View Full Version : Re-Stringing

08-11-2013, 12:59 AM
I've re-strung many different guitars, mandolins, etc. (both cat gut Classicals and Steel Strings) many times in my life. I wouldn't even venture a guess at how many, but I'm sure it's in the hundreds or thousands.

That said, I've got a new set of strings ready for each of my Ukulele's, (I've found that word hard to remember...lol...I often mis-type and use "Mandolin" and have to go back and fix it, since I'm such a "newbie" at the Ukulele), and am a bit nervous (can you believe it?!) about changing them out, when it's time.

Someone said "don't use ball end strings on a Ukulele, because of the grain direction of the bridge, and the tendency to promote cracking if you use ball end strings, but I've never had a problem that way with any of the guitars or mandolins I've strung.

I'm amazed that, at 56, I'm "nervous" about changing out strings on a Ukulele. Perhaps it's because they are so small?? I dunno.

08-11-2013, 02:26 AM
Ukulele's use classical/nylon strings. NOT steel strings unless its VERY specifically designed for steel strings. Ball end strings to me says steel strings and you shouldn't be using those at all.

What strings are you talking about. You should be using ukulele specific string sets.

EDIT: And now I'm wondering it you have a 4 string mandolin string set. You shouldn't be putting those on a ukulele.


08-11-2013, 04:48 AM
Using ball-end nylons shouldn't be a problem. Each manufacturer makes their bridges differently so that rule wouldn't really be consistent. It's a matter of preference since if you decide to use a tight little knot such as this, you will be putting concentrated stress on the bridge as opposed to a more evenly spread out stress of a ball end. Most people use a knot at the end with no problems. This sopranino has slots ontop of the bridge for the string to slide into and does not suffer from knots.


My Alvarez has no slots ontop but still uses knots at the end. Personally if a ukulele of mine came with knots I keep it that way.


If it came with the strings tied around the bridge then I leave it like that. Those bridges are usually wider and should accommodate ball end nylons of you wish. I've seen players here who only use knots at the end since it is easier for them. I, however, do like the ends to be tucked under the next string like on my tenor and not hanging loose.


Before placing nylons on an instrument, do wrap them around your fingers and give them a small tug, this takes some of the pull out of them and will shorten the break in period of your strings.
Do make sure the string ends are pointed downward towards the floor as you play. You should cut the ends closer to the bridge than I have them to prevent vibration buzzing.

08-11-2013, 05:33 AM
I began playing 'ukulele with no prior musical experience. Changing strings is easy. Most of my instruments have tie bridges and that's my preference. My first re-string took about 45 minutes because I had to learn the knot. Now I do it in half that time. No worries. I do use 'ukulele string sets with no ball ends. I'd cut the balls off If they had them.

String. Tune. Play. Tune. Play. Tune. Play. Tune. Play. Tune. Play. Tune. Play. Tune. Play. &c...

(Yes, I know that sounds bad.)

08-11-2013, 06:10 AM
I recommend leaving a short end of the string sticking out beyond the bridge. Just enough to get hold of with a (carefully wielded) pair of pliers. This way you can pull them straight out of the slot, when you need to. If the knotted end of the string has all disappeared under the bridge, the only way to remove it is by pulling over with the other end, which forces the knot to rotate in the hole - a possible cause of damage to the bridge.

08-11-2013, 06:24 AM
You'll be comfortable with it in no time.

I was paranoid for my first changes, too. I spent time contemplating the add on beads because I didn't want to screw up
the knot. Little did I know that the way the knot is tied couldn't be any easier, and it essentially locks itself.

Now I can change strings like a NASCAR pit guy changing tires. Zoom zoom. :D