PDA

View Full Version : What is a 'set up'?



Purdy Bear
08-24-2015, 10:01 PM
When talking about buying a Ukulele a lot of people said about the importance of having the instrument 'set up' by the shop? Well I found a video which shows a set up by Hawaii Music Supply:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Elfo9xHPhZE


I wondered if this is a standard that stores use, or is it different depending on where it comes from. I never reaslised it went into so much, I thought it was just tuning the strings properly.

The Big Kahuna
08-24-2015, 10:19 PM
That should be the standard, but more often than not, isn't. At a very minimum, the nut slot depth and saddle height should be checked. Most shops ship stuff out the same way it came in.

coolkayaker1
08-24-2015, 11:07 PM
Typical situation.

You: I'd like that uke.

Store: Sure. That's a display...lemme grab you a fresh one from the back room.

(Pulls one from a foreign shipping box, brings it out front, hands it to you).

You (after ten strums): Great. I'll take it. Thank you.

Store: No problem. And don't forget, if you run into any issues at all, just contact the Ace Hole Uke Co. of Shanghai...number's in the gig bag. That baby has an "almost as good as a rainy day" warranty. At least 90 days, as I recall. Or was that their accordions? Anyhow.

You: Cool beans!

Store: You come again now when you get into harmonicas or want a drum kit, okay?

You: Okay. Promise I'll come back.

Store: Thanks for supporting your mom-and-pop brick-n-mortar store. You have a nice life now, y' hear.

(Later that night: Bzzz. Bzzz. Bzzz.).

You (hollering): For crying out loud! Hey, honey! Does Verizon charge us extra if I call China?!

PhilUSAFRet
08-25-2015, 01:45 AM
It is very rare that a retail music store will give you that kind of setup. You have a few uke stores in "London'ish" that will and a few of your neighbors will tell you where as soon as they see your post.

Purdy Bear
08-25-2015, 02:28 AM
Phil, yes I've already got two really good shop names (Southern Ukulele Store, and Omega). I'm about an hour or so away from Southern, so I hope to get there one day and drool over all their Ukuleles.

The Big Kahuna
08-25-2015, 03:27 AM
The son of the owners of Omega is/was a member on here. Try searching for mentions of "omega"

Captain America
08-25-2015, 04:27 AM
Typical situation.

You: I'd like that uke.

Store: Sure. That's a display...lemme grab you a fresh one from the back room.

(Pulls one from a foreign shipping box, brings it out front, hands it to you).

You (after ten strums): Great. I'll take it. Thank you.

Store: No problem. And don't forget, if you run into any issues at all, just contact the Ace Hole Uke Co. of Shanghai...number's in the gig bag. That baby has an "almost as good as a rainy day" warranty. At least 90 days, as I recall. Or was that their accordions? Anyhow.

You: Cool beans!

Store: You come again now when you get into harmonicas or want a drum kit, okay?

You: Okay. Promise I'll come back.

Store: Thanks for supporting your mom-and-pop brick-n-mortar store. You have a nice life now, y' hear.

(Later that night: Bzzz. Bzzz. Bzzz.).

You (hollering): For crying out loud! Hey, honey! Does Verizon charge us extra if I call China?!


coolkayaker! great stuff! spot on.

Say, did you do a video about Mt. Monadnock? We were planning to go there in Oct., but my wife's foot's not working well, so it's next year. Instead, perhaps Apostle Island.

Hms
08-25-2015, 05:18 AM
Purdy Bear
Check out the SUS website, they do workshop and shows by some great players. They are free of charge, Del Rey Has been, so has Aaron Keim, and even Aldrine off here has been and provided a workshop and show.
Adam Franklin in on in a couple of weeks, he's a great Blues and reso player, and normally supports Del Rey when she is in the UK. Scrub that, just checked, he and Del are performing on Saturday 12th 14.00 to 16.00. You will not get a better opportunity to see such great players close up without charge.
So go then, and drool over the ukes in store.
Not a better day out to be had in the Bournmouth area!

h

Purdy Bear
08-26-2015, 01:12 AM
I do intend to go to SUS, but it would have to be by train as I'm not allowed to drive at the moment (panic attacks). It would also mean going up into London to get a connecting train to Bournmouth which my health wont allow at the moment. I've got to nag some relatives who can drive, but it is doubtful they would be forthcoming.

The Big Kahuna
08-26-2015, 02:13 AM
I wonder if you live near enough to any of our other UK members, who might be interested in a trip to SUS in exchange for companionship and petrol money?

Maybe we should have a UK members group on UU.

coolkayaker1
08-26-2015, 04:54 AM
coolkayaker! great stuff! spot on.

Say, did you do a video about Mt. Monadnock? We were planning to go there in Oct., but my wife's foot's not working well, so it's next year. Instead, perhaps Apostle Island.

Hi, Cap. Sorry that your trip is postponed. I will be out there in October to hike my tush off. I didn't do a video (not good with camera, to lazy to edit), but here's a great one (vivid!) from 1960HikerDude.
http://youtu.be/B9X30_WccpM
Many good trails, Pumpelley is the longest at 4.5 miles each way, but not as steep as some of the otehrs and much prettier views as it traverses the "spine" of the mountain. Anyhow, hope you get there next year, Cap. I've not done the Apostle Isles, but my good kayaking pal, Bruce, has and he said it was awesome. Cheers.

Now back to your usually scheduled subject: bemoaning ukulele set-ups. lol

coolkayaker1
08-28-2015, 08:31 AM
You get it sorted out to your satisfaction, Purdy? The set-up thing.

Purdy Bear
08-28-2015, 09:14 PM
Yes I understand what it is now. Unless I travel to Canterbury some miles away from me, there's no way my current instrument can have a set up, but the knowledge about it is going to be very handy if/when I buy any more string instruments.

Buc-a-Roo
08-28-2015, 10:16 PM
One man's setup is another's WTF. I purchased a very, very nice soprano from a highly touted source that claims to have "stringent standards" for the setup work they do on every ukulele sold. The "setup" done on said instrument was, in a word, terrible. I will grant that some of the problem was due to a rather poor neck set by the manufacturer, which was disappointing, but a proper set up would correct for such a build error. And a proper setup is what I got when I sent the ukulele to the professional I turn to for such tasks. Now the ukulele is setup........plays like butter, sounds like cream. Don't assume that someone that says they do setup work actually knows what they are doing.

The Big Kahuna
08-28-2015, 10:22 PM
Yes I understand what it is now. Unless I travel to Canterbury some miles away from me, there's no way my current instrument can have a set up, but the knowledge about it is going to be very handy if/when I buy any more string instruments.

One thing that's always worth having around is this:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00RLE8TPQ?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o09_s00

I recently bought a new one, after years of using a steel ruler. Great for nailing the nut and saddle heights, you can easily measure to the bottom of the string, rather than guessing, a bit like knowing to measure to the lowest point of the meniscus in chemistry.

The Big Kahuna
08-28-2015, 10:29 PM
Also, for adjusting the depth of nut slots, you don't have to go out and spend 100 on a set of nut files. Draper make a perfectly fine set of needle files for less than a tenner, if you take care when using them.

coolkayaker1
08-29-2015, 04:09 AM
Don't assume that someone that says they do setup work actually knows what they are doing.

That is so very true, Buc.

It's true of uke setups, as well as tire balancing, shoe repair, and a fresh coat of paint on the house. Often the simplest services are touted by many, but mastered by few.

SteveZ
08-29-2015, 05:45 AM
"Set up" means different things to different folk.

There's whatever the retail shop does to insure playability and less chance of a return by the customer. Consider it a combination "quality assurance inspection" and tweaking the obvious potential problem areas. The better the shop, the better the job.

Then there's the "custom set up" made to match the instrument more closely to the peculiarities and desires of the musician. A decent tech may want the musician onsite in order to make sure the fit fits the person. Also, it's a great time to learn more about the instrument.

Many folk do their own minor "custom set up" (adjusting action by lowering strings at nut and saddle end). All that takes is a little patience, willing to work slowly (so not to go too far in filing/sanding) and a couple inexpensive tools. A set of welding rod tip cleaners (see image below) for nut slot sizing are found at most decent hardware stores for within US$5-10 range and some fine sandpaper to sand down the saddle base is all that's needed. Again, patience and a wilingness to say "that's close enough" is critical.

82855

the.ronin
08-29-2015, 01:28 PM
The right setup will let you get the most out of your instrument ... at your current skill level. What a beginner might consider the perfect setup might not produce enough volume for a more advanced player without buzzing. So setups evolve. Add to that just plain old personal preference and you can see why there's really no such thing as a "right" setup. Of course, manufacturers will have their default action measurements but that's really some mathematical average - sorta like the 2.1 children per household statistic. Well, no such thing as a 0.1 child. So I use manufacturer settings as a baseline and go from there. It's really worth learning to set up your own equipment. A lot of the tools can be had for dollars (like spacer gauges from AutoZone or Pep Boys). Also just need to apply a little math.