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Stevedore
03-15-2014, 07:00 AM
Hello-

I have an old ukulele that came to me from an elderly aunt who has since passed away. It's a Martin soprano series 1, as near as I can tell from some web research.

The strings on it were a mess; one had a knot tied in it! I removed them in order to clean up the body a bit, and now want to put some new strings on it & see if I can strum a few chords.

From some stringing instructions I've seen on the web, the strings should wind a few turns downward on the tuning pegs. (it has friction pegs, if that matters) However, the holes for the strings in the pegs are somewhat close to the headstock, and I'm concerned that as I wind them, the strings may bunch up at the lower end of the pegs.

Is winding downward important, or will it be OK if the strings wind upwards around the pegs? Or maybe a few turns below & a few above?

Thanks for any suggestions!

Icelander53
03-15-2014, 07:33 AM
This should help.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpnA6ND7eOs

Hms
03-15-2014, 09:03 AM
Winding should be downwards as it preserves the break angle of the string. The break angle is the angle the string takes from the nut to the tuner.
You can have tuning problems if the break angle is too shallow.
H

OldePhart
03-15-2014, 01:57 PM
I try to get as few winds as possible on the string. I also wind the first "over" where the string comes through the hole and the rest "under" where the string comes through the hole and, as others have mentioned, going downwards. With fluorocarbon strings I can often get one over and just one to one and one half under. With the winds "pinching" the tail of the string coming through the hole there is very little tendency to slip even with fluorocarbons. Other strings are a little stretchier and by the time they are holding tune there are usually 1+3 or even 4 turns.

BTW, usually you'll find you end up with more turns on the thinner strings than on the thick ones.

John

MauiBuilt
03-15-2014, 03:45 PM
This should help.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpnA6ND7eOs

Great video!

Stevedore
03-16-2014, 03:23 AM
Well I'm getting nowhere with this. I just struggled with the 4th string for a while, got 1 wind over the hole in the peg, and 3 below (all there's room for). I can tighten the string, but as soon as I pluck it a couple of times, the pitch drops way down. The string isn't stretching; I can see that it's actually slipping.

Is there anything wrong with putting a few extra winds above the hole in the peg? Maybe I should roughen the surface of the pegs a little?

The strings I'm using are Martin fluorocarbons, if that's significant.

OldePhart
03-16-2014, 08:07 AM
Try tightening the little screw that holds the knob on. That is the tension adjustment. If that doesn't do any good then you may need to recondition the friction pegs themselves and the method varies by type and I'm no expert on Martin pegs...but I'm sure someone around here is...

John

Stevedore
03-16-2014, 10:53 AM
OK, I think I got it. The tuning pegs are just plain tapered wooden things; no screws or adjustments. So I found a sort of generic web page about such pegs as used on violins, etc., and the writer suggested using some 400 grit sandpaper on the tapered area & where the strings wind in order to improve their operation. That seems to have worked for me. It still drops out of tune somewhat quickly, but I'm assuming that's due to the strings being new. I couldn't even get them to the proper pitch without them slipping before.

So now I need to learn to strum some chords from a couple of Mel Bay books that my aunt passed along together with the ukulele. I fat-fingered through a few, and one of my dogs stared at me & got up & left the room. So I need to work on this.

Thanks for all the comments & suggestions!

OldePhart
03-16-2014, 01:56 PM
OK, I think I got it. The tuning pegs are just plain tapered wooden things; no screws or adjustments. So I found a sort of generic web page about such pegs as used on violins, etc., and the writer suggested using some 400 grit sandpaper on the tapered area & where the strings wind in order to improve their operation. That seems to have worked for me. It still drops out of tune somewhat quickly, but I'm assuming that's due to the strings being new. I couldn't even get them to the proper pitch without them slipping before.

So now I need to learn to strum some chords from a couple of Mel Bay books that my aunt passed along together with the ukulele. I fat-fingered through a few, and one of my dogs stared at me & got up & left the room. So I need to work on this.

Thanks for all the comments & suggestions!

Oh...okay...didn't realize you meant violin pegs. That's a pretty old uke...take good care of it!

John

Booli
03-18-2014, 09:59 AM
New strings are going to stretch like crazy before they settle. While doing so, it will seem like you can never keep it in tune.

How long it takes will vary depending upon what the strings are made from, AND what you do with them after you install them.

During the settling in time, you have to actually play the instrument as opposed to just tune it to pitch and let it sit in the corner for a week, for if you do that it will seem to never settle. When the strings are vibrating from your playing, you are helping them stretch.

After I install strings on any of my ukes or guitars, I am trying to play them at least 20 minutes per day, and all the while I have to constantly retune when I am playing, and then at night, if I remember, I will tune the strings up a whole step, and then by morning they are stretched a little, and need retuning, and then during the day a few times per day I will pick up the instrument, retune and play a few minutes and then retune again as necessary.

Doing so on the uke with fluorocarbon or nylgut strings takes me about 2-3 days for the the strings to pretty much hold pitch, and nylon strings typically take about a week to ten days before being settled enough for my ear.

I refuse to pull at the string perpendicular to the fretboard like you are pulling and archery bow in order to stretch them. I see folks swearing by it, but I tried this a few times and it caused premature breaking of the strings, and also problems with tuning as stretching them this way causes them to stretch NOT along their length as intended, but in 'pinch spots' where you pull at the string, and causes that small area to stretch more so than the inch or so of string on each side of where you are pulling.

SO, it can take anywhere from a few days to a week or more for the strings to settle in and hold pitch, and this is aside from how well your friction pegs might be resistant to slipping.

All of this is disconcerting for a beginner, but many of us have been down this path before, and I promise you, it gets better, and easier, you just need to get past the first few steps.

Let me know if the above is helpful to you, and if not, please do not be afraid to ask more questions.

-Booli

Neal
03-19-2014, 09:03 AM
Pull the new string all the way up, no slack, wrap the free end around to come under the string as you wind it around the post. This will lock the string, and will leave 2-3 winds around the post when it settles into stability. If you leave slack and have more winds around the post, the time to settle will increase dramatically. I have no intonation or tuning issues pulling up the string at the 12th fret to stretch them, but perhaps it's the fluorocarbon strings. Play it for awhile, and stability should be attained relatively quickly, and final stability depending on how much you play it during the next few days.

OldePhart
03-19-2014, 10:32 AM
I used to pull up the strings in the middle to stretch them (years of habit from guitars). Ken Middleton recommended against it and he's a guy whose opinion I trust so I changed my stringing technique a couple of years ago. I now install the string 1-over and n-under as I've described previously, but for stretching I tune up a full step above normal (i.e. to "D" on a "C" uke). I'll keep checking the tuning every half hour or so while I'm doing something else. After a couple of hours it will hold the intended tuning (C) reasonably stable (i.e. for a few songs) but I usually don't use it until the next day (I have plenty to choose from). So, I'll tune it a full step high just before bed and by the following morning it has usually only settled back maybe a half-step. I'll tune it to the intended pitch and it's pretty stable from then, just requiring the slight tweak before playing.

BTW, I don't think that pulling on the strings ever gave me a serious intonation problem...but I think I've seen a little better intonation on average around the 12th fret since I started doing this - just a few cents, but every bit helps. I also know that I recently ruined a string when I wasn't paying attention and tuned it a full octave high while installing it - that one string out of the set had terrible intonation and wouldn't hold stable tuning so I had to replace it.

John

sam13
03-19-2014, 02:28 PM
Hello-

I have an old ukulele that came to me from an elderly aunt who has since passed away. It's a Martin soprano series 1, as near as I can tell from some web research.

The strings on it were a mess; one had a knot tied in it! I removed them in order to clean up the body a bit, and now want to put some new strings on it & see if I can strum a few chords.

From some stringing instructions I've seen on the web, the strings should wind a few turns downward on the tuning pegs. (it has friction pegs, if that matters) However, the holes for the strings in the pegs are somewhat close to the headstock, and I'm concerned that as I wind them, the strings may bunch up at the lower end of the pegs.

Is winding downward important, or will it be OK if the strings wind upwards around the pegs? Or maybe a few turns below & a few above?

Thanks for any suggestions!

I just restrung my Pono Baritone for the first time ... I am noob as well ... and I used this for help. It was great.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwNDkh43oqc