View Full Version : Is the action on my uke where I want it?

03-09-2012, 08:17 AM
I am a total uke newbie and chose a Lanikai LU-21C as my first uke. With all the things I've read about a proper setup, I'm wondering if the current action on my Lanikai is where I should want it or should it be adjusted?

The following measurements are the best I can do with a ruler.

At the first fret, open string:

slightly less than 1 mm, approx. 1/32nd in.

At the 12th fret, open string:

about 3 mm, a little less than 1/8 inch

03-09-2012, 08:30 AM
Sounds good to me. But really it is a matter of 2 things. is it comfortable to play? & is the intonation good when you play up the fretboard?
Some people like really low action, while others like higher.

03-09-2012, 09:17 AM
The best way to tell if the action is right when starting out is answer the simple question "Does it feel right?"
The best way to know if the intonation is good..."does it sound good?"

Number one question - Am I having fun?

03-09-2012, 09:57 AM
Is it comfortable/does it feel right? For the most part, yes. I have a hard time getting barre chords and 4 finger chords on the top frets to sound clean but that might very well have to do with inexperience and the need to strengthen the left hand. Is the intonation/sound good? When I'm strumming/fretting correctly, yes. I tried a barre at the 12th fret and the "my-dog-has-fleas" sounded right though I haven't checked it against a tuner. Am I having fun? Yes! It just seems like anytime you read about buying or acquiring a new uke that you can't swing a dead cat without hitting someone telling you how critical it is getting it properly set up. I guess all that talk has me questioning things. From the sound of it, I should just quit worrying and start learning!

03-09-2012, 10:02 AM
its a personal thing. But your action isn't too bad. It's pretty spot on actually. Personally, I like a lower action. Your 1st fret is about where I set mine, but at the 12th, I generally go about 2mm. But, like mentioned above, if it feels right for you, your golden.

03-09-2012, 10:08 AM
Simple tip that I'm sure I've mentioned before- buy another nut and saddle, KEEP the originals, sand or file the replacements until you are happy. If you cock it up, simply put the originals back in.

03-09-2012, 03:41 PM
If you get the chance, play other ukes and compare how they feel. Also various brands of strings have different tensions and that makes a big difference in how a uke feels. Lower tension makes barre chords easier on the wrist.

03-09-2012, 04:28 PM
My uke came with Aquila nylguts. Right now they're just getting to the point where they're holding the tune pretty well with only minor adjustments needed between practice sessions. Are the Aquila nylguts considered a high-tension string? Are there other high quality/recommended strings with less tension? How do lower tension strings affect the sound?

03-09-2012, 04:45 PM
2-3 mm at the 12th fret, any lower and most ukes start to buzz. If your finger strength is there, a little on the higher side will keep it sounding clear, but not too high that the intonation gets off.

03-09-2012, 05:18 PM
mike: I'm only familiar with baritone and tenor strings but I think of Aquilas as higher tension compared with worth clears or browns. I like Worth in part because of the lower tension.