Do ukulele string curls at the nut make me a nut?

13 Jul 2011

Do ukulele string curls at the nut make me a nut?

Surprised I haven't blogged about this before. Why on earth do some players leave their strings coiled at the headstock?

I do it myself, many players do it. I'm writing this to dispel any myths when it comes to THIS particular players reasons for doing it. I don't do it because I think it looks cool, I don't do it because I'm lazy (always an odd reason that one - it takes more time to coil them than snip them!), and I don't do it for another myriad of weird reasons I've read relating to tuning, stretching and pressure on the pegs (all nonsense).

I do it because uke strings last a fair while and can often be reused, particularly in the middle of a uke gig. When a string snaps, unless you've been hammering it halfway along it's length with fingernails made of diamonds, it will most likely snap at a point in which it is in contact with something. That means the bridge or the nut.

When you put uke strings on, you will find you mostly get more than you need. So, you break a string mid set, you have two choices. Re-use the string or put a fresh one on. If the string breaks at the nut, then my coiled strings don't help you, but if it breaks at the bridge..... You see a break at the bridge means you only lose a tiny bit of string. You can then release some of the spare string that you had coiled and use the string again! A break at the bridge with a trimmed string leave you nothing to re use.

Ahhh, you are saying, so you do it because you are tight fisted? Don't want to spend money on strings? Well, no, that's not it either. A broken string may well signify you are overdue a string change anyway, and if I employ this trick I always then, post gig, check the other strings for wear and often change the lot anyway. The reasons is because it gets you back to playing quicker.

You see a used string needs no more stretching, and re using a string means once up to tune it tends to stay there. It also means no fumbling in packets to get the right string.

Simple really. Oh, and no, I don't get why guitar players do it - guitar strings have a much shorter life and when I am playing regularly I change them ever few weeks anyway. And why the coils? Well, if not, the loose string flaps about and interferes with my fretting hand!

There you have it. I'm no nut..... I think.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


  1. Ok, I admit it, I had the 'Ahhh' moment when reading this. Haven't played any gigs (not saying I won't in the future though) so such an instance never crossed my mind. Think I'll leave just that lil bit extra on the set of strings next time I change them. Thanks Barry!!


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