PDA

View Full Version : Uke Makers: Please cut the nut to allow for low-G string thickness



Gillian
07-23-2011, 05:12 PM
I couldn't figure out why, after replacing the stock high-G string to a Worth low-G clear unwound string (my preference), I couldn't get the intonation to be accurate.

I finally realized that the thicker low-G string was sitting on top of the nut rather than in the slot (cut for a high-G string) due to its increased thickness. I took a deep breath and filed the slot wider to accommodate the low-G string on my Kanile'a concert deluxe.

So here's a marketing idea to all those uke makers out there. Either cut the G-slot wider to allow for a low-G string, or provide an additional "low-G" nut with your high-end, expensive ukes.

Kekani
07-23-2011, 05:17 PM
So here's a marketing idea to all those uke makers out there. Either cut the G-slot wider to allow for a low-G string, or provide an additional "low-G" nut with your high-end, expensive ukes.

Your Kanilea is a factory instrument, and cutting the nut slot wider than what is installed is not the thing to do.

If you want to change gauges of strings, you need to get it setup properly for that set, or you may run into problems. This is normal, and accepted. Wide slots for thin strings are not.

If you order a "high end" custom, your builder will no doubt slot it properly. I'm sure if you ordered a custom from Joe, he'd do what you need done. This is why it would cost more.

southcoastukes
07-23-2011, 05:27 PM
Having a nut you can cut deeper is always better than having a nut that is cut too deep.

Make sure that thick string really gives you what you want - play it awhile even with the intonation off - when you are absolutely sure that is what you want to stay with - then file it.

It's practically impossible to guess how deep you want to go. One person's "thick" string is another person's "medium".

(You may also need to work the saddle)

Finally, Kanile'a, like most, would not assume a low 4th on a concert.

chindog
07-23-2011, 05:31 PM
I grew up in Oklahoma. Back there, nut cutting always involved cattle. And not in a good way.

southcoastukes
07-23-2011, 05:35 PM
BAD chindog!

BAD, BAD chindog!

mm stan
07-23-2011, 05:49 PM
As others have said...when you want to put thicker strings on your uke sometimes the nut will not accomadate that...widen the nut from the factory is not a good idea, as you'll run into problems..
first of all like buzzing, if you put thinner guage strings on after and it is too loose.there is no one size fits all nut...You have to use the same guage strings set up for your uke, unless you alter and
file the nut.. but once you do that, and want to go back to thinner strings, the best thing is get a new nut..of course you could shim or refill the nut with crazy glue but that is not advisable to some..
So before you widen any nut, be sure that you will want stick with that guage strings and that is what you want...or you'll be either changing the nut in the future or sending it out to be done.

Rick Turner
07-23-2011, 06:25 PM
Final setup for ukes or guitars is NOT the builder or factory's responsibility unless you buy direct and specify exactly the strings you intend to use. Decent instruments sold through stores should be set up to your specs, not some generic "big enough slots for any string" thing. The better stores have repair luthiers on staff who can do this. This applies also to overall action and to intonation. We as builders cannot know your playing style, taste in strings, etc. All we can do is get the instruments into a kind of generic setup for the strings we choose, and then it's up to you to work with a luthier to finalize the setup. We have no idea what strings will wind up on the instruments we make, and that limits how well we can set up the instruments. We get close, but we can only dial it in finely by working directly with a customer.

My own preference now, for instance, is using the top four strings of a Savarez classical set that has a nylon on nylon wound "G" which I use as the "C" string, but I would not set ukes up this way for the general public. The "C" is pretty big, though it is very flexible, but it's a very unusual string.

TCK
07-23-2011, 06:51 PM
To your room chindog- :D
It was not so hard to set the string down in the slot after a little filing, and it is a probably part of the skill set all players should have I figure. My problem is continually jumping around for now between strings- someday I will find the perfect string and I can set them all at once

Gmoney
07-23-2011, 07:19 PM
BAD chindog!

BAD, BAD chindog!

What HE said! :)

poppy
07-23-2011, 09:42 PM
Ok now I'm really confused. I have seen several Customs by lutherers and high end uke's on here have a 2 position bridge for low/high G compensation. And thats really neat are ya'all saying you need too nuts also.
My OS 240 was wide enough to handle a florocarbon it was like .011 difference in size not a lot a slop a .010 fit is pretty close. A human hair is .004-5 in diameter. I don't know if they made the g slot wider on the 6 now I will have to ask , I always figured that we could go back and forth. Looks like most of the wound strings in the c slot are bigger also , Haven't researched it yet.

uke4ia
07-24-2011, 09:56 AM
I finally realized that the thicker low-G string was sitting on top of the nut rather than in the slot (cut for a high-G string) due to its increased thickness. I took a deep breath and filed the slot wider to accommodate the low-G string on my Kanile'a concert deluxe.

So here's a marketing idea to all those uke makers out there. Either cut the G-slot wider to allow for a low-G string, or provide an additional "low-G" nut with your high-end, expensive ukes.

It cuts both ways. I have a Kiwaya K-Wave concert and I want to switch it to a low G. I've tried two brands of wound low G strings on it. In both cases, the string is booming on chords that have an open G string. My impression is that this is happening because the slot in the nut is too wide for the string. I could order some Worths, and hope that their unwound G will fit in the slot. More likely, I will go to my local music store and see if they can replace the nut for a price I'm willing to pay.

70sSanO
07-24-2011, 02:20 PM
I'll throw in my 2 cents...

There are those who use a classical guitar "D" string for low G string as the diameter is just about the same as a high G nylon/fluororcarbon string. Classical guitar strings tend to hold up better than Aquilas, for example.

Some people feel that it is very difficult to get a "good" sound out of an unwound low G string; although Fremonts seem to be a recommendation around here.

Also, it is easy to swap it out for a high G and I have not found intonation issues.

John

Rick Turner
07-24-2011, 02:53 PM
A uke should be properly set up for the strings you're going to use, simple as that. You're not going to get good action, good tone, or good intonation with a "convertible" setup. Just decide on what strings you like for tone whether it's high or low G, and have your instrument optimized for that.

While it is reasonable to interchange drop-in saddles, it's not reasonable to swap string nuts back and forth unless it is screwed in place, not glued.

If you go back and forth between high and low G, just get another uke. Reasonably decent ukes are not all that expensive. You can easily spend more on a single golf club than on a playable uke. http://www.golfdiscount.com/ I rest my case...

Gillian
07-24-2011, 05:12 PM
Thank you for all your knowledgeable responses.

I measured the slots on all my ukes. The KoAloha and Kala slots are uniform widths, i.e. the same as the C string,. The Kanile'a, Kamaka and Nalu have differing slot widths.

I carefully and sparingly filed the G-string slot on my Kanile'a and now with the Worth low-G, it sounds beautiful to me. No buzzing and spot-on intonation according to an electronic tuner.

I guess I got lucky, not knowing anything about luthiery. I will ask Joe Souza to send me another nut, just in case I want to change back to high-G.

Rick Turner
07-24-2011, 05:34 PM
String nuts are not necessarily interchangeable if you want optimum action. They are individually fitted and filed to each instrument. At least they are in every uke and guitar shop and factory I've been in...and that's a lot of them.

poppy
07-24-2011, 07:00 PM
Ok Rick one more quick question. The fremont and the worths are within .001 of each other on each string. They do however have different tensions (you can feel the difference) same with the worth clears .Are the set up the same at the nut and saddle assumming both are low g?
Just don't want everything to go to pot as the set up the shop did on my ou6 was perfect. Was set up with the fremont blackline low g as he asked for a set of the strings I intended to run. I switched over to the Worth BM low g's for a while to try them , everyone here seems to love them. I liked the sound/action of the fremont c,e,a strings better but I liked the worth low g (slightly tighter/more tension) So I'm running a mixed set. I have been looking for a low g BM single but no joy so far and I will prob go back to all fremont if I can't find them. Intonation on both sets was near perfect. It was the lutheriers first UKE. Am I looking for problems down the road and should I put the Fremonts back on

looks like we should play around with sound then get it to someone who knows what they are doing. With whatever we decide to run.

Rick Turner
07-24-2011, 07:10 PM
With the diameter so close, I'd say that optimum filing of the nut would be essentially the same either way, however the higher tension strings may allow lower action at the bridge. That will depend on your own comfort level.

Fine tuning setup is a real art for the discerning player. I used to do Ry Cooder's guitar setup work when I lived in LA, and I had a special way of adjusting the string height at the nut so he could either play with a slide or fret with his fingers. It was a compromise setup where I actually set the string height for the high "E" string higher than normal so the tops of the top three strings were all at the same level so he wouldn't have to push down the B string to cleanly slide on the G and E. And all of the strings were a bit higher at the nut than would be considered correct. Ry is so good he can just push the strings sharp OR flat with his fingers to fine tune intonation, but this setup really got the slide thing happening. That's just how deep into this stuff we can get.

hoosierhiver
07-25-2011, 04:33 AM
I typically don't glue in the nut or only use a dab of Elmer's so it can be swapped out for this exact reason.

Doc_J
07-25-2011, 08:35 AM
Boat paddle ukes have a pin design for the nut that works with any string size. A very novel and effective approach to overcoming string thickness variation.

26080

Gillian
07-25-2011, 12:37 PM
Boat paddle ukes have a pin design for the nut that works with any string size. A very novel and effective approach to overcoming string thickness variation.

26080

Now, that's clever!

mm stan
07-25-2011, 12:43 PM
Another option would be a Zero fret....