Beads anyone?

besley

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It's pretty common to use beads of some type on the end of your strings when stringing up a through-bridge uke. I went looking for some the other day, and came across these on Amazon. They're 6 mm in diameter, but more important, they have a hole through the middle that allows you to mount them with just a simple stopper knot, AND the whole is just big enough for even a Low G string (I checked).

71VjqGgm2jL._SX522_.jpg


https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00VNLXVFG/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
 

UkeStuff

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I bought a whole vial from Wal-Mart for $1.70. On some forums, people argue that you shouldn’t use beads because they cause a buzz—no such problem on my string through ukuleles—but people are entitled to believe what they want.
 

besley

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I bought a whole vial from Wal-Mart for $1.70. On some forums, people argue that you shouldn’t use beads because they cause a buzz—no such problem on my string through ukuleles—but people are entitled to believe what they want.

True....but with MY beads (which are FAR SUPERIOR!) you only have to tie a stopper knot in the string. With your Wally beads you have to use a double half hitch or a granny knot. Many of us are "knot" that clever! ; )

(It's a slow night when we're posting about beads.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gidUUzoHabk&feature=youtu.be
 

Ziret

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I just make a knot. Beads are too fiddly.
 

besley

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I just make a knot. Beads are too fiddly.

Well that's what I tried on my recently acquired Enya EUT-X1, but apparently the bridge plate was way too soft, and it took me 20 minutes to get the knots unstuck when I tried to change the strings. So that's why I bought the beads. If a knot works, great. But unless it came from the factory that way I'd be leery now of using just a knot for fear it would get stuck again.
 

Graham Greenbag

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It's pretty common to use beads of some type on the end of your strings when stringing up a through-bridge uke. I went looking for some the other day, and came across these on Amazon. They're 6 mm in diameter, but more important, they have a hole through the middle that allows you to mount them with just a simple stopper knot, AND the whole is just big enough for even a Low G string (I checked).

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00VNLXVFG/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Thanks for posting this. I don't use through bridge stringing at the moment but am wondering about converting one of my cheaper Ukes to try it out (some folk recon it improves the sound) and it's useful to have it available as an option for a worn slotted bridge too.

Knots are not something that I have to use with my bridges at the moment and I wouldn't be able to do the required thick knots without a lot of research. To me the beads seem to be a better solution than big knots because they must spread the string tension load on the underside of the sound board more equally and are unable to dig into the soundboard area in the same way as a knot could. YMMV, etc.
 
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Croaky Keith

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I prefer tie bridges, & you can always tie a knot or put a bead on the end of the string, if that takes your fancy. :)

I've heard rumours that through bridge/body is a better way of attaching strings, but I don't think it matters much with the tension of uke strings.
 

Booli

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Ever since my first uke where I saw the grooves cut into the rosewood of the tie-bridge, I have knotted the strings, and then fed them through small beads, and then into the holes and over the saddle, yes EVEN on a tie-bridge, and NOT tied over the bridge as is the expected use-case.

This also increases the string-break angle from the back of the saddle into the hole adjacent, and has worked very well for me for over 4 yrs now.

A huge plus is that if I want to swap the strings out for another set during my string testing, or move the strings to another uke, I do not have to deal with the mess of the twists that remain after taking them off a tie-bridge (and end up just cutting them off) and losing that length of string at the end.

Some folks will complain that this is blasphemy or not 'purist' but I do what suits my needs instead of following the herd.

Beads work REALLY well in all different bridge styles, and for a slotted bridge, I just take the beads off.

The local Michaels craft store has all kinds of beads on a string, either foot-long or 100-count for $2-3 or less depending upon bead diameter and what material it is made of...and the original packs of beads I bought way back still has many left over for future use...

Go use some beads and be happy :)
 

UkeStuff

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Booli...I’ll have to try your bead approach on my next tie bar replacement. The ability to swap strings or to work on a ukulele and restring makes too much sense! Thanks for sharing that!
 

Tootler

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I use beads on my slotted bridge ukes. I've had problems with the thinner strings pulling through even after tieing a double knot so I slip a bead on to the string and tie a simple knot round it. It works just fine. I've considered using beads on a tie bridge but didn't in the end. Maybe next time one needs a string change, I'll try it.

I get my beads from Hobbycraft, a UK craft store. They have them in various sizes as beadcraft is quite a popular hobby.
 

Graham Greenbag

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I use beads on my slotted bridge ukes. I've had problems with the thinner strings pulling through even after tieing a double knot so I slip a bead on to the string and tie a simple knot round it. It works just fine. I've considered using beads on a tie bridge but didn't in the end. Maybe next time one needs a string change, I'll try it.

I get my beads from Hobbycraft, a UK craft store. They have them in various sizes as beadcraft is quite a popular hobby.

Thanks for shairing your experience and for the UK supplier details. I recently saw a Luthier built Uke with a messed up slotted bridge and thought it needless damage to an otherwise valuable instrument. Of course a properly made knot will do the job perfectly well but some folk try to get by with half a job and live with the resulting mess and damage. Some folk do have the skills not to need them but for me I think beads would be the most sensible choice and I wonder why they aren't fitted to some slotted bridge Ukes as standard.
 
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igorthebarbarian

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Would beads help on wound Strings like a Fremont low G? I struggle with getting a tight-enough knot sometimes with those.
 

Tootler

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Thanks for shairing your experience and for the UK supplier details. I recently saw a Luthier built Uke with a messed up slotted bridge and thought it needless damage to an otherwise valuable instrument. Of course a properly made knot will do the job perfectly well but some folk try to get by with half a job and live with the resulting mess and damage. Some folk do have the skills not to need them but for me I think beads would be the most sensible choice and I wonder why they aren't fitted to some slotted bridge Ukes as standard.

I tried it after I noticed one of my Brueko ukuleles seemed to have small bead tied into the thinner strings and I thought if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me. I include them on G, E & A strings but not C or lose G where they're not needed. I use fluorocarbon strings which are thinner than nylon/nylgut.
 

KohanMike

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My newest custom uke from Bruce Wei has a narrower nut than I'm used to so I'm going to have a new nut made with slightly wider slots, which requires that the bridge string hole spacing be wider as well. I already decided I'm going to switch to string-through, which I did years ago (see below) using flat plastic discs that I bought at a bead store near me. To be sure the discs lay flat against the underside, I tied enough knots to prevent the string from slipping through the hole.

Logically to me, stringing through makes more sense since the tension of the string tightens the top and the bridge together, rather than the tension pulling across the bridge with a tendency of the bridge to pull away from the top.

Brown burst islands.jpg


Bridge string thru.jpg
 
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besley

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Much like Booli, I've decided to use my tie bridge as a string through bridge. In my case I found that after a few hours of play the knots on the top of the tie bridge were really irritating to my right forearm. I'm sure it's just my poor technique, but it was easy enough to just run the strings through the existing holes and tie "Ashley" stopper knots to hold them in place. The knot for the A string is pretty small though, so next time I re-string this uke I'll use at least a couple of those fancy new beads of mine.
 

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Ziret

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Well that's what I tried on my recently acquired Enya EUT-X1, but apparently the bridge plate was way too soft, and it took me 20 minutes to get the knots unstuck when I tried to change the strings. So that's why I bought the beads. If a knot works, great. But unless it came from the factory that way I'd be leery now of using just a knot for fear it would get stuck again.

That's interesting, and a little disappointing. Thanks for the heads up.