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View Full Version : To pre-stretch new strings or not?



Andy Chen
05-02-2014, 03:32 AM
I've seen advice that says it's okay to pre-stretch new strings to help them keep in tune more quickly.

But the Magic Fluke Company website says: "Pre stretching or tuning to higher than the recommended pitches is not recommended."

So should I or should I not?

I do that to my acoustic guitars all the time and the strings do not seem to suffer damage.

Kanaka916
05-02-2014, 04:42 AM
Was a reason given to not pre stretch or tune higher? I've not had any problems doing either.

Andy Chen
05-02-2014, 06:11 AM
Was a reason given to not pre stretch or tune higher? I've not had any problems doing either.

None given. It says just that.

vanflynn
05-02-2014, 06:34 AM
There's some debate on whether grabbing the strings and pulling (just a bit) makes the strings stretch unevenly. I often do it and personally I have never noticed a problem. As far as tuning high, I guess the main concern would be too much tension on the bridge. There again I have tuned up 1 step and never had a problem.

Lots of playing is the best way to stretch (and most fun if you don't mind being out of tune constantly)

Good luck and enjoy

peaceweaver3
05-02-2014, 06:40 AM
I pre-stretch, kind of, after stringing and before clipping the ends. I use my fingers and pull on the strings a little. But I don't tune higher because I don't want the strings to get used to higher tention when I'm just going to tune them to a lower pitch later. Just personal preference, and not claiming to make sense. But it's what I do.

OldePhart
05-02-2014, 06:53 AM
I used to pre-stretch strings from long habit on guitars. Ken Middleton recommends against it and I respect his opinion so I stopped and I think I have seen some improvement - or at least consistency - in intonation since.

What I do now instead of pulling on the strings or twisting them is simply tune about a full step high and then for the next several hours whenever I think of it I'll tune a full step high again. One last time a full step high before bed and the next morning it will hold a pretty good tune at the normal tuning.

The problem with pulling the strings up in the middle or, worse, using the thumb and finger "twist" method to stretch the string in segments is that you can end up stretching the string unevenly. When the string is stretched unevenly intonation does suffer. Also, it's difficult to measure how much force you're applying and if you stretch them too far the string may never hold a tune and intonation will be really bad. I discovered this when I accidentally tuned a string a full octave too high a while back.

John

Andy Chen
05-02-2014, 04:34 PM
Hi John,

What you said makes sense. And thanks for the advice. I think I shall still take my chances with pre-stretching.

Man, the uke playing is fun but the waiting for what seems like forever for the strings to settle in is a real pain.

Andy Chen
05-02-2014, 04:35 PM
Oh and thanks everyone for their input. Really appreciate it.

OldePhart
05-02-2014, 04:54 PM
Man, the uke playing is fun but the waiting for what seems like forever for the strings to settle in is a real pain.

This is why everyone should have at least two ukes...and never change the strings on all your ukes the same day. LOL

John

Andy Chen
05-02-2014, 09:32 PM
Nice one, John. I will tell my wife that when she asks about my UAS.

wodan22
05-05-2014, 06:54 AM
I used to pre-stretch strings from long habit on guitars. Ken Middleton recommends against it and I respect his opinion so I stopped and I think I have seen some improvement - or at least consistency - in intonation since.

What I do now instead of pulling on the strings or twisting them is simply tune about a full step high and then for the next several hours whenever I think of it I'll tune a full step high again. One last time a full step high before bed and the next morning it will hold a pretty good tune at the normal tuning.

The problem with pulling the strings up in the middle or, worse, using the thumb and finger "twist" method to stretch the string in segments is that you can end up stretching the string unevenly. When the string is stretched unevenly intonation does suffer. Also, it's difficult to measure how much force you're applying and if you stretch them too far the string may never hold a tune and intonation will be really bad. I discovered this when I accidentally tuned a string a full octave too high a while back.

John

Thanks for posting this. I almost always pre-stretch my strings (not just on uke, but also on my banjos and other instruments), and I have noticed some intonation issues. I never really connected the two, nor thought twice about stretching the strings. Now I know (and knowing is half the battle).