View Full Version : Adjusting my uke's action: now or later?

Another Stephanie
09-04-2011, 10:37 AM
I've been reading a lot of threads about setting a uke's action, and I'm pretty sure that my nut is set a bit too high. (There's about a half-millimeter gap at the first fret when I fret the third, and I have problems with bar chords and buzzing notes at the first fret only.)

As an advanced beginner, I'm not sure if I should just take care of it now, or wait to see if it works itself out. Should I wait until I've built up more left-hand strength and upgraded my strings before setting the action? When, if ever, do most of you adjust your ukulele's action? Do you do it yourself, or take it to a pro?

Thanks in advance!

09-04-2011, 10:44 AM
If the actionnis off the action I off (albeit there is some margin for personal preference)

Not sure how you get buzzing with high action - normally the result of too low an action. If you are high at the nut, when you fret at first and squeeze harder does the note go sharp (higher)?

09-04-2011, 10:45 AM
If it's definitely high I would adjust it as soon as possible. If the nut is high it means that notes will be pulling sharp when fingered at the first couple of frets. You will develop a better ear faster if you are playing an instrument that is in tune. It will also just sound better and be more of a joy to play, and for most people that means they'll practice more and enjoy that practice more. Finally, if the nut is too high it also makes some chords hard to finger. So, again, the sooner you get it set up properly the more likely you are to spend time practicing.

There are threads here on adjusting action if you search around a bit. I would take it to a pro if there is one available but if there isn't anybody in your area to do the work you can do it yourself with patience and some welder-tip cleaners. Oh, and a good tuner (better than the inexpensive clipons) is good to have when doing a setup, too.


09-04-2011, 02:58 PM
.5 mm is equal to 12.7 thousands of an inch or .0127 probably right in the ball park. Buzzing in the first is normally too low or poor technique. a human hair red in color is .004 just tp put it in perspective.

09-04-2011, 04:27 PM
What is the measurement between the top of the 12th fret and the bottom of the string? The average height should be between 2mm-2.75mm's.

When fretted at the 3rd fret, a half mm between the top of the 1st fret and bottom of the string is OK.

Another Stephanie
09-04-2011, 11:45 PM
Wow, thanks for all of the help and suggestions!

Bazmaz: Yes, it does go a bit sharp at the first fret. It seems more pronounced on the C and E strings. I'm not sure whether I'm being oversensitive about the pitch change, though.
GKK: Looks like it's about 2mm at the 12th fret. If anything, it's a bit less. Maybe the action isn't too high, after all. Guess this just means I'll have to focus more on my first fret technique, as poppy implied.