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View Full Version : Fret Job & Stiff Tuners. Help Plse?



flipsurf66
01-23-2009, 03:42 AM
Hi There,
I recently bought my first Ukulele - A Bushman Jenny Concert which was shipped to me in London. I am really please with the sound, and so far enjoying playing (the lessons on this site have been a massive help). However, the Uke is not perfect and I need some advice.

The frets are very badly finished, especially in the upper register (especially when compared to my Taylor guitar). They are sharp edged and uncomfortable. Additionally the tuning pegs are super stiff and very hard to use, although the instrument does stay in tune well.

Can the issues with the frets be rectified? Could I fit grover guitar style tuners?

I have not been able to find any Ukulele specific luthiers in London, and wanted an opinion before consulting guitar luthier. As I said this is my first Uke and I am make comparisons to a guitar - which is probably not ideal.

Many Thanks and sorry for the long post. Thanks for all the inspiration.

PJ

Kekani
01-23-2009, 05:42 AM
From a quality standpoint, its okay to compare. Realize that Taylor's are CNC everything, and will be as close to perfect as a factory build can get.

While there are some differences from `ukulele to guitars:
Frets are frets.
Tuning machines are tuning machines.

Sort of odd that you have a Taylor, and then chose a Bushman.

The amount of money you'll spend fixing both could me more than the instrument is worth. My take? Sell it.

-Aaron

gp-ak
01-23-2009, 07:23 AM
Yes, you could fit geared tuners, but if you have friction pegs that are too stiff try loosening the screw on the back a little.

flipsurf66
01-24-2009, 12:23 AM
From a quality standpoint, its okay to compare. Realize that Taylor's are CNC everything, and will be as close to perfect as a factory build can get.

While there are some differences from `ukulele to guitars:
Frets are frets.
Tuning machines are tuning machines.

Sort of odd that you have a Taylor, and then chose a Bushman.

The amount of money you'll spend fixing both could me more than the instrument is worth. My take? Sell it.

-Aaron
Thanks Aaron,

I was wondering if selling it was the way to go.

Being new to Uke's I dont really understand your comment on choosing a bushman. Any thoughts on a brand that a Taylor Guitar player would like? I can spend around $300.

Thanks for taking the time to reply.

PJ

Kekani
01-24-2009, 07:52 AM
Being new to Uke's I dont really understand your comment on choosing a bushman. Any thoughts on a brand that a Taylor Guitar player would like? I can spend around $300.

PJ,

I would consider a Taylor player as someone who is not afraid of price, but is concerned with quality, maybe not SCGC or Breedlove, but certainly above your average Guitar Center (is that what they call it) customer.

As for the Jenny, lets just put it this way. . . I went to the Bushman booth at last year's NAMM just to see what the big hoo hoo was about (on another board), and a builder from the Big Island caught me there and said, "Slumming?"

Anyway, the first thing the rep told me when I picked up the Tenor was, "Here, try this one (as she passed me a Standard), its our more popular model. That one isn't so popular." She made a squirnching face like I just farted as she described the Tenor. I stayed with the tenor, and noticed that it is merely a larger standard. Meaning, same soundhole, same everything, just bigger. From the reps statement, and from looking at the instrument, the Tenor was built as a larger Standard, not as a Tenor.

As a guitar player, you already know that a Dred and OOO are built differently, with different elements tuned to each instrument.

After I played the tenor, I farted and left. Kidding.

I can understand your price point of $300, being a guitar player. You're thinking, smaller instrument, smaller price. Unfortunately, that's how the market is established in `ukulele - Standards are the cheapest, then Concert, Tenor, and Baritone on the higher end. Personally, the amount of wood used from a Standard to a Tenor is not much of a difference, not by a couple of hundred anyway. If I were to charge $1500 for a Tenor, I'd charge at least $1450 for a Standard. Same amount of work, maybe $50 worth of materials less (realistically, not even that much).

Honestly, for you (as a Taylor player), I would triple your price if you plan on sticking with `ukulele, and get a good factory Tenor. Actually, you could probably get a Kanile`a for a little less (I think).

Here's your future path - fix the Jenny. Now with the money you spent, you're still not happy (even after you follow everyone's advice to put on Aquila strings). You plan on selling it, but don't, and buy another instrument on the low end. This one's better, but still not the one. Then you buy another, finally selling the Bushman for almost nothing because you just want to get rid of it. Still not the one. By this time, you are an expert in hot rodding low end instruments, you get a factory instrument. Now, you are soooo picky, you're not going to be happy unless you get a custom, which you won't. So you go back to your awesome Taylor.

Or, buy an instrument at your level now (even though you think you spent too much). You like it, and grow into it, and stick with it. Now you carry two instruments wherever you go, guitar and `ukulele. Saves you money.

Sorry for the rant, but this happens too often.

Realistically, call MGM, he can hook you up with something in your range, both price and quality.

-Aaron

flipsurf66
01-26-2009, 06:20 AM
Aaron,

Thanks for taking the time to write this. Your advice really makes sense and made me realise that I had been looking at the Ukulele as a cheeper version of a guitar - not as a peer and a quality instrument in it's own right (appologies everyone).

So I now appreciate I need an equal to my Taylor and have taken your advice and checked out MGM. I may need to wait a few months for the extra $ but really like the look of the Kanile'a K1 Tenor. . . . .

Thanks Again!

PJ

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
01-26-2009, 09:18 AM
"Here's your future path - fix the Jenny. Now with the money you spent, you're still not happy (even after you follow everyone's advice to put on Aquila strings). You plan on selling it, but don't, and buy another instrument on the low end. This one's better, but still not the one. Then you buy another, finally selling the Bushman for almost nothing because you just want to get rid of it. Still not the one. By this time, you are an expert in hot rodding low end instruments, you get a factory instrument. Now, you are soooo picky, you're not going to be happy unless you get a custom, which you won't. So you go back to your awesome Taylor.

Or, buy an instrument at your level now (even though you think you spent too much). You like it, and grow into it, and stick with it. Now you carry two instruments wherever you go, guitar and `ukulele. Saves you money."

That's an awesome observation Aaron, and exactly the way it works out so many times, be it with cars, homes, wives or musical instruments. Brilliant insight.
BTW, we're still trying to get you over here!

Kekani
01-26-2009, 02:43 PM
That's an awesome observation Aaron, and exactly the way it works out so many times, be it with cars, homes, wives or musical instruments. Brilliant insight.
BTW, we're still trying to get you over here!

Sometimes we speak from experience, I guess (unfortunately). Perfect example? Tools. After fiddling around with different sprayers, I FINALLY bought a Sata Minijet. Works for me. Now I got 3 guns lying around that I don't use (or is it two?).

As for getting me over there, I've sort of had a thought in the back of my mind. . . why me? With you and Bob, I have no business flying over. But, I guess we all have something to share. I appreciated your checking out my class the other year - yes, you bring a level of intimidation to the instructor. I had fun doing that, and I think a full workshop should be fun as well. Hopefully it works out.

-Aaron

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
01-26-2009, 04:44 PM
Why not you Aaron? You're certainly at the top of your game. Why waste money getting Grit Laskin or Larry Robinson over here when we've got such talent in our own back yard? Over here we tend to work in isolation and it's fun to find out what others are doing. A couple of years ago we had Mike Chock over doing a kasha demo and a couple of months ago Ken Potts came over for a french polish workshop. It's good fun, good food, kanikapila session, etc. As you mentioned, if we're paying attention we can all learn from each other.
And cool, you can also schlep your Sata Minijet gun over so we can check it out. Finishing is one of those things where there is no bottom to the pit into which you can throw your money. I just bough a Earlux airless after reading reviews that compared it favorably to the Fuji systems. No more compressors. One of the reasons I build ukes is being able to justify having a shop full of tools I never use.
We're going through some changes with our group here but hopefully when the dust settles you'll make it over. I only paid my dues this year because you were on the agenda!:shaka: