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View Full Version : My C string seems to tighten itself?



Bookworm
04-29-2014, 07:48 AM
I've noticed something strange when I go to tune my ukulele. Most of the strings require some tightening, as would be expected, but my C string always seems to tighten itself so that I have to loosen it. It's a miniscule amount (I've been using a digital tuner, so it gets pretty exact), but I was just wondering what could possibly cause a string to tighten itself. If it makes any difference, the ukulele and the strings are new since Christmas.

RichM
04-29-2014, 08:19 AM
Is your C string wound? Wound strings are wrapped in metal, which tends to be more stable than nylon or fluorocarbon, which stretch like mad. With a steel-string guitar, a new set of strings will usually be stable within an hour or so. Uke strings usually take days.

Bookworm
04-29-2014, 08:34 AM
Nope, none of my strings are wound. I suppose it could just be the tuning key getting bumped when I put it in the case or something.

dickadcock
04-29-2014, 09:52 AM
You are probably right about the button getting bumped, but I have had the experience of more than one string getting tighter/sharp. This was with Aquila Nylguts, & I think after I had changed tuning from a higher key. They seemed to have developed a bit of a memory after being tighter for a couple of days. I am guessing, of course. Also - & I could be imagining this - they seemed to have a better sound after a short time re-tuned, when they returned to normal. ??

Bookworm
04-29-2014, 10:23 AM
Interesting. I do think they're Aquilas (I have the stock strings, but the website says it comes with Aquila strings). I haven't had it tuned differently, though, so it's probably just the key. Funny that it's always that string, though.

Gary52
04-29-2014, 11:03 AM
I had the same thing happen when there was too much string (the C string in my case, also) wound around the tuning peg. The string was starting to wind back around itself, forming a second layer. Taking off the string, shortening it, and reinstalling fixed it.

OldePhart
04-29-2014, 11:25 AM
You are probably right about the button getting bumped, but I have had the experience of more than one string getting tighter/sharp. This was with Aquila Nylguts, & I think after I had changed tuning from a higher key. ...

This is actually pretty common with any strings and is not the strings having memory but the neck having memory. At the higher tuning the neck is under more tension and it bows just very slightly more. If it's been tuned that way for quite a while the wood will "take a set." When you relax the tuning to lower tension the wood returns gradually to a flatter, straighter, profile, increasing tension on the strings. Usually the change happens within an hour or so, but there are probably a lot of factors affecting that.

John

dickadcock
04-30-2014, 12:59 AM
This is actually pretty common with any strings and is not the strings having memory but the neck having memory. At the higher tuning the neck is under more tension and it bows just very slightly more. If it's been tuned that way for quite a while the wood will "take a set." When you relax the tuning to lower tension the wood returns gradually to a flatter, straighter, profile, increasing tension on the strings. Usually the change happens within an hour or so, but there are probably a lot of factors affecting that.

John

Makes sense. Thanks, John. ... now, about my Honda ...

~ Dick

OldePhart
04-30-2014, 03:13 AM
... now, about my Honda ...

~ Dick

Take a tune-up and an oil change and call me in the morning... LOL

ichadwick
04-30-2014, 03:29 AM
Let us know the exact brand... I've been looking for a set of self-winding strings. Make changing strings a whole lot easier.... ;-)

Bookworm
04-30-2014, 07:14 AM
Let us know the exact brand... I've been looking for a set of self-winding strings. Make changing strings a whole lot easier.... ;-)

Haha! According to the Cordoba website, they're Aquila Nylgut strings.

Newportlocal
04-30-2014, 08:09 AM
My ukulele is in a tight case that hits the knobs. I usually have to make small tuning adjustments when I take it out.

artwombat
04-30-2014, 08:54 PM
Methinks, if the string is tight in the nut (I think that is what they call it) the tension can be different on either side of the nut.

So after playing it for a while the tension equalises on both sides of the nut. It is probably best to make adjustments in one direction only - in other words if the tension is too high then back it right off and wind it up again and give the string a good flex or 3 to make sure it does not catch in the nut.

OldePhart
05-01-2014, 02:52 AM
Methinks, if the string is tight in the nut (I think that is what they call it) the tension can be different on either side of the nut.

So after playing it for a while the tension equalises on both sides of the nut. It is probably best to make adjustments in one direction only - in other words if the tension is too high then back it right off and wind it up again and give the string a good flex or 3 to make sure it does not catch in the nut.

Ding ding ding. I think we have a winner. This makes sense, especially if it is only the thickest (C) string.

John

Bookworm
05-01-2014, 07:17 AM
Methinks, if the string is tight in the nut (I think that is what they call it) the tension can be different on either side of the nut.

So after playing it for a while the tension equalises on both sides of the nut. It is probably best to make adjustments in one direction only - in other words if the tension is too high then back it right off and wind it up again and give the string a good flex or 3 to make sure it does not catch in the nut.

Thanks for your reply! Whenever I need to loosen the string I go looser than I need to and then tune up (my dad, who used to play guitar, taught me that). I haven't tried flexing the string, though--I'll try that.

mailman
05-01-2014, 07:29 AM
My 8 string has this problem; the strings seem to catch in the nut slots. Whenever I tune up, I find I need to depress the strings above the nut in order to get accurate tuning. I know some attention with nut files could fix this, but I have no files, and I don't trust myself to do the work....:D