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View Full Version : NUUD Konablaster soprano



Inksplosive AL
07-23-2015, 08:08 AM
I just picked up a used konablaster soprano and was happy until I plugged it into my RP360 through headphones. The things just sounds dull compared to my Risa stick so dull all the tweaked settings for ukulele I made sound like the highs are gone never mind the volume. The original guitar settings sound great but again the low volume and the hum present only when played was pretty damned awful.

Now I took some time last night and shielded the volume pot area and under the pickup with metallic tape but I expect the real issue is the likely inexpensive single coil pickup. I should probably just resell it and wonder if that's the normal thing to do. Me Ive already had the thing open enough to shield the body areas and have been looking at hotter humbuckers that will fit in the strat style cutout.

I think in my case with my Warlock I have an old 80's single coil bridge pickup from Carvin which might be louder but will not help with the hum. Unless the konablaster stock pickup is just that cheap, it looks that cheap.

Should I resign and sell it knowing its been loved before or tinker more and try replacing the pickup with a humbucker to make it mine. I have so many projects already but a pickup swap is a simple enough job. I dont think adding a pickup that cost half or just over half of the total cost of the ukulele itself will add resale value but its easy enough to remove.

What would you do?

Inksplosive AL
07-23-2015, 08:23 AM
Just ordered one of these $30 cant be any worse. The blade style should also work out any balance issues of the volume across the strings Ive read about. It just kills me I cant just walk into a damned store and buy one.

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/stratocaster-pickups-humbucker/musicians-gear-scorcher-pickup#productDetail

Guess I'm just a tinkerer.

8]~ 8:]~ 8]~

PhilUSAFRet
07-23-2015, 08:26 AM
Sound like this one? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wO_dUmA9POM It's my impression that this is pretty much how they sound. Maybe a used Mexican or Asian strat pickup would help. For less money, maybe a Guitarfetish one.

Perhaps there's some ideas on FMM: https://www.fleamarketmusic.com/bulletin/bulletin-single.asp?BulletinID=487

Booli
07-23-2015, 10:22 AM
A humbucker might solve the hum issue, however if it's a wiring problem you will still have hum unless that is also remedied. Hum can sometimes also be caused by a cold solder joint to the ground wire, or a bad/imperfect connection with the ground.

If you are going to replace the pickup, which requires soldering anyway, maybe you should check all the other wiring connections, and unsolder and then resolder all of them properly. It should only even take about 10 mins to complete, and most of that time is waiting for the soldering iron to heat up. :)

Another option that has helped me is to add a clip-on FERRITE core cylinder to the wiring inside the instrument, just before the 1/4" jack plug. They come in different diameters, and you want one with the inside diameter small enough for the thin (18-20 AWG) wires that typically go to the jack. parts-express.com sells them as well as allelectronics.com for only a few dollars each. If the clip-on ferrite is too large it will rattle around inside the instrument.

Also, you might want to check with a different guitar cable (guitar cables are ALWAYS the weakest link to me), and even plug into an A/C wall socket in another part of your house that is on a totally different circuit breaker, as I'd done ALL the rest mentioned here and STILL had hum, and found out that another device's wall-wart was in fact generating the evil interference, once I put the 2 devices (evil wall-wart) and amplifier on different breakers that feed the same room, the hum was gone, so there are sources of hum that get fed to your AMP that will still persist regardless, of the use of humbuckers, shielding with foil tape, proper soldering techniques, AND use of ferrite cores.

TO make sure that I was not imagining things, I would plug the same instrument directly into the AMPLUG headphones amp which runs on 2 AAA batteries so there was no connection to A/C at all, and there was no hum. In my case it seemed awfully strange that almost ALL instruments, all of a sudden had hum at the same time, no matter which of the 3 amps I used. Using the AMPLUG confirmed it was NOT the instrument, and moving each other device, one at a time, to another wall outlet help to fix the problem by process of elimination.

I also have a Danelectro Honeytone amp ($20 @ Musicians Friend) that has a headphone output, and gained additional confirmation that when off A/C the hum was gone.

I hope some of this can help you. Please report back if the humbucker does not make the hum go away.

Jim Hanks
07-23-2015, 01:01 PM
You could also contact Bruce at Blue Star Guitar for help or suggestions. For shipping and a reasonable fee, I'm sure you could get him to upgrade or refurbish it for you even.

Inksplosive AL
07-23-2015, 05:42 PM
Sound like this one? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wO_dUmA9POM It's my impression that this is pretty much how they sound. Maybe a used Mexican or Asian strat pickup would help. For less money, maybe a Guitarfetish one.

Perhaps there's some ideas on FMM: https://www.fleamarketmusic.com/bulletin/bulletin-single.asp?BulletinID=487

That's provines lovely red soprano in that video I almost bought the same it but zagged and bought a pocket uke at the time. His has a half a bass pickup mounted mine is a standard strat style cheap lipstick chrome job. Its been so long since Ive plugged in anything with magnetic pickups so the volume drop never mind the frequency loss was a bit of a shock.

I find this video inspirational his KB also has a half bass pickup though.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mDTwm5zFqA

Inksplosive AL
07-23-2015, 06:07 PM
I likely should have tried it after shielding it before posting lol. While there is still an ever so slight buzz it is almost completely gone! This metal tape is the bomb.

Another member PMed me hes going to a store where hes known and they sell used pickups and asked if I wanted him to look. I told him if he sees something he thinks shouldn't be passed up to grab it. I have to shoot him another to tell him to focus on blade style pickups.

Now that I'm ready for stage 2: restringing the KB with new strings in linear tuning. I notice the tuning pegs are atrocious one is particularly bad but on inspection looks like it has a replacement gear. Its definitely oh so slightly different than the rest. The winding area is straight with no dish to keep the strings on the post.

I'm going to go look at a spare ukulele tuning peg set I have to see if they will work. I'm not going to bother the maker with a used KB for such simple things. Hell I would likely drill the body for string through and mount a proper bridge myself if I didn't think the 30-06 casing was bad ass.

Interesting info everyone thanks.

Captain Simian
07-24-2015, 04:58 AM
Another member PMed me hes going to a store where hes known and they sell used pickups and asked if I wanted him to look. I told him if he sees something he thinks shouldn't be passed up to grab it. I have to shoot him another to tell him to focus on blade style pickups.

He knows and he also needs to know the length, width, and depth of your current pickup.

Inksplosive AL
07-24-2015, 11:02 AM
He knows and he also needs to know the length, width, and depth of your current pickup.

Well poo! :(

Figs I see this at 5pm its a standard strat single coil design. I can buy a small router or chisels! :)