25-2013, 03:41 AM
I bought the new red series low G Aquilers for my tenor I prestretched them but the G string broke after 3 days or so, the rest are still going strong. I talked to a old timer musician and he said I should have let the string relax a bit then re-tune . Has anyone heard of this method ?

Bao
04-25-2013, 05:03 AM
I thrash my newly installed strings constantly, playing songs which require a lot of rapid strumming like While my guitar gently weeps, crazy G or Rolling in the deep (All by Jake Shimabukuro). I used this method on the newly installed aquilas for my friend's present and they stopped getting out of tune after a day of installation and playing.

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
04-25-2013, 05:18 AM
Question is now I want to change my strings of both my concert and tenor to living water strings .... will it take a long time to get settled in?
On an instrument I play everyday, new strings take about a week or two to settle and stay in tune. They may take up to month to get their best sound, though (that could be me adjusting my playing to the new sound).


I am afraid I might not like the sound.... can I swtich back to the old stretched strings?
If the old strings are long enough to install again, yes.


Lastly, how long does it take for a solid wood uke to open up?
Some people say never---that opening up is a myth. Others say an instrument opens up over its life span---with some saying most of that happens in the first year or so of use. I don't have enough experience with new instruments to have an opinion in the debate; I've been playing my (solid koa) Kamaka standard uke every day for about two years and it sounds better and better to me, but I don't know if it's opening up or if I'm getting better at getting the sound I like out of it with my playing.

T'Bone
04-25-2013, 06:17 AM
I've never understood why one would need to use the instrument for it to open up. What is it about using it that would help open it up, and what is actually happening to the wood as it opens up anyway?

RichM
04-25-2013, 06:36 AM
but I don't know if it's opening up or if I'm getting better at getting the sound I like out of it with my playing.

Exactly this. While I have heard of some evidence of physical changes to a solid wood instrument as it "opens up," I am convinced a good part of this phenomenon is the result of a player understanding an instrument over time and getting the best tone out of it.

Kanaka916
04-25-2013, 06:55 AM
Lastly, how long does it take for a solid wood uke to open up?




I've never understood why one would need to use the instrument for it to open up. What is it about using it that would help open it up, and what is actually happening to the wood as it opens up anyway?
This is an entirely different topic which has really nothing to do with how long it takes for strings to settle. This really should be discussed in a separate thread and keep the focus on strings. There are previous other threads . . .
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?48950-opening-up
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?75763-Do-Ukuleles-Open-Up-with-time-amp-Playing
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?36007-ukulele-s-tone-will-quot-open-up-quot-with-age
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?60695-Some-fuel-for-the-quot-opening-up-quot-debate

PereBourik
04-25-2013, 06:57 AM
I've never understood why one would need to use the instrument for it to open up. What is it about using it that would help open it up, and what is actually happening to the wood as it opens up anyway?

I've been told that the vibration of playing causes the wood to relieve inherent stresses or find its best resonance. I'm only in the first month of owning my first two solid wood ukuleles, so what do I know. Machines are available to artificially vibrate the wood of guitars and ukuleles to accelerate the processes. If the fact that people will pay good and significant money for this tells the truth then there might be some value to the idea. Me? I'd rather put that moolah toward another uke.

sukie
04-25-2013, 07:22 AM
All I know is -- don't change the strings on both at the same time. It'll drive you batty.

PereBourik
04-25-2013, 11:24 AM
Just switched to Low G on my Pono Tenor. Tune Strum Tune Strum Tune Strum. It'll be better in a day or two. Sounds weird though. I've never done Low G before and my ear is having a hard time getting used to it. I guess my ear will take a day or two to stretch too.

SailQwest
04-25-2013, 11:27 AM
IMO, it takes waaaay too long for strings to settle.

It helps to have at least two ukes in each tuning. ;)

OldePhart
04-25-2013, 11:39 AM
IMO, it takes waaaay too long for strings to settle.

It helps to have at least two ukes in each tuning. ;)

I'm glad you said at least two... :)

John

UkeKiddinMe
04-25-2013, 11:40 AM
... Machines are available to artificially vibrate the wood of guitars and ukuleles to accelerate the processes. If the fact that people will pay good and significant money for this tells the truth then there might be some value to the idea.

Wow. Could you post a link to an example? Thanks.

T'Bone
04-25-2013, 12:53 PM
This is an entirely different topic which has really nothing to do with how long it takes for strings to settle. This really should be discussed in a separate thread and keep the focus on strings. There are previous other threads . . .
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?48950-opening-up
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?75763-Do-Ukuleles-Open-Up-with-time-amp-Playing
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?36007-ukulele-s-tone-will-quot-open-up-quot-with-age
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?60695-Some-fuel-for-the-quot-opening-up-quot-debate

Apologies, and thanks for the direction!

Tootler
04-25-2013, 01:03 PM
I thought the strings on my new Risa stick seemed to be taking a long time to settle till I tightened the tension screws on the tuners. :nana:

(Could do with a 'Doh!' Smiley)

RichM
04-25-2013, 01:27 PM
Apologies, and thanks for the direction!

The OP did ask specifically: "Lastly, how long does it take for a solid wood uke to open up?"

So I don't see how you're off-topic.

Kanaka916
04-25-2013, 01:30 PM
The OP did ask specifically: "Lastly, how long does it take for a solid wood uke to open up?"

So I don't see how you're off-topic.
My apologies . . . I should read the entire thread. Carry on!

T'Bone
04-25-2013, 01:45 PM
In that case I take back my apology :p

Although the other links were good reads!

JasonTLC
04-29-2013, 05:09 PM
I just restringed my Kala acacia concert... keeping my tenor with their oldies first...

I agree! Don't restring new strings for all your ukes together....yikes....

Anyway the string sounds great although still in the settle in period. Thanks to Ken for the superb fast delivery in just 3 days and a chance to try out these strings although I live in the other side of the world :)

Hope I improve more on my skills to make my ukes and string justifiable... :P

Tele295
05-11-2013, 01:05 PM
Wow. Could you post a link to an example? Thanks.

Tonerite. I know players who swear by them. Taint cheap, and the uke model is significantly more expensive than the guitar model.

http://tonerite.com/ukulele

UkeKiddinMe
05-11-2013, 01:24 PM
I would never pay for something like that - I was just curious to read more about it.

Tootler
05-11-2013, 08:47 PM
Tonerite. I know players who swear by them. Taint cheap, and the uke model is๑ significantly more expensive than the guitar model.

http://tonerite.com/ukulele

Seems like a toy for someone with more brass na sense*

Why not just let It happen naturally? It's part of the process of getting to know your instrument. At least, unlike with a new wood recorder, you're not confined to playing for just 20 minutes a day while the wood adapts to the moisture.

*Yorkshire colloquialism