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Thread: End all Thread about Setting Action - Please Read

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by etkre View Post
    What am I missing here? Why wouldn't the nut be exactly the same height as a fret? Isn't it acting as a fret? And wouldn't a zero fret eliminate the problem on the nut end of the equation? I know it'd be a PITA to retrofit a zero fret, but wouldn't it make sense to incorporate it into new builds, especially cheap production instruments?
    The Zero fret is usually higher than the rest of the frets, and adds in another variable to deal with, IMO. Besides, I don't think too many guys here build cheap production instruments. Sell them, maybe, but not build them.

    Quote Originally Posted by jcalkin View Post
    I'm just getting my feet wet with ukes, but I can't believe they're so different than other stringed instruments. I always level and dress the frets. I always use feeler gauges to set the action at the nut and 12th fret. I don't get the "fret at the third fret and slide in a piece of paper" thing. The action at the saddle has to be set first. If the action at the nut is set perfectly and then the saddle is lowered, the action at the nut will be too low and will buzz on the 1st fret. Nylon/whatever strings are way more accomodating than steel, and gross differences in action aren't that perceptible to the player, but that's no reason to get lazy as luthiers.
    I don't think my `ukulele setups are much different than say, my custom P&J Bass. I'll always do the nut first, fretted at the 3rd. Then the saddle falls into place after that, all the time. Yes, there are differences - I get to adjust the intonation with an allen wrench on the bass, and I have to sand the saddle on on the `ukulele, but really, the concepts are the same.

    Frank Ford shows some nice pics of the 3rd fret method of adjusting the nut. I think an "end all thread on setting action" would be remiss without a mention to Mr. Ford. You should try it some day; what you'll find is your nut will be setup consistently, all the time, then you can just attack the saddle without worrying about the action at the nut, because it'll still be the same when fretted at the 3rd, no matter what you do at the saddle.

    Of course, we can get into fret levelling, crowning, etc, if this were a thread on full setups, but seems the OP is focused on action, so nut and saddle it is.

    Getting back to the saddle, I do mine a little different from Chuck; same direction, just a different path. I lay the straight edge (in the 3rd string slot), and run it across the saddle, measure the action at the 12th, then reduce the saddle height by double the measurement needed at the 12th (hello David Hurd?). This forces me to make use of my "I should've made it myself" StewMac nut and saddle vise, AND allows me to shape the crown to make my saddle compensated - but that's another thread. . .

    I do the same basic process for the acoustic bass that I've set action for (Takamine), as well as a P and a J Bass (except, no saddle sanding there. . . ).
    Last edited by Kekani; 08-30-2011 at 10:08 PM.

  2. #22
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    i've posted my question about action height on another post, but maybe i'll get some more input here.


    i've just gotten a serious uke and it has the highest action i've had on any of my ukes thus far.

    my experience with high quality ukes is very limited, so i'd appreciate your feedback.

    when i press down on the 3rd fret, three of the strings have that hair's breadth distance from the second fret wire. the "a" string does seem to touch the second fret wire slightly.

    when i measure the distance at the 12th fret with my best ruler, i get about 4-4.1 mm to the bottom of the string. i've only done this with the "g" and "a" string. i couldn't get the ruler in well enough to measure the "c" and "e" string, but it seems to be the same.

    now this distance is with all the strings in their rest position--not pressed down at all on any fret.

    so...

    with my very limited experience in this area, i ask you:

    is this too high or should i just get over it?

    it seems to me that the nut may be fine, but that the saddle is a smidge too high.

    if that's the case, how do i remedy the problem (i haven't the tools or expertise to do this myself)? send it to a local guitar shop or back to the makers?

    i would appreciate any feedback on the matter.
    "God wen get so plenny love an aloha fo da peopo inside da world, dat he wen send me, his one an ony Boy, so dat everybody dat trus me no get cut off from God, but get da real kine life dat stay to da max foeva... Whoeva stay trus me, God no goin punish dem. But whoeva no trus me, garans God goin punish dem, cuz dey neva trus me, God's ony Boy."
    - John Tell Bout Jesus (John) 3:16, 18


  3. #23
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    The Zero fret is usually higher than the rest of the frets, and adds in another variable to deal with, IMO. Besides, I don't think too many guys here build cheap production instruments. Sell them, maybe, but not build them.
    I didn't realize zero frets were higher than the rest, interesting. I doubt there's anyone here making cheap production instruments too, I was referring to Chinese factory ukes that seem to have the most issues with nut heights.

  4. #24
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    When I teach uke and mandolin making, the single most difficult task for the students is getting the action right at the nut. It takes hours and hours, and I wind up saying "take it a little lower, but not to much" about seven or eight times for each student. I'm tempted to go to a zero fret in my classes just because of how difficult this is for first time builders. Final setup is incredibly finicky work because you're dealing in mere thousandths of an inch, and if you go too far, you either have to shim nut and/or saddle, make new one(s), or fill the nut slot(s) and recut.

    For me, it's ballpark at nut and saddle, check neck relief and frets, perfect the nut, then take the action to where it needs to be at the saddle for what's right for strings and player. If I'm going for dialed-in compensated saddle, I'll get the action just a wee bit high, then comp, then finalize action at the saddle.

  5. #25
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    Really interesting thread. In terms of action, I set it low. I play a lot of jazz fingerings and even on a ukulele, it's nice to be able to hit the chord properly without going to much distance to get to it.

    Ironically, I play Pono baritones when we perform which typically have lower profile frets to begin with so that tends to affect action right off the bat.

    And then there's that adjustable truss rod that Pono baritones have...

    The only other uke that I play is a Rick Turner Compass Rose which also has an adjustable neck. Gorgeous uke, btw.
    Mike Kaplan




    "To this day, if I ever meet grownups who play ukulele, I love 'em." --Paul McCartney

  6. #26
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    Default where to i measure action height at 12th fret?

    when i'm measuring the action height at the 12th fret, should i be measuring from...

    - the top of the fret wire (which one?) to the bottom of the string above it?

    or

    - the middle of the 12th fret space to the bottom of the string above it?

    thanks!
    "God wen get so plenny love an aloha fo da peopo inside da world, dat he wen send me, his one an ony Boy, so dat everybody dat trus me no get cut off from God, but get da real kine life dat stay to da max foeva... Whoeva stay trus me, God no goin punish dem. But whoeva no trus me, garans God goin punish dem, cuz dey neva trus me, God's ony Boy."
    - John Tell Bout Jesus (John) 3:16, 18


  7. #27
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    Dramas begin when the bottom of the string buzz on the top of the fret.
    Liam Ryan.
    Cairns, Australia.
    Stump Jump Ukulele Co.
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  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3nails4holes View Post
    when i'm measuring the action height at the 12th fret, should i be measuring from...

    - the top of the fret wire (which one?) to the bottom of the string above it?

    or

    - the middle of the 12th fret space to the bottom of the string above it?

    thanks!
    Your question was already answered in your other thread, 5th post.
    http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/fo...ust-right-what

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