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Brewerpaul
08-04-2009, 12:27 AM
I have a Lanikai Spruce Top tenor that I love, but I'm thinking that maybe the string height could be a bit lower.
What should the height be at the first and 12th frets?
How does one go about lowering the strings? I'm pretty handy and think I can handle it. Thanks.

Spooner
08-04-2009, 02:29 AM
To lower the string height you need to take off your strings, pull out your saddle and sand off from the bottom of the saddle.

Action is a relative thing. If you go too low you can cause buzzing on your uke.
Action is measured in millimeters.
If you dont have an action gauge you will have to measure with a ruler in increments of 64ths.

If you want to do this out of the gate without an action gauge you can search the internet for better pics but here you can buy an action gauge and/or use the pics for a guide: http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tools/Measuring_tools/1/String_Action_Gauge/Pictures.html#details

In my experience .125 was a bit high.
FOR ME I wouldn't go below .090.

You can use the search function here for more info.
KoAloha Paul posted some good info about it.
One other thing to note, you can always buy another nut but it is best to do it right the first time.
Take your time and make sure you get your measurements/conversions correct.

Spooner
08-04-2009, 02:36 AM
Here's another hand dandy thing for you to go by which should make it all a bit easier for you: http://academic.kellogg.edu/cad/pdf/decimal_chart.pdf

Good luck! :shaka:

Ken Middleton
08-04-2009, 03:51 AM
What should the height be at the first and 12th frets?

There is no standard string height. Some people like a high action because they like to play loudly and hit the strings with some force. Some people like a low action to play more delicately.

There are other factors too:

1. String type
2. String gauge
3. Height of the nut
4. Height of the frets
5. Whether you play with fingers, nails, plectrum
6. Whether you want to strum or pick

I caution you not to take the action too low. The tone will suffer if you go too low.

This is why it is a nonsense to say that some dealers give the instrument a full set-up before it goes out. Certainly, all good dealers should check for faults and problems, but they cannot set the string height without knowing exactly what the customer wants. Many, many experienced players now prefer to have an action (string height) that is on the high side.


KEN

Spooner
08-04-2009, 04:17 AM
To lower the string height you need to take off your strings, pull out your saddle and sand off from the bottom of the saddle.

Action is a relative thing. If you go too low you can cause buzzing on your uke.
Action is measured in millimeters.
If you dont have an action gauge you will have to measure with a ruler in increments of 64ths.

If you want to do this out of the gate without an action gauge you can search the internet for better pics but here you can buy an action gauge and/or use the pics for a guide: http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tools/Measuring_tools/1/String_Action_Gauge/Pictures.html#details

In my experience .125 was a bit high.
FOR ME I wouldn't go below .090.

You can use the search function here for more info.
KoAloha Paul posted some good info about it.
One other thing to note, you can always buy another nut but it is best to do it right the first time.
Take your time and make sure you get your measurements/conversions correct.


YIKES! I almost forgot to add in one VERY important variable. This comes from KoAloha Paul and was very helpful to me when I lowered the action on my Pineapple Sunday:


Remember, if you want to lower it .010" at the 12th fret, you'll have to remove double the height at the saddle.

Here's a couple of more posts that will help from him:

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showpost.php?p=100381&postcount=9

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showpost.php?p=162147&postcount=8

One last thing..you are measuring from the top of the fret wire to the bottom of the string on the 12th fret.

Eric
08-04-2009, 06:32 AM
Just to check - measurements are to be taken from the fretboard to the bottom of the string... ? NOT from the top of the fret to the bottom of the string...? I'd assumed it would be from the fret itself, am I wrong? :confused:

Spooner
08-04-2009, 06:36 AM
Just to check - measurements are to be taken from the fretboard to the bottom of the string... ? NOT from the top of the fret to the bottom of the string...? I'd assumed it would be from the fret itself, am I wrong? :confused:


Sheesh...thanks for pointing that out. I made a boo boo. :p:shaka:

Eric
08-04-2009, 06:44 AM
Ah no worries! ;)
Thanks for the swift reply.
I find all this info about adjusting and setting-up very useful and interesting, so thanks for the guidance.

Spooner
08-04-2009, 06:50 AM
Ah no worries! ;)
Thanks for the swift reply.
I find all this info about adjusting and setting-up very useful and interesting, so thanks for the guidance.


Not a problem bruddah. I'm happy to help. :shaka:

WhenDogsSing
08-04-2009, 07:55 AM
If you accidentally get your saddle down too low...don't worry...it can be fixed...you can put a thin shim in the bridge saddle slot to raise it back up...:D

buddhuu
08-05-2009, 11:04 PM
Hey Paul, :)

To clarify, action height is measured from top of fret to bottom of string, as shown in the pic at http://www.stewmac.com/shopby/product/0670.

Personally I would suggest getting yourself half a dozen new nut blanks and bridge saddles from eBay. That way you can experiment with the new ones while keeping your original parts at default height in case you decide you want to restore the factory setup.

The technique that has worked for me is to set the action at the nut using Frank Ford's famous method from Frets.com, as explained here:
http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/Musician/GenSetup/NutAction/nutaction.html
and here
http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/Luthier/Technique/Setup/NewNut/newnut1.html

Once the nut is done, then sand the base of the saddle a little at a time until the action is comfortable yet buzz-free, making very sure to keep the saddle upright as you do so, so the base is flat and makes good contact when fitted.

A very approximate rule of thumb is that to achieve any given height reduction at the 12th fret you may need to sand nearly twice that measurement off the height of the saddle. Go slowly and carefully, and check frequently that you didn't sand too much.

If you have a few spares you never have to be nervous about practicing and experimenting.