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Thread: Strings going sharp

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
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    Northern CA
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    15

    Default Strings going sharp

    Hi there. I just got a beautiful new Kanile'a tenor ukulele. I put new strings on about a week ago. I play a few songs, and some of the strings go sharp. Anyone have any ideas why?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    NorCal
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    445

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    New strings take time to settle and stretch out. Some take a few days, some a few weeks. So after playing some, the strings will need retuning during this period.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    USA
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    I've found that the only time strings go sharp is when humidity is high, the uke soaks it up, and strings go sharp. Never a problem, and I'd vastly prefer that to my uke drying out.
    John

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Honolulu
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    The various woods and string materials all expand and contract when subject to humidity and temperature changes. And strings are especially sensitive and tend to drift sharp when you bring it in a cooler room. If there's a temperature drop overnight, my treble strings are always a wee bit sharp. Put it in a hot car, it goes bananas! However, new strings need to stretch for a week or soódepending on how often you tuneóbut normally drift flat.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    UK
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    I'm assuming that some (but not all) of the open strings go sharp, and not that they are in tune when open and play sharp when fretted. If the assumption is right:

    One possibility is the strings which go sharp are binding in their nut slots. You tune up to pitch, but because the string sticks in the slot there is extra tension between tuning peg and nut. When you play, the strings move in the nut and the tension equalises = higher tension on the playing side and thus the string goes a little sharp.

    Were these a different kind of string from those they replaced? If so, they could be a fraction fatter.

    You might fix this by putting graphite in the nut slots (pencil lead, just sharpen a pencil and get some pencil marks inside the slots). Graphite is a lubricant which won't hurt your strings. It wouldn't hurt to try this.

    The other fix is to widen the nut slots slightly or, better, get someone experienced to do this for you, as you can make things bad pretty quickly if you don't know what you are doing!

    Or it might just be the type of string. Aquila Nylguts do this to me - I tune, strum for 30 seconds or so, and then have to perform a final retune, and I know they are not sticking in the nut slots because i use a zero fret.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Finland
    Posts
    656

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    It is not so significant amount, but I have also noticed that when I tune the strings to pitch and then start strumming. Usually maybe half hour of my daily chords playing stuff and then check the tuning, it has gone sharper. My clip-on tuner has no percentage of sharpness shown, but I assume it is something like maybe 5 cents, so not much.

    And it probably will go down by itself, not sure. My thoughts is that it could be some heat thing, can be also something to do with tuner windings, just beats me what it is. I have fluorocarbon strings.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Sparta, Wisconsin, USA
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    I have found that the Living Waters strings I use on my tenors are more sensitive to changes in heat and humidity than other fluorocarbons like Worths or Martins.
    Anyone else experience this? Or is it just my imagination?

    Heat & Humidity = Expand
    Cold & Dry = Contract

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
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    Northern CA
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    Thank you so much for all of this wonderful information. I will try the graphite in the slots.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    Northern CA
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    Thank you. I will see how they do as they settle in.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    Northern CA
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    15

    Default

    I have a humidity gauge inside the case and have been keeping it at around 51%.

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