There comes a time in the life of every ukulele player when you might have to find out if there’s ukulele repair nearby. It happens to the best of us, and even our most prized ukuleles need a “spa day” to get new strings, repair a crack, or replace a busted tuning gear.
Depending on where you live, you may or may not have anyone near you who can repair your ukulele if something happens to it. But should you try to fix or repair your ukulele yourself?
What Can I Repair on My Ukulele?
I started playing the violin when I was seven years old and played for years in both solo performances and in school orchestral concerts. My teachers were all adamant that I learn how to do some basic maintenance and simple repairs on my own instruments. I carried that with me when I started learning how to play the ukulele. Knowing how to change my ukulele strings and adjust my tuners comes in handy because I live near the middle of nowhere – but there are some things that might happen to one of my instruments that I wouldn’t even dream of trying to repair myself.
A friend of mine likes to joke that we can give our ukuleles a “spa day” – change of strings, clean and polish the wood and the fingerboard, and even adjust the action of the ukulele when necessary. But once in a while, you might experience something that has you looking to find ukulele repair nearby.
What Happens If My Ukulele Breaks?
Ukuleles weren’t created to sit in their cases or hung up on walls all the time. A ukulele is meant to be played and enjoyed! And when we play our ukuleles, accidents can happen. A drop, a spill, left too long in the sun, fluctuating humidity levels, and all sorts of things can cause our instruments to need a little TLC now and then. The good news is that pretty much anything that happens to a ukulele can be repaired, if you know what it needs.
Read more: Ukulele With A Pickup… Do You Need One?
Repairs You Should Let a Pro Handle
While there are lots of YouTube videos out there that can show you how to do some repairs to your ukulele, some things should be left to a professional. Here’s a list of some things that you might need to have repaired by a pro:
- Broken ukulele neck. If you notice the neck of your ukulele starting to separate or crack, you probably won’t want to attempt to repair this yourself. The neck of your ukulele has to be able to hold the tension of the strings properly. Repairing the neck of your ukulele can be tricky, and if it’s not done correctly, it can create even more problems and render your instrument unplayable.
- Broken/loose ukulele tuners. Playing and tuning your ukulele repeatedly over the years will most likely result on broken or loose tuners on your beloved instrument. Machine head tuners are more commonly found on higher-end ukuleles and aren’t adjustable in the same way that friction tuners are. If you’re handy with a screwdriver, you might be able to replace these tuners at home, but if you’re uncertain about how to do it, you probably want to let someone with more experience do the job.
- Repairing or replacing the bridge/saddle. True story: a couple of years ago, I was sitting near my wall rack of ukuleles one morning when I heard the most bizarre sound. A combination of popping and snapping with a faint hint of music. I looked up and to my astonishment, the top part of the bridge of my 8-string tenor ukulele had ripped off and was hanging in space along with all 8 strings. Even though the cost of the repair was actually more than I paid for that instrument, it was one of my favorites, and I happily paid a professional to remove the remaining piece of bridge and install a new one so I could continue strumming away!
- Cracks in the body of your ukulele. There are lots of gorgeous ukuleles out there with laminate sides and back and solid wood tops. Depending on the heat and humidity levels where you store your ukuleles, cracks can happen. A small crack doesn’t necessarily mean that your uke is destined for the bonfire; cracks that run with the grain of the wood can usually be filled and repaired so your instrument is good as new. And heat and humidity levels aren’t the only reason that cracks happen. People travel with their ukes, we take them to gigs to perform, and life happens. For larger or more complex cracks in the body of your ukulele, it’s always best to let a professional take a look and do any necessary repairs.
- Separation of top/sides/back. Your ukulele top, back, and sides are glued together when it’s made, and separation of these components can happen over time and with use. If you’re handy with wood working and have good wood glue, you can attempt to repair a separated ukulele on your own. But if you use too much glue, not enough, or don’t clamp it properly, you might actually make more of a mess than you bargained for. In the case of a separation between parts of your ukulele, it’s not a bad idea to let someone with more experience building and repairing ukuleles work on it.
You can always search for ukulele repair nearby to find out if there’s anyone within a reasonable distance who can work on your instrument. But if you’re like me and you live in a rural area, there may not be a lot of options. That’s when you can get in touch with our experts at Uke Like the Pros. Send a message to our repair shop to find out how they can help you get your ukulele repaired so that it’s as good as new, no matter where you live!