Playing Ukulele on a regular basis after getting a suitable ukulele for yourself ? It is important to keep your instrument in good shape. Since Ukulele is designed to be played, it is necessary that you play your Ukulele regularly.
Ukulele will only sound better when you play it more and frequently. That being said, to keep the Ukulele in the good sounding condition you have to take proper ukulele Care and rigorous maintenance is needed.
Like all other musical instruments, Ukulele does need care and maintenance. Simply because they are small in size doesn’t mean that lesser efforts are required for its maintenance.
Right from the heat of sunlight to oil on your finger to accidents that may occur to notorious air humidity, this musical instrument is prone to several hazards that you may have not imagined yet. With proper care and maintenance, you can enjoy good sound with your instrument for years to come.
How Long Does Ukulele Last?
Well, Ukulele comes with longer life expectancy than the classic guitars. Most of the Ukulele models are made out of wooden materials and they tend to last longer if proper Ukulele Care is maintained. However, it is the string that needs replacement very often for better pitching and soundings.
The Ukulele made out of fine quality and superb hardwood tends to last for years to come without any complications. But, the strings need to be changed at least once in a year even if it is a new Wooden Ukulele.
For the older Ukulele, you need to change the strings at least twice a year and even more if required. Even if they don’t damage or break, it is necessary that you change it at regular intervals to overcome the inconsistencies in radius. Moreover, the accuracy of pitch or intonation would also fade away. It is not possible to see the dents in the strings with eyes and hence you must change it to get an accurate tone.
How to Clean Your Ukulele?
Cleaning the Ukulele body depends on how dirty the body is. If you see dried grime on the body, the best way to clean the Wooden Ukulele is to clean it off using a damp lint-free cloth and ensure to polish dry the body using a dry clean cloth.
If the body is made out of wood it would have a natural glow and paint and hence to bring back the showroom shine ensure to take little guitar polish on a soft cloth and polish it as per the instructions.
The chrome, plastic and pearly tuning pegs and strapped buttons are required to be cleaned with a soft cloth. However, the fingerboard of the instrument is always natural without paint so avoid applying any polish on it while cleaning. It may cause the fingerboard to expand and frets would start getting loose and working.
You need to clean the grimy fingerboard very carefully between the frets by lightly rubbing it with super fine grain wire wool and remove the gunk. If the fingerboard is looking pale or it is splitting, then it is the time to treat your fingerboard with bore oil to nourish it.
When it comes to strings, they are usually fluorocarbon or nylon and hence they do not deteriorate easily like the steel strings in guitar. But it is suggested that you clean them regularly because it collects the finger oils.
When Do I Need to Restring My Ukulele?
Well, it actually depends on how much and how often you play your Ukulele and also how hard you play the instrument.
You must not wait till the breaking of the strings as there is an instance when restring may be required earlier than that. Some people prefer changing the strings after a few weeks, while some people prefer changing the strings in a month.
When the Ukulele goes out of tune or the strong breaks and it is the time to restring your Ukulele. When it comes to restringing the Ukulele, you must prefer replacing all the strings and not just only one string. Below are some signs which let you know about the restring of the Ukulele.
- The need for restringing increases when the strings are tired and they are unable to hold in place or when the strings lose quickly.
- When you find it challenging to fine-tune the Ukulele, it is the sign for restring
- When the strings don’t feel smoother when playing and when you experience some groves in the instrument when pressing the strings towards the frets, then it is the time for changing the strings of Ukulele.
- If you notice that the sound of the instrument is weary and not soothing or the sound produced is not bright, clear or loud, then it is the time to restring your Ukulele. When the strings of the instrument become lose it would sound dull and this is when you have to restring the Ukulele.
The new strings of Wooden Ukulele come with the bright loud tune which is very capturing and soothing to the ears. Only restring is not essential, you also need to fine-tune your Ukulele couple of times after restring because after restring they will be still stretching. So, as a part of Ukulele Care, you also need to tune your Ukulele string for good sounding.
How Often Should You Tune Your Ukulele?
The most crucial aspect of playing music on Ukulele is to fine-tune the instrument. If the instrument is not tuned properly the music would sound bad and dull, no matter what you are playing on it. According to experts, every after restringing you need to tune your Ukulele to restore the sound and make the music playing smoother on the instrument.
You are also required to tune your Ukulele before every practice session and also within your practice sessions, especially if you are playing music with lots of string bending. Being the pro-Ukulele player you must tune your instrument before playing every song or music.
There are a variety of factors that make the Ukulele go out of tune and tuning the Ukulele is an important part of your Ukulele Care. Whether humidity is the prime culprit that takes away the fine-tune of Ukulele. Adverse weather conditions affect the tuning of stringed Ukulele.
Moreover, when you play Ukulele regularly and bend the strings extremely for producing a sound it affects the tune of the instrument over time. If you are a beginner, you can make use of electric tuner to tune your Ukulele and if you are a veteran musician then you may tune your Ukulele by hands using your skills and achieve the soothing sound while playing the instrument.
Dealing with Humidity
Humidity affects all wooden products and Wooden Ukulele is not exceptional. All Ukuleles made out of solid wood are likely to get easily damaged or go out of tune under extreme weather conditions or humidity. So, if you are having Ukulele made out of solid wood, then ensure to laminate it with good lamination to protect it from humidity and withstand the extreme conditions.
The solid wood Ukulele tends to absorb the water vapor present in the air and as a result, the wood expands and swells. You may also notice a slight bending on the neck of the Ukulele or the fret actions is heightened. Not only high humidity, but low humidity can also affect the Ukulele adversely because it dries up the wood material of the Ukulele.
In such a situation, the wood material would shrink, while loosening the braces that lead to buzzing due to lowered fret action. The wooden Ukulele may also break or crack when it lacks the required level of moisture.
As a part of the Ukulele maintenance, you need to store the instrument properly after every use to prevent it from high or low humidity. You must always use the Hygrometer to keep tracking the humidity levels in the room which is the ideal way to keep your instrument protected from humidity damages.
You are required to store the Ukulele in the room with a humidity level of less than 50 %. If the level is a bit less or more you don’t have to worry as it won’t harm the instrument. The best way to control the humidity or temperature in the room where Ukulele is stored is by using AC.
Where Do you Keep Your Ukulele?
Storage of the Ukulele is an important part of your Ukulele Care regime. You need to be mindful when storing the Ukulele. You must avoid storing the instrument close to fireplaces, oven, and heater, radiator in the car or in the place with direct sunlight. Sunlight can cause damages to the Ukulele. You must avoid storing it in a room with higher or lower humidity levels. You must keep it in places which are free from water, spilled liquids.
Conclusion – Keeping your Ukulele in Good Condition
Ukulele is a small musical instrument that is very soothing and smoother to play and with little care of your Ukulele, you can enjoy its soothing sound for years to come. When you are not playing your instrument for months, it is better that you maintain and care for the instrument on a regular basis to maintain its health and sound for years.