Arthritis and Strings..

CountryMouse

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If you put a capo on the first fret, the tension will get higher.
But then I can tune down again. In other words, full step down, then add capo at first fret. Or half-step down, add capo, re-tune down again.
 

CountryMouse

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Just take one small step today and don't think about all that string changing. Just set up your changing station with a nice towel laid down on your table and set out whatever tools you'll need. Select the strings you want to try and the uke that you want to change. Set your laptop or tablet on the table with the YouTube video that will guide you through the process. Then walk away for awhile. Later in the day or the next morning, you may find yourself changing strings on that one uke. You just need to start with one; forget all the others.

One suggestion on the hand pain: the soft tension strings do help, but it always helps to take a look at how the uke is being held because that's usually the culprit. In this UU podcast linked below, at around the 26 minute mark, Aldrine demonstrates how to hold a tenor the right way. Be patient through the conversation that ensues b/c what he demonstrates is one of the best explanations I've seen and I've watched many videos about it. If your sister is willing to get her uke out and try it as she watches Aldrine demonstrate, it will go a long way to losing the death grip for good.

One small step will lead you to great results. All the best, Bluesy.

.Aldrine Holding a Uke
Thanks! I'm having problems making myself do things...part of depression, I think. I'll let my sister know about the link! :)

CMouse
 

Bluesy

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Thanks! I'm having problems making myself do things...part of depression, I think. I'll let my sister know about the link! :)

CMouse
You were sweet to write. I ended up watching the earlier video that Aldrine mentions and it was also really illuminating. Yes, I wasn't holding my uke at the optimal angle. I tweeked my technique to mirror what was recommended and was pretty surprised at the improvement it made with my left hand!

I'm always working on keeping my hands relaxed and loose. It's not easy to break that habit, but I continue to seek out expert advise, try it out and have made progress. All the best, Bluesy.
 

Graham Greenbag

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By chance I was reading a few months old thread on another forum and came across a particular comment that I think might well be applicable to this thread. I hope that the original poster of these words doesn’t mind me sharing them here:

“I tried a very old and well-known classical guitar technique yesterday -- press the string down close to the fret (the one nearer to the bridge and saddle). It worked! I could press more softly and still get a clear tone.

I was surprised. The frets on ukuleles are so much closer together than guitar frets, I thought it would make no difference at all, as long as I pressed the string down between the frets. But I was wrong! Even with my thick fingers.”
 

CountryMouse

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By chance I was reading a few months old thread on another forum and came across a particular comment that I think might well be applicable to this thread. I hope that the original poster of these words doesn’t mind me sharing them here:

“I tried a very old and well-known classical guitar technique yesterday -- press the string down close to the fret (the one nearer to the bridge and saddle). It worked! I could press more softly and still get a clear tone.

I was surprised. The frets on ukuleles are so much closer together than guitar frets, I thought it would make no difference at all, as long as I pressed the string down between the frets. But I was wrong! Even with my thick fingers.”
Thanks! I'll try that! :)

CMouse
 

Joyful Uke

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"I have watched videos on restringing so many times and I'm still nervous! What if I mess up?"

It made me nervous at first, too. My thought was that if I messed it up and couldn't get strings back on, I could always head to a music store and have them do it for me. Would that work for you as a backup plan?

But, that said, I now change strings with a tie bridge, string-through bridge, and slot bridge. My least favorite for string changes is the slot bridge, but even on one picky ukulele, I get that to work, too. It's not bad once you get used to doing it. Just be patient, (sometimes it takes more than one try for me on a slot bridge), take a deep breath, and give it a go.

When I figure out what works, I try to stick a note in the ukulele case for next time. Something like: 1st string needs really big knot, 2nd string needs double knots, 3rd string needs single figure 8 knot -- or whatever it is that worked.

And I keep track of the brand of strings used, too, (I write the date on the string package and stick that in the case), so I'll know the string gauges used, in case that makes a difference for the next string change.

We're here to cheer you on if you give string changes a try. :)
 

CountryMouse

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"I have watched videos on restringing so many times and I'm still nervous! What if I mess up?"

It made me nervous at first, too. My thought was that if I messed it up and couldn't get strings back on, I could always head to a music store and have them do it for me. Would that work for you as a backup plan?

But, that said, I now change strings with a tie bridge, string-through bridge, and slot bridge. My least favorite for string changes is the slot bridge, but even on one picky ukulele, I get that to work, too. It's not bad once you get used to doing it. Just be patient, (sometimes it takes more than one try for me on a slot bridge), take a deep breath, and give it a go.

When I figure out what works, I try to stick a note in the ukulele case for next time. Something like: 1st string needs really big knot, 2nd string needs double knots, 3rd string needs single figure 8 knot -- or whatever it is that worked.

And I keep track of the brand of strings used, too, (I write the date on the string package and stick that in the case), so I'll know the string gauges used, in case that makes a difference for the next string change.

We're here to cheer you on if you give string changes a try. :)
I don't go into *any* stores now, and won't until we're finally free from the pandemic.

I looked up a video on a slotted bridge. That looks easy, according to GotAUkulele (BazMaz). Are you talking about the ones you have to reach in through the sound hole? That looks very fiddly.

Thank you for all the tips! Now I'm worried about the other end, winding properly! LOL!

CMouse
 

merlin666

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In the guitar community many players who have hand or wrist pain gravitate toward the thickest necks they can find. There is a misconception that people who think they have small hands or fingers also need a tiny neck, and as a result end up with pain and/or cramps in the wrist and thumb. This can often be alleviated by using a wide fretboard and a neck as thick as possible, as this increases leverage of the thumb, and as a result considerably less force is needed to depress the strings.

As others have mentioned, correct hand and thumb position that keep the hand straight and thumb behind neck are also important.
 

mikelz777

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@ CountryMouse

String changes are one of those things where once you've done it, you'll wonder why you ever afraid of doing it. If you mess up, you just start over again. There's very little to no chance you'll damage the uke or do something that's irreversible. I too was nervous at first. The first time wasn't as smooth as it could have been but I learned along the way and it was much smoother the next time.

I was also nervous when I added strap buttons to the end of 4 of my ukes. It was a lot more nerve wracking than changing strings because I had to actually drill a hole into my uke. I finally took the leap and told myself I'm just drilling a simple little hole and screwing in a screw. I took my time and it went very well. After doing it and seeing how simple it was I would have regretted paying someone to do it.

Even more nerve wracking was when I needed to change the tuners on a uke. I had paid someone to do it the first time and they did a very shoddy job. This job required filling in existing screw holes and then re-drilling holes to properly fasten the new tuners. Again, I took my time and it went very well. I did a much better job than the person I paid to do it and regret not having done it myself the first time.

I guess the moral of the story is, a string change might seem intimidating but it's very do-able and you can do it!
 

Joyful Uke

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"I don't go into *any* stores now, and won't until we're finally free from the pandemic. "

I do completely understand that. But I've found that many stores have curb side service. I don't know about music stores, (haven't been in one since the start of the pandemic), but often, if you call ahead, you can arrange for drop off/pick up service, so you don't have to go into the store.

Just a guess, but my guess is that a music store might do that for you, too. Just something to keep in the back of your mind, though my other guess is that you won't need them. The first time you change strings might make you nervous, but take a deep breath and give it a go. If you get stuck, people here might be able to offer some suggestions, too.
 

CountryMouse

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"I have watched videos on restringing so many times and I'm still nervous! What if I mess up?"

It made me nervous at first, too. My thought was that if I messed it up and couldn't get strings back on, I could always head to a music store and have them do it for me. Would that work for you as a backup plan?

But, that said, I now change strings with a tie bridge, string-through bridge, and slot bridge. My least favorite for string changes is the slot bridge, but even on one picky ukulele, I get that to work, too. It's not bad once you get used to doing it. Just be patient, (sometimes it takes more than one try for me on a slot bridge), take a deep breath, and give it a go.

When I figure out what works, I try to stick a note in the ukulele case for next time. Something like: 1st string needs really big knot, 2nd string needs double knots, 3rd string needs single figure 8 knot -- or whatever it is that worked.

And I keep track of the brand of strings used, too, (I write the date on the string package and stick that in the case), so I'll know the string gauges used, in case that makes a difference for the next string change.

We're here to cheer you on if you give string changes a try. :)
Well now i know why you hate the slot bridge. I can't get a knot the right size to get it in. I thought I had, then it popped my arm when I was trying to tune it up (wind the string). Twice. And I can't get the knot I *made* out of the string to try to do a figure-8 (which I don't know how I'm going to do with the string constantly wrapping itself back into its coiled shape). And now I can't get the original string back into the slot. This is what I meant about ruining things. I have probably ruined the new set of strings by the wrong kind of knot which I can't undo. And I now have an ukulele with three strings. I am so screwed.

CMouse
 

CountryMouse

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In the guitar community many players who have hand or wrist pain gravitate toward the thickest necks they can find. There is a misconception that people who think they have small hands or fingers also need a tiny neck, and as a result end up with pain and/or cramps in the wrist and thumb. This can often be alleviated by using a wide fretboard and a neck as thick as possible, as this increases leverage of the thumb, and as a result considerably less force is needed to depress the strings.

As others have mentioned, correct hand and thumb position that keep the hand straight and thumb behind neck are also important.
Thanks for the tip!

CMouse
 

CountryMouse

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@ CountryMouse

String changes are one of those things where once you've done it, you'll wonder why you ever afraid of doing it. If you mess up, you just start over again. There's very little to no chance you'll damage the uke or do something that's irreversible. I too was nervous at first. The first time wasn't as smooth as it could have been but I learned along the way and it was much smoother the next time.

I was also nervous when I added strap buttons to the end of 4 of my ukes. It was a lot more nerve wracking than changing strings because I had to actually drill a hole into my uke. I finally took the leap and told myself I'm just drilling a simple little hole and screwing in a screw. I took my time and it went very well. After doing it and seeing how simple it was I would have regretted paying someone to do it.

Even more nerve wracking was when I needed to change the tuners on a uke. I had paid someone to do it the first time and they did a very shoddy job. This job required filling in existing screw holes and then re-drilling holes to properly fasten the new tuners. Again, I took my time and it went very well. I did a much better job than the person I paid to do it and regret not having done it myself the first time.

I guess the moral of the story is, a string change might seem intimidating but it's very do-able and you can do it!
See my reply above/below about trying to do a slot bridge change. I can't get the knot back out of the string in order to do a better knot. I can't even get the old string back in now. I hate this.

CMouse
 

merlin666

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See my reply above/below about trying to do a slot bridge change. I can't get the knot back out of the string in order to do a better knot. I can't even get the old string back in now. I hate this.

CMouse
Strings are quite long and stretch even more. Just cut the knot off and pull it out with some needle nose pliers. There are some nice diagrams and videos on how to tie string knots. It can also help to practice with a piece of yarn or shoelace until you get it with eyes closed. Just take your time.
 

CountryMouse

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Strings are quite long and stretch even more. Just cut the knot off and pull it out with some needle nose pliers. There are some nice diagrams and videos on how to tie string knots. It can also help to practice with a piece of yarn or shoelace until you get it with eyes closed. Just take your time.
The knot did not stay in the slot. It popped out twice. I can't seem to get it the right size to go in. How do you keep the string from getting in your way when you're trying to do *anything* with it?? It keeps curling up. As you can tell, I'm feeling like I don't want to look at another ukulele at all today. :-( And I *would* have to use a set that's almost irreplaceable (Ko'olau Gold). My only set of those. I should use some ghs black nylon. I have a bunch of those.

I felt in a hurry because I have hardly any ukuleles I can comfortably play, and I wanted to get started practicing a song Cat'r and I are going to do.

I will try to find a video that showed the figure-8 knot and try yarn. At least yarn won't curl up on me. And at least I didn't trim off the end after I knotted it. How do you do yours? Trim off later? It looked like that's what BazMaz did in his video.

Thanks! And thanks for putting up with my ranting.

CMouse
 

merlin666

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There are some nice pictures on this site

And yes strings only get trimmed at either end after they have settled in for at least a week. The good thing is that plain strings usually last for many years so you don't have to do it often. But then you have to find instructions again and start over with practice.
 

CountryMouse

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There are some nice pictures on this site

And yes strings only get trimmed at either end after they have settled in for at least a week. The good thing is that plain strings usually last for many years so you don't have to do it often. But then you have to find instructions again and start over with practice.
Thank you! I will bookmark this. :) And try it...just probably not today. Too grrrrrr ATM. :p

CMouse
 

Bluesy

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I looked up a video on a slotted bridge.

Thank you for all the tips! Now I'm worried about the other end, winding properly! LOL!

CMouse
No worries on either end of it: Beau Hannam has the easy way to restring, guaranteeing you retain the correct string length to wind. (When I grow up, I want a one of his instruments!)


Bluesy.