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Lord Pancake
07-18-2014, 05:55 PM
Hello everyone,

So I just got my first uke and one of the first thing all the reviews said was to replace the strings improve the sound considerably. I have read and watched a few guides on how to do it, and am pretty confident I can. My question is, should I hold off on using the strings I bought with it till I know a bit more skilled at the basics? It feels like I will be putting undue damage on the good strings if I do it now, or am I just hurting my learning by using strings that are hard to keep in tune?

Jim Hanks
07-18-2014, 06:28 PM
Any new strings will take a while to settle in before they'll keep in tune. Give them a few days unless you just hate how they feel or sound when they are in tune. What's the uke, what strings are on it, and what are the other strings?

PhilUSAFRet
07-18-2014, 11:19 PM
Install the new strings!!!!!

Rllink
07-19-2014, 03:54 AM
Agreed, just change them out, unless it came with Aquilas. I left my stock strings on for a long time, and one finally broke so I changed them. I wish that I had just changed them right away. Strings are cheap when it comes right down to it.

stevepetergal
07-19-2014, 04:15 AM
For a beginner to change strings is a complete waste of time. Try to make music, rather than experiment. Once your playing is beautiful, your new strings will have something to enhance. Not before. I think encouraging beginners to stray from the musical for the technical pursuits is most ill advised. When you're starting out, you are setting the course of your ukulele experience, for good. Do you want to make music or be an instrument technician? Or worse, neither?

Lord Pancake
07-19-2014, 04:37 AM
Thank you all for the advice. To answer Jim's question:

It's a diamond Head DU 108 soprano, the strings are the default ones in that came with it. My faience also ordered some Aquila nylgut strings.

Stevepetergal, I see your point, I've just had experiences with the saxophone that improved my learning greatly when I added a new mouthpiece since the sound was closer to what I wanted but not something the mouth piece I started with could ever achieve due to the materials. However the default strings on the uke actually can make a pretty good sound and it is satisfying.

Rllink
07-19-2014, 04:54 AM
Thank you all for the advice. To answer Jim's question:

It's a diamond Head DU 108 soprano, the strings are the default ones in that came with it. My faience also ordered some Aquila nylgut strings.

Stevepetergal, I see your point, I've just had experiences with the saxophone that improved my learning greatly when I added a new mouthpiece since the sound was closer to what I wanted but not something the mouth piece I started with could ever achieve due to the materials. However the default strings on the uke actually can make a pretty good sound and it is satisfying.In the long run it isn't going to make a huge difference either way. When you ask a question like this you get answers all over the place, Change them, don't change them, it doesn't really make a difference in the long run, just do what you want and don't worry about it.

haertig
07-19-2014, 06:18 AM
At my very beginner stage of learning uke, I can strum the same chord twice in a row, and one time it sounds like a band of trumpets - ringing out clearly - and the next time is sounds like someone dropping a dead fish on concrete. I don't think I'm ready to appreciate the difference in strings yet.

stevepetergal
07-19-2014, 07:24 AM
At my very beginner stage of learning uke, I can strum the same chord twice in a row, and one time it sounds like a band of trumpets - ringing out clearly - and the next time is sounds like someone dropping a dead fish on concrete. I don't think I'm ready to appreciate the difference in strings yet.

Yes. This is clear thinking.

UncleMoon
07-19-2014, 07:55 AM
For a beginner to change strings is a complete waste of time. Try to make music, rather than experiment. Once your playing is beautiful, your new strings will have something to enhance. Not before. I think encouraging beginners to stray from the musical for the technical pursuits is most ill advised. When you're starting out, you are setting the course of your ukulele experience, for good. Do you want to make music or be an instrument technician? Or worse, neither?

I completely agree here. Play the dang thing for a while first.

Justalogin
07-19-2014, 12:30 PM
Reading this forum will give you a very slanted and non-representative of what playing a uke is about. 99% of people here talk about nothing but strings, brands, models, woods, etc. All of these are completely unimportant. There's people trying to sell uke's for 2k which is crazy and a waste of money.

Get an instrument that's good enough, pick the right songs, and then play them the right way. (This is a big enough challenge in itself, which takes the average person about 3.5 lifetimes.)

Icelander53
07-19-2014, 12:41 PM
And to get an instrument that is "good enough" need to learn through trial and error. IMO your 99% do nothing but came right out of thin air. I suspect most people play both ends towards the middle. They practice the basics and they also have an interest in the technical aspects of ukuleles.

I hardly think the UU is non representative of what playing a uke is about. :wtf: I don't know about you but I use many of the forums at this sight.

I'm wondering who gave you the final word on what is and what is not important about ukulele playing?

CeeJay
07-19-2014, 01:27 PM
And to get an instrument that is "good enough" need to learn through trial and error. IMO your 99% do nothing but came right out of thin air. I suspect most people play both ends towards the middle. They practice the basics and they also have an interest in the technical aspects of ukuleles.

I hardly think the UU is non representative of what playing a uke is about. :wtf: I don't know about you but I use many of the forums at this sight.

I'm wondering who gave you the final word on what is and what is not important about ukulele playing?

Chill, fellow Flippancy Club member...some of what Justalogin says I agree with ....

generally the first ukulele that you buy is good enough ...you have no reference until you have wrung it's neck ....my first uke was a real heap of rubbish kapok brand Chinese made (70's this was so it was realllly cheap ) ...it did me no harm .....if you want to play you will make what you have sound as best it can , then when you try another better machine ...ah Epiphany lol..butter soft strings ...reponsive action ...Hendrix/Formby/SRVaughan virtuosity (well in your own mind ...).

SteveZ
07-19-2014, 01:38 PM
Going back to the original question, while this may not seem logical, it's often the case:

The strings on an instrument needs some playing time to settle in. The settling-in period can be a couple days or week-plus, but it is real. As they settle, they sound better, and how they sound after a couple weeks can be a whole lot different than they do in the first couple days. So, you can change strings daily, buy more expensive each time and never be satisfied. Yet, the $4 set you started with, if left on the instrument for a week may blow your mind on how good they sound on the seventh day.

All said, some folk are more patient than others.

Icelander53
07-19-2014, 03:02 PM
Chill, fellow Flippancy Club member...some of what Justalogin says I agree with ....

generally the first ukulele that you buy is good enough ...you have no reference until you have wrung it's neck ....my first uke was a real heap of rubbish kapok brand Chinese made (70's this was so it was realllly cheap ) ...it did me no harm .....if you want to play you will make what you have sound as best it can , then when you try another better machine ...ah Epiphany lol..butter soft strings ...reponsive action ...Hendrix/Formby/SRVaughan virtuosity (well in your own mind ...).

I'm very chill at the moment despite the outside temps. I can also agree, to a much lesser extent with some of what the other poster was saying. However his declaration from the pulpit that everything but actual playing time is completely unimportant is going just a tad far wouldn't you say?And that 99 percent of the posting here is about strings brands woods etc. If you look back over my post history you'd see about a 50/50 ratio of those things to questions on playing technique etc. And the reason there is likely a lot of talk here on those things is because the other forums catch more of the issues with actual playing. I saw no reason to slam issues of strings woods brands as completely useless pursuits. IMO they are not.

Icelander53
07-19-2014, 03:06 PM
Going back to the original question, while this may not seem logical, it's often the case:

The strings on an instrument needs some playing time to settle in. The settling-in period can be a couple days or week-plus, but it is real. As they settle, they sound better, and how they sound after a couple weeks can be a whole lot different than they do in the first couple days. So, you can change strings daily, buy more expensive each time and never be satisfied. Yet, the $4 set you started with, if left on the instrument for a week may blow your mind on how good they sound on the seventh day.

All said, some folk are more patient than others.


I think this is a main area of confusion for Newbies. If you don't do some reading before your first uke arrives you can easily think you got a dud. I'm fairly certain when I read Amazon reviews this is the actually problem with a significant percentage of "bad" ukes. I wonder how many get returned because they never realized that the strings were stretching out? If I was a uke seller I'd print that on each box that went out the door.

CeeJay
07-19-2014, 03:27 PM
I think this is a main area of confusion for Newbies. If you don't do some reading before your first uke arrives you can easily think you got a dud. I'm fairly certain when I read Amazon reviews this is the actually problem with a significant percentage of "bad" ukes. I wonder how many get returned because they never realized that the strings were stretching out? If I was a uke seller I'd print that on each box that went out the door.

I do get very cross with shops that have racks and racks of ukuleles and when you pick them up to play ...you can't because they are so hopelessly out of tune and will not stay in tune because they have never been tuned or "tempered" as I quite ponce -illy call it ....Uke strings do seem to take a bit more stretching in than guitar (steel in my experience only ,so classical nylon may be similar to uke)..so I understand the alarm and despondency suffered by newcomers to the instrument straight out of the box.

My preferred method is tune ...pull and let go (snap)...a couple of times ..then tune to three or four steps above what I want ..so GCEA I would go to BbEbGC possibly one higher and leave it over night (I know some people do not like the tune and snap ...'sup to you .....no harm no foul in my experience)...play it for a couple of days at the higher tuning and then go to the standard.
Just test the tension of your strings...as long as there is some give they are fine ....when they start to get a bit rigid ..back off.....however I am offering this as only my experience ....works for me.........

Lord Pancake
07-20-2014, 05:44 PM
Thank you all for the input. I think I am going to stay with my uke the way it is for now. I'm actually enjoying the sound of it, my biggest problem now is working on fingering so I don't mute strings lol. Getting there but having a blast. I take it the strings are similar to the reed in my sax. You have to give it some life before it will really sound it's best.

SteveZ
07-21-2014, 03:37 AM
Thank you all for the input. I think I am going to stay with my uke the way it is for now. I'm actually enjoying the sound of it, my biggest problem now is working on fingering so I don't mute strings lol. Getting there but having a blast. I take it the strings are similar to the reed in my sax. You have to give it some life before it will really sound it's best.

What you did not mention is whether your ukulele was ever set up by a competent tech/musician. Every ukulele I've got (except one) required some set-up work (e.g., lowering the action at one or both ends, some fret adjustment, etc.) to make it more playable. A couple were so high at the first fret as to be stratospheric. A little set-up work can make the ukulele "play like butter'" and when that happens everything just seems to sound better.

Nickie
07-21-2014, 11:57 AM
I think if you think the strings need to be changed, change them. If you still like them, and they're not hopelessly worn out, stick with them. OP, you seem to have plenty of saavy for a beginner. Also, as Steve says, most ukes need a setup, except maybe the most high end ones that have been custom built. (although I saw a custom build that wasn't set up corectly)
AND....for my 2 cents....there is nothing that DOESNT matter when you are playing a uke. What matters to you, is what matters. And it can change....I used to care a lot about bling, now I care more about sound quality and ease of playing. Everyone has an opinion, and we don't need negative ones here! If you want to be negative, go somewhere else, please. Thank you.

Lord Pancake
07-21-2014, 04:36 PM
I think if you think the strings need to be changed, change them. If you still like them, and they're not hopelessly worn out, stick with them. OP, you seem to have plenty of saavy for a beginner. Also, as Steve says, most ukes need a setup, except maybe the most high end ones that have been custom built. (although I saw a custom build that wasn't set up corectly)
AND....for my 2 cents....there is nothing that DOESNT matter when you are playing a uke. What matters to you, is what matters. And it can change....I used to care a lot about bling, now I care more about sound quality and ease of playing. Everyone has an opinion, and we don't need negative ones here! If you want to be negative, go somewhere else, please. Thank you.

Thank you, that is good advice. My goal with the uke is very different than my goal with the sax. With the sax I had a style, artist and specific songs as goals. With the uke I don't want to play poorly, but I more just want to be me, whatever sound that ends up being.