Use Guitar Strings on Your Ukulele

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About: Hey there! I make music by mixing ukulele/guitalele, didgeridoo, and beatbox. I love little instruments and finding how to get the best sound out of them. Recently my biggest projects have been making ukulel...

Intro: Use Guitar Strings on Your Ukulele

Hey there! This is a very simple Instructable.

Very simple but can save you some time and money. It's completely possible to use guitar strings on your ukulele. You just need to know which guitar string to use, and for that I've created this chart which tells you just that (right-click > open in new tab):

guitar strings on ukulele (PDF file with chart)

If you're wondering how it sounds click here to see that on the YouTube video.

What's awesome with that is you can use 1 guitar string as 2 ukulele strings, because they're so long! (on most soprano ukuleles)

Step 1: Cut the Guitar String in Half If Your Ukulele Is Small Enough

First check that it's really twice the length of your ukulele.

If, when you bend the string in half, it's still long enough to go from the saddle to the tuning pegs (see photo), plus about 3 cm, then you're good. You can cut it in half and keep the other half for the next time a string breaks!

If it's not twice the length, just use it like you would use a normal string.

Step 2: Difference Between This and Normal Ukulele Strings

The photos above show you which guitar string replaces which ukulele string. Change the string(s) you need to change and you're good!

So it's a low-G

If you change the G string for a guitar string, you now have a low-G on your ukulele (instead of having a high-G that's one octave above). It's played just the same but sounds a bit deeper. Aquila and others make low-G strings for the ukulele, and many great ukulele players prefer this to high-G.

The guitar-string low-G is totally worth low-G strings made for the ukulele. Is sounds about as good as the Aquila Red Series low-G, and lasts way longer than the Aquila wound low-G (truly, the guitar string has lasted me over a year and is still going, while the Aquila wound low-G lasted me just a week!)

Are the other strings different?

The other strings (especially the C string) sound a little bit less "sharp", a little bit more mellow that strings that are made for the ukulele. Both sounds have their own qualities. Up to you! The mellow sound give the ukulele a little bit more "guitar-y" feeling.

Anyway, hope this helped you out! Maybe you can save a couple bucks too :)

If you want to help me keep creating music, and creating free instructions like this, you can join my Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/boxmonkey
Patreon is a great system where you can make small donations and get special perks/advantages! Even being a $1 contributor would help me out a bunch! :) Cheers!

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    3 Discussions

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    Bill Chatfield

    1 year ago

    Even light tension classical guitar strings are twice the tension you have listed for the ukulele strings. So, this looks like a bad idea. But, I could have some wrong info. I'm not an expert. I just looked up what info I could find on string tensions.

    Go here and click on the "Family Tension Chart" button:

    http://daddario.com/DADProductDetail.Page?ActiveID...

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    Mark 42

    1 year ago

    Apparently, fishing line (flourocarbon material) makes good ukulele strings, but it's sold in bulk & gets expensive (unless you can find a lot of friends to go in on the purchase)

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    Mark 42

    1 year ago

    Is this cheaper than buying a set of low G Ukulele strings?

    I have a lot of guitar strings, but unfortunately, none are nylon strings, so I don't think it'd be safe to use them *too much tension for a Ukulele neck?)