Always bringing a backup?

UkingViking

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Just a silly thought, from someone who never does gigs, but is courious.

Recently there was a thread about how rarely strings break. But if a string did break on an ukulele the day of a gig, new strings would not have time to settle in.

What do the gigging ukers do?
Bring a spare uke every time?

One thing is if a busking show must be cancelled, or that one song you would play at an open mike. But if someone has a payed gig, the show must go on.

I imagine that a classical guitar player must be in more of right spot. Wound strings are more likely to break and an extra guitar is more difficult to bring than an extra ukulele.
 

KohanMike

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My group plays gigs often, but none of us (over 40 people) ever bring a spare, even me and I play bass uke. I know I'm leaving it to chance, but I have somewhat limited mobility and don't want to be encumbered more.


This is Michael Kohan in Los Angeles, Beverly West near the Beverly Center
9 tenor cutaway ukes, 5 acoustic bass ukes, 11 solid body bass ukes, 9 mini electric bass guitars (Total: 34)

• Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children in hospital music therapy programs. www.theukc.org
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Peter Frary

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I'm a giging classical guitarist and always carry a spare set and a few singles. If you use fluorocarbon trebles and composite core basses they stretch out very fast. I've played a few gigs where I opened my case and the D string snapped and it was really no biggie if I showed up 30 minutes early to set up gear. Change the string (D'Addario EXL), tune it a whole step sharp and it's 90% settled at downbeat. A quick tuning adjustment between numbers and it sounds great.
 

ampeep

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I play a classical guitar & never had a string break. I did have some start to unravel but could see the wear on the string + the intonation was off by that time. Was just being lazy when I knew I should have changed the strings.

Am wondering if ukulele string breakage could be avoided simply by changing strings when they start to sound bad. There are more than a few uke players in our groups that go years or have never changed their strings.

Had a whole lot of steel strings break back when I had an electric guitar. Have 15 year old stainless steel strings on my bass (don’t sound as good as nickel but their sound doesn’t deteriorate) & have never broken one of those.
 

Graham Greenbag

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If you’re an ordinary player turning out with others then the show can go on without you, and if you’re a key person someone else will almost certainly lend you their instrument. Some folk would be happy enough to just sit out the meet, and others take two instruments for either variety and just because they can.

In group playing sessions I’ve only once come across a string breaking for someone; as I carry new and part used strings with me I so was able to supply that player with something to get them playing again. They did have to tune-up quite a lot over the evening but at least they were able to do something. I’d be surprised if I’m alone in normally carrying such provisions with me.

Personally I believe that the risk of string breakage is so low, and the remedy (install one new or part used string) so easy to implement, that for my playing string breakage is a non-issue, even if I busked it wouldn’t be an issue. However if you’re a professional musician doing a paid performance then having both a spare instrument and strings is wise, the risk of needing them is still very low but the consequences of failure might be significant.
 
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John Colter

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I always take a back-up ukulele with me. The only thing better than a ukulele is two ukuleles (or more).

John Colter.

ps. I play only soprano, so it is (as they say) no biggie.
 

Jerryc41

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Just a silly thought, from someone who never does gigs, but is courious.

Recently there was a thread about how rarely strings break. But if a string did break on an ukulele the day of a gig, new strings would not have time to settle in.

What do the gigging ukers do?
Bring a spare uke every time?

One thing is if a busking show must be cancelled, or that one song you would play at an open mike. But if someone has a payed gig, the show must go on.

I imagine that a classical guitar player must be in more of right spot. Wound strings are more likely to break and an extra guitar is more difficult to bring than an extra ukulele.

I usually bring two ukes to jams just for the variety. I switch back and forth, often with a banjo uke. Going from a tenor to a sopranissimo is interesting. : )
 

stevejfc

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I remember from the guitar world that if a string breaks you just change it, and keep tuning and retuning while playing.
 

RafterGirl

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I'm flying from Utah to Florida in November for TBUG & a family visit. The thought of bringing spare strings for my Clara popped into my head a few days ago. I think I have some spare Oasis brights around, so I'll throw them in my bag, just in case. I'm sure I can get spares at a ukulele festival, but it's no problem to bring along the strings I want.
 

UkingViking

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I'm a giging classical guitarist and always carry a spare set and a few singles. If you use fluorocarbon trebles and composite core basses they stretch out very fast. I've played a few gigs where I opened my case and the D string snapped and it was really no biggie if I showed up 30 minutes early to set up gear. Change the string (D'Addario EXL), tune it a whole step sharp and it's 90% settled at downbeat. A quick tuning adjustment between numbers and it sounds great.

Oh, so there is trick to get playable classical strings in 30 minutes. I thought they needed so sit for at least a day to last through just one song without stopping to tune.

I had quite a few guitar strings break, but probably due to age. My nylon stringed guitar used to hang on the wall for years with little playing and the same strings left on it.
 

ksiegel

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When I gig, I'm a little anal retentive...

I always have: a) A spare powered speaker, b) a spare mixer, c) at least 2 spare mics, d) a minimum of 10 mic cables, e) at least 4 power cords, f) two spare mic stands, g) at least 3 ukes (Banjo, no pickup, soprano, no pickup, and concert, with pickup), h) 2-DI boxes, i) 4 instrument cables, j) 2 mixer output cables, k) 5 tuner batteries, l) spare chair, m)mulitiple extension cords and power strips.

And a spare set of strings for each instrument.

As I said, anal retentive.

-Kurt​
 

Joyful Uke

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I recall reading that Jake doesn't bring a spare ukulele with him. That always surprised me, because I would think that traveling with a ukulele would make it more likely that something could go wrong, and it's kind of critical for him to have a ukulele to play for his shows.
 

Rllink

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I never have taken an extra ukulele always take an extra set of strings, although I've never broken a string. But if I did I don't think it would be such a big deal to put on a new string. Might have to tune it up often between songs, but I don't think it would be catastrophic. Certainly not worth lugging another uke with me just for that reason.
 

UkingViking

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I recall reading that Jake doesn't bring a spare ukulele with him. That always surprised me, because I would think that traveling with a ukulele would make it more likely that something could go wrong, and it's kind of critical for him to have a ukulele to play for his shows.

That is surprising.

I saw Tobias Elofs perform in Copenhagen a few years ago, he had two ukuleles that he witched between on stage. They were not identical, so It was not just for backup, but it must add some flexibility in case of a mishap.
 

UkingViking

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I never have taken an extra ukulele always take an extra set of strings, although I've never broken a string. But if I did I don't think it would be such a big deal to put on a new string. Might have to tune it up often between songs, but I don't think it would be catastrophic. Certainly not worth lugging another uke with me just for that reason.

Tuning between songs, that is what you do when strings have only been on for a day or so, and havent settled properly like after like a week or so.
But if you change strings like 30 minutes before a gig, will the first string even keep tune long enough for you to tune the last one?
Is there a trick to it? Like tuning a number of notes sharp?
 

John Colter

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With new strings fitted, a true ukulele (ie, a soprano) is unplayable until at least the next day - in terms of giving a performance. It might be different for those four stringed mini guitars that all the cool kids are playing now.

John Colter.
 

Kenn2018

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I have a spare set of 5-string Living Waters in my case all the time. (5-string set so it has both a low & high G in it.) I have LW strings on all but a couple of my tenors.

So far, I have not needed them, but I did use them to replace two other players' strings at separate gigs. One used nylon, but didn't have a spare. (An interesting mix.) He had to adjust the replacement between songs, but it wasn't a big deal. I also have a set of tools in my music bag. (Mini needle-nose pliers, string clippers, pin puller/string winder, screwdrivers.) Plus, tuner/pickup batteries, a nail file, a couple of pens and a small notebook, cough drops, eye drops and a lint-free cloth. I have used them all—save the pin-puller.

Must be the Boy Scout experience that stayed with me.
 

rorym

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I always bring a low G tenor and a high G concert to our monthly Jams and other events, mostly just so I can play the one that sounds most appropriate for each tune.

Occasionally there is a visitor without a uke, and it’s nice to put a smile on their face when I’m able to lend them one.

Once the group leader opened his case and found it empty. He’d left his uke at home (always check your case _before_ you leave). I handed him my tenor and all was well in the world, or at least our little corner of it.
 

merlin666

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I had my very first gig last Saturday and indeed I took two ukes along as they are small and easy to carry. This was both for backup but also in case I decided to play some of the songs that sound better on the second uke (linear vs. re-entrant six-string). I ended up using it for the encores ...

The playing time was limited to one hour, so with this restriction it would not even cross my mind to sit there to install a fresh string if one broke and let the audience sit idle. I think that etiquette requires to play with a string missing and adjust song selection and playing style accordingly.