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View Full Version : Mahalo Friction Tuner Rescue Training



SuzukHammer
08-24-2010, 07:54 PM
I had used the search function on the board for a number of reasons. wow. imagine that ;) That's amazing unto itself.

I read about some guy's solution to friction tuners. He said, "just tighten the screw once your tuning is set." ok, so I need to walk around with an philips screwdriver in the mornings? Ok. So be it. Its my lot in life. :)

I had bought a pink Mahalo for my workmate's daughter. THey live in Indonesia and he can't afford to buy even cheap ukes. He said he fixed the friction tuners on the pinky Mahalo. So, I need to find out what he did for the fix and we can compare notes. In the meantime, he said her 2 year old brother got jealous and wants a uke too.

So I bought a load of cheapy Mahalos yesterday. Why? To see if I could fix the friction tuners and use them as giveaways to kids. The colored Mahalos are like kid crack. But they just can't stay in tune nor are the strings worth anything. They end up being bangers and wall flowers.

Can they be put to good use? Or is the requirement for a phillips screwdriver too much for a 2 year old??

My impression was that the molded friction tuner parts were no good because they were not roughed up after molding (trimmed either) and likely there was no friction on the painted face of the headstock for the friction part to grab.

I was right on both assumptions.

I sanded down and roughed up the places that needed friction and then employed the tightening of the screw idea I got here from the UU.

(Rant on) Honestly, does anybody have a contact at Mahalo?? WHy aren't those chinese workers doing the right thing for the friction tuners?? why??? It would save my time and ukes wouldn't have such a bad rap if the friction tuners were functional out of the box. (rant over)

My first fix responded well. I'm gonna check if first fix holds tension in a couple of hours and then I'm gonna put new strings on and see if the Mahalos can be converted to something playable.

Then it will be giveaway time for some lucky Indonesian here at the hotel.

mm stan
08-24-2010, 08:18 PM
Aloha suzukHammer,
I admire you for your generousity in spreading the ukulele love to kids, I'm also guilty of the same...
Also thanks for sharing your insight in resolving tuner issues with Mahalo...
It's always a good feeling at giveaway time to the kids...Have fun!! MM stan...

cocohonk
08-24-2010, 08:43 PM
:D Don't blame the chinese workers! :D (Blame the quality control, heh.) But it's very generous of you spreading the uke love all over.

Though I'm confused, do you mean those Mahalos with lots of different colors? I thought those came with geared tuners, not friction ones.

SuzukHammer
08-24-2010, 08:54 PM
THe Mahalo "rainbow" are labeled U30/RD and have a Nubone name to it. THey have a sticker that says "Made In China". They are friction tuners and the strings really seem like fishing line.

I've been inside a few chinese manufacturing plants and I know they can put another 2 or 3 people on the line with some files and sand paper. haha. I mean there are people everywhere in the plants.

I agree it could be quality control. Basically, there is only junk being sold as Ukulele in Indonesia. Or I haven't found anything different in my searches to the point I give up looking when I come here. I've read articles where they seem to equate poor street musicians with playing the ukulele when most I've seen play guitar.

MM stan, what do you giveaway to the kids?

I was thinking my Thai wife needs to take some cheap ukes to the temple as a option for music training that some temples offer the public.

mm stan
08-24-2010, 09:28 PM
Aloha SuzukHammer,
My first ukulele was a rogue soprano from Musician's friend and it is still my daily player and favorite..
althought you've got to tune them by ear for best sound preformance. I can give you some basic
tunings to work but every ukulele sounds different and you need to make adjustments from there.
It's $24.95 now with a vinyl bag, uke chord book and pitch pipe...You know I prefer mine to the other
high end ones I used to have...When I first bought mine, I think it was only $19.95....I just may have
bought over a dozen of these already.... MM Stan..
BTW..After they break in, these ukuleles stay in tune for a long time.....if you're a beginner you won''t
notice the slight changes from the tempature...and I like the factory strings on them too!!

octopusike
08-24-2010, 09:39 PM
I have tried friction tuners and have hardly been fmore irritated in my life then them. I just got a set of tenor banjo planetary pegs and modded them to be as small as I could make them. It is so nice to actually tune and see that the tuner stays in the exact point to know your in tune rather then shoot everywhere. This is me just speaking for me, I can understand that some people would not like the 8:1. But the 1:1 ratio is not for me at all.

SuzukHammer
08-24-2010, 10:29 PM
planetary pegs? Is that gears? That sounds like a Mechanical Engineering class I had before. I think I'm gonna have to find myself on a search of planetary pegs information.

SuzukHammer
08-24-2010, 10:43 PM
Aloha SuzukHammer,
My first ukulele was a rogue soprano from Musician's friend and it is still my daily player and favorite..
althought you've got to tune them by ear for best sound preformance. I can give you some basic
tunings to work but every ukulele sounds different and you need to make adjustments from there.
It's $24.95 now with a vinyl bag, uke chord book and pitch pipe...You know I prefer mine to the other
high end ones I used to have...When I first bought mine, I think it was only $19.95....I just may have
bought over a dozen of these already.... MM Stan..
BTW..After they break in, these ukuleles stay in tune for a long time.....if you're a beginner you won''t
notice the slight changes from the tempature...and I like the factory strings on them too!!

This is interesting information. If you are right that they stay in tune forever, then that screwing down on the friction tuner may just work for the tykes. ok, my plan now is to mod the friction on the friction tuners and try to see if the strings hold the tune before changing out.

So, I just opened a blue one and decided I'd only tighten the screws on the pegs and see if the tuners work. I'll see if MM stan's theory works that new new good strings are needed and no alterations to adjust the friction. Just a good screwdriver and a tuner for proof.

Each Uke has its own unique tuning. That's another interesting observation; but honestly, a slight variation in tuning never hurt anybody. Perhaps the tyke may learn some eery new locrian scale and make movie scores. You never know.

This is becoming interestng. I had thought the Mahalo cheapie was nothing but junk but mm stan is making me rethink my thinking. haha.

octopusike
08-24-2010, 11:06 PM
They are geared for sure. I could not find much help on the net about them. A local acoustic music shop helped me. I recommed finding a place that sells banjos as their main expertice. You will have to let them know that you are looking for tenor planetary pegs and get pricing and so on. I got bored one day and decided that they are going on my uke this moment. I put them on and they looked a little chunky. I like to concider myself a mad scientist. So I took my new pegs to the grinder. Wha ha ha. I just shortened my tuning keys down and dropped a few washers inside to make up for the spacing. If your looking to get that exact note you are tuning to- I recommend the conversion. Can't go back to anything else now.

kissing
08-25-2010, 12:34 AM
For the same price, Mahalo U30's come with good quality geared tuners. So what's the point of getting the friction ones...

Kite
08-25-2010, 01:49 PM
I started on a painted mahalo, it had geared tuners tho. But after being broken in it held its tune really well, swapped out the strings of course so I'm not sure if that has anything to do with it..

But I should probably add that there are murmurs that a really good mahalo comes out of every few. As in there'd be one good mahalo out of five which has decent intonation and can hold its tune.

SuzukHammer
08-25-2010, 02:44 PM
I'm willing to give this more time. It does seem that really tightening the screws helps. ALthough it feels like real work now with lots of friction.

I was just going to mention the intonation. The nut seems high and I'm gonna hav fun sanding this down. I have sand paper, thin blade and superglue in my hotel room. I was thinking I also bought some slides too so these Mahalo may have a purpose even without fixing the intonation.

Besides, I might as well practice my adjustments on these cheap ukes.

I told my wife I wanted to donate some ukes to the temple. She really got excited about that. That's rare that she thinks its ok for me to give away things but I guess she wants others to learn with her.

SuzukHammer
08-25-2010, 02:47 PM
For the same price, Mahalo U30's come with good quality geared tuners. So what's the point of getting the friction ones...

Oh, These Mahalo were purchased in Jakarta Indonesia. They have no selection really. And they do not have geared tuners with the selection. but I guess I should try a changeout on one of them.

arw
08-25-2010, 03:29 PM
Swapping out the strings makes for a huge improvement in these ukes.

mm stan
08-25-2010, 03:30 PM
This is interesting information. If you are right that they stay in tune forever, then that screwing down on the friction tuner may just work for the tykes. ok, my plan now is to mod the friction on the friction tuners and try to see if the strings hold the tune before changing out.

So, I just opened a blue one and decided I'd only tighten the screws on the pegs and see if the tuners work. I'll see if MM stan's theory works that new new good strings are needed and no alterations to adjust the friction. Just a good screwdriver and a tuner for proof.

Each Uke has its own unique tuning. That's another interesting observation; but honestly, a slight variation in tuning never hurt anybody. Perhaps the tyke may learn some eery new locrian scale and make movie scores. You never know.

This is becoming interestng. I had thought the Mahalo cheapie was nothing but junk but mm stan is making me rethink my thinking. haha.

I hope you got thinner strings, hence less tension...and tune them 1/2 step down....

SuzukHammer
08-25-2010, 07:02 PM
I have no doubt they will.

I was looking a group of randy ukers called uke attack!! uke Attack!! based in London. It showed one of them playing the cheap green Mahalo. I have not doubt he plays it well.

SuzukHammer
08-28-2010, 08:51 PM
For the same price, Mahalo U30's come with good quality geared tuners. So what's the point of getting the friction ones...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ae2naIA7q1E

Check out a video from MM stan's recommend hayley where she plays Blink182 All the Small things with a Mahalo with GEARED Tuners and she says it could NOT be tuned. I'll get the link shortly.

BUT The real reason I'm posting is I am changing my mind on the Mahalo U30s. They are cheap. And I am having a blast with them. I'll post more later; but, I want to thank those who told me to just have fun and those who exposed the answer to solving the tuning was just tightening the screw.

Cheap does not mean a loss of fun. On the contrary, my wife and I have had some real fun walking around with the Mahalos.

SOme young man eagerly asked where we got ours. I told him in Indonesia. He had just come back from Jakarta, saw kids playing with the colored ukes and is kicking himself he didn't buy one. He was looking frantically for a uke but could not find one in his desire or price range. Yeah, we've all been there.

My wife and I actually sold him a green Mahalo INSIDE of a guitar shop. ;) Too funny. The guitar shop was asking how they could source those ukes. Anyways, I gave him some short lessons. He bought the uke because HE NEEDED IT. HE had it bad - the disease.

I was going to give that green Mahalo to the first little kid that showed interest; but, this older kid had money and so I wanted to see how my wife felt about selling it.

During the sale, my wife felt good; but, afterwards, she missed the uke. haha. Yeah, she's picked up the disease, too :)