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Thread: Frets are damaging the wound string on my vintage banj-uke

  1. #1
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    Default Frets are damaging the wound string on my vintage banj-uke

    My 80+ year old Slingerland banj-uke reminds me of the song "The Gas Man Cometh" which gives my age away a bit! But I think the frets are damaging the wound C string (Aquila) - it looks almost broken right through. I've got the strings off at the moment, and the wound string is a real mess, although I've hardly played....I'm trying to sort out the high action, and I'm sure that's part of the problem because of having to fret so hard - but I suspect I need to clean the frets up, they're not nice and shiny as they should be. The fretboard is maple, and I treated that with linseed oil last night. Apparently lighter fuel would be a no-no for cleaning frets on a maple fretboard, according to what I've read by Googling! I've seen Crest toothpaste recommended, and metal polish! Does anyone have strong thoughts on this before I start? Thank you - again!
    Favourite uke - DJ Morgan long neck soprano
    Favourite banjo uke - vintage Gibson UB2


    My blog lifesaukafrolic.blogspot.co.uk

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by barefootgypsy View Post
    My 80+ year old Slingerland banj-uke reminds me of the song "The Gas Man Cometh" which gives my age away a bit! But I think the frets are damaging the wound C string (Aquila) - it looks almost broken right through. I've got the strings off at the moment, and the wound string is a real mess, although I've hardly played....I'm trying to sort out the high action, and I'm sure that's part of the problem because of having to fret so hard - but I suspect I need to clean the frets up, they're not nice and shiny as they should be. The fretboard is maple, and I treated that with linseed oil last night. Apparently lighter fuel would be a no-no for cleaning frets on a maple fretboard, according to what I've read by Googling! I've seen Crest toothpaste recommended, and metal polish! Does anyone have strong thoughts on this before I start? Thank you - again!
    Get that wound string off there right now missy!!!! Go with some fluorocarbon strings from mya moe. They sound great on banjo ukes. If its a soprano you will have to buy concert length (High A) so that they will be long enough for the banjo uke bridge.

  3. #3
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    Hi Johnny! It's my Slingerland - total length 20 1/2 inches. The Aquila strings I put on it were the ones they sell for banjo-ukes. So what size fluorocarbons? What do you use to clean up the frets on yours?
    Favourite uke - DJ Morgan long neck soprano
    Favourite banjo uke - vintage Gibson UB2


    My blog lifesaukafrolic.blogspot.co.uk

  4. #4
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    D6 Concert High A fluorocarbons http://www.myamoeukuleles.com/stringsAccessories.php

    It sounds like you need more then a cleaning. My frets are sort of sharp on my old Slingy too. Any luthier should be able to fix that and usually uke repair is pretty cheap because they are so small.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for that - I'll have to find one! I promptly did a search for someone local, but the one I found seems not to be in the business any more. But I'll find one, there are enough music shops round her; someone will recommend somebody. You've been really helpful - I'm grateful! And I'll check out the fluorocarbon strings!
    Favourite uke - DJ Morgan long neck soprano
    Favourite banjo uke - vintage Gibson UB2


    My blog lifesaukafrolic.blogspot.co.uk

  6. #6
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    My experience with banjo ukes is they are so loud strings don't make much difference.
    I use plain nylon soprano strings, no wound. I got the tip from the great Ralph Shaw.
    Keep Strummin'

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by SailingUke View Post
    My experience with banjo ukes is they are so loud strings don't make much difference.
    I use plain nylon soprano strings, no wound. I got the tip from the great Ralph Shaw.
    Thank you! It's certainly a steep learning curve with these babies! Plenty to get my head round....my husband is comparing my banj-uke with his brother's motor-bike when they were lads - forever tinkering, never getting to use! But I will, I will.......! Meanwhile, he's a ukulele widower!
    Favourite uke - DJ Morgan long neck soprano
    Favourite banjo uke - vintage Gibson UB2


    My blog lifesaukafrolic.blogspot.co.uk

  8. #8
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    I don;t know your uke personally, but realize that wound strings on guitars (and I know, different tension, etc.) do eventually wear the frets themselves. So, wearing the strings is the least of the issue.

    So, I guess another vote with the others to use nylon strings to reduce fret wear on your vintage uke.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by SailingUke View Post
    My experience with banjo ukes is they are so loud strings don't make much difference.
    I use plain nylon soprano strings, no wound. I got the tip from the great Ralph Shaw.
    I'm sorry but I really don't agree. For instance, my Goldtone originally came with just random classical guitar strings because Goldtone is weird like that. (I called and spoke with someone at Goldtone and they confirmed this.) Then I tried the Nylgut. Prettier tone but not plunky like a banjo uke. Then just some cheapy Martin strings. Nice and plunky but lost most of the nice tone. The fluorocarbon strings are the best of both worlds. And that suggestion came straight from Aaron Keim. (When I called Mya Moe they referred me to him.)
    Last edited by johnnyfoodstamp; 03-16-2012 at 10:16 AM.

  10. #10
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    I love these discussions - and it does all help - I know now that my frets probably need more skilled attention than I can give them, and I know I need different strings. It's great to get the benefit of people's experiences! And when this baby is playable I can practise that split-stroke! Meanwhile back to my bit of bluegrass on my faithful Greg Bennett (Johnny!!) Thank you, thank you......
    Favourite uke - DJ Morgan long neck soprano
    Favourite banjo uke - vintage Gibson UB2


    My blog lifesaukafrolic.blogspot.co.uk

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