Your ukulele is not vibrating. What’s the problem?
Vibrating strings produce a resonant sound. The string vibrates due to a balance of gravity, air resistance, elasticity (as in string tension), and air molecules floating around in the strings. The string’s sound is produced through this effect: the air in the strings is pushed out of the strings’ vibration, and when the air is pushed out, its kinetic energy is released as a sound, either in a sudden gust of air, or through a short stretch of air as air is forced out the string.
Does this sound sound like a twang?
No. It’s a hum. You might hear these whistling sounds more commonly when your uke is in a “hissing” position, with lower tension on the strings. A hum doesn’t sound bad, but if you try to play the ukulele over a loud concert hall, you’ll probably get the buzzy hum I mentioned earlier. If you find that hum is irritating, try not to play the ukulele while you’re in a state of “hissing” tension.
Does my ukulele sound too thick and “clunky”?
It’s not too thick, but its strings make a very distinct “clunk” sound. The ukulele’s body can produce a small amount of vibration in the strings, but most of the audible vibration comes from the air in the strings. You might also get a “clunk” when the string breaks, but it only happens most often when your ukulele is strung too tightly. If your strings begin to break, you might experience a noise similar to the sound of a broken nail, so check that if you haven’t already, especially if it’s been awhile since playing.
What’s the difference between strings and string-on-string?
To determine the tension of a string versus a string-on-string (or string and string-on-string), first find where in your neck your string goes. On a standard-gauge ukulele, the middle of your string goes underneath your thumb. Then, look at where you’d bend your thumb to pluck the string (between your thumb and ring finger). It’s more difficult for a ukulele player’s thumb to reach up into the sound of the string than for the regular string player’s, so I usually give a
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