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liverlipsyyz
09-02-2009, 02:40 AM
i'm wondering what i can do about my action. when i play a g7 at the 5th fret, or really anything above the 5th fret, the action is so high it's ridiculous. it's probably about 1/4 above the fret wire. is there anything i can do or am i better off taking it in to a music shop? i only paid about $49 for it and i'm sure they'd charge me probaly $75 just to fix the action. any ideas? how high should the action be up at the 5th fret and above?

thanks!
liverlips

seeso
09-02-2009, 02:51 AM
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.

DaveVisi
09-02-2009, 05:30 AM
Seeso,
Your saddle adjustment technique might need a little... "adjustment."

Since the 12th fret is the halfway point, taking the saddle down the amount you said will indeed lower the action *at the saddle* by that much, but it will only affect the action at the 12th fret by half that much. Removing 1/8" off the saddle will lower the action at the 12th fret by 1/16"

Your method is definitely safe, as you won't accidentally take off too much, but you might have to go back and take some off a few more times before you finally get it right.

the.ronin
09-02-2009, 06:21 AM
Seeso, thanks for putting this together.

I felt like that action on my Kala tenor was way high. But then I took measurements (I had to google ‘how to read a ruler’ haha embarrassing) and based on your guidelines, the action is just on the cusp of the upper end. I also played some other tenors and the action, while a bit lower, wasn’t much different.

Being careful not to inadvertently cause fret bezz, would I risk anything else by shaving the saddle anyway? Intonation?

Ultimately, could I just be spoiled from the action on my concert and soprano ukes?

I figure worse comes to worse, I just pick up another saddle.

seeso
09-02-2009, 06:40 AM
Seeso,
Your saddle adjustment technique might need a little... "adjustment."

Since the 12th fret is the halfway point, taking the saddle down the amount you said will indeed lower the action *at the saddle* by that much, but it will only affect the action at the 12th fret by half that much. Removing 1/8" off the saddle will lower the action at the 12th fret by 1/16"

Your method is definitely safe, as you won't accidentally take off too much, but you might have to go back and take some off a few more times before you finally get it right.

Thanks for the correction, Dave. Good lookin out.

liverlipsyyz
09-04-2009, 09:04 AM
how do i get the nut off? is it glued down? should i pry it off? then, do i need to glue it back down? what kind of glue should i use?

Artista
11-23-2009, 05:56 AM
Ive checked the string height at the 12th fret on my baritone. It shows it to be @ 5/32" from top of fret to bottom of string. According to what you guys have said it should be at an optimum distance but i assure you it is uncomfortably too high. A bit of back ground , i had aquired a vintage 'Lyra' from the 40s. The neck and nut is in great shape. Overall it is a healthy ukulele with nice tone. The only draw back is the high action. In my opinion the bridge saddle does seems to be a bit high. What do you guys think? Do baritones have a different height requirement at the 12th?
Hey LiverLips Im interested to see what the answer is to your last question too.

Pukulele Pete
11-23-2009, 06:21 AM
Go to a welding supply store and get a set of torch cleaners. If you have a choice ,get the long ones. They work great for lowering the action at the nut.
The torch cleaners are like little files. Use those and a set of feeler gauges.
Measure the height of your frets with the feeler gauge. Then add the height of the space you want above the first fret. Place the feeler gauges you need to get the desired height,next to the nut on the fretboard and use the files to lower the slots in the nut to the height you want. Works great.

nohandles
11-23-2009, 11:27 AM
how do i get the nut off? is it glued down? should i pry it off? then, do i need to glue it back down? what kind of glue should i use?

It shouldn't be glued in. It's probably just tight in the slot. Take a pair if flat end pliers and put a rag over the bridge and pull up with the pliers on one end..
Doug

grammy
11-23-2009, 11:27 AM
the method ive used for years is this, at the 12 fret push down the string until it looks like the action you want, work out by eye how much you need to bring down the saddle to get that action, this is important cos it tells you what is or isn't possible on your uke. now remove the saddle and sand the underside until you get the height you want. i have used this for years and it has always worked for me i have done the same method with guitars, bass, mandolin uke and oud.

Artista
11-23-2009, 07:16 PM
At a site dedicated to constructing your own baritone/tenor ukuleles(cool site by the way) I found this spec for baritone/tenor string height ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Initially you should set up the strings so
they clear the frets by about 1/16" at the first fret (near the PEGHEAD), and about 3/16" at the 12th fret.
Your style of playing will dictate how low to adjust the string action.
Heavy strumming requires rather high action to avoid excessive buzzing or rattling, whereas light finger picking is easier with low action. Most people find it easier to play with low action,so we set the final height to about 1/32" above the first fret, and about 1/8" above the 12th fret."

I guess ill set the height that is comfortable for me. Hopefully i wont have to replace the saddle due to buzzing.

maclay
12-09-2009, 08:44 PM
adjusting the action can be a little tricky. if its not done properly, it can lead to string buzzing, and even throw off your intonation. if you have never done it before, be patient and check it frequently so you don't remove too much.
on tenor ukes, i like the action a little over 3/32 at the 12th.

GrumpyCoyote
12-10-2009, 07:41 AM
It shouldn't be glued in. It's probably just tight in the slot. Take a pair if flat end pliers and put a rag over the bridge and pull up with the pliers on one end..
Doug
That would be for a saddle - the nut on the otherhand, is often glued on.

SweetWaterBlue
12-10-2009, 08:11 AM
Lest any of this talk of sanding down saddles and nuts is making some of you squeemish, you might pick up a saddle and nut from someone like Mainland (or other luthier suppy) and do your adjustments on them. That way, if you totally mess up, you can just put your originals back on and no harm done. Very cheap insurance and good practice.

http://shop.mainlandukuleles.com/product.sc?productId=52&categoryId=8

buddhuu
12-11-2009, 02:53 PM
Lest any of this talk of sanding down saddles and nuts is making some of you squeemish, you might pick up a saddle and nut from someone like Mainland (or other luthier suppy) and do your adjustments on them. That way, if you totally mess up, you can just put your originals back on and no harm done. Very cheap insurance and good practice.

http://shop.mainlandukuleles.com/product.sc?productId=52&categoryId=8

:agree:

100% the way to do all all yr adjustments of that kind. Reversible if you go wrong. Nut and saddle blanks are widely and cheaply had from ebay and many other outlets. I always have half a dozen of each.

Artista
12-17-2009, 06:58 AM
Update on my baritone Lyra. I finally did lower the action using a decent triangle file. To note the saddle was completely flat with no indentation marks for string placements. Also it was glued into the bridge so i decided on filing. I was careful and used good judgement in string distance and depth of course. The Lyra felt and sounded great with no buzzing for a couple of weeks BUT due to the age and brittleness of the saddle material a wedge snapped off at the D string! Now i face having to replace the whole saddle.