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Thread: Lifespan of packaged strings

  1. #1
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    Default Lifespan of packaged strings

    Do unopened packages of strings last basically forever?

    With all the holiday sales, I was thinking of stocking up if I find a good sale, but wonder if flurocarbon strings have a "best by" lifespan? (I would guess not, but I often guess wrong about things.)

    Would unopened wound low G strings be more likely to potentially have a shorter lifespan than flurocarbons?

    While I'm not currently using them, what about nylon strings?

  2. #2
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    Jan 2019
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    I suspect that the shelf ife will vary depending on the material. I doubt they last forever, as just about any material will degrade over time, and strings may become brittle eventually.

    A quick search of some fishing forums seems to indicate that fluorocarbon has a longer shelf life than most other material monofilament, like nylon. There isn't a definite answer, but it looks like multiple years is likely fine for fluorocarbon. If you are looking at something like nylon or wound, it may be shorter, depending on how it is stored. As for something more exotic, like nylgut, I couldn't even guess. But you may want to try to contact Aquila. The folks there are pretty responsive (in my experience) and care greatly about their product. They may have an idea on how long you can leave it packaged and still expect decent performance.
    Ukes include (but are not limited to)
    • Blackbird Clara
    • Kamaka HF-2A (Koa Concert)
    • KoAloha Opio KCO-10 (Acacia Concert)
    • KoAloha Opio KCO-10S (Spruce Top Concert)

  3. #3
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    I recently found an ancient set of D'Addario alto guitar strings from the early 2000s. In those days the strings were individually placed in paper envelopes. The bass was corroded—silver plating was about 40% gone—but the nylon trebles seemed like new and sounded good. I also have D'Addario classical guitar EXLs in their non-corrosive plastic from 5 or 6 years ago when our music shop closed down. They look and sound like new.

  4. #4
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    A couple of weeks ago, I wanted to try some Aquila Nylgut strings on a soprano uke that had not responded well to fluorocarbons. All I could find in my stock drawer was a set of concert Nylguts that had been there for about ten years. They had originally been fitted to a brand new Ohana, whose owner preferred some other brand.

    I decided to try them on the soprano, and they suited it much better than the fluoros. In characteristic Nylgut fashion, they took several days to settle, but now sound fine.

    John Colter.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joyful Uke View Post
    Do unopened packages of strings last basically forever?
    One of the problems with "plastic" is that it "lasts forever." I doubt that I'll last forever, and I can't imagine my strings going bad before I use them. So, as far as I'm concerned, there is no throw away date on my strings.
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!
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  6. #6
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    Strings will dry out over time. I've had newly made strings that buzzed initally because of water content, dry out after several months and play fine.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/hoosierhiver

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by hoosierhiver View Post
    Strings will dry out over time. I've had newly made strings that buzzed initally because of water content, dry out after several months and play fine.
    True with nylon strings, since nylon does absorb water. Flurocarbon on the other hand does not absorb water.
    Blackbird Farallon Ekoa Tenor
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerryc41 View Post
    One of the problems with "plastic" is that it "lasts forever." I doubt that I'll last forever, and I can't imagine my strings going bad before I use them. So, as far as I'm concerned, there is no throw away date on my strings.
    A very good point. For fishing line, the strength to hold a fish may decrease with age, but for ukulele strings, They'll probably last longer than we need them to.

  9. #9
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    About 7 months ago, I put on a set of Oasis strings that I know had to be over 5 years old. They work just fine, in fact, I really like them.
    "Those who bring sunshine and laughter to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves".

    Music washes from the soul, the dust of everyday living.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nickie View Post
    About 7 months ago, I put on a set of Oasis strings that I know had to be over 5 years old. They work just fine, in fact, I really like them.
    When I bought my first uke (about $25) in an ABC store in Hawaii, I bought a pack of Hilo strings. That was in 2002, and I've never opened the package. I doubt I'll ever use them.
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!
    https://www.catskillukulelegroup.com/

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