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myforte_ismusic
06-15-2009, 05:28 PM
I've been working on general ukulele theory for a while, but on a guitar. Today, I went and bought a Mahalo U-30, and I have some issues with it.
1) It doesn't like to stay in tune for very long. Is there any way to prevent this?
2) I tuned it using www.get-tuned.com, but when I play some basic chords (G, C, Em), they don't sound like they should. What am I doing wrong?

Thanks for any feedback; hopefully one day I'll be able to play!

JT_Ukes
06-15-2009, 05:35 PM
New strings take a while to settle, just keep tuning for a week or so till they do.

but first, tighten the screws on the tuners a bit. it'll help. big time.

But an electronic clip on tuner.. seriously helps in tuning.


as for the rest.. i dunno.. wait for the strings to settle first.

JT

seeso
06-15-2009, 05:39 PM
In my experience, those Mahalos need a lot of work to get them playable. They're fine for fun, but I would never suggest one to anybody. Sometimes, their poor quality ends up putting people off the ukulele.

A much better option is the Makala dolphin uke.

myforte_ismusic
06-15-2009, 05:42 PM
Thanks guys! I'll definitely look into tightening some screws and maybe planning out future purchases a little better. :o

JT_Ukes
06-15-2009, 05:46 PM
In my experience, those Mahalos need a lot of work to get them playable. They're fine for fun, but I would never suggest one to anybody. Sometimes, their poor quality ends up putting people off the ukulele.

A much better option is the Makala dolphin uke.

My kids both have the makala dolphins.. nine uke for under 30 bucks..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgaMoznabVE

a short video I did with the dolphin back when I was first learnin' to play...

JT

myforte_ismusic
06-15-2009, 06:13 PM
Would it be worth the time to buy some Aquila strings and just restring the Mahalo? Or should I look for the Makala Dolphin bridge?

davy
06-15-2009, 06:33 PM
i bought that mahalo as well as my first uke

the biggest problem is the definately the intonation. you can have each open string tuned with an electric tuner, but when you play notes across the fretboard it will always be sharper. this is because the stock action is usually way to high. hence getting aquila strings may improve the quality of the sound that the uke produces but it wont fix the horrible intonation problems. to fix that you have to lower the action (file down the nut etc). Imo your probably better off buying another uke with greater playability and intotation.

but i did strum that mahalo for a month or so and learnt a few chords before moving on to something much better.

JT_Ukes
06-15-2009, 06:37 PM
depends on how much you want to spend right off...

the strings would be about 1/3 of getting the makala... so it's up to you.

seeso
06-15-2009, 06:53 PM
Davy's right on with his post. Aquila strings will help the sound, but not the intonation. If you want to fix the intonation, you'll have to get your hands a little dirty. It's worth it to do it, just to learn how to do it. Plus, it's fun. And you won't have to worry about messing up a pricey uke if you do it on the Mahalo.

Here's the post I recycle for help with action adjustments:


There's two ways to lower your action. You can sand the nut and/or the saddle down.

When fretting a string at the 3rd fret, you should be able to slide a business card between the string and the top (crown) of the first fret with a little bit of friction.

If there's no friction, then you should lower the action at the nut.

Take the strings off and remove the nut.

Get some 220 grit sandpaper, and nail it to a small, flat piece of wood or something. It needs to be flat, whatever it is.

Run the bottom of the nut over the sandpaper a little at a time, checking your measurements frequently. You'll have to restring the uke a few times and check your measurements until you've got it just right.

If you can't remove the nut, you can also file the slots in the nut a little at a time. Be careful if you choose this route. If the slots get too wide, you can have problems.

Now restring your uke and check the action at the 12th fret. The space between the string and the crown of the 12th fret should be between 1/8 and 3/16 of an inch.

If it's too high, you'll have to adjust the action at the saddle.

To lower the action at the saddle, calculate the difference between your action at the 12th fret and 3/16 of an inch. Loosen your strings, take out your saddle, and mark this difference on it with a pencil, starting from the bottom of the saddle. Sand the bottom of your saddle down to that pencil mark.

Hope that helps. Good luck.

Quigs
06-15-2009, 11:42 PM
Get a Makala! it's not worth trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear!:shaka:

myforte_ismusic
06-16-2009, 02:10 AM
Thanks guys! You've been EXTREMELY helpful. :D

RevWill
06-16-2009, 03:51 AM
I'd buy a Makala from MGM. It'll cost a little more but it will be set up properly with good intonation and Aquila strings.

Uke Republic
06-16-2009, 04:17 AM
If you don't like the colors of a Makala dolphin they also make natural stained ukes as well in other sizes and in pineapple shape. Kala has released a limited quanity of gloss finished Makala mk-s. Another choice are the mahogany series ka-15s from Kala and the sk-10s from Ohana. We have found all of these to be great players.

nukealaily
06-16-2009, 04:20 AM
people should also remember that it is the player and not the instrument , which makes the music !

Greeno
06-16-2009, 04:23 AM
I'm still using the factory strings that came with my Mahalo. When new, it would go out of tune within a few minutes but after a few weeks it stays in tune very well. The C is not very resonant but I think it's because it's too thick - this string was quite difficult to tune at first.

There are a few niggles but the main problem I had was with the action at the nut - it was so high that pressing the strings down onto the fret made the notes sharp.

I resolved this - as many others have - by filing the slots in the nut.

I'm happy enough with my Mahalo.

(oh, and I use Ap Tuner (http://www.aptuner.com/cgi-bin/aptuner/apmain.html))

Ukulele JJ
06-16-2009, 04:58 AM
Here's the post I recycle for help with action adjustments:

That is exactly the info I needed for mucking about with my "intonationally-challenged" Oscar Schmidt. Thanks, Seeso!


myforte, I agree that your problem is most likely high action. A lot of the U-30s I've seen have that problem. If I were you, I'd start by trying to fix it as Seeso outlined. I also agree that new strings probably won't help.

Here's a blog post (http://ukenoob.blogspot.com/2007/12/mahalo-u30-soprano-sound-and-intonation.html) from someone who was in your shoes. Here's a second one (http://ukenoob.blogspot.com/2007/12/mahalo-u30-improving-intonation.html) from him. Check 'em out.

If that doesn't work, then you'll probably want to get another uke.

If you want another super-inexpensive uke, then I can add my vote to the Makala dolphins, as set up by MGM. They're a lot of fun, and quite playable. (You can buy them from someone other than MGM, but I can't guarantee that they'll be any better than your Mahalo.)

But you might also consider a slight step up to some of the other not-cheap-but-still-relatively-inexpensive ukes, like the Lanikais and Kalas.

:shaka:

JJ

Ukulele JJ
06-16-2009, 05:01 AM
people should also remember that it is the player and not the instrument , which makes the music !

But it is the player and the instrument that determine whether or not that music is in tune. :D

JJ

Daionsavage
06-16-2009, 05:05 AM
Get a Makala! it's not worth trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear!:shaka:

with all respect possible sir, I beg to differ. ;)

It's fun to tweak an off-key mahalo into a better instrument. When you've done that, you get a small sense of pride and achievment and a feeling that you were part in bringing out the good from that instrument. And getting a little bit of tweaking practice is not bad because the need for adjusting your instrument may arise again in the future, even if you buy something more expensive than a mahalo.

Ukulele JJ
06-16-2009, 05:21 AM
with all respect possible sir, I beg to differ. ;)

It's fun to tweak an off-key mahalo into a better instrument.

Or, if I may put it another way, there's nothing wrong with just making a sow's ear purse out of a sow's ear.

It might not be made of silk, but it'll hold your change just as well.

:shaka:

JJ

myforte_ismusic
06-16-2009, 07:46 AM
Thanks everyone! I did some of the adjustments and it already sounds better!

I will probably buy an inexpensive Lanikai in a few months, because right now I'm just trying to get "the feel" for such a tiny instrument! :)

JT_Ukes
06-16-2009, 07:59 AM
Thanks everyone! I did some of the adjustments and it already sounds better!

I will probably buy an inexpensive Lanikai in a few months, because right now I'm just trying to get "the feel" for such a tiny instrument! :)

Play uke for a few months and you will ask " how did i ever play something as big as this guitar?"

nukealaily
06-16-2009, 01:33 PM
But it is the player and the instrument that determine whether or not that music is in tune. :D

JJ


its all in the ear of the beholder :D

hymnsoftruthandlight
06-20-2009, 07:21 PM
i have a little blue mahalo, and i could never get it to stay in tune.
however, when i tuned it a full step up from standard tuning, it seemed to stay in tune better. :]