Does it matter which direction the strings on my [older, Harmony] baritone ukulele? Three are are wound around the pegs clockwise (as you look at the headstock) and one is wound counter-clockwise. There is a history to this, if you want to read on.

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When I got it (a hand-me-down), the C string was wound counter-clockwise like the G string. But the C string kept unwinding under tension and also it was very close to the G string. I tightened the screw on the back of the peg, which worked for a while, but it was still slipping. I wound the C string around this way, as pictured, and the peg holds the tension OK now.

This seems to work OK, but it leads me to question whether I have done something wrong. Does it matter which way I wind the strings? Is it OK to leave it like this, with C, G, and B all wound around CW and the D string wound CCW?

If it matters, I play plectrum tuning, and the C and G strings are nylon core wound.

1 Answer 1


It doesn't matter that much. However, a couple of criteria come to mind. One is that the strings are happier with the straightest line over the nut. The other is that the two machine heads on each side turn the same way to tighten/loosen the strings. That just makes life easier.

I have a 5 string bass, and one string gets wound the opposite way on one side of the head. That in itself facilitates both the problems: its machine head works the opposite way from the other two, so when tightening, all three get turned the same way. And the track over the nut is at zero degrees. A small point, but worth consideration.

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