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Ken Middleton
10-26-2009, 10:40 PM
Several people have asked what has happened to my YT review of the Ohana TK-35G. The answer is that I have withdrawn it from YouTube.

The reason for taking it off YT was that in the video I said that the action on that particular instrument was too high and that I would have to lower it. Some people have (sometimes intentionally I feel) interpreted that to mean that all TK-35Gs have an action that is too high. This is just not true. The action on my Kala and one of my Kanile'as was too high also, I just didn't mention it in the reviews.

Worse than that, I have discovered that at least one store was using my video as a reason for not buying a TK-35G. They were misquoting me. This is appalling.

In fact, the instrument in question did not get to me via the Ohana facility in Long Beach, but came by another route and was not checked.

This instrument, by the way is the one I use for nearly all my Celtic recordings. It has the sweetest tone of all my ukes. All it needed was a little adjustment.

However, I have to say that most instruments I have tried would need to have some adjustment to be perfectly set up for me. There is, in fact, no such thing as a perfect set up. An instrument can only be perfectly set up for a particular person or for their style of playing. However, I know that good suppliers and reputable dealers do always endeavour to make certain that their instruments are sent out to customers in playable condition.

It must also be remembered that some players like an extremely low action, particularly if they play delicately with a microphone. Increasingly though, I am coming across more experienced players (particularly in Europe) who say that the instrument was sold to them with too low an action. Of course it is much harder to raise it than lower it.

Remember also that the height of the action needs to be determined by also taking into consideration other factors like string diameter and string tension.

Here's an interesting thing to consider. I have been playing the guitar for over 50 years. I have owned many fine acoustic guitars. I currently have 2 Martins, a Taylor and a Collings. In the past I have had several other Martins and Taylors, Gibsons, Takamines, many Lowdens, Ovations, etc. On every single one I had to adjust the action: on the Taylors and Ovations it had to be raised, and on all the others I had to lower it. A set-up is a personal thing.

Now that I work for Ohana (and proud to do so) I felt that it was disappointing that some people were suggesting that one of the Ohana products needed to be avoided because "they have a high action".

My next 2 reviews will be the Ohana TK-75CG and the Kala soprano travel uke.

buddhuu
10-26-2009, 11:07 PM
I'm sorry to hear that Ken. It was an excellent review.

No instrument is perfect, and minor variation is to be expected. It is also true that the action varies from instrument to instrument. I think anyone who has been playing fretted instruments for some time will be aware that it is the exception to find an instrument leaving the factory with good set up. That is usually addressed by the reseller.

To be honest, the concern that people will assume that all Ohanas have high action, and that high action is actually a significant problem (rather than a minor and routine set up issue) rather surprises me.

I know you probably have to take account of Ohana's feelings due to your association with them, but your review was honest, comprehensive, well-balanced and overall very positive.

Your review was of one instrument, as all reviews are. People would hope and expect that you would speak as you found.

It was a fine, unbiased review of the kind that you do so well, and I'm sad to hear it has been withdrawn. :(

Ken Middleton
10-27-2009, 12:00 AM
Thanks for the support, Rick. You're absolutely right, of course.

ukantor
10-27-2009, 01:13 AM
I'm appalled that your review should be mis-used in that way, Ken. Most factory produced ukes come with the action set a little on the high side. It should be playable (which I'm sure that Ohana was), but able to be adjusted to suit the individual. I own four Ohanas, and have set up about a dozen others, of all sizes. They were all fine instruments.

Keep up the good work!

John.

buddhuu
10-27-2009, 01:29 AM
[...]It should be playable (which I'm sure that Ohana was), but able to be adjusted to suit the individual. [...]
:agree:


A key point. I wish people would stop thinking of high action as a fault - it is not a fault. It is a default state which awaits adjustment to suit the player.

In the past I have received instruments (specifically mandolins) from well-meaning vendors who have assumed that I would want a very low action. When faced with my ham-fisted style, these instruments buzzed like a wasps' nest. How I wish they'd left the action high for me to adjust myself.

High action is not a manufacturing fault. It is not a warranty issue. It is not even necessarily a quality control issue. I suspect that the store to which Ken refers is being disingenuous and dishonest if they are implying otherwise.

Ken Middleton
10-27-2009, 01:42 AM
I'm appalled that your review should be mis-used in that way, Ken ...

I agree, John. It appalled me that a store should mislead a customer just so that they could sell another product. No reputable dealer would do that, certainly none that I have dealings with.

In fact, every dealer in that I have done business with has my greatest respect and give the highest levels of customer service.

ainokeato
10-27-2009, 01:47 AM
I agree, John. It appalled me that a store should mislead a customer just so that they could sell another product. No reputable dealer would do that, certainly none that I have dealings with.

In fact, every dealer in that I have done business with has my greatest respect and give the highest levels of customer service.

That's what's weird though, why would a company trying to sell multiple products steer people away from a certain product they are or trying to sell. Oh well, you know what? Less money for that person, and a smart consumer will shop around. I know I did before I finally settled on a good tenor to purchase.

Oh well some people will be people can't do much but get the actual words out there good on you Ken. I don't know who you are personally but I do know you're one of the people I read reviews from :) so keep doing what you're doing.

Ken Middleton
10-27-2009, 01:47 AM
Several people have asked if I would restore the video. I have decided to do so.

It has been pointed out me that an honest review is more important than pandering to a very small number of dishonest competitors.

Thanks particularly to R for his wise council.

beeejums
10-27-2009, 01:53 AM
I'm sorry to hear about this... Although it's pretty clear people put a lot of stock in what you have to say, Ken! I suppose that's the silver lining.

it occurs to me that this is another argument for people to learn some basic setup skills in the course of their time playing any stringed instrument. Well, I say, any, but I only have experience with uke, guitar, and bass... And electric instruments.

brickerenator
10-27-2009, 01:58 AM
Ohana TK-75CG

I've had my eye on this one for a while, can't wait for your review!

Ken Middleton
10-27-2009, 02:17 AM
I suppose that's the silver lining.

You're right. I am really grateful for people's trust.


I've had my eye on this one for a while, can't wait for your review!

I am just about to record the review. It will either go up tonight or tomorrow.

RevWill
10-27-2009, 02:28 AM
It is important for stringed instrument buyers to realize that instruments leave the factory with high action for a reason. It is far easier to lower action than to raise it. Lowering action requires a bit of sandpaper and/or files on the original parts; properly raising action requires the installation of a new nut and/or saddle.

Rainhill
10-27-2009, 03:22 AM
It is important for stringed instrument buyers to realize that instruments leave the factory with high action for a reason. It is far easier to lower action than to raise it. Lowering action requires a bit of sandpaper and/or files on the original parts; properly raising action requires the installation of a new nut and/or saddle.

+1 - I wrote the following in work, not been able to get to the internet to post until now:-

Ken, thanks for your post.

It seems the old adage the meaning of the communication is the answer you get prevails; people have taken your suggestion and construed them into negative feedback.

The response from the majority, it seems, shows that some education of the issue of instrument set up may be required. It seems to me that prospective uke players (as I have recently been) are unaware of the fairly low-level routines required to enhance their enjoyment of playing. In this list I would inlcude tuning, re-stringing, and yes, adjusting the action.

In this plug and play world, its still fine to get an instrument straight out the box and just enjoy it - many do. But if people want to take a little more from their playing, make their music more personal, they should be open to honest suggestion, not stuck in the yes/no good/bad consumer trap. I think your much-valued reviews go a long way to helping this open-mindedness and education along.

I applaud your professionalism, and your integrity - something which should echo from a reputable firm such as Ohana. I'm glad you reinstated the review.

While many dream of owning a big 'K', my mind is set on an Ohana Sopranino - this episode has only cemented the fact that I would want to do business with you.

So, factors permitting, I'll see you next year for one.

Rainhill

hoosierhiver
10-27-2009, 04:42 AM
:agree:


A key point. I wish people would stop thinking of high action as a fault - it is not a fault. It is a default state which awaits adjustment to suit the player.

In the past I have received instruments (specifically mandolins) from well-meaning vendors who have assumed that I would want a very low action. When faced with my ham-fisted style, these instruments buzzed like a wasps' nest. How I wish they'd left the action high for me to adjust myself.

High action is not a manufacturing fault. It is not a warranty issue. It is not even necessarily a quality control issue. I suspect that the store to which Ken refers is being disingenuous and dishonest if they are implying otherwise.


I agree 100%

veep
10-27-2009, 06:08 AM
I'm sorry to hear that Ken. .

fergs1
10-27-2009, 06:18 AM
A low action can be raised at the bridge quite easily with a shim. Its at the nut it becomes an issue. An action can be very low and still feel stiff if it is still too high at the nut. Just as an action might appear high but play very well if the nut has been correctly set. Its all about nuts.
cheers fergs

buddhuu
10-27-2009, 06:25 AM
[...] Its all about nuts. [...]

Words to live by... :D

Lori
10-27-2009, 06:39 AM
Perhaps ukulele makers should have a hang tag that explains the issue. You certainly can't count on the sales force to tell you anything. I did my first uke shopping and tried several Ohanas, which looked and sounded pretty good. But their action was set painfully high, and when I mentioned that, there was not a word from the sales person that it is supposed to be adjusted. I didn't know anything at that time about that stuff, and was left with the impression that that was a painful instrument to play. I never had my Classical Guitar adjusted, or my bargain Astro Banjo. So, the thought never occurred to me.

I love your reviews, and find them very helpful. And I now understand how important the set up is to the playability and intonation of an instrument.

Looking forward to seeing your Kala Travel Soprano review!

–Lori

Ronnie Aloha
10-27-2009, 09:37 AM
Ken,

Perhaps you can add your notes on the action to your comments under the video description.

mokai
10-27-2009, 01:43 PM
I saw the review in question before I picked up my 1st ukulele... having done a little research before I saw it, I was pleased to hear the action was 'high'
This was due to the fact that I have read "you can always lower action but you can't easily raise it"
So with that in mind, I was hoping for an ukulele w/ higher action... I figured with a little research, I could lower it to suit my personal needs.

I was actually hesitant to purchase a pre-setup in fear it would be too low and cause a buzz the seller may have not noticed.

so, +1 to you Ken....your honesty destroys any negativity some seller has towards ohana.
If anything, I would like to avoid the seller in question due to misleading buyers