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View Full Version : New uke excitement / disappointment - Kala Acacia Tenor saddle issue.



kful
12-03-2010, 05:51 AM
I'm new to playing ukulele. Yesterday, I got my new Kala Acacia Tenor from Musicguymic. I'm very impressed with their communication, quick shipping, and prices. The packing was excellent, also.

The tone and sustain isn't quite what I was hoping for. On the bass side of the bridge, the saddle has a considerable gap on the bottom. I'm wondering if a new saddle or adjusting the existing one might help. I wonder if new strings might be the answer.

Does anyone know of a good place to take it to in Orange County, CA?

I really want to like this uke!

lozarkman
12-03-2010, 06:30 AM
Well something just doesn't sound right. Musicguy wouldn't send out a defective uke. By all Means CALL Mike FIRST and tell him your problem. He will figure it out and do what is right with you. guaranteed. His setups are known as the best in the business so PLEASE call him. Good luck. Don't be too disappointed or frustrated, it will work out and you will be a uke lover. Lozark

cletus
12-03-2010, 06:43 AM
CALL MGM. He answers his phone.

Ronnie Aloha
12-03-2010, 08:35 AM
Call first. He might just reimburse you for the local set up as some other sellers do. If he does 13th Street Guitars in Huntington Beach would be able to set you up.

http://www.13thstreetguitars.com/content/view/69/68/

MGM
12-03-2010, 08:44 AM
yes please do call could be the saddle is just not pushed or saeted right in slot.. but call first because simply trying to force it down can damage uke

Ronnie Aloha
12-03-2010, 09:02 AM
MGM, you da man!

kful
12-03-2010, 10:10 AM
I'm totally not blaming MGM. I'm sure it's just a minor manufacturing issue, which isn't the fault of the dealer.

I didn't realize MGM was a member here, although I chose him based on the praise I've read about him and his business here.

I was really wondering if a gap between the saddle is normal and how much issue this could cause. I was also hoping someone would have a quick fix.

I'm calling MGM, right now!

Thanks for the replys.

Uncle Leroy
12-03-2010, 11:30 AM
+1 for MGM, he is a stand up guy and treats everybody right. Good luck with the Uke.

kful
12-03-2010, 04:33 PM
I called Mike and he'll send out another saddle. He also gave some good advice on how to check the existing saddle. Very cool guy.

Thanks!

cb56
12-04-2010, 01:33 AM
any chance you'd be willing to take a picture of the saddle and gap? Just so we could see what you are talking about?

kful
12-05-2010, 08:50 AM
I spoke with Mike. He said he'd send out a new saddle. He also suggested I loosen the strings and remove the existing saddle to see if it was flat. The shim underneath the saddle didn't go all the way to the bass side of the slot. This is what was causing the gap.

I realized the issue with the tone was the strings were fretting out when playing toward the upper frets. A taller saddle should fix this I imagine.

I forgot to ask Mike if the taller saddle might cause any intonation problems. Can anyone advise on this?

http://img262.imageshack.us/img262/7626/dsc04864w.jpg (http://img262.imageshack.us/i/dsc04864w.jpg/)

cb56
12-05-2010, 12:21 PM
hmmm... mine has a bit of a gap at the bottom but I assumed that it was because the saddle was sitting on the strip underneath that is part of the pickup. Mine sounds fine plugged in or unplugged btw.

kful
12-15-2010, 06:45 PM
Yesterday I received two replacement saddles. They were sent directly from Kala (MGM arranged for them to be sent to me).

One was slightly taller than the existing one. The other was even a little taller. I installed the taller of the two, after a little sanding to make it fit in the slot. It fit in very snugly.

The sound is so much better and clearer now. It's much louder.

The invoice from Kala said they're rosewood saddles. They're website says the acacia models come with ebony. I telephoned Kala. I was told they only have rosewood saddles as replacements.

I wonder how much, if any, difference a properly fitting ebony saddle would make. I'm also curious about the synthbone saddles they sell.

rem50
12-16-2010, 02:18 AM
i had never thought of that with the different wood for the saddle. If you do change out, let us know what you find. rem

kful
12-16-2010, 06:15 AM
BTW, I was at a music store, in Orange County, CA, looking at ukes. A number of the Kalas had issues with their saddles. Some of them had poorly done shims which didn't cover the width underneath the saddle. Some of the saddles had a considerable lean. The one I received was much better than some of the ones there. Of course mines much better now.

Also, I just ordered a set of Worth Browns MGM, based on recommendations here.

Skitzic
12-16-2010, 06:32 AM
Glad it worked out for you.

casarole45
12-16-2010, 06:40 AM
BTW, I was at a music store, in Orange County, CA, looking at ukes. A number of the Kalas had issues with their saddles. Some of them had poorly done shims which didn't cover the width underneath the saddle. Some of the saddles had a considerable lean. The one I received was much better than some of the ones there. Of course mines much better now.

Also, I just ordered a set of Worth Browns MGM, based on recommendations here.

I ended up returning a Kala because the saddle and bridge were a faulty (different faults), I did contact Kala to let them know of the issues but I'm not sure if they were particulary interested, I have to admit out of all the ukes I bought since I've steered clear of Kala. There was a bit of a thing about their saddles a while back, they still don't seem to have resolved it by the sounds of things. On saying that I'm sure the majority of Kala owners have great intstruments that they find are a pleasure to play but for me the Kala brand name has a tarnish.

France
12-16-2010, 10:28 AM
Yeah I'm another one who managed to buy a Kala with a loose saddle. I just pushed the saddle to an upright position and the tension of the strings seemed to hold it in place just fine. My only other uke is a cheap and nasty so I'm not really sure if the sound is greatly affected this issue or not.

OldePhart
12-16-2010, 12:22 PM
I wonder how much, if any, difference a properly fitting ebony saddle would make. I'm also curious about the synthbone saddles they sell.
I suspect the difference between a well-fit rosewood saddle and a well-fit ebony saddle would not be earth-shattering. The ebony is probably a little brighter, and the synthetic bone (probably just Corian) brighter still.

I think for my tastes I'd probably prefer the rosewood - but I'm not really crazy about really bright sounding ukes.

John

OldePhart
12-16-2010, 12:24 PM
BTW - it's actually better to have a saddle that is just slightly loose than one that is so tight that it won't fit cleanly into the slot. Obviously, you don't want one loose enough that it visibly tilts but with the strings off you should be able to remove it with no trouble.

John