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bsfloyd
07-13-2018, 09:17 AM
Hello gang!! I love tuning in fifths. Surely stems back to my bowed instruments days as well as love playing the mandolin. I currently have my Martin S-O strung with Aquila 31U's - CGDA tuning (I was going to try the 30U's - GDAE but didn't want to deal with the high E string troubles others have reported. Plus, the 31U's have a richer tone, IMO).

To the point in topic, I am wondering if any other fifths tuning players are using a specific compensated saddle. Reason I ask is that I find the intonation slightly off on my Martin S-O, mainly for the lowest C string. It's nothing drastic, but still audible to my ear. People I play for thinks it sounds fine, but it is surely off. Of course the saddle on my S-O is not compensated at all. It can be replaced with some sort of compensated saddle, which I may do some day, but.... (below)...

Now, to refine the point in my topic, I am looking to purchase another soprano for fifths tuning and am looking at a Bruko. Of course, the Bruko has a fixed saddle/bridge so little can be done to compensate the saddle. What I'm wanting to know is if other fifths players are finding that non-compensated saddles are working fine for them or if they found the need for some kind of compensated saddle. Perhaps I just have a bad low C string in my batch of Aquilas? I don't know. Would the Bruko be fine as is? I have been wanting to get one for a while now. Another instrument I'm looking at is an Eastman EU3 concert scale, which has the option of a different saddle if needed. I would appreciate to hear your experiences.

Thanks and sorry for the long, winded post.

SteveZ
07-13-2018, 03:52 PM
A lot would depend on how far off (and it what direction) the intonation was off. One can always notch the saddle a smidgeon for all/some/one string rather than a global adjustment. Saddles are usually inexpensive enough to experiment.

I use the Aquila CGDA on all my tenors, except one - the Martin T1K. I found the low C just was not vibrant at all. It seemed the uke just wasn't cut for that deep a note. So, instead I went "reentrant C" instead. I use a standard Low-G string set, inverting the C & G strings, detuning the E to D, and stringing the E normally. Am quite pleased with the sound, as it stays within the uke's harmonic design and I still have my "fifths" comfort.

Kenn2018
07-13-2018, 08:36 PM
Why not talk to a few custom Luthiers and have exactly what you want made for you. Many of them make quite reasonably priced instruments for very close to what you'd pay for a high end production uke.

bsfloyd
07-14-2018, 12:48 AM
Thanks for the replies! In the case of the Bruko, the saddle and bridge is one integrated piece. So, if I experiment with the saddle and mess it up, there's no replacement for it. I may just need to try the 31U set and either they work or they don't on it.

I did reach out to Blue Frog to talk about a build but haven't heard back yet. My price range is right about $300 so I'm thinking not too many luthiers building in that price point. This is why I was thinking the Eastman might be a backup to the Bruko.

Thanks again!

Jerryc41
07-14-2018, 01:53 AM
Thanks for the replies! In the case of the Bruko, the saddle and bridge is one integrated piece.

Is that only for the soprano? My Bruko concert has a separate saddle.

bsfloyd
07-14-2018, 05:16 AM
Is that only for the soprano? My Bruko concert has a separate saddle.

I think it may just be the soprano, but I'm not 100% sure.

SteveZ
07-14-2018, 05:38 AM
The fact of "fixed saddle" means the builder should have the instrument in perfect intonation with the builder-provided strings (Oh, if this were always true!). All strings have a minute difference, so swapping strings brings with it the potential of an intonation variance. Also, if there is any custom set-up work (i.e., lowering the action) post-build on such an instrument by anyone other than the builder, intonation variance again is a potential.

If buying direct from the builder, suggest contacting the builder prior to purchase regarding one's intended use (including string choice, tuning, etc.) is worth the effort. Buiders are usually pretty good about answering such questions prior to purchase rather than dealing with upset customers.

bratsche
07-14-2018, 09:11 AM
Hi bsfloyd - I have not done it (yet) but I notice that one of my CGDA tenors is slightly sharp on the 2nd string and another one is slightly sharp on the 3rd string. Why they differ is beyond me, as they are the same strings. I intend to sand the appropriate areas down on the respective saddles, but probably won't get around to it until I get around to changing strings. My baritone tuned GDAE is fine, amazingly, as is the other tenor. And the ones that are off are not off by enough to drive me crazy, but still it is something I want to do eventually.

bratsche

bsfloyd
07-15-2018, 12:45 AM
Thanks for sharing this, bratsche! Helpful information. I reckon I could just have a luthier (or get brave enough to do it myself) do the fine adjustments you mention. I'm pretty set that the 31U strings are about the only choice for this tuning so string brand changing is moot. Unless - do you have other string sources for your CGDA tuning? I know GDAE (octave mandolin tuning) has more options seeing how it is now very close to classical guitar string range, but wondered about the CG in CGDA tuning...

SteveZ
07-15-2018, 01:52 AM
The only issue is the C string. Any low-G GCEA set can be used for the GDA. The G & A work as-is, and the E just needs to be tuned a note low to D.

The C string is the kicker. Many classical guitar strings can be bought singularly, and one of those (gauge depending on uke scale). In order to keep from probably having to resize the nut slot, a wound string will be needed.

The other option (as mentioned above) is to go "reentrant C" by using the C string from the GCEA set as-is. The sound is pretty sweet.

bsfloyd
07-15-2018, 03:33 AM
Thanks for the info, SteveZ. I'm not interested in reentrant, but your former suggestion is a good one. Surely, the 31U set uses a wound C and G string, but I've wondered how a non wound low G would blend in the set, such a the Aquila Red non wound low G. Of course the lower C string would have to be wound. I guess I just didn't think it through enough initially - and it's good to know there are other options out there.

bratsche
07-16-2018, 08:42 AM
Thanks for sharing this, bratsche! Helpful information. I reckon I could just have a luthier (or get brave enough to do it myself) do the fine adjustments you mention. I'm pretty set that the 31U strings are about the only choice for this tuning so string brand changing is moot. Unless - do you have other string sources for your CGDA tuning? I know GDAE (octave mandolin tuning) has more options seeing how it is now very close to classical guitar string range, but wondered about the CG in CGDA tuning...

Ummm, well, I make my own custom sets. I know it's a pain, but I really hate having wound strings, except the 4th where you really can't avoid it, either on the GDAE baritone or the CGDA tenor. And I buy Thomastik classical flatwound strings to use for that - the .045 6th for the baritone's low G and the .035 5th for the tenor's low C. I'll use the nylon guitar trebles for the baritone's trebles. On the tenors, I'll use fluoro uke strings (Right now, Oasis) for the trebles. For the pesky 3rd strings that I do not want to be wound strings, I've bought rolls of Seaguar Premier fishing leader. 130 lb test for the baritone D, 100 lb for the tenors' G. This was a gamble which fortunately worked very well, as I have enough to last the rest of my life, assuming it stays good when stored in a cool, dry and dark place.. ;-)

I should have also mentioned in my earlier post that the one tenor uke of mine that intonates beautifully is the Romero Creations Tiny Tenor. And its saddle is compensated - they come that way. But it is just fine when tuned in fifths. Which makes me wonder if the other two that are in need of adjustment would still need it regardless of the stringing and tuning.

bratsche

bsfloyd
07-16-2018, 12:48 PM
Thanks for the info, bratsche! Good useable tips!!