View Full Version : Saddle material for ukulele?

04-15-2015, 02:46 AM
Hello, I (most unfortunately!) picked up a pineapple ukulele with laminated top. Would it benefit anything by changing the saddle to bone instead of plastics?
Or maybe wood would be a material to use?

As it is now the tone is lightly muted, dull and somewhat "thin" too, despite of it being rather well set up.

Best Regards

Jim Hanks
04-15-2015, 03:28 AM
I would recommend experimenting with different strings before worrying about the saddle material. What brand is the uke and what strings are on it?

04-15-2015, 04:48 AM
I agree with Jim Hanks. Try some other strings first. This will be far less expensive an experiment, as well as less fraught with potential, serious mistakes.

04-15-2015, 06:25 AM
switching between bone and plastic... I can't hear a difference on the ones I tried. (I went the other way bone to plastic to compensate on the cheap) If there's a difference at all.... it's going to be very subtle.

String change.. is usually more dramatic.

04-15-2015, 11:25 AM
Take the saddle out to check that its base, and the bottom of the saddle slot, are both flat. An Ill fitting saddle can give a thin sound.

Strings next.

After that you're looking at major surgery, such as shaving down the top bracing (some I've seen require hacking off, not just shaving!). If the top braces you can touch feel like solid chunks of wood, rather than delicately shaped sticks, then surgery should improve the volume.

04-16-2015, 04:04 AM
Well I believe it's got the original strings, bought it second hand. It's a Mahalo U320P Made in China. The original strings are pretty soft. To get it to play in tune I've compensated the D string 3,5 mm (!) backwards and the string height is less than 1,5 mm at the 12th fret. The saddle has slightly turned the top (bent it) into the tone hole. Which is one of the reasons for the low action. Thanks for your advices. What strings would you recommend?

(I did the set-up by consequently gluing on fine short sticks of ebony to the plastic saddle until satisfied. Some surplus information: it is tuned A, D, F#, H )

04-16-2015, 08:30 AM
(I did the set-up by consequently gluing on fine short sticks of ebony to the plastic saddle until satisfied. Some surplus information: it is tuned A, D, F#, H )

That "H" note is the hardest to get in tune :p

04-16-2015, 08:48 AM
That "H" note is the hardest to get in tune :p

Ha! You should try tuning to I. Only dogs can hear it.

04-16-2015, 11:51 AM
Gentlemen, do not mock. Not every country uses the English system of describing notes. In some countries a B is called H. In others it is called si.

04-16-2015, 07:10 PM
Miguel, we are not mocking. Just having some fun. No offence meant... In what country is B called H by the way? Just curious.

Rocky M
04-16-2015, 08:45 PM
Germany, for one.

JS Bach even incorporated his name into some of his compositions as a four note phrase based on the pitches B [Bb in America] - A - C - H [B natural]

04-16-2015, 11:05 PM
No offence meant
None taken - and I found your comments amusing. However, not everyone has a sense of humour as unusual as mine (ours).
Nice to hear the story about JSB - hadn't heard that one.

04-17-2015, 02:37 AM
Actually I think H is a more suitable name of the tone because then you can, when trying to tune say, Ha ha ha!, when using B, well Ba ba ba! wouldn´t be as appropriate. (Just mumbling inannities).

A softer tone suitable for the pineapple shape might rather be performed with ghs ukulele strings perhaps?
Please tell if you're of any other opinion.