View Full Version : beginner question on string action

06-07-2016, 12:58 PM
Good evening, I got a concern over string height. I have a New Kala Tenor
Koa gloss. After reading alot on this forum, Seems alot of folks really focus on setup for ease of play a bility. I bought this from Guitar Center.
I knew about the purchase. I knew there was no setup offered. I measured the action at the 12th fret with a feeler gauge and its right at 3mm or .118.

I've had fun in the last week learning this and that, and I really like this Uke. But Am I missing something here in having the action checked out by a Luthier? There's not anyone close to me, I'd have to go into Houston.
I dont know any players, or have anyone local that can give this uke a proper evaluation.

What do you recommend?



Inksplosive AL
06-07-2016, 01:56 PM
My Kalas that were bought without a setup all seem to be pretty well made. Perhaps one or two of mine could use a tweak at the nut for personal preference but they play great still. Your 12 fret height sounds fine.

"Measuring from the top of the fret to the bottom of the string at the 12th fret, you should have( 6-8/64ths or 2.5-3mm) or you end up having to push harder to get a good sound."



Jim Hanks
06-07-2016, 03:58 PM
3mm is higher than I prefer but it should be playable. I had a baritone right around there and I didn't like going above the 7th fret or so. If you're happy with the intonation on the lower end, there's no need to get it looked at right away.

06-07-2016, 05:03 PM
A quick check for intonation (something that is quick enough to be done in a store) is to hold down a string in the 12th fret and pluck a note. It should be the same note as the open string (so on the A string it should also be a clean A when fretted in the 12th fret, just an octave higher). Do this for all four strings.

06-07-2016, 05:13 PM
I started on a Kala travel tenor from Sam Ash, no setup. As a beginner I didn't know any better. But the tension and high action were difficult on my beginner fingers. In retrospect I should have bought a Flea or Fluke which was my first instinct. High action can be discouraging for new players (and old too)!

06-08-2016, 03:39 AM
The Kala web site states that 3mm at the 12th is the way they make them. (support --> FAQ) Too low will cause buzzing and decreased volume; too high, intonation problems and strings difficult to press to fret properly. As you practice, your ear will become more refined and demanding, and fretting higher up the neck (towards the hole) will occur, at which point you might want to adjust the saddle and nut heights to suit you. There are good videos to help. It is easier than driving in Houston. :)