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mailman
05-13-2009, 02:03 PM
Just got my new soprano uke with friction tuners. I've never worked with this type before. I'm having big troubles tuning this thing....

1- I haven't yet got the "feel" for these friction tuners. How in the world do you do this? Just a touch....too high. Just a touch the other way....too low. I don't seem to have the knack. Any pointers you could offer?

2- The new uke's headstock is quite thin. So much so that my electonic tuner will not grip it snugly (actually, at all). Mine is the type with the spring loaded parallel jaws. The clamp fits over the headstock without compressing the spring. Can I put some sort of shim in there to take up some room? Or would that interfere with the reading?

ukeshale
05-13-2009, 02:05 PM
i'm not too sure about the tuner. friction tuners are massively sensitive in comparison to geared but i suppose new strings probably aren't gonna help much at the moment either. i'll expect it'll get better in due time with practise and the settling of the strings. no doubt someone will offer some expertise on this very soon, i'm just getting in a post before they come along ;)

jkevinwolfe
05-13-2009, 02:08 PM
1) Turn the friction tuner until the string is in the ballpark of where you want it tuned. The squeeze as opposed to turn.

2) A shim will probably not affect the tuner.

Funster
05-13-2009, 02:16 PM
I had to sell my concert with the friction tuners. I played it 20% of the time, 80% tuning. It's nice to be traditional but not if you can't keep the thing in tune. I bought some Grover Sta-Tite frictions thinking the OEM ones were too cheap. Same problem.

Hardly ever have to tune my ukes that have geared tuners. So I'd never buy a uke with friction tuners again. Just not worth the trouble to me although I can't speak for all brands.

mailman
05-13-2009, 02:22 PM
I'm finding that once I think I have the thing in tune, I play a couple of chords and it sounds awful.....like something's way out of tune.

I'm not used to the soprano size...but it doesn't seem to be an issue. I never have this trouble with my Kala with geared tuners. If I tune it....the chords sound "right".

I'm hoping I'm not experiencing intonation problems. I wouldn't even know how to check for that....

mailman
05-13-2009, 02:26 PM
Also forgot to mention that the strings are new (of course; the uke's new) and made by GHS. I'm unfamiliar with them. They're black....that's all I know about them. Could this be any part of the problem?

Pippin
05-13-2009, 02:27 PM
They are a pain until you get the hang of them. They help tune up quickly, though, once you adjust to tuning with them. You can get planetary gear friction-style tuners if you like the look but want finer control.

ukeatan
05-13-2009, 02:34 PM
One problem is tuning each string, which just takes some getting used to. As jkevinwolfe said, thinking of it as squeezing instead of turning might help. I like friction tuners, now that I have the hang of them.

Another problem is getting each string to hold tune once you've tuned it -- if you're having that problem too, which it sounds like from your last post, you might try tightening the screw on each tuner. They shouldn't be overly tight, but if they're too loose, you'll find yourself slipping out of tune easily.

Oh yeah, and could be the strings -- might still be stretching and pulling out of tune if they're new.

mailman
05-13-2009, 02:46 PM
Sounds like I need to spend more time trying to get used to them. If I can't get it after a while, I'll look into planetary tuners (wonder how much they go for?).

I wonder how to know whether or not to tighten the screws on the tuner pegs? When I tried to tune it tonight, after tuning it last night as well, each string was low by about 2 to 3 semitones. Does that sound like strings stretching? Or tuners slipping?

The most frustrating thing about this is not really knowing how this uke sounds. I've not been able to make it sound good, yet....

hoosierhiver
05-13-2009, 02:56 PM
Give each string a gentle tug and watch the tuning pegs to see if they turn.

ukuleletim
05-13-2009, 03:02 PM
I just blazed thru the replies here but I don't think tightening the tuner screws was mentioned. I recently purchased a reso uke and had to tighten one of the tuners. It kept slipping. Also, (and these tuners are new to me, too) since it really is hard to micro tune, I got to where I tune it a little high and then stretch or bend the string until it comes down into tune, if that makes sense.

And the strings might just be bunk. Fresh (and well stretched) set never hurts.

ukeatan
05-13-2009, 03:32 PM
We did mention tightening the screws, ukuleletim :p But that's a good point about tuning up, and it actually reminded me of an ingrained friction tuning habit of mine -- always make your last turn (or "squeeze") tighter/sharper rather than looser/flatter. In my experience, that helps the string hold a lot.

Link
05-13-2009, 03:35 PM
Friction tuners are the only bad thing about my Flea. May they die out sometime soon...

Toucan Mango
05-13-2009, 03:48 PM
I just got a Honu from MGM, it's my first uke with friction tuners, it was kinda weird at first because you barely turn the knob but it really only took a couple of minutes to adjust, no problems since. It is the deluxe model though.

mailman
05-13-2009, 04:07 PM
Give each string a gentle tug and watch the tuning pegs to see if they turn.

Just went and tried this. Tugged on each string, but saw no movement at the tuning pegs....

UkuEroll
05-13-2009, 09:42 PM
Also forgot to mention that the strings are new (of course; the uke's new) and made by GHS. I'm unfamiliar with them. They're black....that's all I know about them. Could this be any part of the problem?

As the strings are new, it may be a combination of slightly loose pegs and the strings needing to settle down, all stings need a time to strech the the optimum length.
When I put new stings on, I give them a good strech, usually after about a week of playing they start to settle needing less tuning.
When I got my soprano with friction tuners, I thought they where rubbish, now I think they are brilliant, give them a chance, I'm sure you'll get the hang of it.

jkevinwolfe
05-14-2009, 12:40 AM
I was told by the den mother of our uke group that my friction tuners were way loose. They didn't seem that way. I tightened the screws and they're very stiff, but they stay in tune well.

I have two with friction tuners, a Flea and a Risa Solid. (Not my choice but that's how they come.) The Risa holds it's tune the best of all my ukes, so I don't think friction tuners themselves are responsible for a uke coming out of tune quickly. I believe they both have Grover tuners, if that makes any difference.

megamatt
05-14-2009, 02:11 AM
The new Collings Ukes use those planetary tuners. It's pretty neat to see the old school look but have the ease of geared. www.collingsguitars.com

lkdumas
05-14-2009, 05:26 AM
:music: There is merit and value in all the comments on various adaptations and corrections for the basic faults of friction tuners. I have a guaranteed solution, to wit: at the recent Uke Fest in Hayward, I swapped my Kamaka concert straight across for a Pono tenor. Results: spot-on geared turners, rich, mellow sound from the all-mahogany construction, and five more notes with low-G tuning. Don't suffer any longer than you have to!

General Zod
05-14-2009, 06:03 AM
After playing 25 years with gear tuners of all sorts I love friction tuners!

I've even replaced a set of gear tuners on one of my ukes with those cheap Grover Sta-Tite 2B's (used a #8 finishing washer on the back for better support).

Those nylon strings take a while to settle no matter how you cut it, whether you have gear or friction tuners. So it's going to go out of tune for a bit.

The trick with friction tuners is to get the string in the neighborhood of being in tune and then tighten down on the screw on the top of the tuning key a little and tune it again, repeat until it's pretty tight but not too (you don't want to break the tuning key).
Once it's good and tight you barely need to turn the key to get the string in tune, just a pinch. I've found once the strings settle the uke will stay in tune as well if not better then any high priced gear tuner. Those Grover 2B's run like $10 shipped off ebay and a set of #8 finishing washers are $.98 at home depot.

:shaka:

SailQwest
05-14-2009, 08:43 AM
When I got a Flea last September, I remembered Howlin' Hobbit's advice about friction tuners: "Pinch, don't twist." It made the friction tuners tolerable.

General Zod
05-14-2009, 08:57 AM
It made the friction tuners tolerable.

I remember reading a post by you that you said something along the lines both were the same just a different means to an end. Change your tune (no pun :)) recently?

Ahnko Honu
05-14-2009, 08:57 AM
I don't mind friction tuners, all but 2 of my 'ukuleles have them. Once I get them tuned I'll sometimes tighten down the screws for added security.

Tsani
05-14-2009, 10:37 AM
I am totally adjusted to friction tuners, although they required some getting used to. I agree with General Zod that once the strings settle, they do hold their tuning well.

I think that friction tuners vary according to the make of the uke, but if you are going to play old ukes, as I do, you are going to have to get used to friction tuners.

It is a very subtle art to get that last bit of fine tuning right. I have a Kala clip on tuner and I am able to get "green" on all my strings and I frequently find after the uke has been in the case as much as a day (and my uke never sits in the case longer than that) the strings are still spot on.

I have both the kind of friction tuner that is locked into place with screws (on my Favilla) and the brass kind that are pushed into place. Both work fine.

mailman
05-14-2009, 02:20 PM
Well, I worked at it a bit tonight again.

It was not as far out of tune this time, and I guess I can attribute that to the settling in of the new strings. I was also able to get it tuned well enough to make the chords sound a bit better. This I attribute to more practice with the friction pegs.

I still find them to be difficult to work with....partly because I have large hands and the fool things are so close together. Also partly because the peghead is so small that the electronic tuner is constantly in the way.

I put a cardboard shim under the tuner, but it's less than ideal. The thing still slips and moves.

I'm determined to keep at it until I've given the friction pegs a fair chance. I really don't want to have to replace them, and I'd hate to not be able to enjoy this new uke. If, after I've really tried to make it work, I can't seem to get it....I'll research the planetary gear tuners (as a last resort).

Wagster
05-14-2009, 02:32 PM
I put a cardboard shim under the tuner, but it's less than ideal. The thing still slips and moves.


Get a Pono P-5 Tuner from MGM. Those things work great and they will clip solidly to ANY headstock! I just ordered a second on from him to keep at work!

And stick with your friction tuners. It will get easier!

Spooner
05-14-2009, 06:22 PM
I recently got in some ole Maetins and they have dose friction tuners.

They were a pain in the ass for me as well.

Today I was playing one of them and remembered that "squeeze them" post in here and it seemed to work out nicely.

So thanks to the person who posted that.

Lanark
05-15-2009, 04:51 AM
I recently got in some ole Maetins and they have dose friction tuners.

They were a pain in the ass for me as well.

Today I was playing one of them and remembered that "squeeze them" post in here and it seemed to work out nicely.

So thanks to the person who posted that.

The Hobbit is a wise man.

SailQwest
05-15-2009, 08:33 AM
I remember reading a post by you that you said something along the lines both were the same just a different means to an end. Change your tune (no pun :)) recently?

I don't remember posting anything like that, but if I did I was probably trying to be diplomatic. I dislike friction tuners.

On my ukuleles where geared tuners are feasible, I either ordered them that way or had my husband replace them. Swapping them on the Flea was not an option, so I learned to tolerate them on it. :p

UkuleleHill
05-15-2009, 08:50 AM
Another problem is getting each string to hold tune once you've tuned it -- if you're having that problem too, which it sounds like from your last post, you might try tightening the screw on each tuner. They shouldn't be overly tight, but if they're too loose, you'll find yourself slipping out of tune easily.


Couldn't agree more... Try either tightening or losening the screws. Tightening should help you be more precise though. (It makes you turn it less) ;)

General Zod
05-15-2009, 02:14 PM
Couldn't agree more... Try either tightening or losening the screws. Tightening should help you be more precise though. (It makes you turn it less) ;)

True, but I'll add that I think a lot of the bum rap they get derives from those screws not being tight enough. This causes the tuner to "slip" under the tension ever so slightly or even very dramatically depending on how loose they are.

I look at them like a locking trem system on a guitar. With one of those you work the strings in until they are good and stretched, tune it to perfect pitch, then you lock the strings down and only do minor tuning via the micro adjustment keys behind the bridge.

The friction tuners are a similar concept. You get it to perfect pitch and you essentially lock down the tuner via the screw. Then you do micro adjustments by just pinching the tuning key. I like to tune it down flat a little first and then pinch up till it's in tune. Just a habit I brought over from guitar, but they seem to stay in tune longer so I've always done it that way.

UkuleleHill
05-15-2009, 04:16 PM
Oh I agree. I've never tightened the screw after its in tune before though. I will have to test that...

kitty
05-15-2009, 11:58 PM
there are geared tuning pegs are on my new concert (big island ct-krgt) that i bought from gaby at music city cairns. the first thing i did after it arrived in the mail was break the A string. that was a big lesson right there. 'pinch' is the word indeed. i was just too heavy handed. but then i had no experience with them and was itching to start playing. gaby kindly supplied me with another string and i've had no problems since then. i've enjoyed reading this thread though.

and a big thanks to gaby. great advice and service.:)

SamUke
05-16-2009, 06:56 AM
I like the way friction pegs look but hate the way they work. Interesting though, I purchased a Ukiyo Vita from Marc Shoenberger which has friction pegs, me thinks Grover 4 B, and it stays in tune better then my geared models in fact I am amazed at how well it stays in tune. I don't know if Marc does something to them when puts them on or I just lucked out.

Ukulele Friend
05-16-2009, 07:14 AM
tighten up the screws on the back of the peg and watch to see if it still detunes. another thing to watch for is that sometimes the screw that enters the tuning knob is too long and needs to be filed down a bit. a third possibility is that the tuners are defective themselves.

just a thought,
shawn

http://ukulelefriend.com

General Zod
05-16-2009, 08:35 AM
The friction tuners are a similar concept. You get it to perfect pitch and you essentially lock down the tuner via the screw. Then you do micro adjustments by just pinching the tuning key. I like to tune it down flat a little first and then pinch up till it's in tune. Just a habit I brought over from guitar, but they seem to stay in tune longer so I've always done it that way.

:stop:

Hey I forgot to add, when you are replacing the strings make sure you loosen the screws first before you detune. Also helps them to come off lickity split.

nikolo727
05-16-2009, 09:24 AM
it does take some practice. pinch it, dont twist.


Im waiting for HH to get into this haha