Besides mastering the finger placement to play a specific key and different strumming techniques, ukulele players must also know how to tie ukulele strings.
After all, it’s one of the critical steps in the restringing process. Failure to tie the string correctly and securely can lead to a damaged or loose string.
Likewise, you’ll experience difficulty achieving your instrument’s correct tune or, worse, failure to do so, which is both annoying and labor-intensive.
Don’t worry; this handy guide will walk you through the entire process of tying your uke’s strings to the bridge and pegs.
With this knowledge, you won’t waste fresh strings and your time and effort installing them.
How To Tie Ukulele Strings to the Ukulele Bridge
With the several types or sizes of ukuleles available, it isn’t surprising that there are also various types of bridges to cater to the different needs and wants of instrument players.
Generally, you’ll find a unit with either a standard or tie-bar bridge. However, there are also ukuleles with pull-through bridges.
Of course, tying the strings for each type will also differ.
Also known as the slotted bridge, tying the string to a ukulele designed with this type of bridge is the easiest. That’s why most ukuleles you will find today have slotted bridges.
That said, here are the steps you need to follow to tie the string successfully:
Step 1: Tie a knot into one of the string’s ends, ensuring you leave a one-inch tail.
Step 2: Tie a second string knot in the same area where you made the first one, but do it reversely.
This way, you can secure the string to the bridge slot better because the knots face different directions.
Step 3: Check if the knots will hold by placing the double-knotted part of the string into the uke’s bridge notch.
Then, gently pull the string using medium tension toward the instrument’s headstock.
Step 4: If the knots hold, remove the string from the uke’s bridge and cut the excess under the knot using a pair of string cutting tools.
Make sure you leave about 0.5cm of that extra string to give room for slipping.
Step 5: Pull the string and install it on its corresponding tuning peg hole.
With the complex string arrangement, you might feel intimidated when you look at the strings installed on a ukulele with this style of bridge.
However, following the steps below, you’ll find that the entire string tying procedure is just like tying your shoelaces.
In fact, it’s easy to work with the bridges once you get the hang of it.
Here are the general steps you need to tie the string into bridge notches:
Step 1: Gently slide one of the string’s ends into the uke’s bridge hole near the sound hole until you have at least 10 centimeters of string on the other end.
Step 2: Grab the shorter end of the string and create an elongated “O” shape by slowly pulling it up.
Step 3: Slip it under the string’s main part or the string right below it when you pulled it up earlier.
Step 4: Feed the string’s end through the “O” shape you created earlier to create a loop.
Step 5: Using the same end of the string, slip it under and then over the unwound strings, creating a figure-of-eight shape or a slithering snake effect. Now you have your first simple knot.
Step 6: Repeat the last step to make two or three bridge knots if you have one of the thinnest strings or a large tie block.
Step 7: Slowly pull the string out to tighten the knots or loops.
Step 8: Trim any excess using your sharp string cutters or insert its end into the other string’s loop after installing all the uke strings.
Generally, only high-end units from top ukulele brands have a pull-through bridge or bridge-thru, especially since there’s no chance the bridge will pop off anytime.
This style of bridge allows improved responsiveness and volume and prevents your hand from catching any string end while you strum.
One problem is that tying your pack of strings is more tedious and requires more practice before you get the hang of it.
With that in mind, here’s what you need to do:
Step 1: Slide the string down through the bridge hole or slot until its end reaches the sound hole.
Step 2: Gently tag the string’s end out of the sound hole.
Step 3: Tie a big ukulele string knot or create a double knot.
This knot doesn’t have to be fancy; it just needs to have the right size so that the string doesn’t pull through out of the bead’s hole.
Step 4: On the other end of your string, slide the bead or ball until it reaches the knot you created earlier. Tie a big ukulele string knot to hold the bead in place.
Step 5: Next, pull the longer string taut towards the uke’s headstock, where the sets of tuning pegs are, until the bead or ball seats up against the bridge’s underside.
Step 6: Install it on its corresponding tuning peg hole.
How To Tie Ukulele Strings to the Tuning Pegs or Headstock
Tying different types of strings to the ukulele’s bridge holes depends on the bridge’s style. However, tying them to the tuning pegs is standard across the board.
Here are the general steps most experts follow:
Step 1: Feed the end of your string into the tuning peg hole and from the headstock’s middle portion.
Step 2: Pull as much as possible so that you have enough string to wind later to prevent undue tension that could otherwise lead to the string breaking.
Step 3: Bring the string end around to create an “O” shape and bend it to make an angle.
Step 4: Bring the string around to make a knot.
Step 5: Slowly pull the string to tighten the knot, or use a pair of flathead pliers for extra tension.
Step 6: Wind the newly installed strings manually or with the help of one of the best string winders until your ukulele is tuned properly.
Step 7: Snip off the remaining string using a pair of wire cutters.
A Properly Tied Ukulele String!
We hope this detailed guide on how to tie your ukulele strings to the standard tuning pegs and various types of bridge styles makes things easier for you.
Remember that patience is the key. Give yourself enough time to learn, and don’t rush when making knots.
These knots will hold your newly installed pack of strings, affecting your uke’s sound and the strings’ lifespan.