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Thread: Humidity issues with laminate uke?

  1. #1
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    Default Humidity issues with laminate uke?

    Hi folks,

    I have a KoAlana concert, laminate mahogany that has developed a buzz when I strum or pluck the C string. The buzz is more intense when I play on the neck rather than plucking the string closer to the bridge below the sound hole.

    We've had an incredibly cold winter and have used the furnace a lot (plus the uke stays on the wall about 6 feet above a heat register). Is it possible the guy has dried out enough that it's buzzing?

    I'm putting it in a case with a humidifier to see if that helps. I've repaired a couple of all-solid ukes that developed cracks and now stay in cases during the winter. I didn't realize a laminate might need that much TLC, too. Maybe under extreme conditions like these ... (Besides, I hate not being able to look at my ukes!!)
    KoAlana KCA- 0010 mahogany concert <VBG> Ohana CK-50WG concert (solid cedar top, willow back/sides) Ohana SK-35G solid mahogany gloss finish soprano Fluke natural concert <BG> Firefly maple concert banjolele <yee-haw!> Koa soprano Flea Islander MAT-4 spalted maple tenor Makala MK-CE concert Lanakai LU-21 baritone

    Raleigh Uke Jam:

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  2. #2
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    Default

    While the body is laminate, the fretboard is not. I have seen it suggested that you take the ukulele with you to the room where you shower—and as you take a long hot shower, have the ukulele in the same room. See what happens when you play it (after you dry off). If the buzzing disappears, you have your answer.
    Playing ukulele since January 2016.

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Choirguy View Post
    While the body is laminate, the fretboard is not. I have seen it suggested that you take the ukulele with you to the room where you shower—and as you take a long hot shower, have the ukulele in the same room. See what happens when you play it (after you dry off). If the buzzing disappears, you have your answer.
    Thank you. That's certainly worth a try.
    KoAlana KCA- 0010 mahogany concert <VBG> Ohana CK-50WG concert (solid cedar top, willow back/sides) Ohana SK-35G solid mahogany gloss finish soprano Fluke natural concert <BG> Firefly maple concert banjolele <yee-haw!> Koa soprano Flea Islander MAT-4 spalted maple tenor Makala MK-CE concert Lanakai LU-21 baritone

    Raleigh Uke Jam:

    My YouTube page

  4. #4
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    I can’t take credit for it...Joe Souza, owner of Kaniela and Islander Ukuleles, wrote about it at one point.
    Playing ukulele since January 2016.

    Have you participated in the thread, "How the Ukulele Found You?" If not, please consider adding your story--they are just fun to read.

    http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/...lele-found-you

  5. #5
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    Default

    Humidity changes can certainly affect laminate instruments. Anything that brings about expansion/contraction can, and laminated wood still loses and absorbs moisture to an extent. They're much less likely to actually suffer lasting damage than solid wood instruments though. They're more resistant to cracks and splits and, as expansion/contraction are less than with solids, glue joints don't get as stressed.

    Rehumidifying may well sort it.
    And whether the blood be highland, lowland or no,
    And whether the skin be black or white as the snow,
    Of kith and of kin we are one, be it right, be it wrong,
    As long as our hearts beat true to the lilt of a song.

  6. #6
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    Yes, body or top probably won't crack on a dry laminated uke, but you'll get fret sprout on the edges of the fingerboard, and possibly other neck/action issues, like you may be experiencing. I hate fret sprout, and find it not as easy to get rid of by simply humidifying. Filing back the fret edges will often be necessary, which is a PIA.
    Always be yourself, unless you can be a ukulele player, then always be a ukulele player
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  7. #7
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    The bracing inside laminate ukes is also solid wood usually, which is affected.
    <><

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jer View Post
    The bracing inside laminate ukes is also solid wood usually, which is affected.
    When the center seam on my solid mahogany separated slightly at the sound hole it was a bracing issue. A luthier glued a tiny new brace there and fixed the problem. And the uke never leaves its case when we run the heat.

    My guess is, that's what I'll have to do with the KoAlana. Leaving it with me in the shower reduced, but didn't completely end the buzzing.
    KoAlana KCA- 0010 mahogany concert <VBG> Ohana CK-50WG concert (solid cedar top, willow back/sides) Ohana SK-35G solid mahogany gloss finish soprano Fluke natural concert <BG> Firefly maple concert banjolele <yee-haw!> Koa soprano Flea Islander MAT-4 spalted maple tenor Makala MK-CE concert Lanakai LU-21 baritone

    Raleigh Uke Jam:

    My YouTube page

  9. #9
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    Has your uke always done this or did it just start? Have you tried to determine which string is buzzing? You could have a high fret and that could have come about with humidity changes too. checking for and fixing a high fret is an easy thing to do. If you need instructions let me know.

  10. #10
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    This preceded a string change, so it's been around for awhile. I've seen how to check fret levels, so I won't rule out a high fret as a possibility. Thanks!
    KoAlana KCA- 0010 mahogany concert <VBG> Ohana CK-50WG concert (solid cedar top, willow back/sides) Ohana SK-35G solid mahogany gloss finish soprano Fluke natural concert <BG> Firefly maple concert banjolele <yee-haw!> Koa soprano Flea Islander MAT-4 spalted maple tenor Makala MK-CE concert Lanakai LU-21 baritone

    Raleigh Uke Jam:

    My YouTube page

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