You may have wondered, at some point in your time thus far as a ukulele player, if your ukulele strings can break. After all, the strings are very tight, to begin with.
You may have even seen luthiers stretch out brand new ukulele strings from here to the heavens and wondered why they didn’t break. In this article, I will go over whether or not ukulele strings can break and how to be “String Smart” so you can continue enjoying your ukulele playing without any worries. Let’s take a look!
Yes, They Technically Can Break
While ukulele strings technically can break, they can be somewhat difficult to break due to the quality of materials now used, such as fluorocarbon or nylon. The elastic is made to be super strong and durable so that you don’t have any disasters as a ukulele player. No one wants that! With that said, there are times when they can break.
They can break by being too worn out or old, whether they are tuned too tightly, if they are played too hard, or if the instrument wasn’t set up properly in the first place. Each of these factors can spell disaster for your strings.
String Smart Tip #1: Don’t Use Old Strings
Maybe your uncle just gave you his vintage ukulele from the 1960’s and it clearly hasn’t been played since then. Be String Smart and change those strings to a fresh pair. Old strings are likely to break because the materials deteriorate over time. Or perhaps you’ve come across a very well-played ukulele but it doesn’t sound very bright. This is a good sign it needs a fresh pair of strings. You can find all sorts of high-quality ukulele strings at the #1 Music Store For Ukuleles & Guitars terrycartermusicstore.com
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String Smart Tip #2: Pay Attention to Tuning
Standard tuning for ukuleles is G-C-E-A. If you are playing a ukulele that is in standard tuning, you don’t want to tune too much higher than those notes. How do you know how far is too far to tune? For one, you will feel it. You might even hear the ukulele making sounds by the bridge.
Second, a general rule of thumb is that you do not want to tune more than 2 steps above the note. This is important if you experiment or regularly play in alternate tunings. Be sure to use a reliable tuner so you can always be mindful of where exactly you are at with your particular tuning.
String Smart Tip #3: Don’t Play Too Hard
Ukulele strings can take some strong playing, but don’t play them too hard or you could risk breaking the strings. If you are an aggressive strummer or picker, learn how to be a bit more gentle, even if that means asking others for pointers. You don’t want to use a pick too hard as that can also cause the strings to break. Check your overall posture and make sure you have a good wrist angle in relation to the ukulele. All this can factor into your strumming or picking. The Community Forum at Uke Like the Pros can be a very helpful place if you need advice. Check out the memberships available at www.ukelikethepros.com and start connecting with others today.
String Smart Tip #4 Get a Pro Set Up
You should always use the correct strings for your ukulele when it comes to right-handed vs. left-handed, the size of the ukulele, and whether they are wound (a type of nylon string wrapped in metal) or unwound strings. If you use the wrong type of strings, this could damage your ukulele. The nut at the top of the ukulele is designed to fit each particular string, in the correct order. If you use the wrong one in the wrong spot, you risk doing some damage to your ukulele and the strings. Damage can also be done to the strings or the ukulele if the string ties at the bridge are not tied properly.
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If they are too tight, that will add tension to your strings. Make sure you have a professional setup your ukulele to ensure the strings are on correctly if you do not know how yourself. Anytime your order a ukulele from The Terry Carter Music Store, you will know a ukulele has been set up properly. You even have the option to add a custom setup like adding strap buttons or having a pickup installed.
Ukulele strings are breakable but it is difficult. You will want to remember to stay String Smart and be mindful of old or worn-out strings, watch your tuning and how hard you’re playing, and make sure your ukulele is set up by a professional. I’m sure you’ll have many moments of great ukulele playing ahead of you now!