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View Full Version : What's the correct height of Ukulele Strings???



amute
06-27-2009, 04:34 PM
Okay since I'm not sure i thought I'd ask the pro's! :bowdown:


Please anyone, will you tell me what's the height of your strings from the fret board (NOT THE FRET) after your last fret??? What's normal?

The height around the 1st - 9th fret seems cool but around the 15th and higher just seems a little too high???? But I don't really know the norm...

:anyone:

Thank you!

ukebrudder
06-27-2009, 05:12 PM
Its really all about personal preference. This space between the fretboard and strings is called the "action". You can lower the action by taking the strings off and sanding down the saddle(normally the white piece on the bridge). If the nut (the part at the top of that neck that holds the strings in place) seems too high also, you can pop it off, sand it down a little, and glue it back on. The risk that comes with doing this is not allowing enough room for your string to vibrate freely and this causes a buzzing sound. If you sand the saddle down too far, you can always fix that by wedging a thin piece of cardboard (cereal box) cut with an exacto knife to fit between the wood from the bridge and the saddle.

amute
06-27-2009, 06:15 PM
Thanx for the feedback man. I just bought this thing and would HATE to try to learn to do this, though it my be a simple task, I'm not that guy. I would also freak'n HATE to need to pay someone to do right after buying this Uke.
:wallbash:

Here's a few pix of the action, look too high? Anyone???

On the bottom of the page:
www.modestojkd.com

ukebrudder
06-27-2009, 06:33 PM
Yeah that looks far too high. Its a very simple task to perform. I skateboard, so what I do is take an old broken board and use the grip tape side as a sanding board and just run that saddle up and down the board... If you don't have a skateboard you could probably get away with using concrete like in your driveway if it isn't too coarse.

whetu
06-27-2009, 06:35 PM
That really doesn't look too drastic to me... I've seen and played on worse.

What matters (to me, at least) is how the uke plays when you bar the first fret. Go ahead and bar the first fret and pluck each string - do they sound clear or do they buzz? Do you have to clamp quite hard to get a good sound out of each string?

Because you do come across a few chords that require barring the first and second frets, having the action right so that these bar chords work easily is very important. I just took my uke to a local luthier yesterday, it took him 10 minutes to fix the action on my uke, and what a difference! It only cost me ten bucks (ten bucks kiwi so.. about 5-6 bucks USD)

I would say play with your uke for a while, let it settle in and see if it feels comfortable for you. If not, a local luthier or music shop should be able to adjust it for you cheaply and quickly, or if you're game you can adjust it yourself.

amute
06-27-2009, 06:44 PM
That really doesn't look too drastic to me... I've seen and played on worse.

I would say play with your uke for a while, let it settle in and see if it feels comfortable for you. If not, a local luthier or music shop should be able to adjust it for you cheaply and quickly, or if you're game you can adjust it yourself.


Thank you for the info bro. :shaka:

JT_Ukes
06-27-2009, 07:24 PM
it depends.. is the uke standing up or laying down?

Cause if it's standing up, the the tenor strings are a bit longer than the concert.. and the concert is a bit longer than the Soprano...

Lying down they are all about the same height...

:)

JT

koalohapaul
06-27-2009, 10:17 PM
In terms of measurements, .015-.030" at the nut, above the first fret is average. .090-.110" at the 12th fret. That's not to say that you absolutely must obey those tolerances, but most ukulele will fall somewhere in that range. Sorry, I forgot what the metric equivalents were and I'm too lazy to convert them.

Kekani
06-27-2009, 11:28 PM
Please anyone, will you tell me what's the height of your strings from the fret board (NOT THE FRET) after your last fret???

First off, fret height is usually measured from the top of the fret, at the 12th.


I would also freak'n HATE to need to pay someone to do right after buying this Uke.

Not sure why you would hate (strong word) paying someone to set up your instrument. If you're serious about playing, you should have your instrument set up properly. You can either pay for it after, or have your builder set it up the way you want (if you're working with a builder, and this was not a retail purchase).

-Aaron

hoosierhiver
06-28-2009, 02:32 AM
It depends alittle on your style of play,if you strum it hard then you don't want to lower the action too much or it will buzz.
Measuring from the top of the fret to the bottom of the string,generally about 1mm at the first fret is considered acceptable.
Action at the 12th fret should be about 3mm for a soprano, about 3 to 3.5 for a concert, and 4mm or under for a tenor.

ichadwick
06-28-2009, 04:44 AM
You may be able to simply lower the action at the saddle by sanding a verysmall amount from the bottom of it. Assuming the saddle is not glued in place, it's not very difficult or labour intensive. I did it for two of my ukes - and if ol' butterfingers here can do it, anyone can.

UkuEroll
06-28-2009, 07:51 AM
If you sand the saddle down too far, you can always fix that by wedging a thin piece of cardboard (cereal box) cut with an exacto knife to fit between the wood from the bridge and the saddle.
I personally wouldn't put a bit of cardboard under the saddle,correct me if I'm wrong but would this not detract from the resonance of the strings, cardboard is not the best for transmitting vibrations, and that is what the saddle does.
Grab a few of ebay and then if you mess up you can try again, as we say over here, they're as cheap as chips.

amute
06-28-2009, 10:07 AM
First off, fret height is usually measured from the top of the fret, at the 12th.



Not sure why you would hate (strong word) paying someone to set up your instrument. If you're serious about playing, you should have your instrument set up properly. You can either pay for it after, or have your builder set it up the way you want (if you're working with a builder, and this was not a retail purchase).

-Aaron

Well..."First off" I measured my Uke at the furthest point of the fret board because I wanted to show just how high the strings are...Sorry man I didn't know the rule about the 12th fret was like gravity. :rolleyes:

And second, F*** yea I would HATE (cover your eyes kids) to PAY someone to fix/set-up/mod ANYTHING on a brand NEW Bushman I just spent $300 on... And thought maybe it would come ready to play.
Get my point? Sorry but "serious" Ukulele player or not, I got bills and a life bro. Plus I'm still working on buying a pick-up system for this thing since Bushman doesn't put them in their Uke's anymore.

Cheers

JT_Ukes
06-28-2009, 10:20 AM
Well..."First off" I measured my Uke at the furthest point of the fret board because I wanted to show just how high the strings are...Sorry man I didn't know the rule about the 12th fret was like gravity. :rolleyes:

And second, F*** yea I would HATE (cover your eyes kids) to PAY someone to fix/set-up/mod ANYTHING on a brand NEW Bushman I just spent $300 on... And thought maybe it would come ready to play.
Get my point? Sorry but "serious" Ukulele player or not, I got bills and a life bro. Plus I'm still working on buying a pick-up system for this thing since Bushman doesn't put them in their Uke's anymore.

Cheers

Dude... when you buy a Uke online, they, the people you are buying it from, do not know how you want the ukulele set up. Some people like high action some super low. The send it with it set a bit high so the owner, you, can then set it up the way YOU like it.

That is an advantage from buying form a local shop, where you can try it out, or form an online dealer who talks with you and offers set up service (like MGM), and have it set up how you like before you pay.

Wait... You mean the bike I ordered online didn't have the seat at the right height?, and the computer I got didn't have the desk top configured the way I like it when i first turned it on? Same thing.

So, chill with the f-bombs, take a deep breath, and everything will be ok.

amute
06-28-2009, 10:35 AM
Yea... umm thanx for your wisdom, could of never thought of that. :rolleyes:
For me it's just a shock that an $80 Uke comes better set-up and more comfortable to play than a $300 Bushman. Then add the need to sand down frets and a saddle just to get to a comfortable feel to play it. yea

p.s. Sorry I typed "F***" also... Pray for me in church today bud while I "chill" and breath into this bag. :p please

JT_Ukes
06-28-2009, 11:00 AM
I know you are new here, so I'll forgive your snarky attitude.

UU is a very helpful, friendly and fun community. But jumping in with sarcasm and "eye rolling" when someone gives you an answer to your question, is not the best way to make friends here.

If you have an issue with the way your Ukulele was set up, contact the seller and complain to them. What were you looking for here? If not a way to fix your issue than what? a shoulder to cry on?

Good luck with that.

Bushman makes a very nice ukulele, and I'm sure you will have a ton of fun playing it, once you get it set up the way you want it.

Again, Welcome to UU the Ukin'ist Place on earth.

JT

amute
06-28-2009, 11:20 AM
UU has been a really friendly site without a doubt most folks I've spoken with have been really cool and helpful. As for tone, it was you man injecting your "chill" and silly fear of me typing "F***" comment that got you my "snarky" (!?! LOL) reply. I didn't write anything rude about someone or against the rules, I was just expressing my feelings towards my shameful situation with Bushman.

So you chill and don't worry about posting a reply if ya don't have anything positive or helpful to write. What I was asking is simple bro.. Just go to the first post of this thread and reread what ya must have missed. :D

Thanx again!

p.s. Contacting Bushman was the first thing I did... wisdom.

JT_Ukes
06-28-2009, 11:51 AM
I read the thread before I posted my first, not so funny, answer.

My later reply was in response to your complaining about the way your uke came set up, and my reply was regarding this statement...


And second, F*** yea I would HATE (cover your eyes kids) to PAY someone to fix/set-up/mod ANYTHING on a brand NEW Bushman I just spent $300 on... And thought maybe it would come ready to play.
about why the uke was set up the way it was, which I thought was a helpful answer. It had nothing to do with the F*** you typed. Hell, you can put as many *** in a post as you'd like, So I don't see where church enters into it.

You hadn't said you had contacted Bushman, they seem to be good folks and hopefully they will help you out.

Sorry if my minimal contribution to this thread has rubbed you the wrong way.

I hope you get things worked out.

wisdom.

E-Lo Roberts
06-28-2009, 11:54 AM
UU has been a really friendly site without a doubt most folks I've spoken with have been really cool and helpful. As for tone, it was you man injecting your "chill" and silly fear of me typing "F***" comment that got you my "snarky" (!?! LOL) reply. I didn't write anything rude about someone or against the rules, I was just expressing my feelings towards my shameful situation with Bushman.

So you chill and don't worry about posting a reply if ya don't have anything positive or helpful to write. What I was asking is simple bro.. Just go to the first post of this thread and reread what ya must have missed. :D

Thanx again!

p.s. Contacting Bushman was the first thing I did... wisdom.

Dude, you should take up a different hobby, perhaps chain saw sculping. Your posts are way to aggressive for the uke forum. You would do well to appreciate any feedback you get with an attitude like yours...e.lo..

hoosierhiver
06-28-2009, 12:58 PM
I think Amute was just feeling frustrated about his purchase.

I'm sure ,like most uke players here and elsewhere, he's a nice guy.

amute
06-28-2009, 01:37 PM
I think Amute was just feeling frustrated about his purchase.

I'm sure ,like most uke players here and elsewhere, he's a nice guy.

Thank you man and yes it's been a real bummer getting my first pricey Uke and have'n so many issues right away. I've left alot out I'd like to have said, with poor customer service, it getting left on my front door all day during summer and a blem on the front in the gloss finish.. No reply from Bushman yet....
I've been a lil'heated. So I do apologize folks.

As far as the negitive comment bs goes I ment no one any disrespect and don't understand why anyone else needs or wants to disrepect me, just be cool and try to put yourself in my place.
I was told by Bushman my Uke would be setup per what I requested and shipped first class, it was not.
But life goes on so again I do apologize if I came across upset and frustrated.

Thanx again for given a stranger a fair chance Hoosierhiver, very cool of you.

JT_Ukes
06-28-2009, 03:18 PM
No worries man,

I had no idea you were having that many problems and not getting any answers from Bushman.

I can understand the frustration with that. I'd consider sending it back and dealing with a more customer friendly retailer/company if Bushman is giving that much trouble.

I hear MusicGuyMike is the best online Ukulele retailer, or deal directly with Mainland Ukes. Top notch service form both form what I've been told.

JT

cdwakamatsu
09-05-2017, 12:23 PM
In regards to Post #5 This is the best thing I've read about "What Matters" is how the uke plays when you bar the first fret!

lelouden
09-05-2017, 06:12 PM
Amute,

Trust me when I say this is a very easy fix. You spent $300 on this uke. If the playability isn't good for you then get yourself a piece of sandpaper and gently and patiently sand the bottom off the saddle as has been explained. I have lowered action on ukes that came already set up to be low, but still weren't low enough for my liking. Its a very easy thing to do. IMO a uke isn't with any amount of money if the action isn't right for me. Make it worth $300 to you by spending a few minutes fixing it to your personal preference.

Like others have said if you get it too low....(and you probably wont) you can buy a new one and start over. That has never happened to me. They just don't file off like chalk. It takes some work to blow it. Before you remove it take a very sharp pencil and mark where it sits in the bridge. Take it out and measure it and then you can keep an eye on how much you've removed. You will find that it takes some work to take it down even a little. I have taken them down with sand paper and Ive also used an emory board to file fingernails. Go to the drugstore and find one with a good grit on one side and smother on the other. You'll be fine!

Don't be afraid of ruining it! There is something very satisfying about learning to fix your uke and making it just right for you!

Take a deep breath and just give it a shot.

lelouden
09-05-2017, 06:21 PM
On second thought after reading the reviews and complaints on the Bushman I would consider sending it back. I would have to love it to keep it and work on it.

Booli
09-05-2017, 11:30 PM
FYI, recent posts to this thread in the last week regarding that specific Bushman uke are likely to be lost in the abyss since those posts are from 2009, i.e., EIGHT yrs ago, and in the 4 yrs I've been on UU, I've never seen ANY posts from those folks, so to put it simply:

"That ship has sailed." :)

Rllink
09-06-2017, 05:05 AM
FYI, recent posts to this thread in the last week regarding that specific Bushman uke are likely to be lost in the abyss since those posts are from 2009, i.e., EIGHT yrs ago, and in the 4 yrs I've been on UU, I've never seen ANY posts from those folks, so to put it simply:

"That ship has sailed." :)

How has all of these old threads Gothenburg up lately? I'm leaving Gothenburg there just because it is crazy that my computer would even think that is the word I was typing. But I kind of understand Amute's frustration. Why do we accept that we are going to have to take our brand new ukuleles somewhere to have them made playable? Ever since I started into this ukulele playing I've wondered that. I don't think there is any other product that I buy that needs to go straight to the repair shop before I can use it.

Booli
09-06-2017, 05:24 AM
How has all of these old threads Gothenburg up lately? I'm leaving Gothenburg there just because it is crazy that my computer would even think that is the word I was typing. But I kind of understand Amute's frustration. Why do we accept that we are going to have to take our brand new ukuleles somewhere to have them made playable? Ever since I started into this ukulele playing I've wondered that. I don't think there is any other product that I buy that needs to go straight to the repair shop before I can use it.

This is WHY you buy a uke from a dealer that does a SETUP....

Otherwise if not a custom luthier, you are buying from a big-box drop-shipper that is supplied by an Asian sweat shop where folks are whipped bloody or denied meals and sleep if they dont meet the daily quota, and in the haste to churn out product, quality control is a small part of the process...if even at all...

Rollie, if you are in PR right now, I hope you have taken precautions and are ready for the 185 mph winds from Irma....

Rllink
09-06-2017, 06:02 AM
This is WHY you buy a uke from a dealer that does a SETUP....

Otherwise if not a custom luthier, you are buying from a big-box drop-shipper that is supplied by an Asian sweat shop where folks are whipped bloody or denied meals and sleep if they dont meet the daily quota, and in the haste to churn out product, quality control is a small part of the process...if even at all...

Rollie, if you are in PR right now, I hope you have taken precautions and are ready for the 185 mph winds from Irma....
Yes I am Booli, thank you. Incredibly we still have electricity and internet. I'm sitting here listening to the wind , eating Oreos for lunch, watching the radar, and playing my ukulele. I understand the benefits of buying a ukulele from someone who will set it up, and I understand all the about the manufacturers, but seriously, dealers shouldn't have to set them up. There are a lot of products manufactured under the same conditions, and they work fine right out of the box. Just saying. My skylights are leaking too. I don't think that they were built to stop water coming in sideways.

Booli
09-06-2017, 04:48 PM
Yes I am Booli, thank you. Incredibly we still have electricity and internet. I'm sitting here listening to the wind , eating Oreos for lunch, watching the radar, and playing my ukulele. I understand the benefits of buying a ukulele from someone who will set it up, and I understand all the about the manufacturers, but seriously, dealers shouldn't have to set them up. There are a lot of products manufactured under the same conditions, and they work fine right out of the box. Just saying. My skylights are leaking too. I don't think that they were built to stop water coming in sideways.

Glad to hear you are ok. It's been raining pretty hard here all day in NJ, and we had to power go out 4 times, the first 3 were about 10 mins apart, and then about an hour later power was out for about 2 hrs, and the neighbor who knows folks that work for both the town and public utility co., said that 4 transformers were blown, in a sort of domino effect...4 mile radius was dark from it, but the neighbor told us that the folks needed were working on fixing it...

and once we got candles lit, and everything settled, and I had a glass of whiskey next to me and uke in hand, just as I strummed the first chord, all the power came back, and looking outside all the neighbors have lights on now, whereas before, you see the faint glimmer of, and flickering from candle-light only, from their windows.

I would agree with you about the ukes coming ready to play, but we have so many choices of vendors now, that it is usually only the newbies that dont know any better to ask questions that are getting burned by ukes that are unplayable out of the box, and ironically, those are the folks that need ukes playable from day one, otherwise they will be more likely to give up not knowing that high action, rough frets, and poor intonation CAN in fact be fixed - they will just thing that these badly-setup ukes are too hard for them to try and play...seen it happen many times with both guitar and ukes...

JJFN
09-06-2017, 04:57 PM
I'm very nervous asking this question but I couldn't find a definition for "Gothenburg up", just what does this mean Rllink?

Booli
09-06-2017, 05:48 PM
I'm very nervous asking this question but I couldn't find a definition for "Gothenburg up", just what does this mean Rllink?

Just by context of how Rolli used it, I figured it meant something like:

'rising up from the ashes (or the past)'

or maybe

'evident of a resurrected necropost'

...but these are just a guess, and I might be close in what I was able to grok from it

...and yes, I too never saw that term before in common usage...maybe it's a common term in Rolli's circle of friends and family? a colloquial term? :)

Croaky Keith
09-06-2017, 09:28 PM
How has all of these old threads Gothenburg up lately? I'm leaving Gothenburg there just because it is crazy that my computer would even think that is the word I was typing.....

Auto correct by computer program - possibly it was 'gotten brought'. :wallbash:

Some old threads rise up like a phoenix from the ashes. ;)