Ukulele beginners tips - when should I change my strings? | GOT A UKULELE - Learn Ukulele, beginners tips and reviews

13 Feb 2011

Ukulele beginners tips - when should I change my strings?

A common question I am often asked - when should I change my ukulele strings?

ukulele strings

Firstly, the answer to the question does of course depend on how often you play your ukulele, and how aggressive your playing style is.  Clearly, somebody who plays their uke for 10 hours a day EVERY day will need to consider a string change more often than a player who has a light strum on high days and holidays only! The real answer on frequency is 'down to you'

Ukulele strings are made of nylon, or a nylon type substance, and as such stand up to oils and grease from fingertips far better than steel strings you find on an electric our acoustic folk guitar.  Any guitarists reading this will know how quickly their strings go "off".  To start with, you can see them deteriorate as they take on a dull look.  On my guitar, when I am playing regularly, I can end up changing strings every month!

For a ukulele, generally speaking you will find that nylon strings last much longer than this, perhaps even months.

As for the ideal time to change them, you should probably consider a change if any of the points below apply

1. Are there any nicks, flat spots or grooves cut into the strings?  This can occur from constant pressure on the frets, or, as the string stretches, as the string is retuned the part that was resting in the nut becomes visible between the nut and the tuning peg - the tell tale sign are little horizontal lines across the string.  These can affect tuning, and will eventually break.

2. Are you having trouble holding your tuning? - Whilst uke strings can be a real pain to keep in tune when they are new because of the stretching they undergo, when they have stretched to their optimum, they really should stay in tune when left alone.  If you have some seasoned strings like this but are finding that tuning is going off, or intonation is a problem, you should consider a string change.

3. Do they just sound dull?  As ukulele strings age, they will eventually lose their tonal qualities and you may find that your uke just doesn't sound very bright any more - again - time for a string change.

String changes are not difficult, and ukulele strings are not expensive, so give it a go!


  1. Thank you for this! Very helpful! And I think I am going to be hitting up my music store this week now... Maybe I will buy a few sets of stringsto keep around. Or just go back cause I need the walk anyway.


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