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thejumpingflea
03-01-2009, 04:48 PM
So when I had my pickup (Twin Spot) installed on my Kamaka Concert, the luthier told me that my saddle may not have been placed properly. This uke was bought a few years ago from MGM and I was having some intonation problems, sent it in to MGM and the problems were no longer there. (This was 2 years ago or so) The Luthier told me that because I have this small gap between the saddle and the bridge that the uke may not be sounding as good as it could be. He also said that the pickup may have a muddy sound to it because of this.

http://i229.photobucket.com/albums/ee239/thejumpingflea/DSC_0484-1.jpg

So there is a very small gap in between the saddle and bridge, (you see the white and then there is a small gray piece under that, and then there is the gap).

What should I do about this? The uke does sound a little muddy plugged in (almost like it is muted a bit) and I'd love to get it working to its fullest.

Thanks again guys!

EDIT: WOW! That thing is dusty! Haha I polish all the time, I guess I just miss there... I play it every day so who knows why that is there.

Renaissance-Man
03-02-2009, 02:10 AM
The bottom edge of your saddle, or the bottom edge of your bridge slot, may not be flat. More likely, you may have a shim between your saddle and bridge. They're all easy fixes.

thejumpingflea
03-02-2009, 12:42 PM
The bottom edge of your saddle, or the bottom edge of your bridge slot, may not be flat. More likely, you may have a shim between your saddle and bridge. They're all easy fixes.

So how may I go about doing these fixes? Thanks! :D

koalohapaul
03-02-2009, 07:56 PM
jumpingflea,

Looks like the shim is glued to the saddle, but it's hard to tell from the picture. It also looks like a Tusq/NuBone saddle, but again, it's hard to tell from the picture.

The gap is definitely undesireable. There's an air pocket at the area where most of the string energy is being delivered to the sound board. The vibration will move around it, but very little is going to bridge that gap.

First, I would untension the strings and slide the saddle out. If the shim and saddle are connected, I would make a new saddle. In fact, I would make a new saddle, regardless of whether they're attached or not.

Next, take a measurement of the existing height of the saddle and shim together, using a caliper. If you don't have a caliper, you can trace it on a piece of paper. If you don't want to alter the action, your new saddle will have to be exactly the same height.

You have your choice of replacement saddles to choose from. Again, it's hard to tell, but that looks like a newer Kamaka, so the saddle is most likely Tusq. You can buy blank slabs of 3/32" and 1/8" Tusq. Get the proper size, so save on some sanding time.

Finally, sand the Tusq to the right size, checking against the piece of paper. The new saddle should fit within the pencil line that you previously drew. Or, if you have calipers, measure and sand until it's the same height.

To get the width properly, it's best to sand and fit, until it flushes with the bottom, without being too loose. I can't tell from picture, but there may be a small ledge on both corners of the slot, which is preventing the shim from seating properly. If this is the case, you don't need to sand the entire new saddle thinner. You can take the corners off with some sand paper, until it fits down in the bottom of the pocket.

Or, you could take it to the luthier who installed the pickup and ask him to adjust the saddle for you. Might be easier, if you don't like to do things yourself. I don't think it will cost that much. It's a relatively easy job. The only thing I can think of that will drive the cost up is if he says that the saddle slot needs to be re-routed. In my opinion, that isn't necessary, but I haven't had a chance to see your uke in person.

Hope that helps. Good luck!

thejumpingflea
03-02-2009, 07:59 PM
jumpingflea,

Looks like the shim is glued to the saddle, but it's hard to tell from the picture. It also looks like a Tusq/NuBone saddle, but again, it's hard to tell from the picture.

The gap is definitely undesireable. There's an air pocket at the area where most of the string energy is being delivered to the sound board. The vibration will move around it, but very little is going to bridge that gap.

First, I would untension the strings and slide the saddle out. If the shim and saddle are connected, I would make a new saddle. In fact, I would make a new saddle, regardless of whether they're attached or not.

Next, take a measurement of the existing height of the saddle and shim together, using a caliper. If you don't have a caliper, you can trace it on a piece of paper. If you don't want to alter the action, your new saddle will have to be exactly the same height.

You have your choice of replacement saddles to choose from. Again, it's hard to tell, but that looks like a newer Kamaka, so the saddle is most likely Tusq. You can buy blank slabs of 3/32" and 1/8" Tusq. Get the proper size, so save on some sanding time.

Finally, sand the Tusq to the right size, checking against the piece of paper. The new saddle should fit within the pencil line that you previously drew. Or, if you have calipers, measure and sand until it's the same height.

To get the width properly, it's best to sand and fit, until it flushes with the bottom, without being too loose. I can't tell from picture, but there may be a small ledge on both corners of the slot, which is preventing the shim from seating properly. If this is the case, you don't need to sand the entire new saddle thinner. You can take the corners off with some sand paper, until it fits down in the bottom of the pocket.

Or, you could take it to the luthier who installed the pickup and ask him to adjust the saddle for you. Might be easier, if you don't like to do things yourself. I don't think it will cost that much. It's a relatively easy job. The only thing I can think of that will drive the cost up is if he says that the saddle slot needs to be re-routed. In my opinion, that isn't necessary, but I haven't had a chance to see your uke in person.

Hope that helps. Good luck!

HUGE HELP! Thanks much Paul, it is greatly appreciated!

thejumpingflea
03-03-2009, 10:45 AM
HUGE HELP! Thanks much Paul, it is greatly appreciated!

Well I tried doing what you had said, but we have a problem...

The saddle is not coming out. Normally saddles should slide out to my knowledge, but this one won't budge. Any ideas?

Renaissance-Man
03-03-2009, 11:06 AM
You have to grab the saddle, and pull it straight up (away from the bridge). If you can grab it with both hands, simultaneously pull up from each end of the saddle. Every Kamaka I've seen, including the recent ones, use bone saddles. Don't crush or crack it, if you plan on reusing it.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
03-03-2009, 11:30 AM
It shouldn't be tight in the first place but it'll come out. Wrap the jaws of a pair of pliers in cloth, grab the buggah with them and wiggle it out.

thejumpingflea
03-03-2009, 12:01 PM
Ok - So I got the bridge out. (Using the pliers like Chuck said)

So it looks as though the underpart (the shim?) of the saddle is some sort of hard wood and it is angled. (Down toward the right) It is definitely glued to the saddle as well.

So that really confuses me. How would I make a new saddle that is angled?

koalohapaul
03-03-2009, 07:56 PM
Did the uke come from the factory with the shim? That's rather unusual, but it's not like I keep tabs on Kamaka.

Did you purchase the ukulele first hand, or second hand? My guess is that someone installed an under saddle transducer pickup, or used a saddle for an UST. The tight fit explains why it doesn't come out of the slot, though. You can try sanding down the thickness with some 220 sand paper, if you don't want to make a new one.

If you do want to make a new saddle, it shouldn't be necessary to duplicate that angle on the bottom. It looks like a flat bottom channel.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the twin spot pickup uses two circular SBTs, right? In that case, I can't think of why the saddle would have an angle on the bottom.

thejumpingflea
03-04-2009, 08:44 AM
Did the uke come from the factory with the shim? That's rather unusual, but it's not like I keep tabs on Kamaka.

Did you purchase the ukulele first hand, or second hand? My guess is that someone installed an under saddle transducer pickup, or used a saddle for an UST. The tight fit explains why it doesn't come out of the slot, though. You can try sanding down the thickness with some 220 sand paper, if you don't want to make a new one.

If you do want to make a new saddle, it shouldn't be necessary to duplicate that angle on the bottom. It looks like a flat bottom channel.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the twin spot pickup uses two circular SBTs, right? In that case, I can't think of why the saddle would have an angle on the bottom.

I got this uke from MGM. It was having some buzzing problems and I sent it to him for repairs. I think he did this when he fixed it.

Kekani
03-04-2009, 07:12 PM
After keeping up with this thread, I re-read it again from the beginning.

If you want to turn your Kamaka current, they use Tusq saddles (either that, or they're just listed on Graph Tech's site by mistake).

I would normally agree with everything said about the details of seating a saddle, especially if we're talking about a UST. Which we're not.

One rule of thumb I tell my clients is this - a pickup cannot take a crap sounding `ukulele, and make it sound better. It'll just make a crappy `ukulele louder. BUT, you can take a good sounding `ukulele and make it sound crappy, louder (of course).

I think your's is the second example. If you didn't have problems prior to the pickup, the problem could be the pickup, especially since its NOT a UST. In your case, piezo placement is critical.

Of course, this is not to say that I wouldn't replace the saddle anyway - I would. But that may be a contributing issue, not the root cause.

-Aaron