A string is a thread made of natural (gut or silk), synthetic (nylon, fluorocarbon), or metallic (steel, brass) materials.

Fixed to a musical instrument, a string produces a sound when it is made vibrating by strumming or plucking. The pitch of this sound depends on the tension, the radius and the length of the string. The length of the strings is standardized in most stringed instruments (scale length).

Images and Videos


Changing strings on an Ukulele with pin bridge
Please activate English subtitles!


Knotting a string at the bridge
(from: Ukulele Yes! 2011:10:1)

head, neck, peg and strings seen from above
(from: Ukulele Yes! 2011:10:1)

head, neck, peg and strings seen from the side
(from: Ukulele Yes! 2011:10:1)

Cordoba Demo Video

Harmonic division

Harmonic division

Unlike a piano, all the strings of the ukulele are equal in length. Therefore the rules of the harmonic division apply equally to all strings. When a string is beaten and begins to swing, the resulting length and speed of the waves on the string depend on where the string is held. An open string oscillates between nut and bridge in its entire length and thus moves the slowest. On the 12th fret, which marks half the length of the string, it oscillates twice as fast and high, producing a sound which is one octave higher than the open string. On the seventh fret, which marks about one-third of the string, a corresponding shortened oscillation (defined as a fifth) is produced on 2/3 of the total string, and on the 5th fret, the string is shortened to 3/4 (defined as a fourth).

Construction

Construction

In the Ukulele, the strings are tied to the bridge of the body and the fretboard to the pegs on the neck of the instrument. With the help of the pegs they are stretched so that the desired tuning results.

Currently, mainly the following types of strings are commercially available:

Changing strings

Changing strings

Re-stringing your instrument is the best thing you can do for its tone; this often fixes apparent buzzing and intonation problems that have crept up as well. You should be putting on new strings about every 3 months.

Gordon and Char Mayer1)

  • If several strings are to be replaced, this should be done individually and sequentially with all strings. To do this, turn the pegs of the 1st and 2nd string clockwise and of the 3rd and 4th strings counterclockwise to loosen the string tension.

   * New strings should be wound up so that they are straight for as long as possible; they should therefore be threaded over the “inside” of the pegs    * The 1st and 2nd string pegs are turned clockwise, the 3rd and 4th strings pegs counterclockwise.    * The wound ends should not be too long: two or three turns around the tuning peg are enough!    * When wrapping, do not cross over.    * As an aid for mounting on ukuleles with tuning machines, the use of a string winder is recommended.

Leveling

Leveling

New synthetic strings warp easily until they are leveled. To accelerate leveling, it is customary to stretch the strings vigorously (but sensitively) after pulling on and first tuning one after the other on the 12th fret by pressing, pulling the strings sidewards (bending) and retuning. This process is repeated several times.

Environmental Issues

Environmental Issues

Synthetic strings meet all the environmental concerns that are also raised against fishing lines of the same material. Fluorocarbons, unlike some polyamides, are virtually non-biodegradable by nature. According to scientific estimates, it takes 600 years for a synthetic fishing line to disintegrate.

Aquila

Aquila

Aquila Nylgut
CountryColorsCharacterBreak in time2)
whitesoft; loud; comparatively expensive
Aquila Red
CountryColorsCharacterBreak in time3)
redNylgut encased in copper powder and twice as dense as the white strings. Therefore, the strings are thinner and feel rougher.2-3 days

D'Addario

D'Addario

D'Addario makes ukulele strings from the following materials:

Clear Nylon

Warm, bright sound.

Black Nylon

Warm, soft sound. Recommended for Hawaii sound.

Nyltech

The material is Nyltech, developed by d'Addario in cooperation with Aquila.

Titanium

Brighter sound, louder.

D'Addario produces black strings for Kamaka which are distributed under the brand name Kamaka.

GHS

GHS

CountryColorsCharacterBreak in time4)
blackweak sound; cheap2 weeks

Made from Nylon.

Orcas

Orcas

CountryColorsCharacterBreak in time5)
black, transparent, red, lemonwarm, bright, balanced2-3 days

Orcas, produced by Nihon Goraku, are considered a bit more high-end than Worth. The material is fluorocarbon. Strengths offered are easy, medium and hard for soprano and concert as well as a style for tenor, both in linear tuning and high G tunings.

Worth

Worth

⇒ Main article: Worth Creation Japan

CountryColorsCharacterBreak in time6)
clear; brown thinner than nylon or nylon; hard (brown: softer than clear); bright sound; permanently; good for solo playing; difficult for use with the pick 1-2 days

Made from fluorocarbon.

Recommmendations

Recommmendations

In practice, however, the question of which strings sound best on which ukulele can only be decided by trial and error.

Here are rough and completely non-binding rules of thumb:

Category Brand
Koa Aquila, D'Addario
Mahagoni Worth
laminated Aquila, Worth, Orcas
cheap instrument Aquila
expensive instrument Worth, Orcas, D'Addario

References

References


2) According to user experience
3) According to user experience
4) According to user experience
5) According to user experience
6) According to user experience