View Full Version : koaloha uke help

03-15-2009, 08:10 AM
i have a oldschool koaloha concert sep 2003, the action is medium, my question is: if i go to a local guitar shop and have them adjust the action will that affect the sound of the uke in anyways?

Kaneohe til the end
03-15-2009, 06:50 PM
i think it depends which way you adjust the action. if you make the action higher, the sound wont resonate as long or as loud, but it'll be brighter. if you lower the action, the sound will resonate longer and be a little deeper.

btw, not 100% on this, but i think this is mostly right.

03-15-2009, 09:47 PM
I've read that it DOES have an effect, but I've adjusted many a soprano, and never noticed a significant change in sound. Anyway, I would not tolerate playing a uke whose action doesn't suit me, so I'd do it and accept the way it sounds.

Can't you do it yourself, it's easy enough? Just take your time and do it in easy stages. There is lots of information on line.


03-15-2009, 10:38 PM
I can adjust it myself but it's a koaloha uke, N for those kind of ukes need expert touch. I actually went to the shop n they said that the action is good enough for playing but they can lower the action for 40$ if I wAnt to but I told him I will think about it. I also have a flea concert that is much more easier to play compare to the koaloha. So I really need help in deciding, I love the uke so much that I don't wanna do something that I'll regret to it but at the same time I want it to be more playable cuz I do like the sound of it.

Aldrine Guerrero
03-15-2009, 10:45 PM
it's quite a penny to do the change. My advice would be to go for it. The better the ukulele feels for you, the more you're likely to keep playing it. The sound will change but reagrdless, it's still a koaloha and you'll get that same sound quality. It's your ukulele, do what you can to make it work for you. The better it is, the more you'll want to play... which is always an awesome thing :3

03-16-2009, 07:58 AM
What the guy at my Uke shop told me about changing the action on a Uke when I was asking about getting some files and learning to do it myself...

"Both peices are replacable if you screw it up and go to far"

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
03-16-2009, 08:14 AM
Ponder this from Bill Cumpiano:
"So what is the optimum string height? Optimum is the highest action possible, given the limits of the players strength, that is, not so low that the strings jangle and rattle on the frets, yet not so high that the player can't press them all the way down. That's the dilemma: a beginning player will complain of difficult action even at a very low setting, which then makes the strings easily contact the frets; then complain about the lack of clarity. Expert.... players have a well-developed grip, but also have developed an instinctive ability to press the strings appropriately and efficiently no matter what the string height. But given the choice, they prefer a high action to a low because they are strong enough to overcome it, and it gives them a better tone and a wider dynamic range."
Classical guitar players will set their action as high as is playable for better projection and volume. A high action means a greater string angle over the saddle that exerts more downward pressure on the sound board and yields more volume. Consider where you do most of your fretting. If you play mostly within the first five frets it is not as much as a consideration as it would be if you played on the dusty end of the fret board a lot. I set my string height to about .100" above the 12th fret and that seems to be a happy medium.

03-16-2009, 03:32 PM
I think my new Koaloha has high action, but I come from guitar background. Here's pics of mine at to 10-12 frets. Anyone think this looks a little high>? There is a slight bow to the neck as well.

03-16-2009, 04:09 PM
You should PM Koalohapaul and see what he says... Maybe there is a down side to lowering the action...

03-16-2009, 08:37 PM
All of our ukulele are inspected before they leave the factory, so no additional work on the action should be necessary. If anything, the player should adjust to the instrument. HA HA! Just playing around.

We set our action to a medium level, when they leave the shop. The string height at the 12th fret should be about .110".

If you do decide to adjust the action, it's easy enough to do it yourself, with a piece of sand paper. Sand the bottom of the saddle, so you don't have to mess with the angles at the top, where the strings sit. Keep in mind that you need to remove about double the desired distance at the saddle, to lower the 12th fret height. So, if the action is at .110" and you want to bring it down to .100", you will need to remove .020" from the saddle. This is about 2/3 of 1/32". A local guitar shop should be able to do it pretty easily. The nut adjustment will most likely not require and refiling.

As Chuck explained, higher action means more tension, means more volume, but harder to play. Lower action results in a sweeter tone, but not quite as loud, but easier to play. There is a limit to which the uke stops getting louder and just becomes difficult to play, with bad intonation. (As you go higher) I find it's about .120". Anything higher is just hard to play, the intonation goes sour, and you don't really gain any noticeable volume. There is also a limit to how low you can go. Below .090", most instruments will start to buzz, as there isn't enough clearance over the frets.

We happily adjust the action for free at our shop (no charge), but I understand we aren't a drive away from the mainland. If it's something you don't feel comfortable doing yourself, take it to a local luthier, or guitar shop. If you do decide to do it yourself, shoot me an e-mail with your address, and I'll mail you an extra saddle. That way, you can have one handy, in case you sand past the point of no return.


It's hard to see clearly from the picture. If you have a ruler or gauge, the action should be close to .110". Personally, I prefer my action at .100", but our instruments end up all over the world, so we set them just a little higher to compensate for different climates. If the uke is hard to play, or starts to buzz on the frets, please shoot me us an e-mail and we will do our best to resolve it.