Using masking tape when changing strings

Patty

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I’ve seen videos that recommend protecting the finish on your uke with masking tape down by the bridge when changing strings.
Last time I changed the strings on my ukes that have slot bridges I worried about scratching them, especially the one that has a wound low G. It was hairy. But I was reluctant to use masking tape.
Is it safe? Will it leave a gluey residue? And if so, how to get it off?
 
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badhabits

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if tape, maybe painters tape? I've used a post-it note before
 

man0a

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I think blue painters tape is safe to use on musical instruments. I don't bother, but for an extra special instrument, it can't hurt.
 

WebParrot (s2)

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I’ve seen videos that recommend protecting the finish on your uke with masking tape down by the bridge when changing strings.
Last time I changed the strings on my ukes that have slot bridges I worried about scratching them, especially the one that has a wound low G. It was hairy. But I was reluctant to use masking tape.
Is it safe? Will it leave a gluey residue? And if so, how to get it off?
I would completely avoid the traditional "tan colored" masking tape. Using it will guarantee remaining residue, especially if left on for over 15 minutes. (Many many manufacturers of this 'generic' stuff... you never know the quality of the sticker')

My go-to is Yellow FrogTape. It's considered the best for delicate surfaces (like painted surfaces that are holding tape while you are painting trim, etc.). I've left it on light colored latex painted surfaces for days and upon removing, no issues with tackiness or tearing off of the painted/laquered surfaces.

FrogTape also makes a green tape that's good for general surfaces and works as well, though I wouldn't leave it on as long, a few hours is enough. Take a look at the [ FrogTape.com ] website. BTW, your local Ace Hardware carries Frog. Local Aces are locally owned franchises and you can support a local business that pays fair wages by buying locally (rather than the online sellers).

As an added suggestion. Use a double layer of whatever you choose to use. Thick string ends can be real pointy and still tear through the thin tapes. Cheap insurance.
 

mikelz777

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I wouldn't bother with it for a string change but I've used blue painter's tape for protection when I was drilling some new holes in the headstock for some new tuners. I didn't have any issues with the tape leaving any residue or being too sticky that I worried about the finish.
 

Steve_S

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I tried using tape once following a video recommendation and I made the mistake as indicated above of using the so-called low tack tan coloured stuff. It left a residue. However, I asked my luthier about it and he just said use spit to get it off as the enzymes are a good solvent. He was right. I have never bothered with tape since.
 

Patty

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I would completely avoid the traditional "tan colored" masking tape. Using it will guarantee remaining residue, especially if left on for over 15 minutes. (Many many manufacturers of this 'generic' stuff... you never know the quality of the sticker')

My go-to is Yellow FrogTape. It's considered the best for delicate surfaces (like painted surfaces that are holding tape while you are painting trim, etc.). I've left it on light colored latex painted surfaces for days and upon removing, no issues with tackiness or tearing off of the painted/laquered surfaces.

FrogTape also makes a green tape that's good for general surfaces and works as well, though I wouldn't leave it on as long, a few hours is enough. Take a look at the [ FrogTape.com ] website. BTW, your local Ace Hardware carries Frog. Local Aces are locally owned franchises and you can support a local business that pays fair wages by buying locally (rather than the online sellers).

As an added suggestion. Use a double layer of whatever you choose to use. Thick string ends can be real pointy and still tear through the thin tapes. Cheap insurance.
Thanks SO MUCH! The traditional tan masking tape is what I was thinking of.
 

WebParrot (s2)

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Thanks SO MUCH! The traditional tan masking tape is what I was thinking of.
Your welcome (of course!). FWIW although string changes are the least 'risky' in terms of string scratch, I still use tape when restringing tie-bar types. I cut the loose ends pretty close and I "know" that someday I'll get distracted and get the cutters just a little too close! Regardless, as you can see, there's lots of ways, ideas, and experience shared for you to choose from. My first double/triple layering use of the Frog was when I was cutting nut slots. Prior to that, on my first KoAloha, I put a good sized nick on the faceplate. ...one moment of inattentiveness.
 

Graham Greenbag

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I’ve seen videos that recommend protecting the finish on your uke with masking tape down by the bridge when changing strings.
Last time I changed the strings on my ukes that have slot bridges I worried about scratching them, especially the one that has a wound low G. It was hairy. But I was reluctant to use masking tape.
Is it safe? Will it leave a gluey residue? And if so, how to get it off?

I don’t play expensive instruments but admit to being a little ‘precious’ in the past with the instruments that I do play. Now I just treat my Ukes with care and if they still get scratched or marked then that’s an acceptable sign that they’re being used - instruments were made to be used, carefully used. With regard to masking and string changes I’ve changed say two dozen sets of (plain) strings without damage. I work with care and some experience of craft work and have never felt the need to use masking tape. During some other DIY work I do use masking tape, it’s never left a residue or damaged a surface, that’s my experience and of course YMMV … probably won’t though.

I’ll be fitting my first wound low G in a week or so, I’ll check the ends for damage potential and put a spot of superglue on them too (I hear it stops them fraying). If I think that the string might possibly scratch the I’ll use some protection, for me that will be wide brown masking tape; however, if I had one to hand, a large post it note might be marginall better. Of course if the string had excess length on it that will later be removed them a bit of tape around the string end could remove much of the potential hazard; after that it’s a case of being careful with the tools that you use - but what is second nature for someone with years of craft experience is difficult for someone who hasn’t.
 
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Wiggy

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... I still use tape when restringing tie-bar types. I cut the loose ends pretty close and I "know" that someday I'll get distracted and get the cutters just a little too close! Regardless, as you can see, there's lots of ways, ideas, and experience shared for you to choose from. My first double/triple layering...
I do the same when filing fret ends. I always mask. This is especially important for fret ends that extend over the top surface. Use at least a double layer.

Frog (or blue) tape is also good for gathering up the filing's metal fragments.
 
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ukuevey

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I’ve seen videos that recommend protecting the finish on your uke with masking tape down by the bridge when changing strings.
Last time I changed the strings on my ukes that have slot bridges I worried about scratching them, especially the one that has a wound low G. It was hairy. But I was reluctant to use masking tape.
Is it safe? Will it leave a gluey residue? And if so, how to get it off?
Hi! I ALWAYS tape mine. Blue painters tape, bought at the dollar store. Cut off a piece, fold over one end, place it on. The folded end makes it very easy to remove. No residue, all good. Even when I clean the fretboards, I tape along the edge so nothing gets on the neck. Yea, I am very very careful with my instruments. :)
 

Jim Yates

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I use green tape these days when changing strings on my mandolin, just to ensure that the floating bridge is put back in the right place. I have used regular masking tape in the past, and use whatever's handy when I'm drilling for strap pins in the heel or butt. I think that was regular masking tape in the photo. I've never had any problems with residue, but I never leave it on for extended periods.
mandolin bridge tape.jpg
 

Jim Yates

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Although this busking song list has been on the back of my G/D semi-diatonic Autoharp since before the turn of the century. I don't think it'll come off without leaving some residue. (I haven't busked for about 2 decades.)

song list on harp.jpg
 

frets alot

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I use an index card, secured with a couple small pieces of painters tape. I also like Vic's idea of a Post-It.....especially a larger size one.
 
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socal16

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Stew/Mac makes a low tack masking tape for musical instruments and it works quite well with no residue.
 

Patty

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This is all very helpful—thanks to all who replied. I think I’ll go for the yellow frog tape at my local Ace Hardware. I’ll also check out Stew Mac.
 

WebParrot (s2)

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This is all very helpful—thanks to all who replied. I think I’ll go for the yellow frog tape at my local Ace Hardware. I’ll also check out Stew Mac.
Just a thought. You should be quite pleased with the performance of the yellow FrogTape and doing business with a local seller. With StewMac you're getting something at a price premium plus paying for shipping, and not getting much more that you get with the yellow. Just sticking my nose in again :)