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Thread: Beginner needs some help on ukulele maintenance and strings.

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default Beginner needs some help on ukulele maintenance and strings.

    The ukulele is a Kala SMHC like this one from Hawaiian Music Supply.
    http://www.theukulelesite.com/kala-k...y-concert.html

    In fact it was purchased from HMS by my husband for my Christmas present. I live in a dry climate, so the uke resides in a canvas covered case with an oasis humidifier when not in use.

    Last month I changed the strings on the uke, from the Aquila Super Nylgut strings that came with it, to Aquila Carbon Black strings. I like the Carbon Blacks but I have a rattle. I have learned that there is a difference in string gauges between the Carbon Blacks and the Super Nylguts, and believe that the thinner Carbon Black strings are rattling about, This was very noticeable when I first put them on, and has seemed to lessen over the last few weeks. I wouldn't say the rattle is completely gone, but it is not as noticeable.

    When I changed the strings, I oiled the fret board. I noticed that the bridge looked a bit dry, so I wiped some oil on that as well. It sucked the oil up pretty quickly.

    In a few days I should be getting a set of Aquila LAVAs. I purchased these thinking that I should go back to something more similar to the Super Nylgut strings to get rid of the rattle.

    Here are my questions:

    1. Should I play it safe and just stick with Aquila nylgut, or is there a brand of string that can improve on my ukulele's warm voice?

    2. Does the uke need to be set up every time I change the strings? Does it need to be set up if I swap from Nylgut to Fluorocarbon?

    3. Does the bridge need to be oiled if it looks dry?
    Last edited by bighatbulls; 08-07-2017 at 08:28 AM. Reason: order of words

  2. #2
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    Default

    I'm not a fan of nylgut strings, they sounded dull and muddy on my ukes so I play with fluorocarbon strings. To me, they sound and feel so much better. I'd recommend trying either Martin or Oasis fluorocarbons. Whenever I change my strings I oil both the fretboard and the bridge.
    Ohana CK-42R concert - all-solid, sinker redwood top, rosewood back and sides, maple binding, Ltd. Edition
    Kala KA-FMCG concert- solid spruce top, laminate spalted flame maple back and sides, mahogany binding
    Ohana CK-120G - all-solid acacia, mahogany binding, Limited Edition
    Kala KA-ZCT-C - all-laminate ziricote, walnut fretboard, satin neck
    Ohana SK-30M - all-solid mahogany long neck soprano (concert scale)

  3. #3
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    I've changed strings a few times & not had any rattles on my ukes. so just to be sure, check that the ends of the strings aren't moving around when you play, (they can create some weird noises sometimes), but 'rattle' would suggest something loose, to me, maybe the washer type bits on the tuners.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  4. #4
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    The ends are snipped (long ends drive me crazy) and it seemed that the rattle was coming bottom half of the ukulele, from the strings. Now, it seems that I can't get it to rattle at all. I don't get it, I sort of feel like the car owner who tells their mechanic that the car is making noise, but the mechanic can't make the car reproduce the noise the owner is complaining about. If the rattle is gone I will try these out till its time for a string change.

    I will check the tuners.

  5. #5
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    I wonder if it's possible that something got inside the body of the uke? (maybe when you changed the strings?) I've had this happen - little bits of 'stuff' rattling about inside the instrument. A good shake usually fixes it
    I'd like to be under the sea...

  6. #6
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    You may want to check to be sure that the rattle isn't shirt buttons on the back of the uke or sleeve cuff buttons on the front of the uke when playing.
    Ohana CK-42R concert - all-solid, sinker redwood top, rosewood back and sides, maple binding, Ltd. Edition
    Kala KA-FMCG concert- solid spruce top, laminate spalted flame maple back and sides, mahogany binding
    Ohana CK-120G - all-solid acacia, mahogany binding, Limited Edition
    Kala KA-ZCT-C - all-laminate ziricote, walnut fretboard, satin neck
    Ohana SK-30M - all-solid mahogany long neck soprano (concert scale)

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikelz777 View Post
    You may want to check to be sure that the rattle isn't shirt buttons on the back of the uke or sleeve cuff buttons on the front of the uke when playing.
    Now that is an interesting thought. I mostly wear t shirts, and I can't stand to have the forearm of my strumming hand covered when playing the ukulele. Sleeves get in the way. When we perform I wear a Hawaiian Shirt that is button up, I will need to pay attention to see if that could be a possible source for the rattle.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jollyboy View Post
    I wonder if it's possible that something got inside the body of the uke? (maybe when you changed the strings?) I've had this happen - little bits of 'stuff' rattling about inside the instrument. A good shake usually fixes it
    I shook it and didn't hear anything in there, then I shook it upside down, nothing came out. My husband got a laugh out of it and started teasing me with Peter Forrest's Ukulele tricks.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bighatbulls View Post
    I shook it and didn't hear anything in there, then I shook it upside down, nothing came out. My husband got a laugh out of it and started teasing me with Peter Forrest's Ukulele tricks.
    s'funny
    I'd like to be under the sea...

  10. #10
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    You have seen them then!

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