Breaking Strings

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    I was hoping to get some input regarding an issue I ran into changing strings on my KoAloha KTM-00. I bought the ukulele about a year ago and it came with fluorocarbon strings that I recently attempted to change for the first time by replacing with new fluorocarbons. I had no issues with changing the G, C or E strings, but when I put on the A string and wound the peg the string was not getting up to tune. It got within an octave of where it needed to be but ended up snapping before it could get within 5 half steps of the target A. This had never happened to me before when changing strings on any of my ukuleles so I was a bit surprised but chalked it up to perhaps a badly manufactured string. Luckily I had more of the same A string from the same manufacturer so I tried again, and same result. I then tried a third time, but this time once I got the tuning up to an octave below target, I let it sit there for a half hour or so, stretching it out a bit as well, and then tried to bring it up to tune and, once again, the string snapped before it could get in tune. At that point I was out of new fluorocarbon strings so I cracked out a reserve set of Aquila new nylguts and was able to change all of the strings, including the A, without any issues. I find myself a bit perplexed after this as to whether or not:

    1) The issue was with the 3 strings (all the same manufacturer and bought at the same time);

    2) There could be an issue with the A tuning peg on my uke (it does feel tighter than the other tuning pegs when winding it but not to the point where I can’t turn it);

    3) I am doing something wrong (I have changed strings on my ukes 5-7 times previously and never had an issue with breaking strings)

    Any input would be appreciated.

    Thanks very much. Steve


    @kidelozzi That’s interesting. I just changed the strings on my Koaloha and I followed a video by Jeff Peterson. He changed the A string first. Kept all the other strings on while he changed it and then worked his way to the G string. I don’t know if that should matter but it is what I did as well.


    I’ve never had an issue like this, but if it happened to me, I’d check the saddle and nut, particularly the nut slot of the A string, for any rough or sharp spots. That’s the only places I could imagine where a new string might possibly take damage and snap while being fastened. If you still have the three snapped strings, can you check where exactly they snapped? Was it always the same spot, and if yes by any chance in the vicinity of the nut or saddle? Or did they snap at some random places in between? If the latter is the case, I’d guess something was wrong with that particular batch of strings. The tuning peg shouldn’t matter, nor the order in which you change the strings. Also there’s not really anythig you could do wrong other than overtightening the strings, which you ovioulsy didn’t if they snapped while still an octave below target.

    Also, did you make sure the strings you used were actually tenor sized strings? Maybe they were also mislabeled, maybe the manufacturer ended up putting soprano or concert strings into tenor labelled packages. That might also explain why all A strings snapped when put on a tenor uke, and why the Aquila didn’t snap.


    Thanks so much for the help @gi_gi_ and @misterbones

    I have been playing the ukulele on a daily basis for a little over two years now, and while my playing has improved a lot, I do find myself feeling like quite the novice when it comes to matters such as this. Being able to get advice from more experienced musicians than I is most appreciated.

    So I do not have the broken strings any longer, but I am quite sure they each broke somewhere in the middle rather than the nut or saddle. I took off the A string tonight to examine the nut and saddle and both seemed pretty smooth to the touch. I did notice that the nut channel on the A string was a bit deeper than that on the other strings, but it did not feel rough or particularly sharp.

    As for the string size, all of the string packets that I had were labelled on both the outer packaging for the set, and the inner packaging for the A string specifically, as being tenor sized. If they were mislabeled and actually strings for a smaller size ukulele I very much doubt that I would have been able to pick up on that.

    Armed with some newfound confidence (courtesy of @misterbones ) that I am not just a total moron :), I decided to try to install a set of new fluorocarbons from a different manufacturer this evening, and was able to do so without any issues whatsoever. At this point I have to assume that, as @misterbones suggested, the three broken A strings were either (i) not actually tenor size; or (ii) all from a batch with some sort of manufacturing defect. I will reach out to manufacturer and inquire about the potential defect.

    Thanks very much. Steve

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