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View Full Version : Bought new uke - having problems...



rock_and_roll_camera
01-30-2010, 12:19 PM
I just bought a new uke, my first "PROPER" uke really. It's a Lanikai LU 21-CE and I'd been looking it over on the net for a while but when I actually saw it in the shop I had to buy it, it looked so much better than on any computer screen! Well tuned it up in the shop, played it and all seemed fine. Even got some money off because there was a tiny little dent on the headstock, you can't even notice it... I'm suprised they took money off for it, I felt so cheeky asking!

Anyway, got the thing home, tuned up again and I'm getting BUZZING! At first it only seemed to be in certain places, then it seemed to move around. Now all the strings seem to be buzzing to some degree ALL the way down the neck. I don't know what to do, I cant seem to locate the source. I did tighten the nuts around the tuners as they were loose leaving the washers to vibrate a bit but that hasn't actually done much suprisingly? I slackened the strings off and removed the bridge piece because I wanted to look underneath as it seemed to have something wedged underneath. As it turns out these ukes seem to have the bridge held on with some kind of band/tie going through the top of the instrument, throught the saddle and back down again? Well still no reduction in the buzz... I don't understand it, she sounded so sweet in the shop. Why do instruments do that?

Also, I'm wondering if it's even worth playing around with, it's under warranty and I only got it today so maybe I'll just take it back? Shame though because I don't think they had any more? I have noticed though that the edge of the neck/heel, where it meets the sides of the body seems a bit rough too. Is this usual for this type/brand? I know it's not a hugely expensive uke but I consider it a mid-level model maybe? I'm just wondering if this is normal craftsmanship (or lack of it!?) or if this uke is B-stock or damaged or something? The nuts and washers on the tuners do seem a mucky too

Help and suggestions will be much appreciated!...

pdxuke
01-30-2010, 12:23 PM
I just bought a new uke, my first "PROPER" uke really. It's a Lanikai LU 21-CE and I'd been looking it over on the net for a while but when I actually saw it in the shop I had to buy it, it looked so much better than on any computer screen! Well tuned it up in the shop, played it and all seemed fine. Even got some money off because there was a tiny little dent on the headstock, you can't even notice it... I'm suprised they took money off for it, I felt so cheeky asking!

Anyway, got the thing home, tuned up again and I'm getting BUZZING! At first it only seemed to be in certain places, then it seemed to move around. Now all the strings seem to be buzzing to some degree ALL the way down the neck. I don't know what to do, I cant seem to locate the source. I did tighten the nuts around the tuners as they were loose leaving the washers to vibrate a bit but that hasn't actually done much suprisingly? I slackened the strings off and removed the bridge piece because I wanted to look underneath as it seemed to have something wedged underneath. As it turns out these ukes seem to have the bridge held on with some kind of band/tie going through the top of the instrument, throught the saddle and back down again? Well still no reduction in the buzz... I don't understand it, she sounded so sweet in the shop. Why do instruments do that?

Also, I'm wondering if it's even worth playing around with, it's under warranty and I only got it today so maybe I'll just take it back? Shame though because I don't think they had any more? I have noticed though that the edge of the neck/heel, where it meets the sides of the body seems a bit rough too. Is this usual for this type/brand? I know it's not a hugely expensive uke but I consider it a mid-level model maybe? I'm just wondering if this is normal craftsmanship (or lack of it!?) or if this uke is B-stock or damaged or something? The nuts and washers on the tuners do seem a mucky too

Help and suggestions will be much appreciated!...

I'd take it back if it were me.

uke5417
01-30-2010, 01:17 PM
Sometimes in a busy music shop you can't hear what an instrument sounds like. I had a similar experience once. Took it back to the shop, and they agreed it was defective. Refund. No problem.

MartinLil
01-30-2010, 02:21 PM
Have you tried new strings? Put on some new strings and if it still buzzes then take it back immediately.

Gaby
01-30-2010, 02:34 PM
Sure it isn't the pickup wire rattling around in the body? They tend to be fairly long in these ukes...

heymelbs
01-30-2010, 02:43 PM
I returned my LU-21C because I wasn't happy with the intonation (wasn't in tune with itself) and the high action.

luvdat
01-30-2010, 11:27 PM
Before you bought that uke, you didn't wake up owing Lanikai or that store owner money. People talk about quality control in factories, etc...

Quality control for you: return it...and get a Kala somewhere...don't change the strings...in that price range...mahogany series...or for not that much more one of those Exotic Mahoganies...a very good sounding lam.

After playing a lot of Lanikais and Kalas I can honestly say that Kala beats them and for me, by a lot in the same price points. In the area of necks and intonation it's simply no contest.

rock_and_roll_camera
01-31-2010, 12:33 AM
I don't really wanna change the strings, it's brand new with Aquilas on it, don't see why I should have to go to that trouble just to return it? The shop was pretty quiet when I tried it out but yeah, I guess maybe there was enough ambient noise to cover the buzz? The two decent music shops in my area are a train ride away, one sells Lanikais and a few cheap models, and the others sell a home brand that seems exclusive to them? I was looking a Kala's but can't get them around here and I don't wanna order off the net as I'll have no idea what I'm getting... can't play or inspect it first?

harpdog
01-31-2010, 01:41 AM
I agree with checking the wire inside

luvdat
01-31-2010, 01:51 AM
I don't really wanna change the strings, it's brand new with Aquilas on it, don't see why I should have to go to that trouble just to return it? The shop was pretty quiet when I tried it out but yeah, I guess maybe there was enough ambient noise to cover the buzz? The two decent music shops in my area are a train ride away, one sells Lanikais and a few cheap models, and the others sell a home brand that seems exclusive to them? I was looking a Kala's but can't get them around here and I don't wanna order off the net as I'll have no idea what I'm getting... can't play or inspect it first?

But here's the problem: you DID try out that uke and brought it home. I'm not trying to rub it in. BTW, I see your situation and have known the feeling. I am also not a fan of "blind buys" or virtually blind buys even with sound samples that are sometimes lacking.

I am a fan of Kala. But even as a fan after my last experience with a Kala concert acacia, even if I ordered it I would try it out, for more than 30 minutes and if I didn't like it, return it after never leaving the store. I do have the benefit of a dealer who is great (Ritchie's in NJ). The net IS different, but I can assure you of this: in that price point or even a little higher the Exotic Mahog concert, if that's what you like or the Mahog series concert, you'll be fine. With solid woods in general I am more hesitant even with Kala and not particularly blown away by any solids in that $200 plus level. I think what it comes down to is not expecting to be blown away, LOL.

Even if the wire is the source of buzzing or whatever, you're still stuck with not so great intonation. What's the deal with that home brand? Who knows? You might like it better. The best to you.

FourChordWonder
01-31-2010, 02:51 AM
Being an electric instrument, that "band" that's holding the bridge on is most likely the pickup. So don't go messing with it too much.

I'd just take it back and either get a refund or try every single LU12CE they have in stock to find one that's perfect, even if you have to pay a little more for it being non-damaged or check out that house brand.

rock_and_roll_camera
01-31-2010, 05:03 AM
I'm gonna have a look and see if the internal wiring is causing the buzz but in all honesty I'm prob gonna take it back tomorrow?

I don't understand what people are saying, is this uke no good because it's mahogany? Should I have got something else like exotic mahogany or spruce or cedar? And whats all this about not having good intonation?

Doug W
01-31-2010, 05:27 AM
At any rate I think you are doing the right thing to bring it in. Most store owners realize they are building long term relationships with people and know it is in their best interest to keep the customer happy so chances are they will send you out of the store as a happy camper one way or the other.

Skitzic
01-31-2010, 06:09 AM
Get what speaks to you. They were giving you their opinions. Take it back and get a non-defective one.

pdxuke
01-31-2010, 06:26 AM
I don't understand what people are saying, is this uke no good because it's mahogany? Should I have got something else like exotic mahogany or spruce or cedar? And whats all this about not having good intonation?

No, it's not because of what it's made of. It is undoubtedly the way it was set up. I had the exact same problem with my LU21C, only I didn't know enough to know what I was listening for. I thought it was just my bad playing. I can't say for certain why you have buzz, but all of your problems are probably due to set up. I'm guessing, like mine, that the action is high, even at the first fret, so that when you chord, it is pressing the strings to the point that they are out of tune.

I would return it. Find something in the shop that plays in tune without a buzz.

And next time call and talk to MGM. It's possible to blind buy and be happy.

Good luck, and let us know.

Gipserio
01-31-2010, 06:32 AM
I've had the same uke since Xmas day, and have done quite a few hours of playing with it with no vibrating (apart from the expected vibrating ;-) at all. Maybe the dent in the headstock was actually a pretty hard blow that affected some other part of the instrument. It's not intrinsic to the model, as mine goes fine, it's not a Kamaka, but it does the job.

Good luck

rock_and_roll_camera
01-31-2010, 07:16 AM
I couldn't go to MGM, I'm in the UK and needed the uke quickly, meant to playing it at a Christening in two weeks? I'm gonna take it back, I'm not sure that they had anymore but they'll have to order me a new one. Don't think the ding in the headstock has anything to do with it, just one of those things I guess?...

Gaby
01-31-2010, 11:10 AM
I sell truckloads of these ukes and can honestly say that at that price point they are good value. For those pushing Kala - well just check out where either are made. So far I yet have to run into one that buzzes due to set up, though of course, this can always happen even with the better ukes). The pickups are also good value, so handy for your performance.

However, my experience with ukes with these pickups (Lanikai and Ohana for example) is that the buzzing is often caused by the long pickup wiring inside. The wiring is the more likely one in my opinion because you did not hear this before you left the store.

If the action is a tat too high, then get it adjusted in the shop. The shop assistant may also be able to locate the buzz.

I found the intonation on these ukes quite reasonable. When you stick a headstock tuner on a uke you are likely to find the intonation to be out on many ukes (but can your human ear hear it?). No offence, bit even the way you play it can affect the intonation.

To cut a long story short - I reckon these ukes are bang for buck and if you feel you have an issue, talk to the folks at the store and let them help you. You may not need to have a new one ordered in.

Plainsong
01-31-2010, 11:51 AM
I couldn't go to MGM, I'm in the UK and needed the uke quickly, meant to playing it at a Christening in two weeks? I'm gonna take it back, I'm not sure that they had anymore but they'll have to order me a new one. Don't think the ding in the headstock has anything to do with it, just one of those things I guess?...

5 days is the longest it's ever taken for a uke shipped by MGM to reach me in Finland. He ships EMS. But that's mainly due to minimal customs delay once it's here. I've heard custom delay nightmares in the UK. There's two UK online sites I can think of to try: Southern Ukulele Store on Ebay (http://stores.shop.ebay.co.uk/Southern-Ukulele-Store) , and Duke of Uke (http://www.dukeofuke.co.uk/). Also Pete Howlett (http://www.petehowlettukulele.co.uk/) is in Wales I do believe.

More EU uke shops: Eagle Music (http://www.eaglemusicshop.com/products.asp/SubCatID/23/ukulele.html) is in the UK and has Mainland ukes, highly thought of at UU, Justecordes (http://www.justecordes.fr/catalogue/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=78&zenid=359cf7fc3af5a0232a512d5cf5cb907b) is in France and ships to the UK, and has some hard-to-find Ohanas and laminate Kiwayas, among others. Risa (http://www.ukulele.de/menu/) is a uke brand based out of Germany, and their online store has lots of brands at all the price options. And last but certainly not least, Mike at Ukulele24.de (http://www.ukulele24.de/) is a great guy.

Out of all of these, I've had great luck with Ukulele.de, Ukulele24.de, and Southern Ukulele Shop (I've only bought strings from them though). I know Mike at Ukulele24 does check setup and such before shipping, and Rigk at Risa probably does too, but you'd have to ask him. I've also heard that Justecordes does check setup, but I don't know from personal experience yet. As for buying from Pete, that would take a few months or a few years or however long his waiting list is. A few months would be lightening fast speed in the world of custom built instruments. But, who knows, maybe he has something at the shop ready to go that'll be about 1 million times better than the Lanikai.