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CARE AND MAINTENANCE

Your ukulele is produced in Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii. While quite humid relative to the US mainland, this region of Hawaii is relatively dry. We are on the leeward side of the Ko'olau mountains which receives a fraction of rainfall that the windward side does. Nevertheless, at an average humidity level of 45% annually, ambient humidity must be maintained at this level to ensure that the wood stays pliable to reduce the chances of shrinking and warping. High ended instruments made of solid woods must be maintained in this fashion. Buy a high quality humidifier and digital hygrometer and maintain humidity at 45-55%.

We go to great lengths to ensure that your instrument will withstand varying ambient conditions. Air dried quarter-sawn lumber, angled kerfed liners, iron bent sides and conversion varnish finishes make your instrument as durable as we can possibly build it. However, as with any item of high quality, care must be exercised. The conversion varnish finishes that we use are extremely durable and more crack resistant than lacquer. While we do lose a little in optical clarity, we gain in the ability of varnish to expand and contract reducing the possibility of the finish from cracking. This makes humidification less of a problem, but necessary precautions should still be taken.

At every string change, the finished surface should be cleaned with a soft damp cloth using a mild soap solution. Dishwashing soap works well. After wiping the ukulele down, the ukulele should be polished with a microfiber cloth and any non silicone wax that you would use for your automobile. We use a liquid spray-on wax in our factory. Minor scratches can be buffed out however you should consult a professional for best results.

Fretboards made of either rosewood or ebony should be cleaned using a mild cleaner such at dishwashing soap and then liberally swabbed with mineral oil. Allow the oil to soak in to the wood as the fret board surface is not finished with any type of topcoat.

Tuning keys should be wiped down periodically as the acids from your fingers, salt air and oxygen will quickly tarnish the plating. A light coat of mineral oil or wax is recommended to keep the plating of the keys in good condition.

What to do if you are in an extremely dry climate.

GString ukuleles can be found in almost every country world wide. In climates such as Alaska, Ottowa Canada, Arizona and other extremely dry areas, getting caught without humidification can be disastrous.

In my travels I have found this to work: Using a ziplock bag, soak a paper towel until it is sopping wet but not dripping. Poke small holes into ONE side of the ziplock and place paper towel flat into bag. Place into case under the neck and close the case. The moisture should be adequate for the duration of your stay.

Another method I have used is taking the instrument into the bathroom while taking a hot shower. DO NOT shower WITH the ukulele but leave the uke on the counter or better yet, hang the ukulele if possible. Allow the steam to moisturize the wood while making sure you wipe the keys down if any condensation builds up on them.

If you are experiencing string buzz when there was none before or the fret wire is protruding from the sides of the fretboard, this is a sure sign of your instrument drying out. Many neck warps and fretwire issues are caused by improper humidification.

NEVER leave the instrument in your car and this includes the trunk. Never leave it in direct sunlight. It takes 2 minutes in direct Hawaii sun to really heat up the surface of the uke.

If you have any questions concerning the care and maintenance of your ukulele see our quarterly newsletter or Contact Us. With a little care, your instrument will perform for many years at the level you deserve and expect from GString Ukulele Co.
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