What’s the secret?

Joyful Uke

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There must be something that I’m missing when changing strings on one of my slot bridge ukuleles. No problem on the others, but one takes many tries to finally avoid strings popping out. I note what seemed to work so I can use that as reference next time, but since I change brands of strings, perhaps that is why it doesn’t seem to help? Or maybe this ukulele just has fun giggling at me while the strings pop out. 🙃

But I’m guessing that some of you have figured out the secret to changing strings on tricky slot bridge ukuleles. Any suggestions?

Using my approach of lots of patience & just keep trying, I do now have a fresh set of strings on there, and it sounds great, But I think it’s still giggling at me. 😉
 

DanY

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The knot makes a difference. Got any pics of how you are tying the knot?
 

Wiggy

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I have successfully used Joann Fabric "seed beads" for the thinnest (as small as .016") strings on slotted bridges. The beads are very tiny!

The knot I use is a "classical." Go thru the bead, then back around the entry side of the bead and back under (thru) the loop. Pull it tight; it will bind itself and cannot slip. Pretend the bridge hole shown in the pictures is a tiny bead.

After setting the knot pull the seed bead into the slot until it stops.

(the picture is from: https://www.taylorguitars.com/support/strings/changing-nylon-strings)
 

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Kenn2018

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I have a used uke with a slot bridge. I changed the strings to aset of Living Waters Low-G Fluorocarbons. The A string is very fine and slippery to the touch. It kept popping out of the somewhat enlarged slot. No matter how big a knot I tied, it would work it's way out. I finally tied a small bead on it and it has been fine ever since.
 

man0a

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I've been using this knot for the skinnier strings. For the thicker strings, a simple overhand or figure-8 knot works fine. Also, I make sure to pull the knots tight before bringing the strings fully up to tension. Once I learned how to tie decent knots, I have not had any problems with strings slipping.
ashley stopper knot.jpg
 

Joyful Uke

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The knot makes a difference. Got any pics of how you are tying the knot?
I don’t have any photos, but tried everything I could find on YouTube videos on how to change strings on a slot bridge ukulele.
Do you have any suggestions on knots to try?
 

Joyful Uke

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I have successfully used Joann Fabric "seed beads" for the thinnest (as small as .016") strings on slotted bridges. The beads are very tiny!

The knot I use is a "classical." Go thru the bead, then back around the entry side of the bead and back under (thru) the loop. Pull it tight; it will bind itself and cannot slip. Pretend the bridge hole shown in the pictures is a tiny bead.

After setting the knot pull the seed bead into the slot until it stops.

(the picture is from: https://www.taylorguitars.com/support/strings/changing-nylon-strings)
I did think about beads but the ones I have (for string through bridge ukulele) are probably too large for this. I’ll get some seed beads & give those a try. Thanks for the suggestion.
 

Joyful Uke

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I have a used uke with a slot bridge. I changed the strings to aset of Living Waters Low-G Fluorocarbons. The A string is very fine and slippery to the touch. It kept popping out of the somewhat enlarged slot. No matter how big a knot I tied, it would work it's way out. I finally tied a small bead on it and it has been fine ever since.
I was using Living Water strings as well. The 2 I had problems with were the A string and the high G string. Sounds like beads on those 2 strings will be my plan for next time I change strings on that ukulele.
 

Joyful Uke

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I've been using this knot for the skinnier strings. For the thicker strings, a simple overhand or figure-8 knot works fine. Also, I make sure to pull the knots tight before bringing the strings fully up to tension. Once I learned how to tie decent knots, I have not had any problems with strings slipping.
View attachment 140699
Thanks. I don’t think I ran across this knot in my search for the magic answer. I will definitely be giving it a try.
 

Dohle

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Very general advice for slot bridges:
If you're using nylon strings then a simple overhand knot will be enough as the strings are typically thick enough. But if you're using thinner strings, such as nylgut and particularly fluorocarbon, you should do two overhand knots at least for the thinnest strings, i.e., G and A, maybe even the E depending on the gauge. Just make sure that the two knots overlap as much as possible so you get a thicker knot overall. If even that won't work (maybe the slots are overly large or designed for nylon strings particularly) you can first do one double overhand knot and then a regular overhand knot. That usually does the trick for me.
 

anthonyg

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Once the string popped out of the slot bridge for the first time, you were behind the 8 ball. Every time its pops out again, its only getting worse and worse and worse.
The aim here, is that you never want a string to pop out of the slot bridge ever again.
Seriously.
Now I can't give you any expert advice on how to do this, other than you need a bigger knot.
Assess what you are doing carefully.
Don't have it pop out again.
 

Ukecaster

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Yes, every time it pops, it gets worse, IME, with damage or slot blowout likely, that's a lot of force. After my A slot showed some damage after a pop, I drilled the tiniest hole possible down through the top of the slot, and made it a string-through, with a bead inside the uke. I'm leery about using tiny beads inside my slots,
 

Joyful Uke

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Once the string popped out of the slot bridge for the first time, you were behind the 8 ball. Every time its pops out again, its only getting worse and worse and worse.
The aim here, is that you never want a string to pop out of the slot bridge ever again.
Seriously.
Now I can't give you any expert advice on how to do this, other than you need a bigger knot.
Assess what you are doing carefully.
Don't have it pop out again.
Welp, my goal all along was to never have it pop out. :)
But other than sell the ukulele, (I like it too much to sell it), I'm just going to have to hope for the best when it comes to changing strings.
I do realize that eventually I may have to take it in somewhere for repairs if damage is done with strings popping out, but for now, at least I get to play it with a new set of strings on there. :D
And I will keep all the suggestions in mind, especially the Ashley Stopped kno,t to try next time, (I downloaded the instructions so I don't lose track of it), and maybe that will do it.
I think that the problem is likely that the bridge wasn't designed for flurocarbons - it's a Kamaka. But I don't like the Kamaka strings, so I'm just glad that I don't have to change strings more often than I do.
 

Joyful Uke

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Yes, every time it pops, it gets worse, IME, with damage or slot blowout likely, that's a lot of force. After my A slot showed some damage after a pop, I drilled the tiniest hole possible down through the top of the slot, and made it a string-through, with a bead inside the uke. I'm leery about using tiny beads inside my slots,
Maybe at some point in the future, I can find someone who could do that for me. I much prefer string through bridges, and that would solve the problem.
 

Joyful Uke

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Very general advice for slot bridges:
If you're using nylon strings then a simple overhand knot will be enough as the strings are typically thick enough. But if you're using thinner strings, such as nylgut and particularly fluorocarbon, you should do two overhand knots at least for the thinnest strings, i.e., G and A, maybe even the E depending on the gauge. Just make sure that the two knots overlap as much as possible so you get a thicker knot overall. If even that won't work (maybe the slots are overly large or designed for nylon strings particularly) you can first do one double overhand knot and then a regular overhand knot. That usually does the trick for me.
I'm using Living Water flurocarbons, and the A and G strings are the cranky ones. No problem with the C and E strings. The bridge was designed for Kamaka strings, so I think why it's the only ukulele I've had trouble with when it comes to changing strings. Oh, but it sounds so nice when I finally get new strings on there. :)
 

luv2uke

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This is the response I got from Charlie Fukuba of I'iwi ukuleles when I had that problem with a concert poi pounder :

Basically I loop the string a multiple times before I pull it to tie the knot.

4 times for the 1st string
3x for the 2nd
2x for the 3rd
4x for the 4th
 

Jeffelele

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I recommend purpose made string beads. You can find them on Amazo.

They hold perfectly and don’t go through noticable cinching down and stretching. Using them on a tie bridge and strings through top style.

No need for multiple wraps to build up a knot. On e and a strings I do one extra pass for holding (easier to see than I can explain).

Problem of knot slipping out of slot might be the knot getting tighter with use. I tested the beads by leaving a very little tail so any slip would be obvious and found zero movement.
 
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merlin666

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Avoid granny knots and knots shown for tie bridges. Figure 8 and stopper knot are way to go.