View Full Version : Problem with new baritone uke.. help, advice please!

03-22-2011, 01:03 PM
I have a problem with the E string on my new baritone uke and I don't understand what's wrong or how to fix it. As you progress up the string the tuning, which I have carefully gotten right when open, gets more and more out with each fret, until by the ninth it's a semitone out. Go back down the frets and back to the open string and it gradually goes back to perfect again. I could hear there was a problem right from the start - every time I played a G chord in particular it sounded really naff - but with my lack of music theory it took a while to figure out what was going on. I am going back to the music shop tomorrow but hoping someone here can tell me what's going on?

03-22-2011, 02:21 PM
The only thing I can imagine driving it that far off is if the string is of the wrong gage or is tuned an octave off. Stringed instruments are designed to intonate fairly well for a given tension. Strings that are under tension much lighter or much heavier than the designed-for tension will often exhibit intonation problems. So, if the string is the wrong gage (by several sizes) or if you have tuned an octave high or an octave low on that string then the intonation could be that far off.

All of the strings should feel approximately the same amount of tension (typically the smaller strings will actually be under a little higher tension but since they are also smaller they feel about the same). If the E string feels much "softer" or "harder" than the other strings it is tuned an octave low or an octave high, respectively.

Note that intonation seems to go in "nodes" so you actually could have all of the strings tuned an octave high or an octave low and are just "lucky" in that the others are falling on another tension "node" that intonates fairly well at the given scale.


mm stan
03-22-2011, 03:49 PM
Aloha Graceelsie,
Try to upgrade the factory original strings first to a premimum brand to see if it resolves your issues.....brighter Aquillas or warmer Martin Fleurocarbon strings....http://www.amazon.com/Martin-M630-Baritone-Ukulele-Strings/dp/B0002CZVZU and the Aquila's http://www.samash.com/p/Aquila_Nylgut%20Baritone%20Ukulele%20Strings_-49951397 I hope it helps ..Good Luck MM Stan hopefully it's just bad string...

03-22-2011, 04:29 PM
Hi, thanks for the advice guys. I have had another play, bearing what's been said in mind. The string feels the same tension as the others and I am pretty sure it is not an octave too high compared to the others, so either the whole lot are wrong or its a wrong string then? Will definitely go for premium strings once I am sure there are no other issues. What I really want is to ditch the wound ones anyhow, I hate the feel of them on my fingers and the occasional raspy scritch they emit when I do something wrong (goes up my spine like a squeak on a blackboard).

03-23-2011, 03:23 AM
Ok, phew, been back to the Hobgoblin music shop this morning. No hassles, the guy agreed instantly there was an intonation problem. He said I could exchange but the only other bari they had wasn't as nice (no gearing) so I asked about the string and he had a look (he is not a uke player, but he is a guitarist) and he said the string in question seemed too thin compared to the others and he could try putting something a bit thicker on and see if it resolved the problem. This was duly tried, the new string tuned, and the intonation problem disappeared... everything ok all up the frets. He did say to bring it back if there were any further problems and that it is under a year's guarantee. I will still be buying some premium strings for it as I hate the wound ones and want to go for a set of Worth BB or CB Baritone Fluorocarbon strings as recommended to me by Southern Ukulele when I emailed them last night. I just need to wait a week or so as I am now broke! LOL

03-23-2011, 12:32 PM
I'm glad it's worked out okay for you - that must be a relief.

03-23-2011, 01:35 PM
I love those rare occasions when I'm right... :)

Glad it's up to snuff now - now it's time to play the strings off it!