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Choirguy
04-23-2016, 03:43 AM
Kala very kindly donated 40 Makala Watermen to our school.

We have been using them for a while now, and I am convinced--after using my own ukuleles and the very inexpensive Mahalos that we purchased before the donation--that the Waterman (and its ilk, like the BugsGear) are ideal ukuleles for school programs where the ukulele is an addition to a program rather than THE program (such as in Langley, BC). They are rugged and hold their tuning better in the sad climate conditions of a school (A/C is turned off at the end of the day and in the summer, heat is lowered in the winter at night and weekend, etc.).

One of my observations is that the 2nd String E is most likely to be out of tune.

But what I wanted to ask about was tuning the 1st String A. The Snark SN-6 tuner doesn't get a clear reading on that string (it does with the other 3), unless the A string is played ridiculously strong or a chord is still ringing from the other strings.

Otherwise, when tuning the A String, it shows as "in tune" on the tuner, but when played in any chord, the string is distinctly sharp. As we have 40 of these instruments, I can verify that this is the case, versus a fluke (no pun intended).

If you have a Waterman, have you experienced this, and if so, what is your solution? Is there a clip-on tuner that is better for the Waterman (and worth buying)?

I know I can tune by ear--but this is a school where time to tune is often limited and there is often other noise in the room. Speed is of the essence.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

johnson430
04-23-2016, 04:06 AM
Hello Choirguy,

First, that is super-cool that Kala hooked you up.

(edited)

I was having the same problem making the E and A note properly. chalked it up to the crappy stings.
The intonation was just terrible past the 5th fret on the A. The E's intonation was bad from the 1st fret on.
My solution, a new set of strings.

The Martin 600 should do the trick...and every uke player needs to learn how to string a uke so it can be a learning experience for the kids. =)
BTW, I have no problem tuning my uke now that I have new strings. I am using the PHD's but those are twice the cost of the Martin 600.

Choirguy
04-23-2016, 04:38 AM
Thanks for that...I will keep that in mind. Right now we have no budget for new strings...and need to wear these out first. But if it really is the strings...then that will resolve the issue. I may just buy a set of new strings myself and give that a shot.

Incidentally, the strings don't seem bad--compared to the terrible strings that came with our Mahalos (which we also cannot afford to swap out).

Again...thank you for that. I have no idea why the A just won't read as it should, particularly when the G reads just fine.

johnson430
04-23-2016, 06:35 AM
Edited per heavily medicated

pointpergame
04-23-2016, 06:46 AM
I don't think the difference in strings is great enough to create such a huge problem. Even a counterfeit string that is visually indistinguishable from an authentic one. It's easy to believe that the sound path up the neck might give some tuners a headache, especially on the highest string. You might consider swapping the A with one of your home ukes. See if the string gives your home tuner problems and vice versa for the school A / tuner. Won't cost you any more than a little inconsequential wear and tear on those two A strings.

johnson430
04-23-2016, 06:57 AM
Thanks for that...I will keep that in mind. Right now we have no budget for new strings...and need to wear these out first. But if it really is the strings...then that will resolve the issue. I may just buy a set of new strings myself and give that a shot.

Incidentally, the strings don't seem bad--compared to the terrible strings that came with our Mahalos (which we also cannot afford to swap out).

Again...thank you for that. I have no idea why the A just won't read as it should, particularly when the G reads just fine.

I am sorry, flu medication is making me loopy. When I first read the thread, I thought this was about the strings.

Have you moved the tuner around on the headstock?
I found that I got a better tuner response when I placed the clip-on close the G string near the nut. I have the mini clip-in style.
Perhaps in your case move the tuner near the A string geared tuner for better vibration response. Or try an online /ipad or android tuner app to compare.
Have you tried that?

mm stan
04-23-2016, 07:09 AM
Thanks for that...I will keep that in mind. Right now we have no budget for new strings...and need to wear these out first. But if it really is the strings...then that will resolve the issue. I may just buy a set of new strings myself and give that a shot.

Incidentally, the strings don't seem bad--compared to the terrible strings that came with our Mahalos (which we also cannot afford to swap out).

Again...thank you for that. I have no idea why the A just won't read as it should, particularly when the G reads just fine.

Have you tried a different tuner, some just dont register well on some ukes

Choirguy
04-23-2016, 07:39 AM
I have a bunch of SN-6s that I use (Snark), and they read every other kind of ukulele just fine, all 4 strings. But reading the A on a Waterman doesn't work right.

I am going to try putting the tuner closer to the A tuner head next week. I'll see if that works...and I will also give my iPhone a try as well.

That said, I have found the clip-on tuners to simply be easier to use in a busy room.

Choirguy
04-23-2016, 07:40 AM
Have you tried a different tuner, some just dont register well on some ukes

Any suggestions in particular? Cheap is good.

johnson430
04-23-2016, 07:57 AM
Any suggestions in particular? Cheap is good.

These seem to work pretty good for $4.
And reverb puts them on special for $1 sometimes. That is a great deal for a school. Battery included.
https://reverb.com/item/204704-reverb-clip-on-tuner-limit-1

You might want to contact Reverb directly. They might give you a school discount. Worth a try.

Choirguy
04-23-2016, 08:13 AM
These seem to work pretty good for $4.
And reverb puts them on special for $1 sometimes. That is a great deal for a school. Battery included.
https://reverb.com/item/204704-reverb-clip-on-tuner-limit-1

You might want to contact Reverb directly. They might give you a school discount. Worth a try.

Ordered two...never hurts to have more around the house, too. Let me know if you see the $1 price again.

igorthebarbarian
04-23-2016, 10:23 AM
Awesome of Kala to hook your school up like that! I have this sort of problem with banjo ukes. Try moving the tuner to that side/ in line with the string. Sometimes that helps, for me at least.

I think a lot people here would be happy to donate a few bucks for school programs. It would be nice if there was a list of local schools with these types of school programs if we wanted to downsize and donate

mm stan
04-23-2016, 10:31 AM
Have you tried a different tuner, some just dont register well on some ukes
Yes try that, clip the tuner closer to the tuner post youre tuning. Yes some ukes just dont register well with some tuners.

Choirguy
04-23-2016, 11:28 AM
Awesome of Kala to hook your school up like that!

I agree. What is funny is that I wrote in asking for some posters to put in the classroom (I teach middle school choir to a mix of kids that want to be there and those that have no other elective). So I raised money from parents (not a cent from the district) and bought 58 Mahalo MK-1s, which were the cheapest ukuleles we could find that were functional--roughly $25 each from Amazon.

I let Kala know that as I asked for posters...and it took them a little while to get back to me, but then they sent me an e-mail informing me that they would send ukuleles--and they have done this for at least 2 other schools that I know of.

The irony is that the value of the "free" Watermen is almost greater than the value of all of the Mahalos.

I contacted Kala because I own (mostly) Kalas (Makala Concert Electric, Travel Tenor, Ukadelic American, Concert Banjo) and I like their products. You can bet I'll keep buying Kalas (the 10th Anniversary Sweet Pea is on my wish list).

And they donated out of the goodness of their hearts. I contacted Mahalo and the Mahalo vendors here in the US, and they were not willing to offer any deal--so that is why we went with Amazon, and I would have never thought to ask Kala for a donation.

Also...I'm not complaining about the intonation of the A, either. I'm just trying to figure out a better way to make sure it is in tune!

johnson430
04-23-2016, 01:07 PM
I agree. What is funny is that I wrote in asking for some posters to put in the classroom (I teach middle school choir to a mix of kids that want to be there and those that have no other elective). So I raised money from parents (not a cent from the district) and bought 58 Mahalo MK-1s, which were the cheapest ukuleles we could find that were functional--roughly $25 each from Amazon.

I let Kala know that as I asked for posters...and it took them a little while to get back to me, but then they sent me an e-mail informing me that they would send ukuleles--and they have done this for at least 2 other schools that I know of.

The irony is that the value of the "free" Watermen is almost greater than the value of all of the Mahalos.

I contacted Kala because I own (mostly) Kalas (Makala Concert Electric, Travel Tenor, Ukadelic American, Concert Banjo) and I like their products. You can bet I'll keep buying Kalas (the 10th Anniversary Sweet Pea is on my wish list).

And they donated out of the goodness of their hearts. I contacted Mahalo and the Mahalo vendors here in the US, and they were not willing to offer any deal--so that is why we went with Amazon, and I would have never thought to ask Kala for a donation.

Also...I'm not complaining about the intonation of the A, either. I'm just trying to figure out a better way to make sure it is in tune!

That is a great story. Thanks for sharing.
I must have gotten some bad strings on mine.

MutinousDoug
04-23-2016, 02:50 PM
Have you pursued tuning up a step to ADF#B to see if your tuners respond? There is little cost in trying an alternate tuning and transposing.
My Makala Dolphin sounds a little better in this tuning than in GCEA. (Well, this week it does, to my 67 YO ears and these particular strings).

Choirguy
04-23-2016, 04:02 PM
Bill1,

There is a lot to unpack in your reply, and I certainly don't want.to get into an argument.

What I know is this: my school was given 40 Waterman ukuleles at no cost. They did this knowing we had already purchased very inexpensive Mahalo instruments. This means that they knew we weren't going to put in an order for another set of instruments any time soon.

It could be a tax write-off, but I have no issue with that. I write off donations I make in my taxes as well.

For my use, in my school, with our climate issues (heat/cold), with our student population (Title 1 School, low income, etc), the Makala Watermen are holding up far better than the Mahaols we purchased, abd even better the four Caramel ukuleles I bought for our 7th and 8th "man hand" boys to use (one has a huge scratch on the back--which could be purposeful damage).

If you had a full-blown ukulele program (like Langley, BC) where kids would be going on tour--you would want high quality instruments that cost hundreds of dollars each (like many band instruments).

We use the ukulele as a supplement in choir, which is groups of students up to 52 at a time This allows the singers to develop a skill where they can accompany themself (and tap into the rich resources on YouTube for the songs they want to sing/play), and as a diversion for the 40% of kids that are forced into choir that don't want to be there (there is no elective choice). Granted, the real sour kids still aren't happy no matter what you do-but I have seen a large number of kids gravitate to participation with the ukulele where they resist or even refuse to sing.

And the Waternen are ideal for that use.

Also...please note that I added 4 Caramel Ukuleles (cheap Chinese ukuleles) to our inventory, so I am aware of their value...but we needed 54 ukuleles at the start with no funding from the school (district, state, taxpayers), so our $25 Mahalo MK-1s are serviceable. We didn't have the extra $10-$20 per ukulele to go with a better model--and that is why the Watermen are a huge bonus and step up.

Again, the challenge is just tuning the A String.

Choirguy
04-23-2016, 04:08 PM
MuttonousDoug,

I haven't considered taking things up a whole step because we have a mix of ukuleles (58 Mahalos in general, 40 Watermen, 1 $36 Caramel Concert, and 3 $39 Caramel Tenors) and kids sometime switch between them. As we all play together--and sometimes me on the piano (although I am usually on one of my personal ukuleles), we all need to be in the same key.

LarryS
04-24-2016, 05:20 AM
These seem to work pretty good for $4.
And reverb puts them on special for $1 sometimes. That is a great deal for a school. Battery included.
https://reverb.com/item/204704-reverb-clip-on-tuner-limit-1

You might want to contact Reverb directly. They might give you a school discount. Worth a try.

Cheap, but the shipping!

2.85GBP + 9.98 Shipping

johnson430
04-24-2016, 06:07 AM
Cheap, but the shipping!

2.85GBP + 9.98 Shipping

Larry, it is free shipping on this side of the pond.

Choirguy
04-25-2016, 04:46 PM
I just wanted to add that I tuned the Watermen with the clip on tuner located at the base on the head, just under the A string tuner. There really wasn't a better place to put it--and I usually clamp right in the middle of the crown on the top of the head.

This worked better. I won't say that it is foolproof--but the A seemed to tune more easily, showing up with much less required plucking force.

[Again, in the past, "in tune" meant "sharp" to my ear, and when the string was plucked strongly, the tuner showed as such--otherwise it showed in tune when it clearly wasn't).

I'll eventually give those Martin strings a try, too.

JoeJazz2000
04-27-2016, 11:21 AM
I have a Waterman and a Snark SN-6. I'm getting good readings, or at least it seems so on initial tune up. However after a few (very few) minutes of play the second and first strings (E and A) read and sound sharp--seriously sharp. At first, I was attributing it to my unfamiliarity with nylon strings. I've played guitar for a long time but always steel strings. The ukulele is my first time to play on nylon (or whatever the material actually is). Then after thinking about it, I thought that a string contracting and going sharp while being played is unlikely, and so it's not the string. I'm hard pressed to recall whether it happens on my other ukes, but I think it does sometimes. I don't have an answer, just a similar situation I'd like to understand better.

Choirguy
04-28-2016, 12:44 PM
JoeJazz,

This is exactly my experience (although the E string tunes okay for me). If I don't have sympathetic vibrations going with the other strings when tuning the A, or if I don't pluck strongly, the tuner tells me it is in tune, and it is noticeably sharp. Thank you for being able to state what my problem has been.

Putting the Snark on the A string side of the ukulele helps with tuning the A, but I am tuning 40 of them at a time, so it isn't a very convenient location.

Choirguy
04-28-2016, 12:52 PM
These seem to work pretty good for $4.
And reverb puts them on special for $1 sometimes. That is a great deal for a school. Battery included.
https://reverb.com/item/204704-reverb-clip-on-tuner-limit-1

You might want to contact Reverb directly. They might give you a school discount. Worth a try.

The Reverb tuners were waiting for me when I came home. This might belong in another thread (or a topic of its own). They were shipped in a cool lunch-bag type box, each tuner having its own little square box. In the box is the tuner, directions, and a CR2032 battery.

The directions are about the worst directions ever--they don't tell you how to install the battery or how to operate the tuner. The tuner actually has multiple settings (one for ukulele), and Reverb provides a better set of directions on their website FAQ (https://reverb.com/news/reverb-tuner-faq?_aid=listingrelatedarticle)

Once you figure out how to install the battery (the Snark is easier to figure out--but in this case, just twist the back)--the tuner is really nice and a heck of a deal for $4. I compared it to my Snark SN-6 and the Fishman tuner on my UkeSB, and it seems to be more sensitive to pitch than the Snark (hard to tell versus the Fishman).

What I really like is that the tuner, if in Ukulele Mode, shows what string you are tuning. I would imagine you would need to be in the general correct range of pitch for it to read correctly.

So I contacted Reverb and asked if they would be willing to sell a ton of these to a school (110). It would be great to just leave them on the ukuleles.

Thank you, Johnson430, for the recommendation. This is a great $4 investment.

johnson430
04-28-2016, 01:20 PM
The Reverb tuners were waiting for me when I came home. This might belong in another thread (or a topic of its own). They were shipped in a cool lunch-bag type box, each tuner having its own little square box. In the box is the tuner, directions, and a CR2032 battery.

The directions are about the worst directions ever--they don't tell you how to install the battery or how to operate the tuner. The tuner actually has multiple settings (one for ukulele), and Reverb provides a better set of directions on their website FAQ (https://reverb.com/news/reverb-tuner-faq?_aid=listingrelatedarticle)

Once you figure out how to install the battery (the Snark is easier to figure out--but in this case, just twist the back)--the tuner is really nice and a heck of a deal for $4. I compared it to my Snark SN-6 and the Fishman tuner on my UkeSB, and it seems to be more sensitive to pitch than the Snark (hard to tell versus the Fishman).

What I really like is that the tuner, if in Ukulele Mode, shows what string you are tuning. I would imagine you would need to be in the general correct range of pitch for it to read correctly.

So I contacted Reverb and asked if they would be willing to sell a ton of these to a school (110). It would be great to just leave them on the ukuleles.

Thank you, Johnson430, for the recommendation. This is a great $4 investment.

Awesome. You are welcome. I am so glad those worked for you.
Let us know if Reverb is able to give you the hook-up.

Yukon Cornelius
04-28-2016, 01:29 PM
Thanks for that...I will keep that in mind. Right now we have no budget for new strings...and need to wear these out first. But if it really is the strings...then that will resolve the issue. I may just buy a set of new strings myself and give that a shot.

Incidentally, the strings don't seem bad--compared to the terrible strings that came with our Mahalos (which we also cannot afford to swap out).

Again...thank you for that. I have no idea why the A just won't read as it should, particularly when the G reads just fine.

We got some as well and it seems to me that the strings are aquilas. I have been tuning them a little at a time (Monday I start a uke club for the last month of the school year) when I found extra time (new baby is more important than ukes).

The ones I have gotten in tune all seem to tune fine. I have been doing the speed stretching, which has slowed me down tremendously with the tuning time (and only having one tuner that worked).

No idea, what your problem is, but have you checked the nut area to make sure it is filed to correct spot (if that makes sense).

spongeuke
04-28-2016, 05:27 PM
Being of mildly advanced age, I started out with an A tuning fork to match by ear the A string, then tuning the G & E strings on the appropriate fret, the C string was then referenced to the E string.
That said it might be beneficial to the students to learn to tune the ukulele to a reference string

spongeuke
04-28-2016, 05:41 PM
Kala is a big USA corporation
Kala's offices are just 1 Mile from the mobile home park I live in. They aren't big (google the street address) and have been generous in providing spaces for Ukulele related events over the years. They are now making ukuleles on site employing skilled locals. I've always been impressed with their value and durability in a hyper competitive market. I've no dog in the hunt as I play vintage Sopranos and dabble in experimental home builds.

dwh
04-28-2016, 06:20 PM
The Reverb tuners were waiting for me when I came home. This might belong in another thread (or a topic of its own). They were shipped in a cool lunch-bag type box, each tuner having its own little square box. In the box is the tuner, directions, and a CR2032 battery.

The directions are about the worst directions ever--they don't tell you how to install the battery or how to operate the tuner. The tuner actually has multiple settings (one for ukulele), and Reverb provides a better set of directions on their website FAQ (https://reverb.com/news/reverb-tuner-faq?_aid=listingrelatedarticle)

Once you figure out how to install the battery (the Snark is easier to figure out--but in this case, just twist the back)--the tuner is really nice and a heck of a deal for $4. I compared it to my Snark SN-6 and the Fishman tuner on my UkeSB, and it seems to be more sensitive to pitch than the Snark (hard to tell versus the Fishman).

What I really like is that the tuner, if in Ukulele Mode, shows what string you are tuning. I would imagine you would need to be in the general correct range of pitch for it to read correctly.

So I contacted Reverb and asked if they would be willing to sell a ton of these to a school (110). It would be great to just leave them on the ukuleles.

Thank you, Johnson430, for the recommendation. This is a great $4 investment.

I know they have sales occasionally for $.99 on those tuners. Can't hurt to ask right!

Choirguy
04-29-2016, 12:24 PM
Being of mildly advanced age, I started out with an A tuning fork to match by ear the A string, then tuning the G & E strings on the appropriate fret, the C string was then referenced to the E string.
That said it might be beneficial to the students to learn to tune the ukulele to a reference string

Truly no offense, but that level of skill isn't going to happen with 30-50 middle school students who may or may not want to be in the class.

I'll be good if they can start tuning on their own with a tuner.

sukie
04-30-2016, 04:08 AM
Truly no offense, but that level of skill isn't going to happen with 30-50 middle school students who may or may not want to be in the class.

I'll be good if they can start tuning on their own with a tuner.
I'm from the cities -- what school is this fun happening at?

Choirguy
07-23-2016, 05:22 AM
These seem to work pretty good for $4.
And reverb puts them on special for $1 sometimes. That is a great deal for a school. Battery included.
https://reverb.com/item/204704-reverb-clip-on-tuner-limit-1

You might want to contact Reverb directly. They might give you a school discount. Worth a try.

Dragging up an old thread. I bought a couple of these, and still use them. For $4, it is hard to beat (although you can buy a Joyo off eBay for $2.70).

I contacted Reverb shortly after receiving my own, and asked if they could do school pricing, and they were willing to do so. I was looking for 100 tuners (we actually own 102 ukuleles) and that was still more than we could afford until we do fundraising this fall (something we always do). They said that they would be happy to deal with me in the fall. That's all cool.

Well, Reverb contacted me this week, where my story/request about starting a ukulele program (I am now calling it a choir/ukulele hybrid) reached other desks, and they offered me 100 tuners for free--which of course, I happily accepted. They arrived this morning.

It's amazing how many tuners fit into a single small lightweight box.

So...many thanks to Kala and Reverb for their donations to our program. Their actions make me very supportive of their companies, and you know I will tell others and spread the news. I will buy more things from both Kala and Reverb and suggest them to others.

Incidentally, I saw the new Kala Ziricote ukuleles at my local music store (Groth) and fell in love...I know what my next ukulele will be...
92798

Booli
07-23-2016, 06:44 AM
@ChoirGuy -

I just came upon some new info that might help with your uke program in the school...

You might want to contact Aquila to supply you with strings via their KIDS STRINGS program:


Aquila kids educational ukulele strings

Aquila Corde Armoniche has a strong belief in social responsibility and we strive to work for it every day, from social activities to environmental preservation. We are the first musical string company to have introduced two different types of nylon strings made from vegetable matter. This is one way of offering a little help in preserving a better world for future generations.


We have also reduced the waste in our packaging by reducing the amount of plastic wrapping used on our packed sets of strings. Our continuous efforts are directed not only to preserving the environment but also towards society, especially the musical education of the young, because music shapes and brings together a positive and responsible humanity.

It has been a natural step for us to create a dedicated set of ukulele strings under the name of “kids”. This is a new set of strings for use in the education of the youngest children, where colors are notes, following an educational method in use around the world since the 1960s. The new “kids” set is made from our SUPERNYLGUT (http://aquilacorde.com/modern-instrument-sets/modern-instrument-products/3226/super-nylgut/), extruded on our own machines at our Italian headquarters. Because of the balance between the strings gauges a single set will fit the soprano, concert and tenor sizes of ukulele.


The new “kids” Ukulele strings set by Aquila will be available for educational purposes only, and not via the usual retail channels. Each “kids” pack will be sold in units of twenty, forty or one hundred string sets through our worldwide distribution channel. Our wholesaler guarantees us that the strings will be sold to students for educational purposes only. The retail price of each set will be of €2.00, available to our distributors for the price of €1.00 per set.




see here:
http://aquilacorde.com/projects/6115/progetto-kids/?lang=en

Choirguy
07-29-2016, 02:12 AM
Thanks, Booli! I have been out of town all week and haven't visited UU while gone. Just saw this response and immediately e-mailed Aquilla. We'll see if they get back to me. I'm not sure what the actual cost will be for a school
I'd be buying 100 sets at a time.