PDA

View Full Version : My new $300 ukulele has a "buzz".



pepamahina
12-22-2010, 01:47 PM
Hi guys,
I just bought a Kala acacia concert that I've been playing with for a couple of weeks. It seems to have developed a "buzz" when I strum either the C or E strings loudly. I bought it from Elderly which is about a 1 1/2 hour drive away. When I called them they seemed pretty uninterested and said I could bring it in if I wanted to. They seemed to want me to think that I had let the instrument get too dry. So can anyone weigh in on this one? It has been hanging on the wall in my house because I play it a lot and the case that I ordered for it hasn't come yet. I do have a humidifier on my furnace at least. So what do you think this buzz is likely to be? Is this a sign that I have a poorly constructed instrument or can it be that it is an OK uke that just needs some adjustment? When I take it in to Elderly, should I be looking for adjustment, or should I be complaining that I need a different uke? Oh, and by the way, what exactly does "action" mean. I've tried to figure it out by just listening to everyone talk about it, but I don't quite understand what it is or how it is adjusted.
Thanks for your help!

the.ronin
12-22-2010, 01:52 PM
I don't think Elderly "sets up" their ukes like MGM does. So likely it just needs some tweeking like most all other off the shelf uke. Point being, I don't think it's a defective uke.

I'll let the far more knowledgeable members chime in but I would guess if it's that bad of a buzz, the saddle or nut is too low. There's a lot of discussion in these forums (and internet in general) on fret buzz, how to tell what's causing it, and how to fix it.

pepamahina
12-22-2010, 03:15 PM
Hi the.ronin,
When I bought the uke, they took it into the back for a while first, supposedly for "set up", but I'm not sure what they did. I'm relieved that you think it is something that can be fixed. The sound seems to actually be coming from somewhere near the bridge, rather than near the frets, but maybe that's just because the bridge is near the sound hole where the sound is amplified? Thanks for your help!

cb56
12-22-2010, 03:53 PM
First of all, If you're in Michigan you're heating your house this time of year so you need to humidify your instrument. Get that case asap and an in case humidifier and hygrometer to measure the in case humidity. Should be between 45% and 55%. Buzzing can be anything from loose hardware to a loose brace (I hope not) Does your instrument have a pickup? I noticed some buzzing coming from the electronics area on my Kala tenor and when I removed the battery holder and put it back in it went away. Hope you can get it taken care of soon but really leaving your uke out in a heated room in the winter is not a good thing to do.

cletus
12-22-2010, 04:08 PM
Agreed with cb56, hanging your uke from the wall in those conditions can only be bad for it. The "buzz" is probably no big deal, and Elderly should take care of adjusting or fixing it, assuming their good reputation is deserved.
Good luck and I hope it all is resolved to your satisfaction.

pepamahina
12-22-2010, 04:12 PM
OK, I hear you with the humidity. I'll keep it in a box with a humidifier until the case gets here. Should be literally any day. No pick up, on this uke. Hopefully you're right, and it's something elderly can fix. Thanks so much everyone!

cb56
12-22-2010, 04:15 PM
Let us know how it goes. Best of luck.

OldePhart
12-22-2010, 05:10 PM
Generally, a top will sink slightly when an instrument is dry, lowering the action. When the instrument is "wet" just the opposite happens. If the instrument was set up "perfectly" during humid or just normal conditions and then you hang it on the wall in a heated room for a couple of months, yeah, I'm not surprised it's buzzing.

I had a classical guitar (cheapy but forty years old and well made in great shape) that I bought on eBay from a guy in Florida. When it came in it was obvious it had been somebody's "beach guitar" - there was sand in the case, etc. It was a great player until our more normal humidity dried it out and lowered the action to the point that the strings were almost resting on the frets.

John

mm stan
12-22-2010, 06:40 PM
Aloha PaperMoon,
My suggestion is to take it back to Elderly Insttruments as any messing that you do may void the warranty.. heed this advice...Let them deal with the problem.. Having not
seen your uke or you cannot explain in detail what is the problem, I am not able to help you....Sorry!! Good Luck! Happy Holidays...MM Stan

TCK
12-22-2010, 09:01 PM
I hang all mine on the wall except the Martin, and I have no idea what it's humidity is in the case. Don't heat too heavily (no central heat or ac in my 1951 California house) but they are all fine, including a solid. I would say that the rule seems to be if you are comfortable, your uke is, and drastic changes out of comfortable are bad. My wifes Kala Lacewood is on the wall, is solid wood, and from summer to now has dropped from an average of 80' in the house to an average of 60 (50's at night) without even going out of tune.
That said- it sounds to me more like a set up issue than a negligence issue- talk to Elderly again...and mention to Stan (I think that is the owners name) that his employees seemed uninterested in your problem- ought to get results quickly.

Tor
12-23-2010, 01:49 AM
Hi guys,
Oh, and by the way, what exactly does "action" mean. I've tried to figure it out by just listening to everyone talk about it, but I don't quite understand what it is or how it is adjusted.
Thanks for your help!
'Action' is basically the string height relative to the fretboard. Press down a string at the first fret, to take out the impact of the nut height/nut groove depth. Now look at how much distance you have between the strings and the fretboard somewhere around where the body starts. If it's too high it'll be harder to play, and may give intonation problems as well (as pressing the strings will stretch them, and more the higher the action is). If it's too low you can easily get string buzzing.

There are several factors with impact on the action, including the neck angle (which you can't easily do anything about), but it's mostly about saddle height and the soundboard. A dry soundboard will sink "down" a bit, lowering the action. Soundboard sinking is supposed to happen only to solid wood, but I have a nylon string guitar with a laminated top right here in my office and during the winter the action would get so low that it started buzzing. So I replaced the saddle with a taller one, resulting in a bit higher action in the summer but no buzzing in the winter.

At home I keep my instruments in a separate room which is fully humidity controlled (I use a room humidifier with a sensor) and temperature controlled. In-case humidifiers and soundhole humidifiers are only emergency solutions in my opinion, they work better than nothing if you have to ship or transport your instrument but if you try to measure the effect it'll be wildly uncontrollable and usually not getting the humidity level to where you want it.

spots
12-23-2010, 06:04 AM
Elderly may be correct about the uke drying out. How long do you have to return/exchange it?

A quick way to test if the uke is dry (thus lowing the action) is to is to seal the uke in a plastic bag with a couple damp sponges (put them on plastic containers so the uke doesn't get wet). Leave it all sealed up for a couple days, but check the sponges periodically to make sure they stay moist.

The uke should absorb the moisture. If it was dry the buzz should go away.

Even though you have a humidifier built into your whole house furnace, it may not be pumping out enough water to keep the uke at the proper humidity. Some whole house humidifiers only get the house to 30% humidity (that moisture has a lot of duct work to travel through along with that warm air, and on top of it, some duct work absorbs moisture).

Consider getting two digital hygrometers (these measure humidity). Put one in the room where the uke is, and one in the case when you get it. If the room is below 45%, then you should consider adding a room humidifier where the uke is kept. Or keep the uke in the case (when you get it) and add case humidifiers - they do work.

I have several case humidifiers: one at the headstock, one at the neck, and a small one hanging from the uke's strings into the sound hole. The humidity in the case is 58%. The rest of the house is struggling to keep 40-45%.

We go through 8 gallons or more of water of each day with all the room humidifiers we have going. It is amazing how dry a heated house gets in the winter.

Tor
12-23-2010, 07:42 AM
Yes, definitely get at good hygrometer or two (NB: There's some cheap rubbish out there on the market which aren't even close to accurate). I have one in the room where I keep my instruments and it's the first thing I check in the morning and the last thing in the evening, during the winter period.

pepamahina
12-27-2010, 01:53 AM
Thank you so much everyone for your help. The case has finally arrived and rushed out and got a Oasis ukulele humidifier from my local guitar store. (They actually had one...just one!) I left it in the case for a few days with the humidifier while the relatives were here over Christmas. The humidifier didn't cure the buzz but at least I can avoid any future damage. I will take it up to Elderly and see if they can adjust it in early January when I can make the trip. Thanks for the tips about who to ask for, and I will definitely look into getting a digital humidifier. I'll let you know what Elderly says. You guys are great!

pepamahina
12-27-2010, 01:57 AM
Oh, and "spots", I'll try the plastic bag trick and see if that has any effect. Thanks for the tip!

SweetWaterBlue
12-27-2010, 02:09 AM
While you are waiting to go to Elderly, you can try an old guitar players trick. Its early and I cant remember it has already been mentioned in this thread. Loosen the offending strings and put a small sliver of paper in the nut slots of those strings. Re-tune and remove any paper that is showing too much and making things ugly. This is often all that is needed to take the buzz away until you get a more permanent fix, such as building up the nut slot with baking soda and superglue.

cb56
12-27-2010, 02:11 AM
refill the oasis when it looks shriveled up and keep it in there everyday. It may take a few days to get the uke properly humidified.
This uses a guitar , but taylor has some good videos about humidity and the lack of.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43sbE9n7zv4&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNpYtcYTRCc&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmRdEoV6_wk&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNzOCgESWvc&feature=related

pepamahina
12-27-2010, 03:03 AM
Thanks TCK, I'll try mentioning Stan. Buying this uke was my first time at Elderly and I have to say, I was very underwhelmed. The guys on the floor mostly ignored me, although I was there messing with ukes for an hour and a half. Guys in guitar stores sometimes tend to ignore the ladies I think, which may explain why their only companions seem to be their guitars! ;) When I asked to see the Kala Acacia the guy didn't even know such a uke existed, much less that they had one in stock. They sold me a tuner that was defective (although to be fair, they sent me a new one when I complained), and never even suggested to me that I should humidify the instrument. And like I said, their email guys are pretty uninterested in my buzzing problem. It's a long drive from my place, so I sure hope I have a better experience this time. Thanks again!

pepamahina
12-27-2010, 03:05 AM
Wow! If those humidity videos can't convince you of the importance of moisture, nothing will! Thanks!

pdxuke
12-27-2010, 08:08 AM
Thanks TCK, I'll try mentioning Stan. Buying this uke was my first time at Elderly and I have to say, I was very underwhelmed. The guys on the floor mostly ignored me, although I was there messing with ukes for an hour and a half. Guys in guitar stores sometimes tend to ignore the ladies I think, which may explain why their only companions seem to be their guitars! ;) When I asked to see the Kala Acacia the guy didn't even know such a uke existed, much less that they had one in stock. They sold me a tuner that was defective (although to be fair, they sent me a new one when I complained), and never even suggested to me that I should humidify the instrument. And like I said, their email guys are pretty uninterested in my buzzing problem. It's a long drive from my place, so I sure hope I have a better experience this time. Thanks again!

I really hope you speak to a manager there, or the shop owner and tell them your experience and how it did not live up to the expectation you had of their reputation for quality service.

It might also help to casually mention how surprised your friends were on UkuleleUnderground to hear of your bad experience. ;) I'm sure the owner(s) of Elderly do not want ukulele fans to begin to doubt the service they can expect from their company.

Good luck--let us know the resolution.

hmgberg
12-27-2010, 10:28 AM
Sorry about your difficulties. I've purchased a lot of stuff (A LOT!) from Elderly over the telephone. They have always been very helpful and generous, playing instruments over the phone, describing appearance and condition, and so on. The owner's name is Stan Werbin. I have corresponded with him. He's nice. I have never been in the store, but they have a "hands-off," or "no-pressure" policy about sales.

It will take a while to humidify your instrument. You don't want to do it too quickly anyway. Earlier posters gave you good advice. If you keep it in a case, use your humidifier and get an in-case hygrometer to monitor the humidity. It is easier to humidify in a smaller, or enclosed area, i.e., the case. You can also find information on the net about how to check the accuracy of the hygrometer. Don't hang it on the wall, particularly in the winter, especially if it is an outside wall.

Did you notice any sharp fret ends? In my experience, that's the first indication that the instrument is dry.

pepamahina
12-27-2010, 10:57 AM
I've got it in a plastic bag with a couple of damp sponges and the oasis humidifier. Is that too much? Also, if humidity is such a giant deal, shouldn't I worry about playing it? I mean, what if I take it out for an hour and play it in a dry room after it's been humidifying in the case, isn't that the kind of humidity change I should avoid? Maybe I should just move to Hawaii! (wink!). I haven't noticed any sharp frets. I will definitely see if Stan is around when I get up there. Thanks hmberg!

hmgberg
12-27-2010, 12:23 PM
I don't know if it is too much; how long has it been in the bag? Humidity is a giant deal, but your uke most likely will not dry out in an hour. You may consider a room humidifier; they aren't very expensive, and if you use one, you will be more comfortable, and get fewer colds, anyway. I am assuming you have a forced hot air heating system ... dry heat. If so, as I believe was mentioned before, the humidifier installed with the system will not get your RH level up high enough for musical instruments. Make sure that you are not storing the ukulele near a heating vent. Probably not a good idea to play near one either. Definitely not a good idea to hang the instrument on the wall above one!

Dryness may not be the cause of the buzz, but I would humidify anyway. I know you wrote that the buzz seems to be coming from the bridge. Are you sure it isn't a fret issue?

OldePhart
12-27-2010, 12:55 PM
I've got it in a plastic bag with a couple of damp sponges and the oasis humidifier. Is that too much? Also, if humidity is such a giant deal, shouldn't I worry about playing it? I mean, what if I take it out for an hour and play it in a dry room after it's been humidifying in the case, isn't that the kind of humidity change I should avoid? Maybe I should just move to Hawaii! (wink!). I haven't noticed any sharp frets. I will definitely see if Stan is around when I get up there. Thanks hmberg!

It takes many, many hours for humidity to transfer from air to deep into wood or vice versa. If humidity is the problem with your uke it took weeks, maybe months, to lose enough moisture to have a problem. You can expect it to take close to that long for the wood to recover once placed back in a humid environment.

While a room humidifier is great you don't really have to worry about your uke drying out while you're playing it unless maybe if you play 18 hours a day. :)

John

pepamahina
12-27-2010, 04:24 PM
It's only been in there a day. Yes, it could just be a fret issue. The humidity thing is just a theory. No chance of my hanging it on the wall again..........except maybe to answer the phone!

pepamahina
12-27-2010, 04:28 PM
I've only had the Uke a couple of weeks. There is a humidifier on my furnace (yes, forced heat). I'm not even sure it's a humidity problem and not just bad set up. Not quite up to 18 hours a day yet, so I guess I'm safe! Thanks John!

Tor
12-28-2010, 01:05 AM
Room humidifiers are great (I have one 'instrument' room set up like this, as I mentioned before). But there are some "buts": Is it cold where you live? If so, is the wall insulation good? The more you humidify the room the more you need good insulation. Otherwise the humid air will condensate inside the walls on any cold surface and you can get a mould problem.

cb56
01-09-2011, 03:14 AM
Just curious if you ever go rid of the buzz. Was it the lack of humidity? Nut too low? or need a fret dressing?

pepamahina
01-09-2011, 03:39 AM
Hi cb56. I drove it up to Elderly and they put shim under the saddle to raise the action (no charge). That did improve it quite a bit, but it still buzzes occasionally, particularly if I play it loudly. He said the neck might be "too straight" (whatever that means). It is definitely an improvement though. I have two humidifiers in my case now, although they didn't say anything about humidity while I was there. Thank you so much for following up, you guys really watch out for beginners!

mm stan
01-09-2011, 06:25 AM
Aloha Paper Moon,
I'd take it back if I was you and say I'm not satisfied with this one, can I exchange it for another one...No Matter you paid $25.00 0r $300.00 that is not satisfactory...return it..
and tell them it still buzzes before they can give you an excuse it's too late.....I had a feeling it was a bad setup from the start....It's a defective uke...don't let them pull that over you girl!! Good Luck!! MM Stan

pepamahina
01-09-2011, 06:49 AM
OK, you're giving me the courage. I'll send them an email today and say that I want to exchange it. I'll let you know what they say. Thanks MM Stan!

Hudman
01-09-2011, 04:10 PM
Hi guys,
I just bought a Kala acacia concert that I've been playing with for a couple of weeks. It seems to have developed a "buzz" when I strum either the C or E strings loudly. I bought it from Elderly which is about a 1 1/2 hour drive away. When I called them they seemed pretty uninterested and said I could bring it in if I wanted to. They seemed to want me to think that I had let the instrument get too dry. So can anyone weigh in on this one? It has been hanging on the wall in my house because I play it a lot and the case that I ordered for it hasn't come yet. I do have a humidifier on my furnace at least. So what do you think this buzz is likely to be? Is this a sign that I have a poorly constructed instrument or can it be that it is an OK uke that just needs some adjustment? When I take it in to Elderly, should I be looking for adjustment, or should I be complaining that I need a different uke? Oh, and by the way, what exactly does "action" mean. I've tried to figure it out by just listening to everyone talk about it, but I don't quite understand what it is or how it is adjusted.
Thanks for your help!

If you live an hour and half from Elderly, you must be in Michigan or northern Ohio. I live in Michigan so I am familiar with the winter weather you are facing. The humidifier on your furnace will not come remotely close to maintaining proper humidity for solid wood, acoustic string instruments (40% - 50% range). That is because the forced air furnace removes the moisture from the air. The humidity has been in the 20% - 25% range in my house since early December. That is with my furnace humidifier set on high. My solution is to keep my guitars in a room with a cool mist humidifier. That keeps my humidity in the 40% range. I believe your problem is 100% due to low humidity exposure - especially considering that the fret buzz was not present when you bought it.

Low humidity will cause the solid wood sound board to sink, thus resulting in fret buzz. Ultimately, extended exposure to low humidity can create cracks in your ukulele. My advice? Buy a cool mist humidifier for the room where you store your ukulele. You can pick one up in the $40-$60 range. I have a Holmes large room cool mist humidifier. It holds 2.4 gallons and can run on low for 48 hours. It's a cheap investment to protect your ukulele.

Get your ukulele in a properly maintained humidity controlled environment for a couple of days and your fret buzz will clear up.

hmgberg
01-11-2011, 08:05 PM
What they may have meant by saying the neck is too straight is that it was set improperly. There should be a slight slope downward from where the neck meets the body toward the nut. If it isn't angled, your strings may be too close to the frets higher up on the neck and they would buzz against them, particularly if you were to strum hard. Raising the saddle lifted the strings away from the frets but probably affected the action in a less desirable way lower on the neck. I think you should exchange the ukulele. Get one with the proper neck set.

In any event, you should keep any solid wood instrument humidified.

claudios
01-12-2011, 01:57 PM
I have the same Uke. I don't remember experiencing the same.
Action just means the height of the strings above the frets produced by the nut and saddle. Check if you're vibrating the string side to side or up and down.
If you want me to measure my action or anything let me know. You can leave me a comment on my web page here:
http://claudio-uke.blogspot.com/

DeG
01-12-2011, 02:58 PM
Back up everyone...It is a $300 Kala uke...It is not solid wood...Humidity is not causing the buzz, no way, no how. Can you tell the general location of where the buzz is coming from? Does it buzz only when the strings are open? Only when they are fretted? These are the things you need to be looking at. I'm 1000% sure it is not humidity related. My Kala has gone from 10% to 75% humidity without even going out of tune, but my solid uke buzzes as soon as it hits 40%... so, I understand why people are thinking humidity, with it being winter and all..but not in this case. Really, look and see what additional info you can provide about the buzz and hopefully you'll find an answer here...

cb56
01-12-2011, 03:04 PM
Kala acacia series are all solid wood.
http://www.kalaukulele.com/detail.asp?product_id=KA-ASAC-C

pepamahina
01-12-2011, 03:11 PM
Thanks everyone. Actually this particular model is solid acacia, not laminate. It is presently humidified with an oasis in the soundhole and an extra little guy that I keep near the headstock, although I have never been convinced that humidity has anything to do with it. Elderly seems to agree, because I heard from them today, and they have agreed to exchange it as long as I haven't permanently modified it in any way beyond what they already did in their shop. The catch is that they are out of that particular model, so I will have to wait for a back order. But anyway, that is good news, and many thanks to everyone for your help; I've learned a lot on this thread!

DeG
01-12-2011, 03:16 PM
Oops...LOL! :o Carry on...


http://www.thesecondroad.org/tsr/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/donkey.jpg
Me^

luvdat
01-13-2011, 12:47 AM
Back in 2010, there were a few posts by folks with Kala concert sized ukes that had some buzzing issues near the bridge.

claudios
01-13-2011, 06:52 AM
Kala acacia series are all solid wood.
http://www.kalaukulele.com/detail.asp?product_id=KA-ASAC-C

Common confusion. The wood is solid rather than laminate. A solid uke is one with a solid body rather than a hollow one :D

Nickie
01-17-2011, 07:35 AM
Thanks for this thread. This has been most enlightening. I too, have a buzzing in my uke. I don't know if it's my playing, or if there is an issue with the uke. It is a Cordoba concert, and only the C string buzzes, and the farther up the neck I go, the quieter it gets. The other strings don't buzz, so this could be anything. I live in Florida, but it has been really dry here. Now, it's finally raining (I washed my car) so we'll see what it does tomorrow. But at least I've some ideas now.

OldePhart
01-17-2011, 12:06 PM
Hi Nickie - when it's just the C string there is always another possibility to consider, especially if it gets quieter as you go further up the neck - the C string is usually under the lowest tension and therefore it is the most likely to "squirm" against the bridge saddle when plucked fairly strongly. This "squirming" manifests as buzzing. You might want to look at the bridge saddle and make sure the string is breaking cleanly over it. Check out the rest of the setup (height of the nut slot, etc.) and then if nothing fixes the buzzing try putting on a set of heavier (higher-tension) strings. The higher tension may alleviate the squirming.

HTH,
John

luvdat
01-18-2011, 12:36 AM
The issue with the OP's Kala was NOT a humidity issue but most probably a bridge/saddle issue...maybe something with a fret...but I doubt it. Fortunately he didn't mess with it and can now return it. Not that far back, Kala's solid acacia tenor required (for some) a saddle repplacement because it was cut too thin for the slot.

hmgberg
01-19-2011, 06:03 AM
Interesting - that would do it.

Hudman
01-19-2011, 10:43 AM
The issue with the OP's Kala was NOT a humidity issue but most probably a bridge/saddle issue...maybe something with a fret...but I doubt it. Fortunately he didn't mess with it and can now return it. Not that far back, Kala's solid acacia tenor required (for some) a saddle repplacement because it was cut too thin for the slot.

He said the fret buzz developed over the past few weeks of owning it.

I think most of us assumed something changed from the time he bought it.

He must have not noticed the buzz when he got it if it's a saddle issue.

pepamahina
01-19-2011, 02:20 PM
Here's an update on my buzzy Uke. I talked to someone at Elderly named "Ace" and he said that he thought that I should send them the uke and let them work on it some more. He said that if I were to exchange it for a different one of the same model that I might just end up with all new problems with the new uke. Sort of "the devil you know" approach. So he arranged for a free Fedex pickup and I sent it back to them. Here is what he said today:

"We just got a chance to look your uke over and determined there really isn't anything wrong with the instrument, but like most it can use some attention. That is, if you aren't in a great hurry to get it back.

The buzzing you heard is typical of new nylon stringed instruments, which there is actually very little can be done to completely remove.

What was suggested is the option of heat pressing the neck of the uke, because it is so flat. We also noticed that the nut was shimmed. Most likely to account for the flatness of the neck. The shop estimates that heat pressing the neck would take an estimated week or so to get the results we're looking for.

At this point, what ever you want to do is fine with us. Just let me know how you wish to proceed."

I called him to talk to him about it some more, and he still says that he thinks I will end up with a better instrument this way than if I start over with another instrument that could have it's own set of problems. Since they are doing all of this for free, and I would be able to get another of the same model for maybe months, I decided to let them go ahead and give it a try. He said that there was little buzzing at this point, and not very noticeable when playing chords, but I told him that I had been studying from a finger picking book and that I did notice and it was bothering me.

Ace is a nice guy and they are doing all of this for free, so I can't complain about Elderly.

So what do you guys think?

OldePhart
01-19-2011, 04:18 PM
Well - first off the statement, "The buzzing you heard is typical of new nylon stringed instruments..." boggles my mind. Listen to the videos by MGM, Hawaiian Musical Supply, etc. on YouTube - hear any buzzing there? No? Gee, neither do I. Nor did any of my ukes buzz when new - from the most humble LU-11 to my KoAloha - they have been of varying degrees of sweetness, some have had intonation problems that I had to correct with a setup, but none ever buzzed.

The fact that the nut has been shimmed also raises lots of red flags for me. The factory nuts on many asian factory ukes tend to be very high to begin with (thus the intonation issues that need to be addressed with a setup). To think that they found it necessary to add a shim under the already high nut raises the rather ugly spectre that the neck is unstable, that it is backbowed and getting worse. You might temporarily reshape such a neck with heat and pressure - but I'd bet it wouldn't be a very permanent repair if the neck really is unstable.

No insult to Elderly intended, but I think if I were you I'd ask for a refund and then order a uke from somebody like MGM (or go with a Mainland). There's nothing intrinsically wrong with most asian ukes save that they need a setup (the Mainland ukes are basically asian factory ukes that Mike inspects and sets up and they have an extremely good reputation - mine actually has a slightly better action than my KoAloha and, while it gives up a little volume to the much more expensive KoAloha, the tone doesn't lag it by much).

John

Nickie
01-19-2011, 07:20 PM
Hi Nickie - when it's just the C string there is always another possibility to consider, especially if it gets quieter as you go further up the neck - the C string is usually under the lowest tension and therefore it is the most likely to "squirm" against the bridge saddle when plucked fairly strongly. This "squirming" manifests as buzzing. You might want to look at the bridge saddle and make sure the string is breaking cleanly over it. Check out the rest of the setup (height of the nut slot, etc.) and then if nothing fixes the buzzing try putting on a set of heavier (higher-tension) strings. The higher tension may alleviate the squirming.

HTH,
John

Thank you, sir. I'm going to check this out, as I love this little uke, but it aggravates me. (Kinda like a husband)

cb56
01-20-2011, 01:54 AM
I agree with oldephart (maybe 'cause I am one too) But I would call them today and get my refund or exchange for a new one just like it. Well without the buzz. My Kala (different model) will get some fret buzz on the C string on the first couple of frets but only when I pluck the string hard. but other than that all ok. I figure at some point I'll take it in and get the frets looked at and see if they can cure it. But right now it's not a huge problem.


Just thought of something else. You might want to send Mike Upton an email from the Kala webpage and tell him about your problems. I had a problem with my Ubass when I first got it and Kala ended up sending me a new one in exchange. Pretty good customer service from Kala so I would take advantage of it.

pepamahina
01-20-2011, 10:36 AM
:) Latest update: I sent an email to Kala outlining my woes, and they responded lightning fast. They sent me a contact phone number and the man I spoke with said they will arrange to have my uke shipped back to them. They say they have set aside another of the same model that they are going to set up for me and send out in return. Can't ask for more than that can I? So in conclusion, both Elderly and Kala have been very responsive, and it definitely pays ask for help. Everyone has been so helpful, thank you!

cb56
01-20-2011, 11:45 AM
Awsome!!!!

J_Tay81
01-20-2011, 04:04 PM
Great! That's good customer service - can't beat that!

mm stan
01-20-2011, 05:07 PM
Aloha Pepamahina,
Glad to hear the good news, Sometimes you gotta be assertive in voicing your concerns....I hope everything works out well for you....about the guy that said buzzing is normal...I'd hit his head with the uke..
or maybe someone did already....for the buzzing in his head...lol NO uke should come with a buzz ever, glad to hear he didn't get that one pass you...good luck and let us know how this one turns out....MM Stan

pepamahina
01-21-2011, 07:56 AM
....about the guy that said buzzing is normal...I'd hit his head with the uke...MM Stan

"Ace" was very nice to me over the phone, but yeah Stan, that really chafed me too. It seemed like a polite way of saying "you can't really expect so much from these inferior instruments". I think that speaks volumes about the attitude that most "Guitar Guys" seem to have about ukuleles in general.

SweetWaterBlue
01-21-2011, 08:26 AM
I'm so glad you got it worked out. I'm also sad that Elderly ran you down so many rabbit holes, because this is the first bad thing I have ever heard about them. At least they were workiing on it, so I can't ultimately fault them. Kala did the right thing just exchanging it. I mean, how much time can a company afford to work on a $300 uke, before all the profit is gone and it becomes a big loss to them.

Again, glad it all worked out, and kudos to Kala.

pepamahina
02-08-2011, 05:59 AM
To everyone who was kind enough to follow this story and who requested an update, I got a new Kala Acacia Concert today and guess what? No buzz! This uke sounds much brighter than the other one and sounds great well up the neck. This one really rings! The action is lower and I no longer get a change in pitch on the first fret. They said it up really beautifully and I am very pleased! Thank you very much to Mike Upton and Jason Villa at Kala for the free exchange (and the nifty case stickers). I can't imagine any better customer service. Thanks guys, this one is a keeper!

mm stan
02-08-2011, 06:11 AM
Aloha PaperMoon,
Mahalo for the update..I am very happy everything worked out well for you....Happy strummings girl!! Have fun and enjoy!!! also Three cheers for Mike Upton and Jason Villa....thanks for sharing...MM stan

cb56
02-08-2011, 07:16 AM
Yes this is good to hear. Good for you and the folks at Kala!

ksiegel
02-08-2011, 12:22 PM
...Thank you very much to Mike Upton and Jason Villa at Kala for the free exchange (and the nifty case stickers). I can't imagine any better customer service.

Yeah, the CS folks at Kala are terrific... but they never sent ME any case stickers when I bought a case from them! (Pout!)

Although they did replace my Mighty Uke DVD when the first one came through kinda "U" shaped...

(And anyone who hasn't seen this film really should!)

-Kurt

cb56
02-08-2011, 12:31 PM
You can buy the stickers at Kala's website for $3. I did that when I bought a strap from them.
I agree on the mighty uke DVD. Got it for christmas and have watched it several times. I have it loaned out to a family member right now. Right now I am saving up for another tenor (hopefully by this summer) I have a short list of about 5 that I am considering but the Kala solid acacia tenor keeps jumping up to the top of the list. Jumping flea's video is an influence.

pepamahina
02-08-2011, 02:10 PM
Yeah, the CS folks at Kala are terrific... but they never sent ME any case stickers when I bought a case from them! (Pout!)

I actually very specifically (and quite shamelessly) begged for Kala stickers when I was talking to them. Two of the ones that I got are available on the Kala website as part of a three sticker set:
http://www.kalaukulele.com/Novelties.asp
But I also got one of the new "Ukadelic" stickers which are way cool. I only have the one or I'd send you one too! I'm still trying to get a UU sticker. Haven't figured out what palm to grease for one of those yet...

pepamahina
02-08-2011, 02:17 PM
Right now I am saving up for another tenor...Kala solid acacia tenor keeps jumping up to the top of the list.
I really do love the Kala acacia concert. I'm sure the tenor is great too, and the slotted headstock look is nice. It has a very unique look and a great sound. That's why I was willing to work so hard to get one that was properly adjusted. Just make sure you get one that is well set up. I think that is true regardless of what brand of uke you buy.