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View Full Version : How long before a new uke stays in tune?



revdj
06-19-2013, 09:02 AM
I got my first time Uke today, and am starting with it. It is going out of tune every few minutes. (It is a Makala Dolphin). I read in this forum that this is to be expected, and it will get better soon. How soon is "soon"? I just want to know when to start thinking "something is wrong"

Brad Bordessa
06-19-2013, 09:08 AM
They do a terrible job putting on stock strings at the factory last time I checked. They will just slip and slip and slip from my experience. You are better off with changing them yourself to something better like Aquila or Worth and then stretching them out so you know they are done right.

addicted2myuke
06-19-2013, 09:09 AM
Quite soon if you play enough. Within a couple of days the strings should be stretched enough to stay in tune. It may also depend of the uke. Less expensive ukes tend to go out of tune especially with friction tuners. So keep playing and keep tightening your strings.

OldePhart
06-19-2013, 12:11 PM
Before you go to bed tonight, tune it a full step high (ADF#B).

Tomorrow, the tuning will probably be much more stable.

However, the strings that come with it really are crap. You'll be much happier if you change the strings as soon as practical Aquila NylGut strings are good on Dolphins, as are Martin M600 fluorocarbon - and the latter can often be found in small music shops that don't have much ukulele stuff.

John

pootsie
06-19-2013, 12:17 PM
These guys are right about the string switch. I started out with a dolphin a year ago in March. The Aquilas made a big difference.

It took then a while to settle in, too. Tune up, strum, tune up, strum, tune up, strum. Wait, tune up, strum. Wait, tune up, hey it's in tune! Aquila Nylguts seem pretty stretchy.

vanflynn
06-19-2013, 06:19 PM
Welcome to the wonderful world of uke playing.

May it bring you many hours ( years ) of enjoyment.

What color did ya get?

uke552
06-19-2013, 06:32 PM
Welcome! Don't get discouraged-strings do take a few days to stretch. I also "over tune" a bit with new strings to help them break in. Let us know in a few days how it's going...

revdj
06-19-2013, 06:37 PM
What color did ya get?

Black. I figured that was the color I was least likely to regret in a few years. My little girl is annoyed that I chose black :(

silveraven
06-19-2013, 06:56 PM
Black. I figured that was the color I was least likely to regret in a few years. My little girl is annoyed that I chose black :(

Not sure what brand your strings are...but I strung up my uke with Fremont Blacklines (medium) about three weeks ago. Good lord, they were stretchy! Or maybe I don't play enough. The E string took quite a lot of winds too so I was worried that I may have to start overlapping. It was only this week that I notice they weren't out of tune when I take my uke out of the case. I even took off my headstock tuner now because they stay in tune pretty well.

Harold O.
06-19-2013, 06:57 PM
Do you have friction or geared tuners? Geared tuners hold better. Friction tuners sometimes need to have the little screw tightened to keep them from slipping.

Keep at it, there is a short learning curve involved. And the result is worthwhile.

revdj
06-19-2013, 07:03 PM
Not sure what brand your strings are.... They are "came with it" brand, also known as "revdj wouldn't know what to do with new strings if he had them" brand.

It IS staying in tune longer - I've been playing a lot today! I will take someone's earlier advice and tune them up tonight and see about tomorrow.

revdj
06-19-2013, 07:08 PM
However, the strings that come with it really are crap. You'll be much happier if you change the strings as soon as practical

What makes strings "crap?" What would be the difference if I bought different ones? (I never touched a ukulele until mine arrived this afternoon. Been playing it all day on and off. I don't like putting it down. Never had that experience with an instrument before)

PereBourik
06-19-2013, 08:00 PM
What makes strings "crap?" What would be the difference if I bought different ones? (I never touched a ukulele until mine arrived this afternoon. Been playing it all day on and off. I don't like putting it down. Never had that experience with an instrument before)

Strings can really change the voice of your uke. What makes strings crap is that they sound like crap to you.

Try a set of Martin M600 strings. They are very good; they give good tactile feedback; they will give you a good baseline of how your uke sounds. Aquila strings get a lot of love around here. I think they have a brassy bark that is all their own. Plenty loud, though.

malweth
06-20-2013, 03:20 AM
My son's uke (a green dolphin pre-set with Aquilas) had very stretchy strings at first... I pulled them a finger's width from the fretboard and retuned often. Now his music teacher at school (who ran an ukulele short course) has apparently said his uke stays in tune well week to week (though that's in comparison to the students who don't retune during the week).

My Lanikai, which I think comes with Aquila strings, has kept tune almost perfectly session to session since I bought it on Amazon.

I have yet to restring either... so that's where I'm coming from - a 1 year old total beginner ;)

OldePhart
06-20-2013, 03:39 AM
What makes strings "crap?" What would be the difference if I bought different ones? (I never touched a ukulele until mine arrived this afternoon. Been playing it all day on and off. I don't like putting it down. Never had that experience with an instrument before)

The strings that come on Dolphins tend to be of very low quality - they tend not to intonate well up the fretboard (i.e. as you move further up the fretboard the notes get further and further out of tune). They also tend not to have much volume or sustain. They'll get you by in the early stages, but moving to better strings will not only make the uke sound better, it will also make you play better and learn faster. I know the last is a lot to claim for a $6 set of strings, but most people really do develop a better ear and learn faster when their instruments have good intonation.

Besides, everybody has to learn to tie on a new set of strings sooner or later... LOL


John

joe_coffee
06-20-2013, 05:01 AM
i bought a makala dolphin bridge 2 weeks ago, and put (fake) aquila strings on it last week and it has just started to stay tuned as of yesterday. i don't know if this is a short period of time, or if it's a long period of time, hope this helps. The original strings had to be tuned every day, but each day showed improvement over the previous day (closer to the standard tuning) and on the day I changed strings only the A chord was off tune.

pootsie
06-20-2013, 06:20 AM
What makes strings "crap?"

Opinion.

The objective qualities of strings can be compared, but everyone has their own tastes. That said, it seems many peoplem prefer strings other than the ones that Dolphins come with. Objectively they seem to have more sustain and volume. If you like more sustain and volume (pretty much a universal preference but not completely) then switch them.

Being the newbie I was a year ago, I just went with what the folks here told me. Turns out I am glad I did. There are tons of threads and vids on changing strings--a very simple job on a Dolphin if you can tie a timber hitch.

http://www.ussartf.org/images/TimberHitch.gif

coolkayaker1
06-20-2013, 07:20 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tD2kZO_Tc0

Mike's good advice here.

Louis0815
06-20-2013, 10:42 AM
As said above: strings are crap when you don't like the sound they produce. Period. Chances are good that more expensive strings sound better, but this is only a rule of thumb. You will have to go the long way of try and error, just as all of us do. (And to add some complexity to the matter be warned: the same set of strings can sound differently on different ukes)

And finally coming back to the original question: Anything up to ~2 weeks is completely normal. And DO NOT stretch the strings by hand as this might stretch them unevenly, leading to intonation or other problems later. Let them settle right where they belong, even though this might take a bit longer.