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Matt Clara
09-30-2009, 04:29 AM
First, what's the most cost effective way to cut the slots in your nut and saddle (bone, in this case). I don't have any files that thin, but I do have a hacksaw blade!

Also, I was watching Dave G's video on making the saddle, and it appears Dave compensates all of his high G strings by having that part of the saddle lean back from the middle of the uke, towards the end of the body, effectively moving the point of contact back a millimeter or so. I've owned five ukes now, and only one had anything like this, the kiwaya, and that simply thinned out the area where the C string met, effectively moving back it's point of contact about a millimeter. I did some searching of UU before posting this, so I see some advice that it won't matter on a soprano, but I'm considering it for my cigar box concert uke I'm building. Is it something I should concern myself with at this point, or just not worry about it? And then, why does kiwaya compensate for the C string and Dave the G string? Any of the other luthiers here doing either one?

cornfedgroove
09-30-2009, 05:03 AM
1)torch tip cleaner is awesome, and its like $3...use it on corian, but never worked with bone.

2) I wouldnt worry bout it

thistle3585
09-30-2009, 05:19 AM
Torch cleaners do work for the slots. You can also get a precision file set at a hardware store to start the slots then finish them to size with the torch cleaners. The difference in compensation is most likely due to the string diameter and its tension. Lighter gauge strings, as does longer scale instruments, will require more compensation.

You can also do compensation at the nut instead of the saddle.

dave g
09-30-2009, 05:50 AM
You can also do compensation at the nut instead of the saddle.

Ummm... Wanna think about that? :rolleyes:

flyingace
09-30-2009, 06:03 AM
On the two tusq saddles i've created for a concert and a tenor, neither have needed compensation for any strings. I made sure to shape the top for the most string relief into the tie off, which gives the string more surface contact into the bridge, helps keep strings from breaking, etc. I was prepared to compensate the C and E as i've seen with many, then also thought i'd need to work on the low g, but so far, both ukes are intonated perfectly without this. If I was to compensate for those, though, I basically use sand paper to "work" the material back, then give it a proper "point" for the string to crossover. I have also used a sanding drum on my dremel to quickly and cleanly notch those back, then fine tune with 100-220 sand paper folded to a sharp point. a little tedious but works. Guitar saddles are a little roomier and more predictable, that's what I'm mostly used to.

As for the nut, I too am in the place where I'm either going to spend $150 from stewmac and get proper tools or finding some cheaper alternative. I've been happy working with the precut tusq nuts and some sharply folded fine grit wet sand grade sandpaper.

I plan to go look at these torch tip deals tho! might be a great way to go!

RevWill
09-30-2009, 06:12 AM
I plan to go look at these torch tip deals tho! might be a great way to go!

Should be easy to find at Lowe's, Home Depot, Menard's or Harbor Freight.

Pete Howlett
09-30-2009, 06:14 AM
You only need 2 guages of nut files...

DaveVisi
09-30-2009, 06:17 AM
Ummm... Wanna think about that? :rolleyes:

I was thinking the same thing. There are reasons for nut compensation, but only for open strings. Once they're fretted, the compensation is all about the saddle.

Usually compensation gets longer for thicker strings, not thinner. The "VSL" (vibrating string length) is a tiny bit shorter for stiffer strings as they don't vibrate as much at the very ends. That, combined with string stretch when fretted pretty much puts the majority of the compensation at the saddle end.

If, after all this, the open string is a bit flat and all the fretted notes are right on, then you can work on the nut.

RevWill
09-30-2009, 06:21 AM
You only need 2 guages of nut files...

Care to share the sizes?

thistle3585
09-30-2009, 07:37 AM
Ummm... Wanna think about that? :rolleyes:

I don't need to think about it. There are lots of examples of compensated nuts with plenty of data to support it. There are also a fair amount of patents related to different processes in achieving compensating the nut. Generally, you wont notice it as much on shorter scale instruments as you will on longer.

Think about it this way, the middle of the scale is at the 12th fret. If you intonate your instrument using the 12th fret harmonic, not fretting at the twelfth then the open string will be "in tune." When you fret it at the 12th fret the distance the string travels to touch the fret makes it sharp. Once you start up the neck or down the neck then it begins to get sharper. By the time you get to the first or 24th fret, you are probaly a couple cents of in tuning. So, if you compensate both the nut and saddle to allow for the changes then it will ideally fret perfectly as well as be perfect when plucked unfretted. So, lets say that you need to compensate 1/8" to get the intonation right. If the bridge and frets are set properly is set in the correct spot then you can compensate the bridge and nut 1/16" and it will play in perfect tune. Make sense?

DaveVisi
09-30-2009, 07:41 AM
Make sense?

No, not really.

I know of the Buzz Feiten system which compensates the nut and the saddle, sacrificing some note accuracy a bit above and below pitch to distribute the errors, but it's a bit more involved than what you're suggesting. I'm not saying it can't be done (well, actually I am. Considering our modern pitch standards, any fretted instrument is a bundle of compromises) bit it's not just the nut. Both have to be carefully balanced with most of the effect happening at the saddle end.

Using the Feiten system, you need a different tuner that is calibrated to match the errors he introduces. Also, it makes it hard to play exactly in tune with other players who don't use this system.

thistle3585
09-30-2009, 07:57 AM
I agree that it is a bundle of compromises. I was just trying to simplify it and maybe I made it more complicated. There are quite a few approaches to it. In addition to the Buzz Feitein system there is Hartley, Earvana, Ernie Ball and others.


I guess we'll need to agree to disagree on it. :)

cornfedgroove
09-30-2009, 08:12 AM
uh, why compensate this way and that way on nut and saddle, making all these compromises in order to get decent intonation when you could just leave the nut and saddle alone and have good intonation...seems like a dog-gone long way around the barn. If you wanna compensate the saddle alone for "perfect", that makes sense to me, but why bounce around jiggy-jogging with the nut?

the only way you're going to know the difference between the two (regular and compensated) is if you sit there with a chromatic tuner watching the line barely eek past green, if at all. Even still 98% people cant hear that minimal difference...and I'm even skeptical about those 2%. I think its more academic than anything

thistle3585
09-30-2009, 09:41 AM
Lets say that you buy a uke and you don't like the string gauge on it or that you want to use an alternate tuning, and you don't want to pop the bridge off to move it back to allow for better intonation. So, your options are put a wider saddle on it or compensate the saddle and the nut. Honestly, on an acoustical instrument you are correct. I doubt that you are going to hear the difference which is why this system is primarily used with electric instruments where it may make a big difference especially in a recording studio. Also, it would allow for better tracking accuracy for instruments that are used in midi applications. I'm not saying every instrument will benefit from this but it is an option to consider when setting up an instrument.

More than anything else, if you spent a short amount of time reading the articles associated with this process you might learn something new in how instruments work.

DaveVisi
09-30-2009, 09:49 AM
I think I can agree with you on that. :agree:

RonS
09-30-2009, 10:13 AM
If there is any OCD about me, it is bad intonation. It drives me nuts, I can hear it a mile away. I've learned to deal with it by drinking a beer or two, then I don't worry about it. :p

Has anybody ever played on a fan-fretted guitar?

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/97/249328242_5c52dae770.jpg

http://www.12fret.com/new/Greenfield_G4_fanned_fret_Jy9.jpg



I wonder how this would work on a ukulele

uluapoundr
09-30-2009, 12:45 PM
uh, why compensate this way and that way on nut and saddle, making all these compromises in order to get decent intonation when you could just leave the nut and saddle alone and have good intonation...seems like a dog-gone long way around the barn. If you wanna compensate the saddle alone for "perfect", that makes sense to me, but why bounce around jiggy-jogging with the nut?

the only way you're going to know the difference between the two (regular and compensated) is if you sit there with a chromatic tuner watching the line barely eek past green, if at all. Even still 98% people cant hear that minimal difference...and I'm even skeptical about those 2%. I think its more academic than anything

I'd bet there's more than 2% that can hear the difference. Not trying to start an argument or anything, nor am I saying all ukes need to be compensated. When I play an uke, with it tuned up perfectly according to the chromatic tuner, then fret some chords, I can tell when there is a string that may be a bit sharp. I take out the tuner again and play that chord, sure enough, one of the strings is sharp. I would think most builders of all people can hear the difference such as a string that gets sharp up the fretboard, anyone?

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
09-30-2009, 01:19 PM
I'd bet there's more than 2% that can hear the difference. Not trying to start an argument or anything, nor am I saying all ukes need to be compensated. When I play an uke, with it tuned up perfectly according to the chromatic tuner, then fret some chords, I can tell when there is a string that may be a bit sharp. I take out the tuner again and play that chord, sure enough, one of the strings is sharp. I would think most builders of all people can hear the difference such as a string that gets sharp up the fretboard, anyone?

Consider this from Ukulele World:

"The Ukulele is the instrument of "innocent merriment." Nothing more.
Ukuleles are fun instruments. Ukuleles are not acoustic physics laboratories with small sound chambers.
People pay thousands of dollars for custom guitars to improve intonation, but expect the ukulele to match the same precision. It just ain't gonna happen....
When you see a ukulele advertised with "perfect" intonation, you will also see a statement of utter falsehood."

The full text can be found here: http://www.ukuleleworld.com/intonation.html?js=n

Spooner
09-30-2009, 01:28 PM
Consider this from Ukulele World:

"The Ukulele is the instrument of "innocent merriment." Nothing more.
Ukuleles are fun instruments. Ukuleles are not acoustic physics laboratories with small sound chambers.
People pay thousands of dollars for custom guitars to improve intonation, but expect the ukulele to match the same precision. It just ain't gonna happen....
When you see a ukulele advertised with "perfect" intonation, you will also see a statement of utter falsehood."

The full text can be found here: http://www.ukuleleworld.com/intonation.html?js=n

Chuck...you lied to me!!! :p

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
09-30-2009, 01:38 PM
Chuck...you lied to me!!! :p

Whoops, you misunderstood me Spooner. I didn't write that, not do I necessarily agree with it. Someone posted that here a few weeks ago and at first I thought it was heresy, then I found it refreshing. It's just another view point that can hopefully add some balance to the discussion. I personally find myself nestled comfortably somewhere between the art and the science of building.

Spooner
09-30-2009, 01:48 PM
Whoops, you misunderstood me Spooner. I didn't write that, not do I necessarily agree with it. Someone posted that here a few weeks ago and at first I thought it was heresy, then I found it refreshing. It's just another view point that can hopefully add some balance to the discussion. I personally find myself nestled comfortably somewhere between the art and the science of building.

Oh I know Chuck. I was just funnin ya.

That article and/or commentary definitely stirs up a few things....and they ain't purdy. :wallbash:

RonS
09-30-2009, 01:59 PM
Consider this from Ukulele World:

"The Ukulele is the instrument of "innocent merriment." Nothing more.
Ukuleles are fun instruments. Ukuleles are not acoustic physics laboratories with small sound chambers.
People pay thousands of dollars for custom guitars to improve intonation, but expect the ukulele to match the same precision. It just ain't gonna happen....
When you see a ukulele advertised with "perfect" intonation, you will also see a statement of utter falsehood."

The full text can be found here: http://www.ukuleleworld.com/intonation.html?js=n

It is a fun instrument.
Most people laugh when I play...

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
09-30-2009, 02:05 PM
It is a fun instrument.
Most people laugh when I play...

That's funny!
I bring most people to tears with my playing.

RonS
09-30-2009, 02:08 PM
That's funny!
I've bring most people to tears with my playing.

That's a crying shame!

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
09-30-2009, 02:15 PM
Actually it's not. I only pull my uke out when the night has become long and I want my guests to go home.

cornfedgroove
09-30-2009, 02:16 PM
hence my statement of it all becoming academic at some point. You can get close enough to pitch w/o a noticeable heard difference and still not have perfect intonation, but you'll start racking your brains with all the science, string gauges, compensations etc to try to acheive it...and possibly losing sight of the forest from the trees.

Nothing wrong with striving for perfection...but the article seems to be saying that with all the factors between string material, length and user technique, it is mathematically very difficult if not impossible to achieve "perfect intonation." So there should, like all things, be a balance between the art and science like Chuck said...after all the ukulele is meant to bring us joy.

If it sounds like crap and plays like crap, then its crap
If it sounds like crap but plays ok, then its still crap
If it sounds ok, and plays ok, then its ok
if it sounds ok, but plays good, then its not too bad
if it sounds good and plays good, then its pretty nice
if it sounds good and plays great, its really nice
If it sounds great and plays good, its even better cuz you can set it up
if it sounds great and plays great, its high quality and highly sought after

but if they bring you joy, they're great regardless of quality

RonS
09-30-2009, 02:25 PM
Actually it's not. I only pull my uke out when the night has become long and I want my guests to go home.

LOL

If it works... :D

vahn
09-30-2009, 02:51 PM
I mean when talking about intonation only so much of it is the instrument, some is the strings, and a lot is the player. and I doubt many of us have special intonation "fretting machines" calibrated to always apply the same pressure and be placed at proportionality the same place in spite of the diminishing size of the frets.

I don't think it would be out of line to say that a really really good luthier could construct an instrument that could be played perfectly (or as close to as perfectly as possible to detect by the human ear) by player skilled enough and familiar enough with the instrument to no the unique nuances and pressure differences required to achieve a more "perfect" sound.

But I'm sure a keyboard is able to play pitch perfectly by outputting the exact proper signal frequency, but a lot of what makes music is the soul of whats being played. I'd bet Jimi Hendrix' guitar didn't always intone properly but he bent the notes to where he wanted them whether they intonated properly or not.

etkre
09-30-2009, 05:27 PM
Proper intonation is important. It's bad enough that equal temperament doesn't match what we want to hear (that's why we have beer). The scale is an unavoidable compromise, but you shouldn't have to compromise anything when tuning an ukulele itself.

An adjustable bridge isn't hard to build, and completely worth the effort.

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/picture.php?albumid=511&pictureid=3082

And if you think our issues are bad, read about stretched tuning and pianos.

Kekani
09-30-2009, 09:53 PM
The difference in compensation is most likely due to the string diameter and its tension. Lighter gauge strings, as does longer scale instruments, will require more compensation. . .

There's a lot of things that affect intonation, but we all know the #1 culprit here, if we've been around long enough. Unfortunately, most people that take off their "stock" strings and put on Aquila's probably won't have an ear like Laron, nor are fortunate enough to have his instruments. I will say this, it is not that difficult to hear a sharp chord in the 3rd position.
BTW, in my experience, higher tension, larger gauge strings will require more compensation than the smaller ones, unless the smaller ones have higher action, which all things being equal (they're not), they usually have compared to higher tension strings.

This is one of those threads that takes a turn, and gets interesting, and irritating at the same time.
If you're asking how to cut nut slots, you probably shouldn't be trying to compensate the nut in the first place. That you identify that your intonation is off, there's a number of things to do first, such as change your strings. Anything after that is getting into the skilled arena (also known as Customs). If its that bad, you're going to learn out of necessity, or drop your price.
Yes, I setup each instrument, including setting intonation - this is why I like using a 1/8" saddle.


An adjustable bridge isn't hard to build, and completely worth the effort.

An "adjustable" bridge is unnecessary, and unrealistic on a flattop `ukulele that's not getting an endpiece, in all likelyhood. And if the plan is to put in an endpiece then it'll be like every archtop `ukulele I've heard - dead, and in dire need of steel strings to move the soundboard.

Just my $.02 - Aaron

thistle3585
10-01-2009, 02:44 AM
BTW, in my experience, higher tension, larger gauge strings will require more compensation than the smaller ones, unless the smaller ones have higher action, which all things being equal (they're not), they usually have compared to higher tension strings.

Yes, I setup each instrument, including setting intonation - this is why I like using a 1/8" saddle.
Just my $.02 - Aaron

True, when I said more compensation I didn't necessarily mean one way or another just that more would be required. On my last two ukes, I specifically went with a larger saddle to allow for compensation both directions. I'm still struggling with the ideal bridge placement as a starting point. I guess if I can dial in a bit better then why not do it.

I have also been working on an adjustable bridge, along the lines of a tun o matic, but without the tailpiece. We'll see what happens.

RonS
10-01-2009, 03:06 AM
I have also been working on an adjustable bridge, along the lines of a tun o matic, but without the tailpiece. We'll see what happens.


I tried that and I was very disappointed. I made about 8 different types of saddles/bridges.

When I tried steel set screws to adjust each separate saddle I found that extra weight just deaden the sound. Installing nylon sets screws helped a little, but I still wasn't happy.


The bottom line is I found that plain old bone sounded the best. Right now I have a 1/8" saddle installed and ordered a 1/4" saddle to replace it, just to see what happens.

thomas
10-01-2009, 04:25 AM
Ron,

Cough up those pictures already, we are ready to see this thing.

And to add to the initial topic, I find my 1/8 inch saddles dont usually need to be compensated. Front or back a hair or two sometimes, but not diagonally, and usually not individual strings.


Take care,
Thomas

cornfedgroove
10-01-2009, 04:35 AM
for clarification, cuz I just never thought about it.

thats why bridges are 1/8? the thinner the saddle, the more precise the all-around intonation will be when glued one square even with the variance of string gauges? eliminates that extra margin, and tightens things up a bit...thats what I'm getting out of this. that right?

RevWill
10-01-2009, 04:38 AM
You know, the fancier you make the plumbing the easier it is to clog the pipes. That's all I'm saying.

thistle3585
10-01-2009, 04:50 AM
for clarification, cuz I just never thought about it.

thats why bridges are 1/8? the thinner the saddle, the more precise the all-around intonation will be when glued one square even with the variance of string gauges? eliminates that extra margin, and tightens things up a bit...thats what I'm getting out of this. that right?

No, I would guess that its an 1/8" out of tradition or the fact that you really don't need any more if you get your bridge set well. The longer the scale the more this comes into play. Mandolin saddles are about 5/16" thick because they require that based on the type of strings that are used. They need that thickness. Regardless, the intonation is determined at the point that the string leaves the saddle. There should be a bit of an angle on the saddle so the string doesn't lie flat and rattle. I notch all my saddles but I don't know if others do.

Kekani
10-01-2009, 06:38 AM
thats why bridges are 1/8? the thinner the saddle, the more precise the all-around intonation will be when glued one square even with the variance of string gauges? eliminates that extra margin, and tightens things up a bit...thats what I'm getting out of this. that right?

Not sure of your question - bridge and saddle are two different things, with 1/8" being a thicker saddle, 3/32 the next common size smaller. 1/16" is common on Standards, and is not really compensated. Kamaka uses a 3/32 on their Tenors, but I've seen Casey use a thicker "saddle" when he installed the LR Baggs Hex on Bryan Tolentino's, iirc.

To adjust intonation, you should understand the variables involved when you adjust compensation. This is an entirely different thread (and I think has been covered already).

BTW, for nut slots, I agree with Pete, 2 files should suffice, 4 would be better. Do not underestimate proper nut slotting, there's a lot that the nut slot has to do, including allowing the string to move longitudinally, but not laterally (did I say that correct?).

Aaron

Matt Clara
10-01-2009, 06:47 AM
BTW, for nut slots, I agree with Pete, 2 files should suffice, 4 would be better.
Aaron

Cool. What gauge files should I be looking for?

luvzmocha
10-01-2009, 08:32 AM
Cool. What gauge files should I be looking for?

What size strings are you using?

When you are ready you can borrow mine. I'll send them to you and you can send them back.

cornfedgroove
10-01-2009, 09:14 AM
oh I see what you are all saying...I meant saddles btw. sometimes I use the two words interchangeably...just have to go with the flow.

well, i've been satisfied with running a straight, no hassle saddle...if anything is sharp, its negligible as long as your original fretting is accurate, but seriously...I am NO WHERE NEAR you guys in understanding this stuff. I'm not a big reader, I learn much faster in a conversation or by watching which is why I appreciate this forum and everyone's patience with my attempts at understanding.

so I offer an official "thank you" lol

Matt Clara
10-01-2009, 12:13 PM
What size strings are you using?

When you are ready you can borrow mine. I'll send them to you and you can send them back.

Size? Um, Aquilla... And thanks for the offer of the loan of your files, I'm not there yet, but I just may take you up on it.

Kekani
10-01-2009, 09:23 PM
Let me define the two file/four file thing - Pete is right in that you only need 2, if its the type with teeth on the side, then you can rock side to side to widen it if needed. I have a set of Stew Mac ones, both the single and double edges, as well as a quasi Ibanez set (NOT the originals, so these suck). I like the double edge for cutting, and the single for finishing because it leaves a nice round bottom. I like round bottoms. . .

BTW, saying you have Aquila doesn't say much, especially if we don't use Aquila. Measure the guage of the string, then get the file(s) to match.

Also, CFG - these threads are the ones that, given time, suck the builders in to comment. Consider me sucked.

Aaron

RonS
10-02-2009, 02:51 AM
Aaron

Can you share a link from StewMac so we can see which ones you are referring to?

TIA

cornfedgroove
10-02-2009, 03:39 AM
I like round bottoms. . .
Aaron

never trust a big butt and a smile

Matt Clara
10-02-2009, 05:03 AM
Let me define the two file/four file thing - Pete is right in that you only need 2, if its the type with teeth on the side, then you can rock side to side to widen it if needed. I have a set of Stew Mac ones, both the single and double edges, as well as a quasi Ibanez set (NOT the originals, so these suck). I like the double edge for cutting, and the single for finishing because it leaves a nice round bottom. I like round bottoms. . .

BTW, saying you have Aquila doesn't say much, especially if we don't use Aquila. Measure the guage of the string, then get the file(s) to match.

Also, CFG - these threads are the ones that, given time, suck the builders in to comment. Consider me sucked.

Aaron

They are less than a millimeter. I have no way of measuring anything less than a millimeter. I'm just going with cornfedgroove's advice. This doesn't have to be perfect, and measuring objects less than a millimeter is definitely splitting hairs (for my cigar box uke, anyway).

Matt Clara
10-02-2009, 05:11 AM
never trust a big butt and a smile

It was begging for comment, wasn't it...
On the other hand, who doesn't like round bottoms!?

Kekani
10-02-2009, 06:39 AM
Aaron

Can you share a link from StewMac so we can see which ones you are referring to?

TIA

http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tools/Special_tools_for:_Nuts_and_saddles.html

I have almost everything in the essential kit (no ruler, add in gauged files). At first you don't think its worth it (especially things like the vise), but like a Sata Minijet, you gotta use it to know.

Yes, this costs more than most here would spend on an `ukulele, but that's why there's builders, and there's players.

Hope this helps.

Aaron

ukantor
10-02-2009, 09:04 AM
"measuring objects less than a millimeter is definitely splitting hairs"

When you are cutting fret grooves, it's not - you should be able to place them to within 1/2mm by eye, and that's close enough. For me, that demands a good set of spectacles, or the use of a magnifying glass!

Ukantor.

cornfedgroove
10-02-2009, 09:16 AM
I'll agree with kekani on the use of tools...they aren't always essential, but dang I'm betting they make the difference. In theory, if every tool you use helps even a little, the improvement with just those small areas makes a huge difference when looking at the holistic, accumulated quality.

I'll say I would eat a pair of pants for a vise, and a bench to mount one on.


I also think that for a large part of what is functional, measuring fret spacing in mm and eyeballing the fractions thereof is perfectly acceptable. However its not a professional standard as you will be able to notice the difference with a tuner, regardless of how slight. When it comes to slotting the nut and string spacing, I hardly think you have to be accurate to the .001

RonS
10-02-2009, 09:29 AM
http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tools/Special_tools_for:_Nuts_and_saddles.html

I have almost everything in the essential kit (no ruler, add in gauged files). At first you don't think its worth it (especially things like the vise), but like a Sata Minijet, you gotta use it to know.

Yes, this costs more than most here would spend on an `ukulele, but that's why there's builders, and there's players.

Hope this helps.

Aaron

Thanks Arron, I was kind of hoping you'd point me to the "only two files needed"

thistle3585
10-02-2009, 09:49 AM
Its not rocket science. Figure out what diameter strings you use then buy the corresponding files. For example, for Aquila soprano regular C strings which are .60, .73, .91 and .65 you would buy StewMac item number 4544 and 4545. For the same amount of money, you can buy four individual files to match the strings.

The essential tool kit has never been too essential for me. To make a nut, I use my parrot vise, nut slotting files, a block with sandpaper and my slotting ruler. I love the ruler since I make a variety of instruments with varying nut widths.

ukantor
10-02-2009, 09:52 AM
"not a professional standard as you will be able to notice the difference with a tuner, regardless of how slight."

Are you are saying that an acceptable standard of fretting requires you to place them more accurately than 1/2mm? Your digital tuner MIGHT indicate a fret which is less than 1/2mm out of place, but your ears won't, and the difference caused by more or less pressure on the fretting finger will be greater still.

Don't be too obsessive about minute differences in fret placement. It makes less difference than you may think, and don't be a slave to your digital tuner. It can read notes much more accurately than the human ear can. It is ears we are trying to satisfy, not electronic devices.

Ukantor.

Matt Clara
10-02-2009, 10:47 AM
http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tools/Special_tools_for:_Nuts_and_saddles.html

but that's why there's builders, and there's players.

That's fine for those who intend to be full on luthiers, but what about those of us who are building cigar box ukes for fun? (You know, like I said I'm doing when I started this thread, and where I also said I'd like to do this as cheaply as possible?) Are you saying do it right or go home?

RonS
10-02-2009, 10:56 AM
That's fine for those who intend to be full on luthiers, but what about those of us who are building cigar box ukes for fun?

Good tools never go bad.

Buy now or buy later.

DaveVisi
10-02-2009, 11:13 AM
One of the attractions of building Cigar Box instruments is that you don't need much in the way specialized tools. Makeshift is the norm.

For example, I see more threaded bolts used as nuts than actual nuts. Frets are nails or staples. Tuners are eyebolts. Saddles are usually nails, I've even seen mini bar bottles used as saddles.

Sure, good tools are great but I really don't care how good they are if they're sitting in a toolbox somewhere never to be used more than once. I already have too many one time purchases. I'm running out of storage space.

Matt Clara
10-02-2009, 11:27 AM
Good tools never go bad.

Buy now or buy later.

It's the money thing. I estimate I've got $170 into this thing already, not including the stuff I bought to do the photographic prints on the sides. $50 more for files to carve tiny slots in bone? :rotfl:

cornfedgroove
10-02-2009, 11:54 AM
"not a professional standard as you will be able to notice the difference with a tuner, regardless of how slight."

Are you are saying that an acceptable standard of fretting requires you to place them more accurately than 1/2mm? Your digital tuner MIGHT indicate a fret which is less than 1/2mm out of place, but your ears won't, and the difference caused by more or less pressure on the fretting finger will be greater still.

Don't be too obsessive about minute differences in fret placement. It makes less difference than you may think, and don't be a slave to your digital tuner. It can read notes much more accurately than the human ear can. It is ears we are trying to satisfy, not electronic devices.

Ukantor.

uh...I quote: "I also think that for a large part of what is functional, measuring fret spacing in mm and eyeballing the fractions thereof is perfectly acceptable. However its not a professional standard as you will be able to notice the difference with a tuner, regardless of how slight."

I said for all practical purposes doing it that way is acceptable for the reasons you said, but there's no way I'm paying big $ for something that's eyeballed...especially when it only takes $30 to get a 12" micrometer to eliminate the guess work. Its also unacceptable when you can buy a template accurate to the .001 for a little more money. Better tools, increased accuracy, and professional proficiency = a justifiable price hike.

If you wanna be a homegrown hack like myself, then eyeball to the closest half mm...the difference is virtually inaudible but it is still not professional grade. I dont think there's anyway in the world that these legit luthiers "eyeball" fret measurements...and if they do, I aint buying from them.

respectfully

ukantor
10-02-2009, 01:24 PM
"I dont think there's anyway in the world that these legit luthiers "eyeball" fret measurements."

I think you are right, but the reason they use a template etc. is because it is so much quicker. How will you know how the frets were placed if you can't hear the difference?

Anyway, I really don't think we are on opposing sides here. I was slightly offended at the thought that working by eye to less than a millimetre can be thought to be "splitting hairs". I do it all the time. No way would I accept a glued joint that presented a gap of 1mm. Even 1/2mm is a huge gap in terms of fitting parts together to make a uke.

I think I must have misunderstood you. If so, I apologise.

Ukantor.

Edited to say - I've re-read CFG & Mattclara's post, and I have got hold of the wrong end of the stick. Sorry Fellas, I'll try to read more carefully in future.

cornfedgroove
10-02-2009, 02:59 PM
I should buy a template...I sometimes put off builds for a few days because I dont look forward to taking the time to do all the work. I could prolly do everything in 45 minutes with a template. Its not all that much work regardless, lol...but it can become wearisome when you have to sit outside in the weather to do it.

RonS
10-02-2009, 03:02 PM
http://www.use-enco.com/CGI/INSRIT?PARTPG=INLMKD&PMPXNO=3005816&PMAKA=990-1237

http://www.use-enco.com/CGI/INSRIT?PARTPG=INLMKD&PMPXNO=946843&PMAKA=610-5023


If you can wait until Monday, I can send you a coupon for free shipping

Philstix
10-02-2009, 03:23 PM
This post seems to ramble and I am not quite sure where it is going. For a while it was talking about files for cutting the string grooves in the nut. If you don't want to spend for files there is a cheap way to get a very acceptable groove which comes from Dan Erlewine at Stew-Mac. Find some used wound guitar strings which match the diameters of your strings. Put a small notch in your nut where you would like the string to be placed Glue a chunk of the string onto a small "handle" and use its winding as a file to cut your groove. It should be about half as deep as the string and angle up to the takeaway edge. And yes it wilkl work in bone nuts.

Matt Clara
10-02-2009, 06:16 PM
http://www.use-enco.com/CGI/INSRIT?PARTPG=INLMKD&PMPXNO=3005816&PMAKA=990-1237

http://www.use-enco.com/CGI/INSRIT?PARTPG=INLMKD&PMPXNO=946843&PMAKA=610-5023


If you can wait until Monday, I can send you a coupon for free shipping

I'm very tempted, and thank you, but just today I spent $43 with Mainland for a uke neck, $25 at lowes for various stuff like sandpaper and varnish, and $20 for a safe light and developer for the darkroom at the photo shop. Yesterday I spent $77 with Luthier's Mercantile. I'm flat tapped out for two weeks, until next pay day. Fortunately, except for the Aquila strings, I really think I have everything I need.

I have bookmarked the pages for future reference, though.

Kekani
10-02-2009, 09:30 PM
That's fine for those who intend to be full on luthiers, but what about those of us who are building cigar box ukes for fun? (You know, like I said I'm doing when I started this thread, and where I also said I'd like to do this as cheaply as possible?) Are you saying do it right or go home?

RonS asked for a link, & it was provided. . .my comments were not to say how it HAS to be done, but rather what I do. Followed by "there's builders and there's players." I'm not a player.

If anyone bothered to watch the video on Stew Mac where Dan explains the kit, you'll see that they condone using 1 file at an angle to get a wider slot. There would be the route towards two files and not four.

Matt, I'm definitely not saying to go home. You're a player, building a cigar box `ukulele, and you're putting Aquila strings on it. Its obvious that you're going to try your best, but are realistic on your outcome. If you were building a Custom Tenor that you'll plan on selling for over $2K, then yes, go big, or go home. I'm kidding, but I thought you said it well so I'm just copying you. We all start someplace, and I had only two files at one time, in addition to the welding tip cleaners, etc.

Honestly, I thought the vise was not needed. Frivolously, it isn't. But, I have it. Do I take it out each time I do a nut, saddle or pickup installation? Absolutely.

-Aaron

Matt Clara
10-03-2009, 02:22 AM
RonS asked for a link, & it was provided. . .my comments were not to say how it HAS to be done, but rather what I do. Followed by "there's builders and there's players." I'm not a player.

If anyone bothered to watch the video on Stew Mac where Dan explains the kit, you'll see that they condone using 1 file at an angle to get a wider slot. There would be the route towards two files and not four.

Matt, I'm definitely not saying to go home. You're a player, building a cigar box `ukulele, and you're putting Aquila strings on it. Its obvious that you're going to try your best, but are realistic on your outcome. If you were building a Custom Tenor that you'll plan on selling for over $2K, then yes, go big, or go home. I'm kidding, but I thought you said it well so I'm just copying you. We all start someplace, and I had only two files at one time, in addition to the welding tip cleaners, etc.

Honestly, I thought the vise was not needed. Frivolously, it isn't. But, I have it. Do I take it out each time I do a nut, saddle or pickup installation? Absolutely.

-Aaron

Yeah, I was wound a little tight when I wrote that. Feeling like I've spent too much (a fact CFG wrote to confirm!). Plus, I needed to eat.
Your comments are always welcome.

RonS
10-04-2009, 04:31 AM
I found this on another forum, I thought it was interesting enough to share.
About half way down is about nuts and saddles
About 3/4 of the way down is about a segmented saddle

Segmented saddle (http://www.eltjohaselhoff.com/how_to_make_your_guitar_sound_better.htm)

Kekani
10-04-2009, 08:49 AM
Yeah, I was wound a little tight when I wrote that. Feeling like I've spent too much (a fact CFG wrote to confirm!). Plus, I needed to eat.
Your comments are always welcome.

No worries (I visited NZ and AU the other year). One thing not mentioned, albeit off topic, and you're already finding this out - the first one is usually the most expensive. It gets cheaper the further along you go. I think I was up to about 20 when I actually slowed down investing in tools (notice I didn't say "stop"?), then I started to truly fund my "hobby".

Now, I just slowed down (MGM's not too happy). . .

To your original question, .010 razor saw, feeler gauges and a set of welding tip cleaners. With this three, the only one you'll not need in the future is the welding tip cleaners, but they're only a couple of bucks anyway, and they'll last a couple of builds.

-Aaron

DaveVisi
10-04-2009, 09:37 AM
I found this on another forum, I thought it was interesting enough to share.
About half way down is about nuts and saddles
About 3/4 of the way down is about a segmented saddle

Segmented saddle (http://www.eltjohaselhoff.com/how_to_make_your_guitar_sound_better.htm)

I really like the segmented saddle idea. You can have an assortment of saddle pieces, each cut slightly different that you can use to customize the intonation. It also helps in acoustically separating the strings which would be especially useful if you use some of the individual string pickups that are now available.

Pukulele Pete
10-05-2009, 12:53 AM
does anyone know what the sizes are of the nut files that you only need two of ???

RonS
10-05-2009, 02:43 AM
http://www.use-enco.com/CGI/INSRIT?PARTPG=INLMKD&PMPXNO=3005816&PMAKA=990-1237

http://www.use-enco.com/CGI/INSRIT?PARTPG=INLMKD&PMPXNO=946843&PMAKA=610-5023


If you can wait until Monday, I can send you a coupon for free shipping


Free UPS Shipping on your order of $25 or more.

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Matt Clara
10-05-2009, 03:08 AM
does anyone know what the sizes are of the nut files that you only need two of ???

What people seem to be saying is you'll first need to know your string gauge. For instance, a search for Aquila string gauge brings up this info:

Concert (gCEA) .025 .037 .030 .024

You can then see that one file would handle the g and the A strings, and a another file would handle the E and the C strings.

On this StewMac page (http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tools/Special_tools_for:_Nuts_and_saddles/Gauged_Nut_Slotting_Files.html), that looks like file number 0829 and 0830 (or possibly 0831). Hopefully someone else will chime in with the voice of experience, 'cause I'm still figuring it out myself.