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View Full Version : Vibrating Bridge on New Kala KA-SMHC



KevinV
05-09-2010, 02:01 PM
I received a new solid mahogany Kala concert last week and it had a slight buzz, but only when playing the C string open, or on the first 3 frets. I thought it was string buzz, but on closer inspection it's the bridge buzzing due to sympathetic vibrations from those 4 notes. It doesn't happen anywhere else on the fretboard. It's quite irritating though as so many chords involve one of those 4 notes.

I really love the sound and feel of this uke but the bridge issue isn't acceptable. I've contacted the online retailer but received no reply. I don't want a replacement as I can't be sure the tone will be the same, so I'm hoping to get it repaired. I'm positive it's the bridge and imagine it can be fixed...just a matter of dealing with the headaches this will entail getting it either back to Kala, the dealer, or a local authorized luthier.

Anyone dealt with Kala QC issues? I really hope to be able to keep this same uke. It's exactly what I wanted in it.

fahrner
05-09-2010, 02:29 PM
My only experience with sympathetic vibrations was with my Ohana tenor. It was really hard to track down. Sometimes it sounded like it was coming from the braces, the bridge etc. What I finally found was one of the tuner nuts was loose. Not to the touch but loose enough to vibrate.
My Kala acacia seems like it's built really well with no issues, especially in the area of the bridge. I imagine the solid mahogany concert is the same. Some things you might try; Loosen the strings and check the saddle to make certain it is seated properly. I'd also check the string knots at the bridge. You'd be surprised; those little buzzards can come from anywhere. Good luck with it. Let us know how it gets resolved.

luvdat
05-09-2010, 02:48 PM
In some of the Kalas I have tried out, yes buzzing, and by coincidence in concerts. Follow up with what fahrner said and if necessary the manufacturer. Kala has had various QC issues and some would say at that price point, it's to be expected...but it's not wanted. I have seen a fair number of bad saddles at various price points in their line. They do a nice job with their necks. What's up with their saddles? Saddles can be replaced...

onepipes
05-09-2010, 03:42 PM
I have the same thing happening on my Kala KT-CT, C string first three frets. I changed the the saddle no help.

KevinV
05-09-2010, 03:49 PM
I have the same thing happening on my Kala KT-CT, C string first three frets. I changed the the saddle no help.

Sorry to hear that...it's frustrating for sure. I just got an email from the dealer and he said to send it back to him and we'll get it squared away. I really do prefer to buy locally, but the few ukes available locally are not at all what I'm looking for.

luvdat
05-10-2010, 01:06 AM
No joke, KevinV...the Kala's I've tried in about 4 stores now with the buzzing issues on the rack have all been concerts. Maybe no coincidence. Kala necks are great esp. on sopranos and tenors. Maybe there's something with the added string diameter/not a whole lot more string tension, neck width, saddle...that doesn't accomodate all the above mentioned well...a kind of in-betweeness...

The strings (G and A) do seem visually closer to the neck edge on concerts (proportionately)...which might leave the C in a less balanced spot? With the C string responible for some woofiness on even some sopranos...who know? I hope it works out for you and everyone. We've ruled out a slight undetected crack(ing) somewhere in the mahog?

luvdat
05-10-2010, 01:09 AM
I have the same thing happening on my Kala KT-CT, C string first three frets. I changed the the saddle no help.

I tried 2 KT-CT's with a built in buzz as well as an Exotic Mahog concert and a Curly Mango concert...

Skottoman
05-10-2010, 03:37 AM
I have a Kala Spalted Maple Concert that has a bit of a buzz problem as well. Can't track it down. Just on the high A string. Tried shimming, different strings, etc. Still there, but only when played hard.
Cheers,
Skottoman

Skitzic
05-10-2010, 04:11 AM
My watermelon had terrible intonation when I got it. Kala swapped it out no problem, but I was ok with getting a different one.

Good luck!

My cordoba buzzes a bit at the saddle on the C string, but it only happens with wound strings. Eventually I will swap out to all plain and I am confident the buzz will go away. Sorry to hear your issue isn't as simple.

KevinV
05-10-2010, 03:15 PM
If this is a common issue with Kala concert size ukes there's no assurance a swap will remedy the situation. I really dig the sound of this uke so I may reassess and see if I can live with the buzz.

luvdat
05-11-2010, 03:54 AM
If this is a common issue with Kala concert size ukes there's no assurance a swap will remedy the situation. I really dig the sound of this uke so I may reassess and see if I can live with the buzz.

Maybe try a change of string brands...like Martin fluros even...might not be a cure but a reduction...

pulelehua
05-11-2010, 11:53 AM
The Jumping Flea had a problem with a Kala saddle and switched it out for tusq. I'm thinking of trying the same, as I've got some woofiness. Good word. I've had no luck tracking it down. Concert, BTW.

luvdat
05-12-2010, 09:05 PM
The Jumping Flea had a problem with a Kala saddle and switched it out for tusq. I'm thinking of trying the same, as I've got some woofiness. Good word. I've had no luck tracking it down. Concert, BTW.

Thanks for mentioning the "woofiness." This is something that afflicts a good number of Kala ukuleles (probably a lot of brands really but...) and is what I described as the "design goofiness" of certain Kala ukuleles. For example, on the cheaper side, the Mahogany (laminate) series. Why? Insisting on a deeper, wider fuller body while the "thinline" is shown to project sound with less internal tumbling. In the case of the acacia (concert I had) the smaller soundhole doesn't help matters nor the ebony saddle...in general I thnk their solid woods (especially sopranos and concerts) are somewhat overbuilt for "durability"...

KevinV
05-16-2010, 04:27 AM
I'll be sending it back for a replacement tomorrow. I have isolated the problem and it's a misplaced bridge plate. The 2 screws that go through the bridge just miss the back of the bridge plate rather than anchoring into it. I double checked my other 2 Kala's and the bridge screws are nicely centered in the bridge plate. The seller also said that the screws go through the plate on all the ukes he builds. So this one is a dud based on one improperly placed piece of backing wood. What a shame...it sounds, looks, and feels great, save for the buzz from bridge on those 4 notes.

I surely hope the replacement sounds as good as this one does.

luvdat
05-16-2010, 11:23 AM
Good luck with that one, KevinV.