PDA

View Full Version : Bad intonation



Jakeii
12-12-2009, 11:06 AM
I've had this ukulele for a while but only got into playing recently, and have notest a bad intonation

it starts at about 40 cents off close to the nut, and gets worse to where the 12th fret harmonic is almost exactly a semitone sharp on all strings.

I've lowered the action at the nut and it's made no diffrence.

Is there anthing I can do?

bazmaz
12-12-2009, 11:24 AM
what uke is it? (that will give us a guide). you should also bear in mind that high action (you say you have lowered it) is not necessarily the issue if you have bad intonation.

Going sharp at the nut is often symptom of nut being too high. Does it go sharp when you press at first fret, but less so if you fret lightly at the first? If so - nut slots need to be deeper - but be careful doing this yourself!

Bad intonation down the neck can be down to a whole host of things, most seriously with badly set frets, or slightly less seriously with a bad saddle (though very badly with a duff bridge position)

Taking things step by step, a change of string type can help - what are you strung with?

If you bear in mind, say, and electric guitar - the individual saddles are adjustable, and often need tweaking if you change from heavy to light strings.

That isnt possible on a Uke, but if you are on heavy thick strings, you could try changing to lighter type.

Also, sometimes you can get bad strings that have been manufactured oddly- a string change, or even swapping the strings around so you put the tuner end at the bridge can sometimes help.

Very cheap ukes (such as my 15 Mahalo) have truly dreadful intonation. I have the action set spot on, and have tried different strings, but quite frankly the bridge and / or the frets are just plain wrongly set. For 15 I am happy to chalk this to experience and try to tune mid way between good and bad to strike a balance. That said - if my 200 Mainland had bad intonation, I'd be sending it back!

Jakeii
12-12-2009, 11:43 AM
Its an ashton, pretty cheap so I guess I cant complain that much.

If I press as lightly as possible on the first fret it about 20 cents sharp on all strings.

I'm currently using the strings that came with it, so I'll try some new ones, I've seen Aquila seems to be recomended alot, should I go for these?

buddhuu
12-12-2009, 01:48 PM
[...] it starts at about 40 cents off close to the nut, and gets worse to where the 12th fret harmonic is almost exactly a semitone sharp on all strings.

I've lowered the action at the nut and it's made no diffrence.

Is there anthing I can do?

Check action at the bridge. It'd have to be pretty high to put the 12th fret out by a semitone, but it's possible. If there seems to be plenty of room to lower it then go ahead and see if that helps. Ideally you should get a new bridge saddle and sand that one down, keeping the original in case it doesn't work and you want to put things back as they were.

A change of strings could well help. Aquilas are very good.

Once you've tried some new strings you might also want to tune the uke's open strings to pitch with an accurate tuner, then check the 12th fret harmonic.

If a change of strings and lower bridge action don't help, and if the 12th fret harmonic isn't in tune... well, things could be a little more complicated. Could be an incorrectly placed bridge.

However, there's a good chance that one of the simple things will improve matters.