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luvdat
07-25-2010, 01:46 AM
Anyone else out there start out loving a uke, then finding fault, disliking it, then "working things out" till it became a keeper?

This happened with me with a Lanikai S-T...after several slight adjustments...

Is the falling in and out of love with a uke thing part of UAS? Bonus question.

KevinV
07-25-2010, 01:57 AM
I tend to either like or dislike quite quickly. Even if it isn't exactly to my tastes, I can tell if a little work will put it in the zone. If the basics of what I like are there, I know that a little fret work, adjusting, and time will enhance the feelings of fondness already present.

mm stan
07-25-2010, 02:16 AM
Aloha and Howzit Luvdat,
Actually I do, I guess it goes in phases for me...when you get better your perceptions change about your instrument. What I thought
was really good, now is less adequate.. or when small changes occur slowly in your instruments that you are not aware of become apparent.
Such as strings worn or worn tuner issues and parts. Also structural issues as neck, bridge, nut and frets...and you don't notice them because they
may be so slight....
And always wanting to upgrade as you get better and noticing slight differences is part of UAS.. I think??? MM Stan..

luvdat
07-25-2010, 02:36 AM
2 things complicated the process (unncessarily): going back and forth between high and low g (and string brands) and being at first stubborn about not lowering the action. In the end, did it just come down to string choice, Nylguts, shocking myself? No. I think the relative string tension thing for me is what I'll look at first before bashing string brands while praising other string brands...or making any other crazy statements or decisions. What I learned from this on a tech level is that at least for me it's meaningless to talk about which uke I prefer, dislike till I get the relative string tension right as it relates to the overall tonal balance, not just playability.

mm stan
07-25-2010, 02:57 AM
Yup Luvdat,
It's a consideration often overlooked, string tension for comfort and playability...Not to mention when you
use lower tension, it slows down tempo too....the guage of string and the composition usually sets tension....
and brand and type is important too...don't forget... soo many factors eh!
Adjusted tuning can compensate for tonal balance as well of string choice or type. MM Stan...
On one of my tenors now, it is a full step down...at E +10/+20, A+10, C#-10, F#+10....like it very much.....

Graymalkin
07-25-2010, 05:40 AM
Anyone else out there start out loving a uke, then finding fault, disliking it, then "working things out" till it became a keeper?

Not quite the thing you're describing but, as you know, I was quite disappointed in the sound of my Kala KA-FMS until I changed both the strings (to Worth Browns) and the way I played it (very slightly). Now I love the way it sounds as well as the way it looks.


I think the relative string tension thing for me is what I'll look at first before bashing string brands while praising other string brands...it's meaningless to talk about which uke I prefer, dislike till I get the relative string tension right as it relates to the overall tonal balance, not just playability.


It's a consideration often overlooked, string tension for comfort and playability...

Sorry if I'm being a bit thick, but could you elaborate on/ explain the string tension thing, please? I don't really know or understand how it affects the tone or playability of a uke. In fact, until I was restringing the Kala I didn't even realise there were different tensions! I put Worth BL on the Kala - I believe they're 'light' tension? Is that appropriate for a soprano, or should I be going with the 'medium' ones? Or is it another thing that depends solely on the individual uke in question?

Thanks, and apologies if any of those questions lie fimly in the realm of the bloomin' obvious!

luvdat
07-25-2010, 07:01 AM
String tension as determined by action (saddle height). With lower action, less string tension. I needed to find an optimum level of string tension to balance out the uke tonally. Not too much, not too little. This also depends on what strings you're using.

With a slightly higher action, certain notes were overemphasized, in my case 3rd and 2nd string upper 3 frets. With higher string height, there's more volume (more noticeable of course with ukes that come from the factory with ovecompensated saddles). After various adjustments to the saddle things evened out.

I used to always say "There's more tone" with slightly higher action. I realize now it all depends on the instrument. What I was always calling "tone" was simply volume. And who cares about how loud the uke is if it doesn't sing ( a good match between string tension, playing tone, and body resonance/sustain).

For various reasons, even slightly higher string tension can unbalance things tonally aside from affecting playability. Also I think certain strings have an inherent stiffness (black nylon) which is another factor related to string tension.

In short, at what saddle height (and string choice) is your uke both very playable and tonally balanced out. What's interesting to me is that when that happened my playing style lightened up and I could get much more texture, variation and even volume with less energy...a really relaxed right hand. Also, more could come out from my left hand...

When I first got the uke it was "louder" but it didn't sing. This is NOT just the spruce top opening up in such a short time. And I do not equate a really loud uke with a uke that can sing.

SweetWaterBlue
07-25-2010, 09:39 AM
When I first got my Kala Ka-Tg I guess I loved it, since I choose it instead of the sopranos and concerts and other tenors I was able to play at the time. Then, I became infatuated with solid mahogany sopranos and had to have my Ohana sk-35G. I put the tenor away for a few months, not really wanting to hear it that much. After another fling with a concert Flea, whose spot on intonation and low action captured my fickle heart. After listening to myself on recordings, I eventually came to realize that I didn't care that much for a high-pitched instrument when singing ballads, country and western, and old pop rock songs. So.. I put a low G on the tenor, and rarely played the sopranos or concert. After listening to a lot of self-recordings, I wanted a still lower tone to sing with, so I fashioned my 1/4 scale guitar baritone, which is currently my favorite instrument for accompanyment, even though it cost less than all the others. I still like the tenor better for playing instrumentals though.

By the way, both my makeshift baritone and Kala tenor are both laminates. I find that laminate gives me a lot less pain as I have not put a ding in either one, which is more than I can say for my solid wood instruments.

Graymalkin
07-25-2010, 09:58 AM
String tension as determined by action (saddle height). With lower action, less string tension. I needed to find an optimum level of string tension to balance out the uke tonally. Not too much, not too little. This also depends on what strings you're using...In short, at what saddle height (and string choice) is your uke both very playable and tonally balanced out...

They're very individual instruments, aren't they? Feels like you could spend months messing around with one before finding the way it wants to be set up...


When I first got the uke it was "louder" but it didn't sing. This is NOT just the spruce top opening up in such a short time. And I do not equate a really loud uke with a uke that can sing.

I'd agree with that wholeheartedly - nice though volume is, a pretty sound is better.

Thanks for the elaboration!

luvdat
07-25-2010, 10:29 AM
Let's put it this way, I spent weeks. Not a luthier, LOL... of course my journeys into low g with that uke also delayed things.

luvdat
07-25-2010, 12:28 PM
When I first got my Kala Ka-Tg I guess I loved it, since I choose it instead of the sopranos and concerts and other tenors I was able to play at the time. Then, I became infatuated with solid mahogany sopranos and had to have my Ohana sk-35G. I put the tenor away for a few months, not really wanting to hear it that much. After another fling with a concert Flea, whose spot on intonation and low action captured my fickle heart. After listening to myself on recordings, I eventually came to realize that I didn't care that much for a high-pitched instrument when singing ballads, country and western, and old pop rock songs. So.. I put a low G on the tenor, and rarely played the sopranos or concert. After listening to a lot of self-recordings, I wanted a still lower tone to sing with, so I fashioned my 1/4 scale guitar baritone, which is currently my favorite instrument for accompanyment, even though it cost less than all the others. I still like the tenor better for playing instrumentals though.

By the way, both my makeshift baritone and Kala tenor are both laminates. I find that laminate gives me a lot less pain as I have not put a ding in either one, which is more than I can say for my solid wood instruments.

First, I'm with you on the lams...also because I actually prefer them with vocals. Did some recordings myself on Audacity and with my wife there at my side listening, comparing I still prefer the LU-21TE (unplugged recording) with vocals. Yes, the spruce top sounds "better" with respect to added clarity, but in the end I still listen to the LU-21T as a uke ultimately with more vibe. Not hating the spruce now again, LOL, just maybe better understand what I like with my voice.

Also another public apology on the UU forum to you SWB (and others) for not simply referring to the Kala KA-T as more "chambery" but going on and on (as usual)...Is my LU-21T any less nato barky? Probably not. I need that lam bark, LOL...

SweetWaterBlue
07-25-2010, 12:53 PM
I think I may have mentioned before that a Cordoba acoustic/electric tenor that I bought really cheap at GC because it had some big cracks in it, sounded great (very clean) when plugged in, but it had very little volume when unplugged. I think the fact that it had so little resonance to speak of made it a better electric than one that would have sounded loud acoustically. I liken it to a solid body electric guitar. At least that is my theory. Clean (meaning balanced clear tones from EACH string when strummed) and loud don't always go hand in hand, as others have said. Resonance can certainly get in the way. I ended up taking it back, just because I like to play unplugged more, and it had more cracks than I wanted to deal with.

luvdat
07-25-2010, 01:14 PM
I think I may have mentioned before that a Cordoba acoustic/electric tenor that I bought really cheap at GC because it had some big cracks in it, sounded great (very clean) when plugged in, but it had very little volume when unplugged. I think the fact that it had so little resonance to speak of made it a better electric than one that would have sounded loud acoustically. I liken it to a solid body electric guitar. At least that is my theory. Clean (meaning balanced clear tones from EACH string when strummed) and loud don't always go hand in hand, as others have said. Resonance can certainly get in the way. I ended up taking it back, just because I like to play unplugged more, and it had more cracks than I wanted to deal with.

Easier to deal with. All this talk of lams, cracked solids and lam electrics got me to plug in my uke and have a beer.

Ahnko Honu
07-25-2010, 01:52 PM
My 14 year old laminate Mahalo for the first few years was my favorite 'ukulele even more so than my koa Kumalae because I didn't have to worry about playing a 80 year old antique. For various reasons I cooled off on my 'ukulele playing until I moved back to Oahu from Maui 3 years ago. Moving back into the old homestead reminded me of my Dad and his Kamaka pineapple playing days so I picked up a few solid wood pineapples, and my the Mahalo sat neglected for a year. Then two years ago I decided I needed a beach/boat/truck/camp 'ukulele so restrung the old Mahalo with Aquila Nylguts and she sounded better than ever before, and I had an 'ukulele I could keep in my vehicles or lend out without fear. I forgot how that cheap little 'ukulele years ago help me reconnect with my Dad even though on a very tight budget. It always sounded better than $45.00 of 'ukulele should. I rediscovered an old friend. ;)

luvdat
07-25-2010, 02:20 PM
My 14 year old laminate Mahalo for the first few years was my favorite 'ukulele even more so than my koa Kumalae because I didn't have to worry about playing a 80 year old antique. For various reasons I cooled off on my 'ukulele playing until I moved back to Oahu from Maui 3 years ago. Moving back into the old homestead reminded me of my Dad and his Kamaka pineapple playing days so I picked up a few solid wood pineapples, and my the Mahalo sat neglected for a year. Then two years ago I decided I needed a beach/boat/truck/camp 'ukulele so restrung the old Mahalo with Aquila Nylguts and she sounded better than ever before, and I had an 'ukulele I could keep in my vehicles or lend out without fear. I forgot how that cheap little 'ukulele years ago help me reconnect with my Dad even though on a very tight budget. It always sounded better than $45.00 of 'ukulele should. I rediscovered an old friend. ;)

Beautiful, Ji!!! Thanks for sharing that.

mwaller
07-25-2010, 02:33 PM
Anyone else out there start out loving a uke, then finding fault, disliking it, then "working things out" till it became a keeper?

This happened with me with a Lanikai S-T...after several slight adjustments...

Same thing happend with my first uke - a custom koa LoPrinzi that I bought used. At first, I was enamored with the beauty of the wood and smooth, mellow sound. Once I actually learned to play a song or two, I quickly realized 1) buzzing on certain notes drove me crazy, and 2) the instrument lacked tonal clarity when strummed.
As it turns out, the neck was slightly warped. I sent the instrument to LoPrinzi to have the fretboard planed and refretted. That solved issue #1. After much experimentation, I found a set of strings that just "worked" with the instrument (Savarez rectified nylon strings). That solved issue #2. Now it's a keeper!
Mika