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raduray
08-10-2016, 12:56 PM
I have a playing technique problem. The way my left hand is positioned, the fleshy part of the index finger sometimes touches the A string, muting it. I know the correct answer is to fix my technique, but I'm wondering if it's practical to redo the nut so as to slightly decrease the spacing between the strings and provide more space between the A string and the edge of the fretboard, in effect offsetting the strings to the left.

Booli
08-10-2016, 02:26 PM
Seems like the long way around to compensate for, how can I say this politely, but 'lack of interest/motivation' to alter/correct your technique?

Now that you hate me (please don't) - it should be a relatively simple task to cut a new nut with the string spacing you want, if you are adept with a saw and/or a set of needle files, and then replace the existing nut with the new one.

Nut blanks are like $2-$5 most places I've seen online, and you can even use a piece of scrap wood to test if it will work before buying anything, and thus it costs nothing but the TIME and effort to make a new nut...

However, now you will be out of alignment with the string spacing to the saddle, and that is another problem, which makes me shudder when I think of how to try and explain (which likely nobody will read and just gloss over a wall of text) and thus will leave that arduous task for someone with more patience, and more popular here than me.

bacchettadavid
08-10-2016, 03:12 PM
To elaborate on Booli's point re: saddle spacing:

If you move the string at the nut, it will have to traverse a slightly longer distance to the saddle than its fellow strings and will forever throw your uke out of tune unless you compensate your frets like some mad scientist. :rock::music::rock:

Redeem yourself and correct your technique. I am currently correcting a bad habit of my own: planting my right thumb on the 4th string to compensate for poor fingerpicking technique early on. It's a long road, but the pay-off is worth the effort.

Booli
08-10-2016, 03:42 PM
To elaborate on Booli's point re: saddle spacing:

If you move the string at the nut, it will have to traverse a slightly longer distance to the saddle than its fellow strings and will forever throw your uke out of tune unless you compensate your frets like some mad scientist. :rock::music::rock:

Redeem yourself and correct your technique. I am currently correcting a bad habit of my own: planting my right thumb on the 4th string to compensate for poor fingerpicking technique early on. It's a long road, but the pay-off is worth the effort.


aye!

Maybe what bacchettadavid might be referring to is called 'fanned frets' In the guitar world, with the longer scale lengths and while it might be justified on a longer scale instrument like a guitar, on a tenor uke and smaller scale, getting the compensation just right for good intonation on an 'equal temperament' 12-tone scale and in the modified-fourths tuning og GCEA and similar, it's going to be like splitting hairs to recalculate the now-angled fret spacing, which is DIFFERENT from fret spacing that is not done with 'fanned frets'.

If I was forced to consider all of these things, I'd advise to just pull ALL the frets and go fretless, and learn to play and get your own intonation just like a fiddle player learns to play without frets...

but none of this fixes the issue, and sorry for going on a tangent...

raduray
08-10-2016, 03:58 PM
To elaborate on Booli's point re: saddle spacing:

If you move the string at the nut, it will have to traverse a slightly longer distance to the saddle than its fellow strings and will forever throw your uke out of tune unless you compensate your frets like some mad scientist. :rock::music::rock:



Notwithstanding the need to improve my technique, given a 17" scale length, moving the A string over by 2mm (max) would increase the string length to 17.00082 inches which is an increase of .005% Are you saying that this minuscule increase would create an intonation problem?

raduray
08-10-2016, 04:06 PM
If I was forced to consider all of these things, I'd advise to just pull ALL the frets and go fretless, and learn to play and get your own intonation just like a fiddle player learns to play without frets...



Or I could fix my technique :)

Booli
08-10-2016, 04:12 PM
Or I could fix my technique :)

I cannot know your secret intent, but likely the path of least resistance is also the most effective path in terms of time and effort, at least in this case.

It is wholly subjective, each to our own self, as to what is important for how you spend your time, that is only for you to decide.

johnson430
08-10-2016, 04:49 PM
I have a playing technique problem. The way my left hand is positioned, the fleshy part of the index finger sometimes touches the A string, muting it. I know the correct answer is to fix my technique, but I'm wondering if it's practical to redo the nut so as to slightly decrease the spacing between the strings and provide more space between the A string and the edge of the fretboard, in effect offsetting the strings to the left.

I have a solution to your problem but it isn't easy. You must practice.
And record yourself practicing so you can hear the good, bad and ugly.

raduray
08-10-2016, 04:49 PM
I cannot know your secret intent, but likely the path of least resistance is also the most effective path in terms of time and effort, at least in this case.

It is wholly subjective, each to our own self, as to what is important for how you spend your time, that is only for you to decide.

My intent is to fix the technique. My question was more intellectual curiosity as I'm new to the instrument and trying to understand it. If I'm not the only one with this problem, why not make the neck 2mm wider and have a slightly larger string to edge of fingerboard distance for the A string than the G string? Would the extra 2mm width have an impact on playability?

johnson430
08-10-2016, 04:53 PM
My intent is to fix the technique. My question was more intellectual curiosity as I'm new to the instrument and trying to understand it. If I'm not the only one with this problem, why not make the neck 2mm wider and have a slightly larger string to edge of fingerboard distance for the A string than the G string? Would the extra 2mm width have an impact on playability?

Buy a uke with a 1.5 nut width. This would be a solution to your problem.
Some players like the 1.5 nut some do not. I happen to like it but I come from a guitar background.

raduray
08-10-2016, 05:20 PM
Buy a uke with a 1.5 nut width. This would be a solution to your problem.
Some players like the 1.5 nut some do not. I happen to like it but I come from a guitar background.

Is the spacing between strings the same with the extra spacing between the outer strings and the edge of the fretboard?

Booli
08-10-2016, 05:43 PM
Is the spacing between strings the same with the extra spacing between the outer strings and the edge of the fretboard?

IMHO and the ukes I have owned, the 1.5" nut has wider spacing BETWEEN the strings, compared to the 1.375" nut, yet both have similar spacing from the outside strings to the edges of the fretboard.

with a 1.5" nut and moving the A string farther away from the fret edge as in the OP, runs into all the same problems that have already been described.

While this may be a simple 'thought experiment', it's starting to feel like one of the classics called "Schrödinger's cat" as we are summoning the contents of the Pandora's Box...and becoming immersed in semantics...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schr%C3%B6dinger%27s_cat

(yes, mixed metaphors, you may cringe now, comfortably)

bacchettadavid
08-10-2016, 07:18 PM
I was being (mostly) facetious about the intonation. Come to think of it, ukulele string spacing is often wider at the saddle than at the nut, causing the strings to be slightly longer than scale length, so the percent increase in string length would be even lower. It would still affect intonation differently for each fret. I'm pretty sure fret locations nearest the nut, where string tension is higher, would be more affected. No idea how meaningful the impact on intonation would be.

Even if the intonation implications are negligible, offsetting the nut slot could lead to a host of other issues. The most significant one I can think of is the potential for string conflict between the A and E strings. On my Kala tenor, a 2 mm offset at the nut would bring the A string 25% closer to the E string. You might find you quit muting the A string with the index finger only to begin muting the A or E strings by accident when trying to fret one string or the other. Again, this would be most noticeable at the nut, but the problem would continue to the saddle. A 2 mm offset at the nut is a 1 mm offset at the 12th fret. Even on my Kanile'a with its generous string spacing, this equates to about a 9% reduction in space between the A and E strings at the 12th fret and a 8.5% reduction where the neck joins the body. Spacing the strings out more at the saddle creates a margin for error when fingerpicking, and a 8.5% reduction is a big chunk taken out of that margin. On ukuleles with closer string spacing, the impact of this will be greater. If you fingerpick, the impact of this might be as great as the impact on the fretting hand near the nut.

Most of the gains you want from offsetting the string at the nut would be had by the left hand when it is near the nut; the string would still approach the edge of the fretboard as your hand approached the body because the strings spread out towards the saddle. However, the potential for problems caused by the offset string is also greater for the left hand at the nut; placing the A and E strings closer together might create issues when trying to fret one string but not the other. Additionally, this change might create issues for the right hand.

I haven't even started on what effect this might have on the "mind" of the thumb when trying to rock melody between the outside strings, but I've gone on long enough.

It's your uke; feel free to experiment. The worst is that you'll be out labor and a nut. If you do experiment with reslotting the nut to offset the string, let us know how it turns out.

bacchettadavid
08-10-2016, 07:31 PM
Another "solution":

Instead of looking at this as an error in technique, you could instead view it as an excuse...ahem, "opportunity"... to purchase a Koaloha. Koalohas have bound fretboards, and the fret edges rise up out of the fretboards instead of being rounded off into the binding. This adds a tactile element to the sides of the frets that might make it difficult to "forget" to get your index finger out of the way.

UAS, you say? I've never heard of it. ::whistles innocently::

kohanmike
08-10-2016, 08:28 PM
I'll go with a better technique suggestion by saying that you may not have your thumb positioned properly. The schooled suggestion is to keep your thumb always on the back of the neck, never wrap it around to the front. I used do that, but when I practiced keeping my thumb on the back only, I started to make my chords better, didn't touch the other strings as readily.

Sven
08-11-2016, 12:21 AM
No. It's not a big deal. Cut a new nut and place the slot for the a-string a bit further from the fretboard edge. I do that all the time on ukes when I build them because it's easier for me to accidentally pull that string off the fretboard when I play. The g-string can be closer to the edge because my fingers pull the strings downwards rather than pushing them up. If I were you I'd choose whatever distances I wanted for the outer strings and then set the c and the e evenly between them.

raduray
08-11-2016, 10:51 AM
No. It's not a big deal. Cut a new nut and place the slot for the a-string a bit further from the fretboard edge. I do that all the time on ukes when I build them because it's easier for me to accidentally pull that string off the fretboard when I play. The g-string can be closer to the edge because my fingers pull the strings downwards rather than pushing them up. If I were you I'd choose whatever distances I wanted for the outer strings and then set the c and the e evenly between them.

Thank you for your response. I've also experienced pulling the A string off the fretboard. I realize that I would need to move all the slots in order to maintain a consistent spacing between the strings. So, if I move the A string over by 1.5mm, I would need to decrease the string-to-string spacing by 0.5mm.

lauburu
08-11-2016, 11:38 AM
Change your technique. If you change the nut on this ukulele you still haven't solved the underlying problem which will reoccur every time you pick up a new instrument to play
Miguel

jcalkin
08-11-2016, 03:56 PM
I love to play in my recliner. It causes all kinds fingering problems. If I sit up and hold the uke like it was on a strap I can play faster when needed and much cleaner with the fretting hand. Posture means a lot. If I thought I was destined to be a great player I'd worry about it a lot more.

tenor madness
08-16-2016, 06:57 AM
Improving technique is the best solution. That way if you catch UAS you won't have to reslot nuts on all your new ukes. However there is no real standard as to distance to edge of the fretboard and it is not always equidistant from the two edges either (maybe somewhere along the way someone implemented your solution).