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Baseballhack
01-31-2011, 12:55 PM
New KoAloha owner he thanks to erivel letting go of one of his. I love this Uke and it is so addicting. I have a question for you fellow KoAloha owners. Granted I have only played to ukes thus far my Kala Tenor Cedar Top, and the KoAloha. But the action on the Kala is a lot lower than the KoAloha. I am torn I like the low action of the Kala for chording as it uses a lot less finger pressure, but I like the higher action of the KoAloha for picking much more room for my fingers. So what do you fellow KoAloha addicts have your action set at?

SailingUke
01-31-2011, 01:05 PM
Action is a personal thing. Myself, I tend to favor a little lower action.

OldePhart
01-31-2011, 01:07 PM
That is my only "beef" with my KoAloha, actually, is that the action (at the bridge end) is pretty high for such a quality instrument. The nut is perfect, but the bridge is noticeably high. Not enough to be "bad" - just not as good as it should be. My Mainland has a noticeably lower action.

John

wickedwahine11
01-31-2011, 01:07 PM
My action is very low on my KoAloha.

Baseballhack
01-31-2011, 01:09 PM
Action is a personal thing. Myself, I tend to favor a little lower action.

I totally understand, from my guitar electric guitar playing. The difference though is that with my electrics I can adjust the action and if I don't like it set it back. With the Uke I don't really have that option. So I'm just trying to get feel of how KoAlohas respond to lower actions, that is if anyone has adjusted them from what the factory sets it to.

Baseballhack
01-31-2011, 01:11 PM
My action is very low on my KoAloha.


Did you by chance adjust it yourself or have it done? I am at least two and a half hours from anywhere that I might let touch my baby.

soupking
01-31-2011, 01:14 PM
That is my only "beef" with my KoAloha, actually, is that the action (at the bridge end) is pretty high for such a quality instrument. The nut is perfect, but the bridge is noticeably high. Not enough to be "bad" - just not as good as it should be. My Mainland has a noticeably lower action.

John

Mine is exactly as you described, John. I like it like that, though, as I generally only play in first and second positions. Plus, in the (etremely) rare instances in which I attempt finger picking, it's easy to do since the action is higher over the fingerboard down by the bridge end.

Ronnie Aloha
01-31-2011, 01:26 PM
That is my only "beef" with my KoAloha, actually, is that the action (at the bridge end) is pretty high for such a quality instrument. The nut is perfect, but the bridge is noticeably high. Not enough to be "bad" - just not as good as it should be. My Mainland has a noticeably lower action.

John

I prefer to get stock ukes at a medium action so that it can be lowered to your preference. If it is low to start it is much more time consuming to raise it. I believe most manufactures will send out ukes this way, even Kala.

OldePhart
01-31-2011, 01:46 PM
I prefer to get stock ukes at a medium action so that it can be lowered to your preference. If it is low to start it is much more time consuming to raise it. I believe most manufactures will send out ukes this way, even Kala.

I can see that. I imagine a lot of even these higher-end ukes probably go to people who are indifferent about care and, if they let them dry out, the top can drop a few mm - so if the action is "perfect" it will end up too low after a few months in the tender embrace of those folks. One of these days I'll get around to lowering the saddle a bit but it's not high enough to be high on my priority list. Especially since I've half decided to look for a really nice concert-neck soprano at which time I might sell the concert, anyway.

As for the "factory" ukes - totally different story there - they just flat don't put in the hand work to do a setup at all from what I've seen - they have to ship with high nuts and bridges or they'd be buzzing left and right. Keeps folks like MGM and Mim gainfully employed and drives folks like me, who have the tools and knowledge to do setups but begrudge the time spent on them, crazy! :)

I think with my Mainland tenor Mike had seen from these forums how much I like low actions so when I ordered a mango with a pickup he took the time to get it as low as humanly possible. It's just about perfect for me in that the action is low enough that if I really try I can make it buzz, but it doesn't buzz when I'm playing normally. Half a mm lower at the bridge would probably have been too low.

John

UkePhilly
01-31-2011, 02:16 PM
Wow! I'm glad it's not just me! I just got my KoAloha Concert this past week -- I absolutely LOVE it except for the fact that the action seems really high. This was my first Uke that I ordered from a knowledgeable dealer (MGM) -- my previous two Ukes were from Amazon and Guitar Center. I was excited to finally play a Uke that was properly set up so I guess I was a little disappointed when I found out how high the action was (particularly at the saddle).

I suppose I can't blame MGM since I didn't tell him I wanted low action -- I just assumed that it would be set up lower than my non-setup Ukes.

I'm otherwise really happy with my KoAloha -- should I just learn to play with the high action or should I try to get it lowered?

Ukulele Jim
01-31-2011, 02:19 PM
My action is very low on my KoAloha. But I also keep a spare bone saddle that is higher. I swap that in when I want a bit higher action.

wickedwahine11
01-31-2011, 02:39 PM
Did you by chance adjust it yourself or have it done? I am at least two and a half hours from anywhere that I might let touch my baby.

Nope, it just came that way.

Howie1947
01-31-2011, 03:00 PM
I had my 6-string adjusted at the factory.............Action was a little high at first, be they brought it down nicely.................Love it !!

Dane
01-31-2011, 03:12 PM
I'm surprised Ken hasn't jumped in on this conversation yet.

rem50
01-31-2011, 04:32 PM
I can't believe this! I just sent KoAloha an email asking them if they could recommend a luthier that I could send my concert sceptre to because my action is too low at the nut. Don't get me wrong I like low actions but if I know this is a tad too low. It is buzzes when I strum and it is driving me crazy!!!!! I am only playing on the first 5 frets at this time

experimentjon
01-31-2011, 08:07 PM
The Pineapple Sunday I got from KoAloha had action so low that it had some buzz. But I had them put in a UST and it raised the action a bit and became perfect. I've also had a supersoprano with the action too high. And that was an old model with the ebony saddle. I'm pretty comfortable doing work with Tusq saddles, but not ebony, so I took that in, and they fixed it right up for me. My sceptre, concert, superconcert, soprano, and tenor all had good action. But at the end of the day, KoAloha can help you fix it if you take it in to them. And with Tusq saddles, sandpaper, patience, and some skill, you can probably do it yourself.

rem50
02-01-2011, 03:48 AM
what is a "UST"?

soupking
02-01-2011, 04:12 AM
what is a "UST"?

Under saddle transducer? TOTAL guess.

SailingUke
02-01-2011, 05:17 AM
Did you by chance adjust it yourself or have it done? I am at least two and a half hours from anywhere that I might let touch my baby.

I usually setup my own instruments. I think most builders send out instruments with higher action since lowering is a rather simple process. Raising the action can require a new saddle or using a shim. The trick to lowering the saddle height is go slow. I usually put a pencil line on the saddle at the bridge so as I sand the saddle down I can see the change in saddle height. I color the bottom of the saddle with pencil so I make sure I am sanding evenly. Depending on how much I need to take off determines how course a sand paper I use. You always want to finish with a fine grit and make sure the bottom is smooth and even. It is ALWAYS easier to take of a little more so be conservative in sanding. After you do a few it gets pretty easy. If you have a cheap uke practice first. If you do mess up, don't worry saddles are not very expensive.

As a side note when I purchased a uke from MGM I told him I liked my action "dangerously low", when he did my setup he set the action low and when I got it it was perfect.

GX9901
02-01-2011, 06:35 AM
Any factory ukes can come with varying degree of action. My Pineapple Sunday came with super low action, probably as low as it can get without buzzing. But I have also tried a Pineapple Sunday at a shop in Oahu that had action so high that it was practically unplayable. I don't really consider action to be a characteristic of a particular ukulele or company. Action can change for a wide variety of reasons. If your ukulele has action that's too high for your liking, learn how to adjust it and you'll be fine.

OldePhart
02-01-2011, 12:53 PM
As a side note when I purchased a uke from MGM I told him I liked my action "dangerously low", when he did my setup he set the action low and when I got it it was perfect.

Dangerously low, heh, heh, I like it. The funny thing is not too many years ago I used to need a pretty high action on my guitars. That all changed when I had my custom-made SG copy built for me. It was built by a local luthier whose work has since become so popular I probably couldn't afford one. Anyway, I had him build me a custom SG with a chambered mahogany body, maple cap, etc. He was putting the finishing touches on it when I dropped by his shop to pick it up. He put strings on it and tuned it up and then proceeded to blow me away with all-out ZZ Top and other rock covers without a hint of fret buzz. As soon as I played it it started buzzing and he had to raise the action significantly for me. After that, I made it a point to learn to let the guitar do the work and continued working on my technique until I could lower the action back to where he'd originally had it.

The bottom line - technique is as important as setup. If you have a terrible setup you'll never develop the technique - but if you have terrible technique you can't use a great setup. Kind of a catch-22 that each person has to work out for themselves, I guess.

OH, and the funny thing about this is that I used to buy guitars all the time and I always gave the half-joking excuse that I was looking for the one that would make me a better player. That SG really did make me a better player - and I haven't bought another guitar since!

John

Baseballhack
02-01-2011, 01:03 PM
So I read some adjustment threads here, and it seems I may be a bit unrealistic my KoAloha measures 1/8 at the 12th fret. Which seems to be reasonable according to a thread here. But my Kala measures 5/64 at the 12th. Should I take a chance at adjusting it myself? Would anyone be willing to take some measurements of your KoAloha? I am afraid to adjust it then have to deal with fret buzz. Thanks to everyone so far all your replies and sharing your knowledge.

OldePhart
02-01-2011, 02:19 PM
So I read some adjustment threads here, and it seems I may be a bit unrealistic my KoAloha measures 1/8 at the 12th fret. Which seems to be reasonable according to a thread here. But my Kala measures 5/64 at the 12th. Should I take a chance at adjusting it myself? Would anyone be willing to take some measurements of your KoAloha? I am afraid to adjust it then have to deal with fret buzz. Thanks to everyone so far all your replies and sharing your knowledge.

My KoAloha is, near as I can measure, just a hair over 1/8" from top of fret to bottom of string at the 12th. Not terribly high, just not great. If I keep it instead of replacing it with a concert neck soprano I'll be putting a pickup in it, and when I do that I'll also lower the saddle some.

John

Ronnie Aloha
02-01-2011, 02:28 PM
So I read some adjustment threads here, and it seems I may be a bit unrealistic my KoAloha measures 1/8 at the 12th fret. Which seems to be reasonable according to a thread here. But my Kala measures 5/64 at the 12th. Should I take a chance at adjusting it myself? Would anyone be willing to take some measurements of your KoAloha? I am afraid to adjust it then have to deal with fret buzz. Thanks to everyone so far all your replies and sharing your knowledge.

So do you want to raise your Kala or lower your KoAloha? The Kala is "dangerously low." : )

Baseballhack
02-01-2011, 02:32 PM
So do you want to raise your Kala or lower your KoAloha? The Kala is "dangerously low." : )
I think I may find somewhere in between the two. I am just so hesitant to adjust my uke. Is it as easy as I believe "Seeso" says in some other threads. Should I just leave well enough alone? Oh the decisions are driving me crazy.

rem50
02-01-2011, 02:47 PM
The bottom line - technique is as important as setup. If you have a terrible setup you'll never develop the technique - but if you have terrible technique you can't use a great setup. Kind of a catch-22 that each person has to work out for themselves, I guess.


John
I am having trouble with my action on my koaloha but I haven't ruled out what you just said..... I may have terrible technique and am ruining a great set up. I am going to have my first strumming lesson with Kent Knorr this thursday at the NC Ukulele Academy! Can't wait!

experimentjon
02-01-2011, 02:58 PM
I think I may find somewhere in between the two. I am just so hesitant to adjust my uke. Is it as easy as I believe "Seeso" says in some other threads. Should I just leave well enough alone? Oh the decisions are driving me crazy.

With non-wood saddles, I think it is pretty easy. (Stay away from the nut though if you don't know what you're doing.) Just go slowly a few strokes on sandpaper at a time. The added safety net is that each milimeter you lower the saddle, the action at the 12th fret drops only by half a milimeter. If you do mess up, it is relatively inexpensive to buy a new saddle (can even upgrade to ivory if you feel like spending the money), or even cheaper to put a shim under the saddle to raise it back up.

UkePhilly
02-02-2011, 05:07 AM
Any idea where to get a saddle that will fit a KoAloha Concert? Can I use a generic Uke saddle (Graph Tech Uke Saddle (http://www.musicpartsplus.com/Nuts-Saddles/Graph-Tech-Tusq-Saddles/Graph-Tech-Tusq-Acoustic-p7285987.html)) or do I have to order directly from KoAloha?. The configuration just looks different from the saddle on my Concert:
19925

I'd like to play around with adjusting the saddle height - just not on the original saddle that MGM set up for me.

Thanks!!

Baseballhack
02-02-2011, 05:21 AM
Any idea where to get a saddle that will fit a KoAloha Concert? Can I use a generic Uke saddle (Graph Tech Uke Saddle (http://www.musicpartsplus.com/Nuts-Saddles/Graph-Tech-Tusq-Saddles/Graph-Tech-Tusq-Acoustic-p7285987.html)) or do I have to order directly from KoAloha?. The configuration just looks different from the saddle on my Concert:
19925

I'd like to play around with adjusting the saddle height - just not on the original saddle that MGM set up for me.

Thanks!!

I have the same question for my tenor? Anyone have an idea where I can get a replacement saddle?

SailingUke
02-02-2011, 05:27 AM
Any idea where to get a saddle that will fit a KoAloha Concert? Can I use a generic Uke saddle (Graph Tech Uke Saddle (http://www.musicpartsplus.com/Nuts-Saddles/Graph-Tech-Tusq-Saddles/Graph-Tech-Tusq-Acoustic-p7285987.html)) or do I have to order directly from KoAloha?. The configuration just looks different from the saddle on my Concert:
19925

I'd like to play around with adjusting the saddle height - just not on the original saddle that MGM set up for me.

Thanks!!

You should be ok with a generic saddle. One thing to watch for is how it fits in the bridge slot. Snug, but not too tight and no play.
I recommend finding a cheap uke at a garage sale that you can practice repairs/setup on. I found a really cheap guitar $3 at a garage sale that had a truss rod in the neck.
The guitar sounded like crap, I lowered the nut, saddle and adjusted the neck. Filed some fret ends and fixed some cracks in the top. It still sounds like crap, but I got some good practice.
I am not afraid to tackle uke or guitar set-up and light repairs. A good return on my $3 investment.

OldePhart
02-02-2011, 12:58 PM
You can get saddle blanks from Stewart McDonald luthier supply (http://www.stewmac.com). Stewmac isn't cheap but they do carry good stuff. The most important measurement when ordering blanks is the thickness of the saddle - then you can just order blanks in that thickness and cut and shape them as needed.

One good source for "blanks" super-cheap (probably free if you just ask for scraps) is a local custom cabinetry shop. If they use "Corian" for counter tops that stuff makes really good nuts and saddles - the only thing is whether it's the right thickness. If it's too thick you can sand it down. Too thin, well, that's no good 'tall, eh?

John

Ingrate
02-02-2011, 01:10 PM
One good source for "blanks" super-cheap (probably free if you just ask for scraps) is a local custom cabinetry shop. If they use "Corian" for counter tops that stuff makes really good nuts and saddles

John

Have you witnessed the use of Corian in this way? How's the tone, volume, etc. compared to tusq or bone?

Also: it seems to me that the quality of the contact between the bottom of the saddle and the bridge is critical. The saddle needs to be square (angle between the bottom and the long side = 90) and very straight across it's length. I'd rather remove material from the top where this is not as important. YMMV.

OldePhart
02-02-2011, 01:53 PM
Corian has been used on guitars and dulcimers for quite some time. The properties are very similar to Tusq, in fact some claim that "Tusq" is just an application of the same material - I don't know if there is any truth to that but working the materials is pretty similar. They are both quite hard and it takes a lot of patience to shape them, that I can witness to! LOL

John

Ingrate
02-03-2011, 12:28 PM
Corian has been used on guitars and dulcimers for quite some time. The properties are very similar to Tusq, in fact some claim that "Tusq" is just an application of the same material - I don't know if there is any truth to that but working the materials is pretty similar. They are both quite hard and it takes a lot of patience to shape them, that I can witness to! LOL

John

Thanks for the follow-up. Corian opens the possibility of many different colors of nut/saddle.

Plainsong
02-03-2011, 12:49 PM
Oh man, I need to head to bed! Sorry to derail, but I gave myself a chuckle with a misread of what you said. I read:

"The most important measurement when ordering blankets is the thickness of the saddle."

So instead of wondering why you were talking about fitting a saddle to a horse, my brain started thinking of a nice blanket with a nice saddle and why it's important to do this the right way for your horse...

And then I thought - WTH? What is this thread about?? Oh! Koaloha. ..huh? Me tired.

I think sometimes you get a high action at the saddle because we can always go lower. My Kanilea was fine at the nut and miles high at the saddle. I wasn't brave enough to do it myself, so I had a luthier lower it and change the low G. At the time, I'd had bad experiences with pin bridges. I didn't realize that Kanilea makes one that does not put your eye out.

"You can't have a uke! You'll put your eye out!"

Ok, bedtime!

edit: And I'm back. Our upstairs neighbor, Drunky, has decided 3am is a good time to start a party. The man is in his 40s, looks like a zombie, has lost his wife, his kid and any jobs he's had, but he feels like man because he can get one over on the neighbors. And cops don't turn up, and if they do, it's a rein of terror on us (whether or not we called). We're both owners, so they won't abide by local laws of what they're supposed to do because ... not their problem. And we can't sell the place because he affects property value. If we were asked, we'd have to disclose the problem. Not disclosing the crazy neighbor info goes against you in court. So basically we're just rooting for liver failure at this point.

It's an otherwise nice place. Just no one sticks up for themselves. I guess when you live here you learn it's pointless to do so. I don't know.



You can get saddle blanks from Stewart McDonald luthier supply (http://www.stewmac.com). Stewmac isn't cheap but they do carry good stuff. The most important measurement when ordering blanks is the thickness of the saddle - then you can just order blanks in that thickness and cut and shape them as needed.

One good source for "blanks" super-cheap (probably free if you just ask for scraps) is a local custom cabinetry shop. If they use "Corian" for counter tops that stuff makes really good nuts and saddles - the only thing is whether it's the right thickness. If it's too thick you can sand it down. Too thin, well, that's no good 'tall, eh?

John