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View Full Version : Lowering saddle height question?



raecarter
08-31-2011, 05:56 AM
Hi I wondered if any can help me on this one. I got a new uke today a kala Acacia tenor. When I played it I was happy with how high the strings were so as I've sanded a saddle down before when I fitted a pickup I thought id get some sand paper and lower the action. After doing this the uke definitely sounds better this may be the placebo effect but to my ears it has more bark than previously. So if ant one can give a scientific answer to this I would be grateful thanks

SailingUke
08-31-2011, 06:01 AM
I believe when a ukulele's action is correct you will get a better sound. If the action was higher than your other ukes you may not have been getting clean tones.
On the flip side if you get the action to low with no string break over the saddle you will get less volume.
The intonation sometimes improves as the action is lowered as well.

Tudorp
08-31-2011, 06:05 AM
I don't know the "science" of it. Maybe a couple of the real Luthiers can answer that. But, I do know that the distance of the string to soundboard has everything to do with the sustain, and tone. Changing the action, changes that distance as well, so that is probably why I am pretty sure. But again, maybe one of the luthiers can chime in with the sonic science of it..

bazmaz
08-31-2011, 06:11 AM
Ukes are mathematical and the maths assumes that the strings run in as close ad possible line parallel to the frets and soundboard. In respect of the neck, if the strings are less than parallel, you get intonation problems as the strings are actually longer than they should be (imagine a very long thin triangle)

In respect of the soundboard, as Tudorp says, correct setup puts the strings in optimum position for resonance and 'twang'. Your tuned strings will also be closer to bang on tuned all over the neck too which helps.

Tudorp
08-31-2011, 06:16 AM
In my fumbling around and learning "Lutherie" on my own. I ruined a banjo nut and bridge experimenting with action a couple years ago. I like low action, but I learned goofing around that there are trade offs, some worth it, some not so much. I lowered one of my banjos so much it was lovely to play, but I had the action much too low, bringing the strings too close to the head skin, and lost much sustain and volume. Great to play, but sounded horrible. I had to bring the action back up some to get my volume and sustain back to a nice level. So, yes, like mentioned, low action is not everything, and is only a part of the total equation to good playability and tone.

raecarter
08-31-2011, 06:30 AM
It isn't parallel its slightly higher at the saddle end I didn't want to go to far and ruin it none the less I clearly have a lot more volume and bark is all I can describe it as. How do I check intonation I have a tuner that clips on the head stock

Tudorp
08-31-2011, 06:35 AM
fret the 12th fret and pluck. Your tuner should read the same note as the open string. At least pretty close. It also depends on how much pressure ya put on the string when ya fret it, which is why a good action helps that, because ya dont have to push so hard on the string to ring it. When ya have to apply allot of presure, or too much pressure on the string to fret it, it makes the note go sharp.

Also check the harmonics. At the 12th fret slightly tap the string with your fret hand, releasing it just as you pluck it. It should have a "bell" tone to it, but also read the same note as the open string, just a higher octive.

repeat the process with each string. 12th fret should always be the same not as the open string, just the higher octive.

raecarter
08-31-2011, 07:28 AM
fret the 12th fret and pluck. Your tuner should read the same note as the open string. At least pretty close. It also depends on how much pressure ya put on the string when ya fret it, which is why a good action helps that, because ya dont have to push so hard on the string to ring it. When ya have to apply allot of presure, or too much pressure on the string to fret it, it makes the note go sharp.

Also check the harmonics. At the 12th fret slightly tap the string with your fret hand, releasing it just as you pluck it. It should have a "bell" tone to it, but also read the same note as the open string, just a higher octive.

repeat the process with each string. 12th fret should always be the same not as the open string, just the higher octive.

I did it an the g is still green the c is one notch lower 5% the e is correct and the a is 5% lower is this good at the 12th?