How To: Stringing a California-style Banjo Ukulele

Many old 1910s-1930s "inline-rim" or "California-style" banjo-ukuleles come with this simple stamped tailpiece design. It took me a while to figure-out the easiest way to string it. It looks simple -- just ball-up the end of a string and pop it in the hole -- but unless your ball-end is large enough the strings can slip-out under tension. To get a big balled-up end on the string then means it's hard to pop the balled-end into the holes for mounting, so it's a "compromise" stringing.

Here's how I do it instead:

1) I start with the C&E strings. I insert the new string through the face of the tailpiece and point it so it comes out the side where the tailpiece is bent.

2) Next, I ball the end up. First I start with a granny knot, but leave its loop a little open.

3) I make another granny knot but pass my end through the loop of the first one. I do this 2-3 times for the bigger C&E strings and maybe 4-5 times for the thinner strings to make a nice, bigger ball-end that snugs against the tailpiece rear happily.

4) Once I have the ball-end done, I pul it back through the curved part o the tailpiece.

5) I can then pull it up snug and go up to the tuners from here. This is a lot more secure than if I'd had to use a smaller ball-end pushed-in from the outside and places the pressure of the string more on the ball than on the sides of the string itself.