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Lanark
02-28-2009, 05:25 AM
I'm getting a rather annoying buzz with my Lanikai lk-s. After clipping ends, changing strings and all the other things you do to chase down a buzz, I'm pretty sure that the saddle is just still too low and could stand to be shimmed some more.

I'd had a guy try to do a "set up" on it but, he didn't do a very good job. (He was the one who said he'd done what he could, but it's "just a uke") He'd tossed a couple of pieces of binding under the saddle, but it obviously it's still isn't high enough.

So how should I go about doing this properly? What should I use?

Renaissance-Man
02-28-2009, 06:16 AM
If you shim your saddle too high, it looses structural integrity in the slot. A nice saddle blank only costs a few dollars. Be sure you get the right blank thickness, usually 3/32" or 1/8" for a uke.

Kekani
02-28-2009, 07:00 AM
and could stand to be shimmed some more.
First, there should be no such thing as a shimmed saddle.
Second, shimmed some more? See first statement above.

He'd tossed a couple of pieces of binding
Wrong already.

RM is in the absolute right direction in swapping out the saddle.

But, before you do:
What is the action set at?
What kind of strings do you have on?

Then, do what RM said, and definitely swap out the saddle for a proper one.

-Aaron

ukantor
02-28-2009, 07:10 AM
I agree with the replies above, but the saddle height may not be the cause of the buzz. If the strings are too low at the nut, that would make the open strings buzz. Check that there is about the thickness of a credit card between the bottom of the strings and the top of the first fret. The gap at the twelfth fret should be around 4mm.

I'm assuming your frets are all flat and level - easily checked with a straight-edge.

Ukantor.

Lanark
02-28-2009, 10:32 AM
As I said before, this guy didn't exactly instill in me complete confidence in his ability or understanding if how ukuleles work.

Frets are straight across as far as I can tell. cheap plastic ruler agrees. This third set of third brand of strings. These are Worth clear hards. I just took off Fremont black high tensions and I forget what I had previous to that, but I didn't care for them on that uke.

The action was definitely too low to begin with. It buzzed like hell when I got it which is why I took it to the Willie's in the first place. (I figured if a place can sell Martin 5k's they ought to have some clue. I was wrong.) After he shimmed it with the bits of binding it ends up that only the C & E strings buzz when fretted. I experimented with a thin sliver of cardboard and then the buzz didn't start until the 3rd fret on those strings.

Taking an actual measurement the string height at the 12th fret is about 3mm which would be on the low side.

And MGM listed "rosewood shim materials" under "extra saddles" in his set up kit in a previous thread (http://ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=9061). You'll forgive me if I make the leap that it is done. I've also got another uke with a couple of shims under the saddle for better or worse. That's how I got it and it plays quite wonderfully.

Kekani
02-28-2009, 03:20 PM
Frets are straight across as far as I can tell. cheap plastic ruler agrees.

I experimented with a thin sliver of cardboard and then the buzz didn't start until the 3rd fret on those strings.

Taking an actual measurement the string height at the 12th fret is about 3mm which would be on the low side.

And MGM listed "rosewood shim materials" under "extra saddles" in his set up kit in a previous thread (http://ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=9061). You'll forgive me if I make the leap that it is done. I've also got another uke with a couple of shims under the saddle for better or worse. That's how I got it and it plays quite wonderfully.

To check if frets are level, you have to do it 3 at a time.

Cardboard?

If the buzzing is after the 3rd fret, you may have a fret level problem.

3mm (.118") is a good action height, and not necessarily low. Paul Okami shoots for less than .100" on his customs, and I've seen eLo go to .070".

Two things about MGM's rosewood shims - he doesn't say what he does with them, and I'm fairly confident they don't find their way onto his high end instruments (not needed).

High Tension strings may help (Worth high tension is not too high tension), but with your added information, I think you may have issues you haven't found yet.

Just my $.02 - Aaron

Lanark
03-01-2009, 04:04 AM
cardboard. as in an experiment to see what happens if I raise the saddle a tiny bit. Not an permanent solution, but a test. It seemed to help. (No cardboard = buzz on open strings. raised a half mm = buzz moves up neck to 3rd fret.) This is the process that leads me for better or worse to think that maybe the saddle is too low. Change in angle, change in buzz.

It would also strike me that if the ruler is flat across all of the frets at the same time, they'd be level.

I'm sorry if my tools and methods aren't up to snuff here, but I work with what I've got on hand. I have to experiment and improvise and ask questions.

(I'm also going to go out on a limb here and also posit that MGM's rosewood shims are used similarly to this (http://www.guitarsaddles.com/SaddleShim.asp).)

Lanark
03-01-2009, 06:05 AM
Further experimentation. taking off the strings. pulling the bridge pins and generally attempting once again to eliminate any sources of something loose somewhere.

With just the C string attached and the pins out and nothing seemingly loose that I can feel with a finger, I can kind of isolate the source of the buzzing as being at the bridge area. With the help of my wife acting as an extra finger, the buzz seems to be mitigated if she presses down on the string just behind the saddle before it disappears into the bridge and bridge pins while I pluck it at the third fret where the buzz is at its most pronounced.

This leads me to think that perhaps there's something about the tension and the angle of the string in relation to the saddle that's allowing it rattle on top rather than holding it snug against. (This would also seem to explain why raising the saddle up would effect the buzz since it would raise the tension on that angle behind the saddle.)

sound plausible?

Renaissance-Man
03-01-2009, 06:17 AM
Remove the saddle from the bridge, and sight over the top edge. It should not be flat. It should be cut at an angle, as defined by your uke's intonation.

Another thought...

Your wife's finger pressure may just be increasing the string's tension.

Good luck.

Kekani
03-01-2009, 09:03 AM
It would also strike me that if the ruler is flat across all of the frets at the same time, they'd be level.

I'm sorry if my tools and methods aren't up to snuff here, but I work with what I've got on hand. I have to experiment and improvise and ask questions.

Not always (ever) the best way.

As for asking questions, this is why you get responses to help, so no need to apologize.

If you really have only that ruler, try starting at your higher frets, and push the ruler up, fret by fret towards the nut. ie: start the ruler on the 15th and higher frets, only, then move it to over all the frets from the 14th and up, then 13th and up, etc. Each time you go over a "new" fret, rock the ruler to see if that fret is low, or check to see if it doesn't go over the fret smoothly (signaling a higher fret).

-Aaron

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
03-01-2009, 02:36 PM
And if I may add, if you indeed only have that "cheap plastic ruler", don't expect any accuracy. There's got to be a reason I paid $45 for my straight edge.
If you like them, Hilo Strings (tynex) will often take care of an elusive buzz if it otherwise means raising the action to an unacceptable height.
Also Frank Ford's website (frets.com) has an excellent article about chasing down that annoying buzz. http://frets.com/FRETSPages/Luthier/Technique/Setup/BuzzDiagnosis/buzzintro.html

E-Lo Roberts
03-02-2009, 05:02 AM
Lanark, sounds like you need a fret dressing to me. With maybe a nut and saddle set up too.

If all else fails AND you are feeling ambitious...,

Take the strings off and a run a large shapening stone over the entire top of the frets just until all the frets have been crested by the stone. This will give you a flat, straight edge and a proper starting point to the top of your frets. Don't take off any more than need be. It will only create more work and time when you go to round them off.

Get yourself some 2" X 2" X 1/2" piece of hardwood (maple, rosewood, ebony, etc..) and dig out a half round groove in the 1/2" width in the shape of a fret. You can use an old fret to dig the channel or just a small round file to shape it.

Take some 400, 1000, 1500, and 2000 sandpaper along with your piece of hardwood and start rounds (dressing) the tops of your frets. Tape off each side of the fret you are working on with blue tape to prevent scratching up the fretboard. It shouldn't take you more than a good hour to dress all the frets.

Next, string up your uke, buy a new bone bridge and set up this bridge to around .10" (or higher if you like) from the top of the 12 th fret to the bottom of the high G. There should be no buzzing anywhere when fretting any strings.

Now, check the nut height. The thickness of a credit is probably the easiest check for this. If you are getting a buzz with open strings then you will have to either build up the bridge, add a shim underneath, or buy a new one to get some additional height. If it is too height, then file each groove down (slowing) until the credit card height is reached.

If it still buzzes then use it as a canoe paddle and pick up a new one after careful inspection of the any buzzing issues.

...e.lo...

Lanark
03-02-2009, 05:36 AM
Thanks for the link Chuck, I think that was the most helpful thing so far. It gives me a couple of things to start with when I decide who I'm going to bring it to look at.

And I certainly hope you'd have better tools laying around than me. You do much more intense precision work than I'll ever do. But I'm also willing to bet I've got much nicer snow removal equipment than you do.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
03-02-2009, 05:59 AM
But I'm also willing to bet I've got much nicer snow removal equipment than you do.
Dang, now I'm envious!