PDA

View Full Version : Deviation of the strings?



Henning
09-15-2018, 09:10 PM
Hello, I have some Aquila strings, think the label is new nylgut, on a soprano. Though the set up isnīt perfect yet. When moving up the fretboard I can see differences from what would be expected, in the tuning. What deviation can supposedly be accepted?

Questions I ask myself does the deviations depend on the strings or the fretboard?
The ukulele is a Stagg UC60-S

Kind regards

kypfer
09-15-2018, 09:41 PM
Assuming the strings are of constant diameter and haven't been deformed in any way, any "deviation" will be down to the accuracy of the fret spacing AND the height of the action, the placement of the bridge, and/or the accuracy of the bridge compensation. Whether or not you manage to fret the string in a manner so's to not invoke any sideways deviation may also be a factor.

A criteria to consider here is although the intonation may be "out" at the ninth fret (or wherever), is it likely to affect your playing if you're only strumming below the fifth fret?

As always ... YMMV :music:

ukantor
09-15-2018, 10:25 PM
You say you can "see" a difference. Can you hear that difference? If not, then don't worry about it. Just play that uke.

John Colter.

Jim Hanks
09-16-2018, 01:57 AM
What you are talking about is "intonation". These mass produced ukuleles almost invariably leave the factory with poor setup. The action at the nut and saddle is too high, perhaps to make up with poor fretwork. The result is you have to press harder to fret the notes causing them to be sharp.

The frets not being in the right place would definitely affect intonation. That's usually not the problem, but it can happen.

The strings themselves can also contribute to intonation but the effect there is usually minor - unless there is a defect in the string.

Intonation is never perfect and your definition of "acceptable" may vary. Personally, I can deal with 12th fret intonation within 10 cents or so and not have it bother me.

The place to start is with the setup. Until the nut and saddle action are at a proper height, the rest is useless to pursue.

Henning
09-16-2018, 10:09 AM
I accept a 2% deviation. Thereby the instrument sings much better. So back to the question in the first Place. LetÂīs assume the fretboard is "reasonable Clean". How much do you expect the strings to deviate from the ideal, please?
When ideal naturally is 0 % deviation.

Most modern ukuleles are made with fine technology which makes them fret true. Ok?
Right or wrong?

Cheers!


What you are talking about is "intonation". These mass produced ukuleles almost invariably leave the factory with poor setup. The action at the nut and saddle is too high, perhaps to make up with poor fretwork. The result is you have to press harder to fret the notes causing them to be sharp.

The frets not being in the right place would definitely affect intonation. That's usually not the problem, but it can happen.

The strings themselves can also contribute to intonation but the effect there is usually minor - unless there is a defect in the string.

Intonation is never perfect and your definition of "acceptable" may vary. Personally, I can deal with 12th fret intonation within 10 cents or so and not have it bother me.

The place to start is with the setup. Until the nut and saddle action are at a proper height, the rest is useless to pursue.

Jim Hanks
09-16-2018, 10:34 AM
I don't know what "2% deviation" means in terms of tuning. I check intonation with an electronic tuner. Play an open note and tune it to pitch. Then play the note at the 12th fret and check the tuning. If it is within 10 cents of the correct pitch, that is ok to me, especially for a mass produced instrument.

If the action is too high, it can easily be 30 cents sharp or more, and that is unacceptable to me.

Henning
09-16-2018, 10:40 AM
I don't know what "2% deviation" means in terms of tuning. I check intonation with an electronic tuner. Play an open note and tune it to pitch. Then play the note at the 12th fret and check the tuning. If it is within 10 cents of the correct pitch, that is ok to me, especially for a mass produced instrument.

If the action is too high, it can easily be 30 cents sharp or more, and that is unacceptable to me.


Thanks for your answers. I just meant 2 percents off. Just read somewhere that itīs a goal to reach for. Even a mass produced instrument will sound much better then. Or perhaps perticularily a mass produced instrument will benefit from a good set up. The human ear can tell the difference between a tone at 1000 Hz and 999 Hz. Thatīs really impressing!
Regards

70sSanO
09-16-2018, 03:20 PM
Strings too high at the nut is probably the most common and worst issue with inexpensive ukuleles. No matter how far up the neck a person plays, chances are the first few frets are played even more. Also if you start off significantly sharp it will only be worse because less than perfect fretting only bends and sharpens the note even more.

There will always be a few instruments that cannot be tuned open and not be off at the 3rd or 5th fret. I had a single pickup jazz guitar with a floating bridge years ago. I could never get it set up perfectly so I would do a compromise string to string tuning, but not the standard 5th fret to next string open. I'd tune notes across octaves and then do a minor tweak to end up a close enough tuning. I've done the same on occasion with a ukulele... 4th G open to 2nd G 3rd, 3rd C open to 1st C 3rd, etc. I'd usually end up doing the E last using the typical 2nd/3rd to see how close they ended up. The idea is to have the octave notes in tune with each so chords don't sound off.

John

Kenn2018
09-16-2018, 07:18 PM
What are you using to measure your tuning?

Many electronic tuners may be out of your range of accuracy. Though I'm not sure if you are saying 2% +- of the hz of each note or what.

As far as I know, Peterson strobe tuners will give you a very accurate reading. But I don't want to open that can of worms...

Henning
09-16-2018, 08:12 PM
Strings too high at the nut is probably the most common and worst issue with inexpensive ukuleles.
John

Iīve seen it on American made Martin ukulele too. I run the AP tuner 3.07 now. It has the option if you want 1,0 % or 0,1 % resolution. http://www.aptuner.com/aptuner_index.html

ukantor
09-17-2018, 12:05 AM
"Do you think that they make the action high so you can adjust it and do a set up to suit your particular requirement for string height?"

That is a very charitable reading of the situation. I am less generous in my assessment. It takes time to set up a new instrument. Time costs money. The better retailers will check a new ukulele and make sure the action is satisfactory. That is, satisfactory from an "everyman" (OK - every person) perspective.

The manufacturer could do the same. In fact, some are better than others in that respect, but I have handled ukuleles that caused real difficulty and discomfort for the player. There is no excuse for that.

John Colter.

Kenn2018
09-17-2018, 06:52 PM
There is the consideration that not everyone likes the same setup on their uke(s). I like a lower, easy action because I have some arthritis in my hands. I'll endure an occasional buzz as the trade off.

But yes, the manufacturers should do a better job. My first uke was a Fender NoHea tenor. I bought it from Amazon—because I didn't know any better. The tech I eventually took it to for a setup said it was one of the worst he'd ever worked on. It took a pair of Vicegrips to barre the first fret. Well, almost. And the frets were uneven.

70sSanO
09-18-2018, 07:13 AM
I agree that there are personal differences in setups, but getting the string height at the nut acceptable is not one of them. If you can't fret at the first fret without it being sharp it is poor quality. Every manufacturer needs to make sure at least that one part of a setup is done prior to shipping the ukulele to a retailer. If that is off the ukulele is unplayable.

John

Henning
09-18-2018, 08:18 PM
No, the Stagg isnīt set up by the manufacturer. So I draw the conclusion that no one can really answer the original question that this thread was supposed to be about. How much deviation the strings cause from ideal intonation over the fretboard?

ukantor
09-19-2018, 12:02 AM
It all depends on what is meant by ideal intonation. Perfect intonation is not achievable on a ukulele in real life. A good electronic tuner is much more discerning than the human ear. All human ears are not equal.

You could be pursuing an impossible dream.

So, yes, an individual string can make a difference to the way a ukulele produces different notes at various points on the fret board. A synthetic string can have variations in thickness, or slight inconsistences of density. It might have been slightly over stretched at some time. It might have been subjected to undesirably high temperatures. The individual string is only one of several variables that can affect matters. One of the biggest factors will be variations of pressure exerted by the fretting finger. Your electronic tuner will show how great an effect that can have.

Try measuring the diameter of a string, at several places along its length. Use electronic calipers - they too are very discerning. You may be surprised.

I once tried to set up a soprano ukulele (a twelve fretted one) to produce the most accurate intonation I could achieve. I was using an Intelli 500 tuner. I spent hours fiddling with string heights, fret heights, compensation at the saddle etc. and eventually had to accept that a good compromise is the best you can hope for - and when I checked the uke, the next day, it had changed. However, it still sounded fine.

Trying to satisfy an electronic tuner can drive you nuts. Satisfy your ears, and then just enjoy playing your uke.

John Colter.

70sSanO
09-19-2018, 02:57 AM
If you are only talkng about the strings, there is no deviation tolerance that can be measured that is solely attributed to the manufacturing of the strings. There might be deviations based on string diameters along the string, as mentioned above. Under tension materials stretch and I have found strings will measure slightly thinner in diameter under tension. If you have a properly setup instrument and change the strings to a significantly different diameter, the intonation may be off.

Strings are so much better today than 10 years ago. I can't remember the last thread where someone was told to flip the string around if there are intonation issues after a string change.

To be honest, there are so many videos on HMS of artists playing all levels of ukuleles that sound fantastic for someone to be concerned about string tolerances. If there was an issue, no one would pay thousands of dollars for a custom ukulele that could never be in tune. Unfortunately you may be chasing the wind.

John

Henning
09-22-2018, 09:07 AM
You are right and you are also wrong. I bought a set of ukulele strings from a company that makes a brand with a name that starts with an A and ends with an e and I admit it is a female name. Thereby not saying that this brand of strings does have anything in particular to do with femininity.
I made a set up with these strings (and I was careful to get it right). I played my ukulele for some time, quite some time acutally and found now it is time to change the strings (many months later). Then when the new set of strings of the same brand were on the ukulele and I expected to be able to play carefree for some long time I realized the f***ing ukulele didnīt play in tune.:( Nothing had changed but the strings. So please take notice that a brand of cheap ukulele strings can put mess in the set up.

ukantor
09-22-2018, 01:33 PM
It sounds as though you had the answer to your own question all along.:D

John Colter

Graham Greenbag
09-23-2018, 01:14 AM
It sounds as though you had the answer to your own question all along.:D

John Colter

:agree:

I could be wrong on the brand but one matching the understandably vague description is available on Amazon for about Ģ3. I’ve unwittingly used poor strings in the past and have come to the conclusion that uniformity of string diameter along its whole length is essential (lack of uniformity will change how the string vibrates as it’s characteristic change when fretted).

If there is one then the moral to this tail is always buy a quality product. Unfortunately, other than brand reputation and anecdotes, the quality and reliability of strings is hard to judge.

70sSanO
09-23-2018, 10:13 AM
As far as clip on tuners and accuracy. There are ukes that don't transmit as well up the neck or even consistent based on where the tuner is attached to the headstock. I'm dealing with this now. A couple of strings show flat at the 12th, but sound in tune string to string up the neck. I was able to clip the tuner onto the bridge and the readings are showing the strings are not flat at the 12th. This is not a string issue, but it does illustrate that tuner readings cannot always be blindly relied upon.

John

Henning
09-27-2018, 11:26 AM
:agree:

I could be wrong on the brand but one matching the understandably vague description is available on Amazon for about Ģ3. I’ve unwittingly used poor strings in the past and have come to the conclusion that uniformity of string diameter along its whole length is essential (lack of uniformity will change how the string vibrates as it’s characteristic change when fretted).

If there is one then the moral to this tail is always buy a quality product. Unfortunately, other than brand reputation and anecdotes, the quality and reliability of strings is hard to judge.

0
i agree with you about the quality of the strings but not about me having the answer, sorry guys. What I would have wanted is something like +-X% maximum variation for the strings when correctly fretted, or something similar to that. (Maybe a good quality string manufacturer can answer the question.:o)
For 70sSanO I would say, making a set up, or trying to make a set up with a clip on tuner isnīt a very good idea. Unless of course, if you have a very good ear. The good ear will be more valuable then a clip on tuner. The AP tuner 3 is better and more exact then the Korg chromatic tuner. It is free too.