Managing New String “Creeps”

New to the world of stringed instruments?

If purchasing a factory-fresh ukulele model or doing your first string change, you’ll soon notice it takes a few days and some “break in” playing time for strings to maintain a steady pitch.

Applies to most, if not all, musical instrument strings –– not just ukulele nylons.

Why? Instruments are shipped with relaxed string tension to minimize transit risks and preserve string life. When unpacked and tuned up, each string undergoes a material science effect known as CREEP.

Creep is simply the string material undergoing “inelastic stretching” … just like a fresh rubber band that gets stretched and does not fully return to its original smaller size when force is removed. Microscopically, this is due to various regions within the material slipping and responding differently to higher tension stresses. After time and a few workouts, neighboring regions within the material stabilize. Strings then undergo “elastic stretching” when played, and alas, stay reasonably in tune.

Don’t let creepy strings get you down. Keep your tuner handy the first few days, tune up before each practice session.


Musician Maker Kits make tuning a breeze by providing a Qwik-Tune electronic tuner in every kit, easy instructions, plus a belt-loop Accessory Pouch to tote it anywhere. And with high quality Grover tuners on every FLEA ukulele, you’ll soon find that you rarely need to adjust the tuning after the creeps are gone!

Greg, True Joy Acoustics founder

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