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Thread: Looking For Some Action

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
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    Washington State, USA
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    Default Looking For Some Action

    Hey, Ukulele Gurus. I'm sure this has been posted somewhere but I haven't been able to find what I'm looking for by searching.

    The C and E strings on my new uke hurt a little to press down and it's hard to get clean notes from them. I understand that this might be due to the action being too high. As a relative newb, I was wondering how I could tell if this was the problem or not before taking it in to be adjusted.

    Many thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tigermelon View Post
    Hey, Ukulele Gurus. I'm sure this has been posted somewhere but I haven't been able to find what I'm looking for by searching.

    The C and E strings on my new uke hurt a little to press down and it's hard to get clean notes from them. I understand that this might be due to the action being too high. As a relative newb, I was wondering how I could tell if this was the problem or not before taking it in to be adjusted.

    Many thanks in advance!
    I suppose it's remotely possible to have high action on the middle strings. Have you checked the height between the top of the frets and the bottom of the strings? You may have too high of groove cuts in the nut. Maybe a radiused saddle was put in on a non- radiused fretboard? Look down the top of the uke from one end. The saddle should be straight across. So should the nut.
    Also, have you discussed this with the dealer who sold it to you?
    We don't know anything else about your uke, so it's hard to say.
    Sorry I can't be much help....
    "Those who bring sunshine and laughter to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves".

    Music washes from the soul, the dust of everyday living.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    USA
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    698

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    Aren't we all?
    Ask NOT what your country can do for Uke...ask what Uke can do for your country.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
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    Washington State, USA
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    Default

    I decided to visually compare my new uke to the old one and I see that the nut is at least twice as high on the new one. I think the reason I felt like the middle two strings were different is simply because I use them more and was thus more aware of the difference. In reality, all of the strings are really hard to press at the top of the neck because the nut is just too high.

    Knowing that, is it something that can be easily fixed? I am guessing that I could take it to a shop and have it sanded down...

    Thanks again.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
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    1,050

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    Get yourself a string action ruler. They're about $5 from ebay. Measure the height of the string from the frets at the 12th fret. People have different opinions on what is a good height, but probably somewhere between 2.5 and 3mm?? Anyway, if it's high, then get some 120 grit sandpaper, stick it to a flat surface. Remove the saddle from the uke and mark how much you want to take off with a pencil. A general rule of thumb (not accurate at all) is that taking off 1mm at the saddle lowers the action by around 0.5mm. Sand the BOTTOM of the saddle, making sure to maintain a flat base. Don't sand the top. Replace the saddle and see if things have improved. Only take it down a bit at a time, and don't get frustrated if you have to check several times. However, if you get the action how you like it and find that it has exposed a problem with uneven frets, feel free to swear your head off. I know I did!

    P.S. Thanks to Booli for giving me the same instructions in the first place.

  6. #6
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    CH
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    Sounds like this problem is caused by high action at the nut rather than at the saddle (but of course, the two are interrelated). There are special files with individual gauges to deepen the nut slots. Or like you suggested, you could take it to a pro to have the action adjusted. Either way, it has to be done very carefully, as taking away too much will cause greater problems.

  7. #7

    Default

    Easy way to check the outer strings is by credit card. If there is gap between 1st fret and the string it is high action.

    Mine is fine on A-string, but G and I guess also C and E strings are a bit too high. Makes harder fingertips

  8. #8
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    Aug 2017
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    Pennsylvania, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by robinboyd View Post
    However, if you get the action how you like it and find that it has exposed a problem with uneven frets, feel free to swear your head off. I know I did!
    I know I'm late to the party but I liked the punchline to your story!

  9. #9
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    Ames, Iowa/San Juan, Puerto Rico
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    2mm-3mm at the 12th fret, bottom of the string to the top of the fret. Just measure it with a ruler. If it is more than 3mm it is too high.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.
    There's more than one road into Richmond. Lil' Rev
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
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    Nor Cal USA
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    Adjust the nut first, by sanding the bottom as above, then measure the 12th fret and if it is too high, sand the bottom of the saddle qabout half the amount you need adjusted.

    OR
    Take it to a shop. My local shop charges about $10 to fix these action problems and they know what they are doing and have the file to adjust individual strings at the nut.

    THis makes a big difference in how playable your Uke is. Well worth it.

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