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Komichido
04-16-2017, 12:33 PM
I just completed my first Uke build. It was an amazing experience. I have two questions;
The volume is a little low. Not bad but a little bit. If I put a second sound hole on one of the sides by the fatter section of the body will that increase volume or decrease it?

Second question is the A string sounds a little off, like a sitar sound. The other strings sound great. Is it the way I have cut the nut slot? The action is fine, not touching ..a slight buzz is happening about 80 percent of the time, fretted and open.

Here is a picture of my project.
99380

Titchtheclown
04-16-2017, 03:23 PM
My first reaction is to assume a slightly bad angle on the saddle/bridge end. There has to be a slight slope down to the string anchor points. And a steeper slope up the other side. It might also be a slightly loose saddle in the slot.

Choirguy
04-16-2017, 04:57 PM
I would also try different strings to see how they impact volume. Those appear to be Aquila Nylgut strings from the color--you may want to try a fluorocarbon string (the cheapest entry point are Martin strings) to see if you get a different tone from the instrument.

It looks great!

sequoia
04-16-2017, 06:22 PM
It sounds to me like your string action is too low at the nut and/or the saddle. Too low an action will cause the sounds you describe. Also excessive string slapping from too low an action will rob the string of its energy and decrease the volume as you have described. Just shim your nut up a bit with a sliver of wood and see what happens. Better? Good. Keep shimming until you get the sound you want. Measure the distance. Now replace the nut with a proper sized nut because wood shims suck out the string energy too. Welcome to the land of ruined nuts! Alternative: Take the uke to a professional who knows how to set them up. Prepare to pay.

ProfChris
04-17-2017, 01:53 AM
The other possibility for the sitar sound is that your saddle has a flat spot where the A string sits. More likely than the nut as you say this happens with fretted notes. Round over that part of the saddle properly.

Your soundhole doesn't affect volume, unless it's unusually small or large. A second hole will change the sound, but not increase the volume.

Almost certainly your top is a little too thick - this almost always happens with first builds. Build as light as you dare next time.

Komichido
04-17-2017, 06:40 AM
Thank you all very much for the knowledge you have shared. Some of the comments are so spot on. I really appreciate it.

I will round off the saddle,

I forgot this step. Then I will shim up the saddle just in case my action is too low. I think that may do it. I will approach the nut after if that does not work.

The thickness on my Uke is definitely a factor. I made this Uke with hand tools and a table saw. I did not have a planer so I was not able to get the thickness down below 4mm. Definitely a must for the next build.

Thanks again folks..

ProfChris
04-17-2017, 09:40 AM
2mm or less is what most uke soundboards need. You could make a scrub plane from an old wooden smoothing plane or a cheap metal one, use that at 45 degrees to the grain direction to get the thickness down to around 2 2mm, then finish off with coarse sandpaper or a cabinet scraper. You'd have to look up these tools and practice using them on scrap, but they're not hard to learn (except sharpening and putting a burr on a cabinet scraper!).

Here is my scrub plane, an old wooden smoother with the blade ground to an aggressive curve:


http://i429.photobucket.com/albums/qq11/ProfChris/20160819_175153_zps3rfrz5rw.jpg

It cost me pennies and can thin a top from 4mm to 2mm in about five minutes (and destroy it in two more, so i go carefully).

Komichido
04-17-2017, 11:05 AM
Awesome tool..thanks..:shaka:

sequoia
04-17-2017, 06:37 PM
Then I will shim up the saddle just in case my action is too low. I think that may do it. I will approach the nut after if that does not work.

.

Best to raise the height of the nut first rather than the saddle for the obvious reason in that the nut is at the fret end and will have more effect.... As to the thickness of your top I don't think your specified a thickness measurement in your post. Numbers are important in lutherie. This is why calipers are a must have. A digital caliper is rediculously cheap nowadays and be had for almost nothing and so important. A must have tool for anyone contemplating a first build. You won't regret it. Calipers won't guarantee a great sounding uke. You have to use your ear for that, but at least you know when you are getting close to the ballpark.

Sven
04-18-2017, 02:20 AM
But if fretted notes buzz he could shim his nut until it was high enough to hang a coat on and still not get rid of the buzz. Check that all frets are level and raise the saddle.

lauburu
04-18-2017, 10:20 AM
If you've adjusted the nut and saddle every which way and your frets are level and you've tried all the other good advice offered above and you still have your buzz, have a look at your hardware. A loose tuner, jack, straplock, preamp wire etc etc etc can also result in an unwanted sound.
Miguel

sequoia
04-18-2017, 07:43 PM
But if fretted notes buzz he could shim his nut until it was high enough to hang a coat on and still not get rid of the buzz. Check that all frets are level and raise the saddle.

Absolutely right Sven. There might even be one high fret that is causing the problem. Therefore before setting the height of your nut or saddle, you need to have a perfectly flat and level fretboard. See: Making your frets flat... Personally this is where a fret press has made my life so much easier. Hammering in frets just leads to a lot of fret leveling and then a lot of fret dressing.