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FinnP
11-09-2015, 12:55 AM
Hello
I bought a Pono MTDX a while ago that I had to send back because the intonation for some reason was way off (flat) on the G and A strings.
I got a new one but it was still (but not so much) too flat on the the two strings. However the second was really good and had a nice dark mahogny glow and it sounded fantastic, so I decided to try to fix it myself.
It turned out that to get a perfect intonation , I had to mill a new saddle slot. I don't have the tools for that, so instead I tried the "bone super-glue chip trick", it worked like a charm, but looked awful (see pictures).
I decided to make a new one, so I bought a slap of black tusq:

https://www.wonderwood.de/shop/de/graph-tech-parts/788-gt-pt-9025-00-black-tusq-xl-ss-acoustic-saddle-slab.html

After I had measured up the correct compensation with a Peterson strobe turner I shaped it wih a rough file. This went very fast :-) I did the final touch up with 400-800 grit wet sandpaper. I took me about two hour to make the new saddle and I'm very pleased with the result :-)
I's hard to hear the difference from the bone saddle, but I think the balance is better now and the E and A strings really sings (could be because they now play in tune ;-).

I think the look and design are harmonious and I like the black look.
The left over piece from the tusq slap I'll use for a new nut. This will be my next "project".
85120851218512285123

Booli
11-09-2015, 03:19 AM
I've never seen a saddle shaped like that overhanging or extending beyond the saddle slot. I've been tempted to do this on one of my ukes that seems to be about 22 cents sharp on the C string, but going the other direction from what you did, and make the saddle extension go away from the soundhole.

It seems very strange to me that a company like Pono would sell a uke with such an extreme intonation problem, given their reputation here on the forum, and that this kind if issue passed their QC inspection.

I am kind of OCD about intonation, and when one string is out more than the others, I just cant leave it alone. Needless to say, I've gotten some serious hours invested in making new saddles from bone, micarta and ebony in order to get better intonation on various ukes.

I am glad you were able to solve the problem and have a playable instrument. Having said that, you might want to share your story and photos with Pono and let them know that their QC missed your uke, twice.

pbagley
11-09-2015, 04:04 AM
Thank you for posting this, Mr FinnP. Like Booli, I have a Uke or two that suffers from intonation issues with notes being a touch sharp on a string or two. And it makes me retune a lot until I either find a good compromise or give up and play out of tune. I have noticed that my Martin S1 has a bit of compensation built into the saddle and it seems to help. I just need to take some time to compensate my saddles. Winter is coming...

FinnP
11-09-2015, 04:32 AM
I was surprised too. I mentioned it in another tread and andrewkoko from Pono offered to send me a replacement, no problem there. I chose to get at replacemet through the shop in UK where I bought it(I could have had a full refund incl. Shipping costs), as I had to pay full custum duty if it was send from outside EU (the custom in Denmark are really tough). Anyway I liked the sound and look of the replacement, so I kept it.

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
11-09-2015, 12:21 PM
Nice fix- i actually like the saddle shape more then a normal saddle!!!

FinnP
11-10-2015, 03:40 AM
Thanks, it has a touch of BATMAN design, even though I don't know if Batman has an ukulele in his batcave.

70sSanO
11-10-2015, 04:35 AM
Very cool saddle. You did a really great job. One of my ukuleles has that same problem and I have made similar saddles out of ebony so I know how much time it takes to work one of these. I am surprised that only 2 of the strings, and on opposite sides of the fretboard, are off and the middle strings are not. Regardless, great fix.

A few years ago there was another UU member who made a "T" saddle because he needed to compensate in both directions.

John

FinnP
11-10-2015, 05:10 AM
If I compare it to my Kiwaya, which has a heavy compensated saddle and a perfect intonation, the G and A string too have the "shortest" compensation.

hawaii 50
11-10-2015, 06:27 AM
I was surprised too. I mentioned it in another tread and andrewkoko from Pono offered to send me a replacement, no problem there. I chose to get at replacemet through the shop in UK where I bought it(I could have had a full refund incl. Shipping costs), as I had to pay full custum duty if it was send from outside EU (the custom in Denmark are really tough). Anyway I liked the sound and look of the replacement, so I kept it.


I think Andrew already mentioned that Pono ukes that go to Europe and many dealers here in the USA are sent direct from the Pono factory in Indonesia to your dealer..they do not come through the Pono shop in Hawaii.....the dealers get a low price but have to setup instruments like all the other brands before they sell them....when HMS sends out their Pono ukes from their website it is setup before shipping....even the K brands get a setup too.....

FinnP
11-10-2015, 06:47 PM
Thanks, interesting info.