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View Full Version : Ukulele Set-Up and Adjustments



Reno Dave
04-18-2010, 04:47 AM
Aloha to all,
I just had my Oscar Schmidt OU6-LCE Tenor Ukulele set up by a local Luthier. This happened because I was frustrated when I barred on the first fret. I had to mash down my index finger to get a clear clean sound. Then as I finger picked up the neck, the strings were too high off the fret board. After doing much research on UU I discovered that many ukes that are mass produced in factories have a high action when they are sent out. My local luthier listened to my concerns and took the time to watch how I strummed and picked. He agreed the action was too high. He shaved both nut and saddle by a mere 1/32" and result was incredible. Now, I don't have to exert useless energy when playing anymore. My playing is so much smoother now that the action has been properly adjusted.

Nuprin
04-18-2010, 11:51 AM
This is why most of my ukulele purchases have been through MGM (although I understand that UkeRepublic also does the same). Free setups for every ukulele out the door (including my cheap, beater, Makala Dolphin)!

arashi_nero
04-18-2010, 07:16 PM
to the op, what are your thoughts about the ou6-lce? if i get another uke in the near future, i think that will be the one. the shop where i bought my ou4 has one for $270 and i was impressed with the sound both with and without being plugged into an amp.

molinee
04-18-2010, 07:26 PM
This is why most of my ukulele purchases have been through MGM (although I understand that UkeRepublic also does the same). Free setups for every ukulele out the door (including my cheap, beater, Makala Dolphin)!

It is seriously doubtful that MGM and UkeRepublic are shaving nuts and saddles on these production run ukuleles. I know that they check the frets out and overall quality... Lowering saddles and nuts is doubtful... but I could be wrong.

Nuprin
04-19-2010, 02:48 AM
It is seriously doubtful that MGM and UkeRepublic are shaving nuts and saddles on these production run ukuleles. I know that they check the frets out and overall quality... Lowering saddles and nuts is doubtful... but I could be wrong.

Maybe you're right but mine plays really well...the action is great and the intonation is spot on. I've heard some others here talk about playing the Dolphins at stores and they were horrible. It seems the ones bought through MGM or UkeRepublic are raved about. See this thread (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?25024-Makala-Dolphin-sounded-horrible!&highlight=dolphin).

Reno Dave
04-19-2010, 04:04 AM
I am very happy with my OU6-LCE. It's a Koa Laminate with a cutaway. I use Aquila Nylgut High G strings on it and the sound is great when plugged in or not. Mine has a MISI pick up system . The uke itself is beautiful with a high gloss finish. I am going to purchase a OU4 and string it with Low G Aquila's. IMHO, the OU6-LCE is a great value for the price.

arashi_nero
04-19-2010, 05:28 AM
haha, your plan sounds exactly like mine, just you bought yours in the opposite order as me. i figured if i get another uke that's amped (wich i was really impressed with the ou6 lce at the store), that one will stay high g and my ou4 would be strung low g.

MGM
04-19-2010, 06:24 AM
It is seriously doubtful that MGM and UkeRepublic are shaving nuts and saddles on these production run ukuleles. I know that they check the frets out and overall quality... Lowering saddles and nuts is doubtful... but I could be wrong.

I dont know about others but we do adjust every saddle and nut...i mean every saddle and nut....ww fret dress and level and also many times have to change a string that is bad on many ukes....We do what we say.. we test pickups change old batteries..We dont just look at the uke like others... Ask anyone who has been to my shop. Ask me what the action is on a uke and I can tell you exactly in mm or 1000ths of inches on each side when we send them out at 12th fret...we are not perfect but we try hard

Kekani
04-19-2010, 06:28 AM
It is seriously doubtful that MGM and UkeRepublic are shaving nuts and saddles on these production run ukuleles. I know that they check the frets out and overall quality... Lowering saddles and nuts is doubtful... but I could be wrong.

You were - MGM corrected already.

Just confirming that MGM is nuts - what he does, I do, except he does it on cheap instruments. From a labor perspective, he's not making as much as the next guy when he sells an instrument. His passion is well grounded . . .

-Aaron

cletus
04-19-2010, 07:01 AM
I bought from MGM based on reviews and ratings. I knew that if I bought a uke that didn't play correctly, I would be VERY displeased. I live in a big city, and could have bought locally, but the people I talked to in the music shops didn't know anything about ukes except "they're really popular right now".When I asked about setting up the ukes, I got blank stares.
I am pleased with my Kala tenor 1000%.

SailingUke
04-19-2010, 07:22 AM
Set-up is all very subjective, that is, what one player may consider high, another ok.
New ukes (like guitars) tend to be set on the high side at the factory, it is much easier to lower the action than raise the action.
I tend to like low action, set to a dangerous level just above the buzzing point.
It has been my experience on ukes that the intonation can be adversly affected by very high action. I have lowered that action on several low & medium priced ukes and found great improvements.
One of the main reasons beginners struggle on ukulele and guitar is trouble making chords on poorly set-up instruments. Even a beginner level instrument can benefit from a good set-up.

kenikas
04-19-2010, 08:16 AM
You were - MGM corrected already.

Just confirming that MGM is nuts - what he does, I do, except he does it on cheap instruments. From a labor perspective, he's not making as much as the next guy when he sells an instrument. His passion is well grounded . . .

-Aaron

The set up seems to be especially important on the cheaper ukes. I've bought 3 "inexpensive" ukes from MGM, and they all play great. The ukes I've played at our local shop seem pretty good, but I have seen a few problems there, and the luthier there is the guy I have do all of my guitar work, but he doesn't seem quite as familiar with uke set up. That's why I prefer to buy my ukes from a "ukulele specialist".

molinee
04-19-2010, 09:27 AM
I dont know about others but we do adjust every saddle and nut...i mean every saddle and nut....ww fret dress and level and also many times have to change a string that is bad on many ukes....We do what we say.. we test pickups change old batteries..We dont just look at the uke like others... Ask anyone who has been to my shop. Ask me what the action is on a uke and I can tell you exactly in mm or 1000ths of inches on each side when we send them out at 12th fret...we are not perfect but we try hard

I stand corrected Your Honor, and throw myself on the mercy of the court ... :)

alicecat
04-19-2010, 01:06 PM
One of the main reasons beginners struggle on ukulele and guitar is trouble making chords on poorly set-up instruments. Even a beginner level instrument can benefit from a good set-up.

Agreed! I am a real beginner (only one month of playing). I got a Mahalo cheapo U2K from a shop one day and got hooked. The problem is, yes, I struggled.

Later I got a Ohana SK35 from MGM, it totally changed my ukulele life! It is so much easier to play, some chords I struggled on the Mahalo is so easy to be played on the Ohana, it is unbelievable.

Being a DIY gal, I decided to change the action myself. And guess what? The Mahalo is actually acceptable now. Even my husband who doesn't know anything about ukulele asked me, 'hey, it does sound better...louder, clearer...' Of course, I will only do that myself on a cheapo, I will NOT consider doing that on any solid wood uke. :o