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View Full Version : Wound strings going sharp, what's the deal?



Dane
06-28-2014, 07:47 PM
This happens every once in a while and it's always a bit confusing. But after letting my ukulele or guilele sit for a while, when I pick it back up, one or a few of the wound strings will be sharp (NOT flat as you might think)

What causes this?

therinkydinktink
06-28-2014, 07:51 PM
Could it be the heat? I'm told the Eiffel tower gets taller in warmer seasons.

therinkydinktink
06-28-2014, 07:56 PM
Having re-read that it makes no sense to me (sorry sleep deprivation).
I think I've had the same problem with an old banjo uke which until recently had a wound C string but admittedly that uke needs a bit of work and heat is never an issue here.

iamesperambient
06-28-2014, 08:01 PM
This happens every once in a while and it's always a bit confusing. But after letting my ukulele or guilele sit for a while, when I pick it back up, one or a few of the wound strings will be sharp (NOT flat as you might think)

What causes this?

strings stretch and move a lot.
I don't currently have wound strings but when i did they would sometimes go sharp or flat
from sitting currently. I bet if i put my tuner on any of my ukes i haven't played in a few hours
they would be sharp or flat, no big deal just tune it back up your never going to find an instrument
in which after sitting around it won't need to be tuned even if its slightly sharp or flat not a big deal
if it goes out while your playing than thats another story...thats not good.

Dane
06-28-2014, 08:43 PM
strings stretch and move a lot.
I don't currently have wound strings but when i did they would sometimes go sharp or flat
from sitting currently. I bet if i put my tuner on any of my ukes i haven't played in a few hours
they would be sharp or flat, no big deal just tune it back up your never going to find an instrument
in which after sitting around it won't need to be tuned even if its slightly sharp or flat not a big deal
if it goes out while your playing than thats another story...thats not good.

If they're stretching why are they going sharp? Makes no sense. I've only ever experienced strings going sharp with wound strings, never with nylon etc. Of course strings will go flat constantly, but I'm not talking about that. And it's not a little bit sharp, it's like a quarter-tone, which is a LOT.

therinkydinktink
06-28-2014, 08:48 PM
If they're stretching why are they going sharp? Makes no sense.

You say it's happening once in a while, have you noticed what time of day? If it's later then maybe it's when it's cooler and they're contracting?

Dane
06-28-2014, 08:52 PM
You say it's happening once in a while, have you noticed what time of day? If it's later then maybe it's when it's cooler and they're contracting?

I set down my KoAloha D6 on the sheets on my bed for 20 minutes, picked it up, now a quarter tone sharp on the low A string. Same temperature in the whole room. It's done it a few times just tonight.

It's not like the tuners are being knocked or anything either, they're extremely tight tuners, and you have to apply quite a bit of pressure to turn them.

I notice this happen on my acoustic and electric guitar as well, and they sit upright on stands, nothing even touching them

therinkydinktink
06-28-2014, 08:59 PM
I don't know then man.

Had you been playing it for a while before setting it down? A decent session on it would warm it up from your hand and then it would obviously cool down when you set it down.

Dane
06-28-2014, 09:10 PM
I don't know then man.

Had you been playing it for a while before setting it down? A decent session on it would warm it up from your hand and then it would obviously cool down when you set it down.

Yes I had. But you believe that would be enough to change it a quarter tone, that's quite a lot?

therinkydinktink
06-28-2014, 09:16 PM
Yes I had. But you believe that would be enough to change it a quarter tone, that's quite a lot?

I suppose it depends on how warm you made it. It does seem a lot.

Witchcraft?

mds725
06-28-2014, 09:33 PM
I have a steel string tenor guitar that goes sharp when it's been exposed to cooler temperatures. I'm sure it's because the strings contract; if I retune they go flat (expand) when they warm up. I believe that wound strings have a metallic material wound around nylon of fluorocarbon or whatever, so to me the most sensible explanation is contraction.

kypfer
06-28-2014, 09:46 PM
But after letting my ukulele or guilele sit for a while, when I pick it back up, one or a few of the wound strings will be sharp ... how long is "a while"? Over a few minutes, or even hours, I can't guess, but over a day or more, maybe the plain (unwound) strings are stretching, allowing the neck to bend back slightly, thereby increasing the tension on the unwound string(s) ... or maybe your playing is so hot it's causing the whole instrument to distort ;)

iamesperambient
06-28-2014, 11:44 PM
If they're stretching why are they going sharp? Makes no sense. I've only ever experienced strings going sharp with wound strings, never with nylon etc. Of course strings will go flat constantly, but I'm not talking about that. And it's not a little bit sharp, it's like a quarter-tone, which is a LOT.

mine goes sharp or flat
sometimes never really thought about it
I just say "it's out of tune let's tune it" and away I go

Ukuleleblues
06-29-2014, 02:16 AM
This happens every once in a while and it's always a bit confusing. But after letting my ukulele or guilele sit for a while, when I pick it back up, one or a few of the wound strings will be sharp (NOT flat as you might think)

What causes this?
It very well might be that the strings are not sliding through the nut as freely as they should. If that is the case, when you tune up, the tension between the nut and tuner peg is greater as it pulls the string through. When you get it in tune there is uneven tension. As it sits the string is slowly pulled until the tension equalizes. This happened on a Guitarelele I had. They make a lube for the nut that can help.

I posted this thread a week or so ago.

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?97882-Trouble-Keeping-Instrument-In-Tune

anthonyg
06-29-2014, 02:25 AM
It very well might be that the strings are not sliding through the nut as freely as they should. If that is the case, when you tune up, the tension between the nut and tuner peg is greater as it pulls the string through. When you get it in tune there is uneven tension. As it sits the string is slowly pulled until the tension equalizes. This happened on a Guitarelele I had. They make a lube for the nut that can help.

I posted this thread a week or so ago.

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?97882-Trouble-Keeping-Instrument-In-Tune

I was going to say the same thing. A sticky nut can lead to all sorts of issues.

Anthony

Ukuleleblues
06-29-2014, 02:55 PM
I agree with this theory too. We used graphite powder on our guitars in the old days or simply lead pencil dust.I use a pencil when I restring ukes, guitars, etc.