Don’t you hate when you grab your ukulele after several weeks of actually not using it, only to find out that the strings sound off, have bumps, and are even rusty (in the case of the steel strings)? Horrible, isn’t it? So when would you replace your ukulele strings?
There are common problems that can occur with the ukulele, and this article delves into common problems with the ukulele that can occur as well as when you should replace the strings on your ukulele. It is not as scary as it sounds, and I will highlight some resources that might help you if you determine your ukulele needs new strings.
Common Problems with the Ukulele Strings
In this video, Terry Carter highlights the five most common problems that can happen with your ukulele, and they are worth mentioning in this section to give you an idea of what problems plague ukulele players at times. Luckily, there are solutions to all of them. The one I will be covering in more detail is ukulele string issues.
5 Most Common Problems with the Ukulele
The five most common problems that can occur with your ukulele at some point are:
- Hearing a buzz when playing.
- Tuning issues.
- Need for string stretching.
- High action.
The three I will refer to in this article are numbers 1, 3, and 5 as they relate to this article. Please refer to the video if you are interested in the other two or if you just want a resource to help you explore your ukulele strings.
Read more: The best ukulele festivals of Summer 2022
As I will cover more in the next section, you can hear a buzz when playing your ukulele, and changing your strings can certainly help with that. String stretching can help as well if your new strings need a little boost. Probably the most important thing to note here is humidity. This can lead to string and instrument damage but is easily remedied with the use of a humidifier. My favorite one which I use with all my ukuleles and guitarlele is the Boveda humidifier. You simply unwrap it and place it in your ukulele gig bag or case, and Voila!, you are covered.
When Should You Change You Ukulele Strings
Eventually, every ukulele player must change his/her strings, which can be done quite painlessly.
If you have a bridge pin ukulele, you may also need this video:
Three Top Reasons to Change Your Strings
Terry Carter highlights five top reasons to change your ukulele strings in this video, When Should You Change Your Strings, and here are the first three! The top reason #1 for changing your ukulele strings is due to your strings fraying. This happens more often with nylon or fluorocarbon strings and causes a buzzing sound. This would be a good time to change your strings. Wound strings may also start to unwind, and this is another time when changing your ukulele strings is a good idea.
The top reason #2 is if your strings get dirty. This is easily observable especially if you have white strings. This can happen due to frequent play and is another indicator that you need new strings. Top Tip #3 is when your ukulele will not hold a tune which is usually due to older strings. Chords may even sound weird even if tuned.
Two More Top Reasons to Change Your Strings
The top reason #4 is if your strings sound “dead”. Your ukulele will sound dull or flat when this happens. The sound is not as bright or clear, which is another good time to change your strings. Finally, the top reason #5 is if you just feel like it! You may want a different tension, or perhaps you just want to try a different type of string.
These are all good reasons to change your ukulele strings. I bought some Romero Creations strings to change my ukulele to a baritone tuning in case I wanted to change things up, and I purchased them on store.ukelikethepros.com. You will see a plethora of string choices available there at the store!
Changing your ukulele strings may sound scary, but refer to the resources mentioned in this article to see this process demystified. Also, experiment with different strings to get your desired sound and tone. Remember, you can try many different materials and brands to achieve the sound you love from your ukulele!