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kristina*m
10-30-2012, 07:22 PM
Hi guys!

I'm having a problem with the tuning on my ukulele (at least, I assume that's the problem) and it's driving me crazy. I've tuned and retuned it and it's as near to perfect as I can get it - every individual string seems right. But when I play F or Dm, the tuning is waaaaaay off and it sounds just awful. I figure it must be either a problem with the 1st or the 3rd string, since those are the strings those two chords have in common. But as I say, I've retuned it a million times, so I don't understand why those two chords are still so far off. Any suggestions? Is this a common problem?

Thanks for your help!

Ken Middleton
10-30-2012, 09:59 PM
Hi guys!

I'm having a problem with the tuning on my ukulele (at least, I assume that's the problem) and it's driving me crazy. I've tuned and retuned it and it's as near to perfect as I can get it - every individual string seems right. But when I play F or Dm, the tuning is waaaaaay off and it sounds just awful. I figure it must be either a problem with the 1st or the 3rd string, since those are the strings those two chords have in common. But as I say, I've retuned it a million times, so I don't understand why those two chords are still so far off. Any suggestions? Is this a common problem?

Thanks for your help!

If it is an inexpensive ukulele the two main causes in my experience are:

1. The bridge is glued in the wrong place so the the frets are not accurately aligned for the length of string.

or

2. The strings have been tugged at and stretch unevenly.

If it is a more expensive uke, the first problem doesn't occur that often.

The Big Kahuna
10-31-2012, 12:38 AM
Or the slots in the nut are not cut deeply enough, resulting in a very high action at the first fret, leading to a significant amount of stretching when fretting first position chords.

Caddy65
10-31-2012, 02:30 AM
I would say that it could be either of the two things mentioned above. Sounds like it could be related to action. Maybe the nut or saddle being too high.
Keep in mind that stringed instruments are tempered instruments, meaning that intonation will never be perfect. Although It should be able to be adjusted to a point where it is not distracting or unpleasant.

Don't know how it equates to uke, as I am a uke newbie, but with guitars, etc. it is often better not to tune open strings, but rather fretted ones around the third or fifth fret. Either way it is always somewhat of a compromise. Even pianos are tuned with what is termed 'tempered tuning', based on mathematical equations and what sounds 'correct' to the human ear.

ukuleletown
10-31-2012, 03:07 AM
Hi guys!

I'm having a problem with the tuning on my ukulele (at least, I assume that's the problem) and it's driving me crazy. I've tuned and retuned it and it's as near to perfect as I can get it - every individual string seems right. But when I play F or Dm, the tuning is waaaaaay off and it sounds just awful. I figure it must be either a problem with the 1st or the 3rd string, since those are the strings those two chords have in common. But as I say, I've retuned it a million times, so I don't understand why those two chords are still so far off. Any suggestions? Is this a common problem?

Thanks for your help!

This will likely be fixed by having a professional setup job done on your uke.

PhilUSAFRet
10-31-2012, 04:18 AM
The first thing I always check is to insure the screws on the tuning machines are tight, (often 1 or 2 aren't) then I move up the neck from there.

OldePhart
10-31-2012, 06:08 AM
Or the slots in the nut are not cut deeply enough, resulting in a very high action at the first fret, leading to a significant amount of stretching when fretting first position chords.

:agree: - this is very common on inexpensive instruments and not uncommon even on midrange instruments like the Kala solid wood series, etc.

The third string is very often the worst of the lot owing to the fact that these ukes typically use molded plastic nuts with all of the slots the same width and the thicker 3rd string doesn't seat fully into the slot. Sometimes changing to Fluorocarbon strings (which are slightly thinner) is just enough to make an intolerable uke tolerable - but it's best to have it set up properly.

John