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Thread: More time and $'s on setup or go newer, more expensive?

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Twin Cities, Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    194

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    I was just going to add that experienced acoustic guitarists typically know the measurements that define what they like in a guitar. It's especially important for them when they get a new guitar to have it set up to match what they like. The parameters include:

    Scale length
    Nut width
    Action at the nut
    Action at the 12th fret
    Relief

    So, I was going to suggest that if you come across a uke where you really like the way it plays, try to get some measurements. Some of these are hard to get unless you have the right tools, but perhaps a shop would be willing to help. That would give you something to discuss with a tech if you eventually would like to get your uke set up. For example, many ukes come standard with at least 0.030" action at the nut, but dropping that to between 0.020" and 0.015" makes an amazing difference in playing a Bb chord. You also might find that a uke with a 38 mm nut width is a lot easier for some chords than a 35 mm nut. That one you can't change on your existing uke, but it gives you a guide for the next purchase.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Ames, Iowa/San Juan, Puerto Rico
    Posts
    2,760

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    Quote Originally Posted by besley View Post
    I was just going to add that experienced acoustic guitarists typically know the measurements that define what they like in a guitar. It's especially important for them when they get a new guitar to have it set up to match what they like. The parameters include:

    Scale length
    Nut width
    Action at the nut
    Action at the 12th fret
    Relief

    So, I was going to suggest that if you come across a uke where you really like the way it plays, try to get some measurements. Some of these are hard to get unless you have the right tools, but perhaps a shop would be willing to help. That would give you something to discuss with a tech if you eventually would like to get your uke set up. For example, many ukes come standard with at least 0.030" action at the nut, but dropping that to between 0.020" and 0.015" makes an amazing difference in playing a Bb chord. You also might find that a uke with a 38 mm nut width is a lot easier for some chords than a 35 mm nut. That one you can't change on your existing uke, but it gives you a guide for the next purchase.
    I agree that most ukuleles benefit from a setup, but I agree with besley. I got a ukulele that was set up, and I was not happy with it. I got it set up again. But I didn't know at the time what I liked. That was how the person who set it up thought that it should be. I think that a lot of people are like that. They just assume that someone else knows how it should be. There should be a point where the ukulele player knows how they want their ukuleles set up. I would ask anyone offering to set up a ukulele for me if they can set it up to my specifications. If they can't do that for me, it's not a setup.
    Last edited by Rllink; 01-12-2018 at 10:26 AM.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    502

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    Great point, Besley....and Rllink's post further illustrates this. I just disagree with the last part. I'd say it's still a setup, just not a personalized setup.
    Don't forget fret size and height either. That plays a role in the feel of an instrument, but that is all build and not setup after the fact. Plus, the variation with what string you use too. If you don't know the exact strings you're going to stick with it, it can't be fully customized. Most of us like to experiment with strings after buying a new uke. That's where learning and knowing how to do some of your own work can come in handy. You can fine tune things. Otherwise, find the strings you like and then take it and have it fine tuned with those to get to whatever specs you're after.

    Most places that offer the free setup are just doing a basic setup that would work for a lot of people. That is still way better than the factory setup on a lot of ukes. When they're doing that basic setup, they are also ideally looking for and finding any build faults with the instrument.

    A lot of people are perfectly happy with the standard setup offered by the better vendors. I think that's fine. Some of us like to tinker and dial things in more. That's fine too....whatever works for the individual.
    Last edited by jer; 01-12-2018 at 11:00 AM.
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  4. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    NorCal
    Posts
    35

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    My parameters:

    Scale length 17" (432mm) plus required compensation.
    Nut width 38mm (1.5")
    Action at the nut 0.015"
    Action at the 12th fret 2.5mm
    Relief 0.005"
    Fingerboard Radius 14"

    The only stock uke that gets me close is Pono, since they have a 16" radius on the fretboard (but a narrow nut at 34.5mm).

    Very curious as to what others prefer.

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