Need help with tuning G string.

starcolony

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Greetings,

I am a beginner ukulele player. I played for a couple of months, then put it down for over a year.

I decided tonight to pick it back up again and get playing again.

I grabbed a tuner and proceeded to tune. The G string was waaay low. C, E, and A were only a little off. C-E-A all sound loud, bright, and clean.

I have a Peterson clip-on tuner as well as using an online tuner.

The G seemed extremely slow to come up to tune. As I continued to turn the tuning peg, the pitch slowly creeps higher and higher, but the sound gets worse.

I finally got G up to the correct note, but now G sounds muffled and lousy. The string also feels overly tight. I'm concerned something is going to break.

The bridge and nut look fine. The G string isn't muted with any physical contact along the neck.

It is a KALA tenor uke in Pacific walnut. The G just doesn't want to tune and sounds like crap. I love the overall sound of this uke and need to get this sorted out.

I also own a beautiful mahogany aNueNue. As a comparison, I pulled it out and tuned it up. After the 1 year hiatus it was only slightly out of tune. The strings feel and sound just like they should. Amazingly, it sounds better now than when I last put it down. I can use this fine uke to get started again, but want to get the Kala sorted out for outdoor and travel use.

I'm hoping someone is familiar with this problem and can help me get properly tuned and toned.

Thanks, TR

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Conjecture: from the picture, it looks like you may have a low G string in the #4 position.

Tuning to GCEA (low G):
If you play an A on the #4 G string (2nd fret), it should sound one octave lower than the #1 A string.

Tuning to gCEA (high G):
If you play an A on the #4 G string (2nd fret), it should sound the same as (be in unison with) the #1 A string.

If you are trying to tune a string intended for low G up to high G the string will become very taught and, at some point, it will over-stretch and be damaged (break down and go flat and floppy). If so, you'll have to replace the #4 string. Choose high or low G when you purchase the new one.
 
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Taking a wild guess from the picture, it looks like you may have a low G string in the #4 position.

Tuning to GCEA (low G):
If you play an A on the #4 G string (2nd fret), it should sound one octave lower than the #1 A string.

Tuning to gCEA (high G):
If you play an A on the #4 G string (2nd fret), it should sound the same as (be in unison with) the #1 A string.
Nice catch wiggy that is almost certainly a low G
 
Conjecture: from the picture, it looks like you may have a low G string in the #4 position.

Tuning to GCEA (low G):
If you play an A on the #4 G string (2nd fret), it should sound one octave lower than the #1 A string.

Tuning to gCEA (high G):
If you play an A on the #4 G string (2nd fret), it should sound the same as (be in unison with) the #1 A string.

If you are trying to tune a string intended for low G up to high G the string will become very taught and, at some point, it will over-stretch and be damaged (breakdown and go flat and floppy). If so, you'll have to replace the #4 string. Choose high or low G when you purchase the new one.
Yep, definitely a low G string. And if it's wound an octave up, I'm sure that would account for the muffled and lousy tone it's producing.
 
By jove, I think you've got it!!! You have jogged my memory.

I now recall when I ordered the aNueNue, I also purchased a low G string for the Kala to play around with that sound.

That also explains why it was tuned lower than expected.

My recall completely failed me after a year and I tried to tune it to high G, and have very likely trashed that string. My memory is just OK, but my recall is now garbage.

Thanks so much for the prompt and knowledgeable reply and confirmations.

Aloha, TR
 
By jove, I think you've got it!!! You have jogged my memory.

I now recall when I ordered the aNueNue, I also purchased a low G string for the Kala to play around with that sound.

That also explains why it was tuned lower than expected.

My recall completely failed me after a year and I tried to tune it to high G, and have very likely trashed that string. My memory is just OK, but my recall is now garbage.

Thanks so much for the prompt and knowledgeable reply and confirmations.

Aloha, TR
I’ve never had the balls to tune a low G all the way up to high G my god what was it like
 
I’ve never had the balls to tune a low G all the way up to high G my god what was it like
There were absolutely no balls required or involved, just heapin' helpings of ignorance.

Also a bit of forehead sweat, wondering if the bridge would soon go ballistic.

As it was, there were no instruments or humans harmed in this tuning. Just a G string taken beyond it's reasonable limits.
 
Thankfully, nothing other than a string was ruined!

You know, it's a good point, though. I ran into something like this when I was tuning a guitar (Requinto) in A-A tuning. I had a heck of a time figuring out which A it was supposed to be at either end. I'm familiar with violin tuning (GDAE) where the A is the same as the first string A of the ukulele, and the G the same as the fourth string G of a linear tuned ukulele, but not at all familiar with guitars. I looked at (standard notation) music my mom had for her guitar, and I just couldn't square the circle of the sound of her strings with the notes written. Subsequently learned that most guitarists just know the instrument is tuned one octave lower than what's written (you can see my tortured progress through that thought process here). But boy, did I ever struggle with the tuning. Fortunately, I freak out pretty quickly about strings (childhood trauma of the E string breaking on my violin and narrowly missing my eye), so I didn't overstretch anything to breaking point before I did more sleuthing and figuring out. I'm very, very happy to hear that you didn't break anything.
 
Fortunately, it stretched to a slow death rather than a violent break. I'm guessing it was a fluro.
I purchased the low G string from TUS, along with the aNueNue AMM3 Uke with aNueNue Blackwater tenor strings (high G, naturally).

That said, I looked through my emails I can't find any reference to the Low G string purchase. So I can neither confirm of deny the use of fluro.

TUS was amazing when it came to fielding my numerous newbie questions. They were very patient and knowledgeable.
I can recommend them without hesitation.
 
I have done that before. The wound Low-G string broke because I tried to tune it to a high g. Just me not paying enough attention when I did it.
I think the Low-G string was several years old on a seldom played tenor uke. My tuner did not register properly in the Low-G area and I blithely continued to tighten until it broke. I know—blaming the tool instead of the operator. Doh!

Lesson learned.
 
I have done that before. The wound Low-G string broke because I tried to tune it to a high g. Just me not paying enough attention when I did it.
I think the Low-G string was several years old on a seldom played tenor uke. My tuner did not register properly in the Low-G area and I blithely continued to tighten until it broke. I know—blaming the tool instead of the operator. Doh!

Lesson learned.
That's all just Deja-vu for me. I just keep turning the tuning peg with one hand, while the other scratches my noggin', trying to figure out why this darn string won't tune. I hope this is my first and last time trying this. No guaranty though.
 
It happens. The most recent example for me was a Timber bass string low E string. Steel core. How? 😬🤯 Fortunately it also snapped before destroying the instrument.
 
I should add that in my completely unscientific experience, fluorocarbons will suddenly stretch* and melt (almost literally) like the Wicked Witch of the North (or the bad guys in Roger Rabbit ...also recommended: Fritz the Cat, but those are a whole 'nother genre) while nylon will generally just break when it hits the limit. Ouch!

It is up to the "operator" to work within the limits of the tool.

(disclaimer..) *Caution! Do not depend on a fluoro to slowly supernova in this way. Nylons? Yep.
 
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On occasion I get "lost" whilst tuning a string on my uke. I can't decide if I'm above or below my intended Low-G target. There are two ways I use to figure out where I am:
1. I pull out a tuned uke and compare the sounds of the Low G-strings
2. I use a tuner app on my computer/tablet/phone to inform me.
3. I loosen the string until I'm sure it's lower than the C string. Then I find the Low-G.

Always start to tune the strings below your intended note and then tighten up to your target. String do not contract as quickly or at a uniform rate. So if you tune down to a note, the string may still be contracting after you reach the note, and it will go out of tune.

In general, once strings have settled in, they will stretch and hold the note. (Barring changes in temperature, humidity and atmospheric pressure. And energetic playing. :))
 
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