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View Full Version : Is it possible to fix a "dead spot" on a uke?



cb56
01-25-2011, 01:39 PM
Last august I bought a Kala Ka-STE-C from MGM. I'm pretty happy with it sounds nice, plays in tune, pickup through amp sounds good, action /setup is great etc....
The only complaint I have is that on one note (D at the 5th fret on the A string) doesn't seem to have the sustain that the rest of the notes have. I guess this is what is called a dead spot. I've changed the strings and it's still there. If I tune down 1/2 step the "dead spot" moves up one fret. I can live with it but I wish it wasn't there. Don't know if this would be common to all KA-STE-Cs or if it's just my uke. Anyone else experience this or have any thoughts suggestions?
I'm looking at buying another tenor this summer hopefully. Do I need to spend alot more money to get a uke that doesn't have this issue or is it pretty common?
Do any uke manufacturers guarantee no dead spots on the fretboard?

thejumpingflea
01-25-2011, 02:14 PM
Interesting that the "dead spot" moves when you alter the tuning.

Have you tried a D5 on other parts of the neck? (Fret 7 on G, Fret 10 on E, Fret 14 on C)

cb56
01-25-2011, 02:38 PM
when tuning down 1/2 step the note "D" moves up to the 6th fret so it's something in the way the uke is resonating(or not) to the actual pitch.
It is noticable when the same note is played on all the other strings,(Fret 7 on G, Fret 10 on E, Fret 14 on C) especially fret 7 G string. But oddly enough it is not AS noticable on Fret 10 on E, Fret 14 on C. Weird huh?

Wagster
01-25-2011, 03:03 PM
I went through this same thing a couple years ago with a Bushman uke. I thought it was the new strings I put on it that were dead. You can find that thread here:

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?13319-Dead-spots-in-the-strings!!-Common-problem

That should help shed some light on the subject.

I hate to ruin the suprise ending, but no, it can't be fixed. I ended up (after ALOT of yelling and screaming at you know who) selling the uke back to bushman.

It turns out this is quite common among ALL stringed instruments. Fender basses have an especially bad reputation for having dead spots up high on the neck. Who'da thunk it!

chiefnoda
01-25-2011, 03:08 PM
Hi cb56

Your observation is dead on (silly pun!). A quick way to check for a dead spot is to down tune a string and see if the same note is as dead. It is the resonance structure of the body (and neck and everything) and I'm afraid it won't go away. On a solid body ukulele, as the wood ages, it may change the dead spot but more or less, you will be stuck.

And except a few exceptions, all ukuleles show a dead spot or two to a certain extent. It is not really a price, as ong as you pay a certain price (I'd say $500 or more). It's more of a chance/luck, and the only solution is to play as many as you can.

Well, maybe you can buy that Jake Shimabukuro model Kamaka, currently on E-Bay. For $17000, I'd hope the ukulele has no dead spots!

Cheers
Chief

Paul Cote
01-25-2011, 04:11 PM
and some strings sound louder than others too! at some notes. I think it has to do with the resonance of the box. whatever pitch its tuned to or not etc.

hmgberg
01-25-2011, 05:26 PM
Have the same problem with my Kala. Just does not resonate as strong at "F," either at 5th fret C string or 1st fret E string. Tuned up to D, but still had issue with "F." Spoke with MGM about it. Nothing to do, it happens. I've gotten used to it.

GX9901
01-26-2011, 08:17 AM
My William King 18" long-scale tenor has such a dead spot at the 11th fret of the A-string. I didn't realize this until quite a bit into my ownership of the ukulele (might have been close to a year after getting it) because that's not a note that gets played much. As such it didn't really bother me. I currently have tuned the uke down to Bb (I think, don't remember) and haven't checked to see if that dead spot is at a different location, although I did confirm that the 11th fret on the A-string has much more sustain than when in C-tuning. I guess I'll try to check on that tonight.