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Thread: Do Old Unused Strings Sound/Work the Same as New Strings?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
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    Default Do Old Unused Strings Sound/Work the Same as New Strings?

    Will packs of 15 year old strings - nylon, nylgut, and flourocarbon - that have been kept in good humidity (40-70%) and temperature (60-80F) sound the same as brand new packs of strings when put on a ukulele?

    I have been given some sets of older strings and am curious if others know the life span of unused strings. I guess part of the question could be "Is old unused fishing line as good as new fishing line?"

  2. #2
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    It really depends if they have been exposed to UV light for extended periods of time. I worked in the fishing tackle industry many moons ago and prolonged exposure to UV degraded fishing line which uke strings originate from. Put them on and see what you think
    Currently enjoying these ukuleles : *LdfM tenor, *LfdM 19" super tenor. *LfdM baritone, *I'iwi tenor , *Koolau tenor, *Webber tenor, *Kimo tenor, *Kimo super concert, *Mya Moe baritone, *Kamaka baritone, *Gianinni baritone, *Fred Shields super soprano, *Kala super soprano, *Loprinzi super soprano, *Black bear ULO concert , *Enya X1 concert, *Enya X1 pineapple soprano, *Gretsch tenor, *Korala plastic concert

  3. #3
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    Jul 2019
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    Quote Originally Posted by DownUpDave View Post
    It really depends if they have been exposed to UV light for extended periods of time. I worked in the fishing tackle industry many moons ago and prolonged exposure to UV degraded fishing line which uke strings originate from. Put them on and see what you think
    Thanks for the info. I still don't trust myself to know subtle differences in tone/sound which is why a asked the question of folks like you. I'm doing my ukulele beginner's best to play good ukes with good strings to help me learn what others consider good tone/sound. Also for me, a good ukulele with good strings makes practicing much more enjoyable.

  4. #4
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    If stored in a dark, cool dry place in well designed packaging, they have a storage life of many years. I still have D'Addario strings left from our shop that are over a decade old and they still look and sound great (plastic envelopes). However, silver wound strings stored in paper packaging will tarnish badly due to the acid content of the paper. Nylon seems to be less sensitive to paper but I've only tried a few singles over a decade old (they were fine).

  5. #5
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    Oh oh, if those older strings sound great, there will be another issue to discuss
    in relation to ukulele strings... 'aged' strings.

    Do strings age well in the proper conditions, like fine wines?

    Should we buy strings and store them in our 'string cellar' to be brought out
    at the optimal time for use on special occasions? etc.

    keep uke'in',
    Uncle Rod Higuchi
    ( rohiguchi@seattleschools.org )

    MP3s: http://www.mediafire.com/?50db7nls4o6m6
    Ukulele Boot Camp, FREE Songbook, Holiday, Hawaiian & More: http://ukulelebootcamp.weebly.com
    Crazy G tutorial on YouTube ( uncle rod crazy g )
    pdf file for Crazy G:
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/0o6id06c06...20TAB.pdf?dl=0

  6. #6
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    I bought a couple of dozen sets of nylon strings I guess three or four years ago, still working my way them no problems yet. They're stored in a drawer because, as Peter said, UV light wouldn't be kind to them.

    Now that you have mentioned it, I'm inclined to keep a set or two for a few decades just to see. Whether my hearing will be up to making a fair comparison will be down to luck though!

  7. #7
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    I recently fitted a set of Nylguts - brand new, but about ten years old - to a soprano. They work just fine - nothing unusual about them.

    John Colter

  8. #8
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    My thought on this is that older stuff stringed would sound just as good as the more freshly made. It is all about the even mass distribution along the length.

    Who knows if some plastic goes brittler and then they might brake, but that is again I guess not the usual case. Even wound classical guitar strings or the wound G in low G ukes.

    Acoustic wound steel strings, maybe too, cause I don't think they either rust that easy, despite metal in the string and wounding being different.

    --------------------

    I as a double edge razor shaver have got myself some really good blades that are no more available. Mine are like 10 years old, and they are still my best. As a side note

  9. #9
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    I bought an ukulele from 1973 earlier this year. I think the original strings were still on, they were old and unplayed - and black nylon strings are not available where I live. Those were definately degraded after 46 years of storage, he he.
    But I will assume that yours will work fine.
    Ohana SK30M mahogany super-soprano, Cort UKEBWCOP Blackwood concert, Anuenue African Mahogany Tenor, Fluke Koa Tenor, Hora M1176 spruce Tenor

  10. #10
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    Apr 2016
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    I'm no chemist, but I'm thinking exposure to oxygen would degrade strings over a long period of time.

    Hmm, special string storage cases purged with nitrogen, anyone?
    Glenn

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