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finkdaddy
11-09-2012, 11:06 AM
Hey guys,

I'm just wondering what your prefered method is for setting up strings.
No matter how much attention I put into fret leveling, saddle shaping, etc, it just seems like a crap-shoot when it comes to getting good string action without any buzz, especially on the C string.

Is there a prefered method to setting up the strings?
Is there an obvious tool that I have overlooked?
It's so dissapointing to spend so much time on a build, only to have a uke rendered useless by buzzing strings.
Thanks in advance!

~Fred

jcalkin
11-09-2012, 01:47 PM
Maybe you're just trying to get an unreasonably low action.

Pondoro
11-09-2012, 02:21 PM
I set mine 15/1000 of an inch above the first fret when the strings are not fretted. That caused one of my ukes to buzz so I raised the strings to 20/1000. I say this knowing that my method draws criticism, people jump in and say that it is the wrong way. But they are my ukes and I like them this way. I just bought a vintage baritone and I will keep the strings a lot higher on it, 15 mils would buzz for sure with those big loose strings flapping around.

BlackBearUkes
11-09-2012, 02:24 PM
Why don't you tell us on how you go about it and how low or high you set up the action.

Chris_H
11-09-2012, 03:00 PM
yes, please

thistle3585
11-09-2012, 04:06 PM
For me, I flatten a pencil lengthwise on a belt sander so that it is basically cut in half. Then I lay it on the frets and slide it across the board so it draws a line on the nut that is the same height of the frets. I think of that line as being the height of a zero fret. I then mark my string locations and slot it so its just a bit higher than the line. I Install all the strings to tension then adjust the slots so that the center of the strings are in line. Once I get that, I then move to the bridge and lower the saddle to the preferred height depending on the scale length. On my last two, I have been slotting the saddle.

dannyb
11-09-2012, 04:09 PM
I could use some advise myself. Please do... I know I need improvement. Thank you

Allen
11-09-2012, 08:29 PM
Use a 1/8" drill bit laid on the 14th fret. Then take a straight edge and lay it on the first fret and the drill bit. Now measure the depth of the saddle slot to the bottom of the straight edge. This will give you a pretty good indication of the height of the saddle required. Make saddle that height and install.

Make nut following Andrews instructions.

Install strings and then adjust action at the nut. I fret the string at the third fret and have a look at the space between the bottom of the string and the first fret. Lower action until you could just slip a cigarette paper under the thinner strings. 2 papers under the C string.

Then look at the action at the 12th fret. Adjust action by lowering the saddle to suit your playing style and strings. I rarely go below 0.090" unless requested and the strings are high tension.

Chris_H
11-10-2012, 01:28 AM
Thank you Andrew and Allen.

finkdaddy
11-10-2012, 05:22 AM
Thank you, everyone!

thistle3585, that is very similar to what I do, so it is very reassuring to hear you confirm that.

Allen, it didn't occur to me that the height of the strings at the nut would effect the string action if the strings were being fretted. I assumed that if the string was being fretted that what was going on behind that fret was irrelevant. So thank you for that, I will make sure and check that from now on!
What you and the others have said is pretty much what I have been doing, accept that maybe I haven't been putting enough emphasis on the nut height.

Thanks again everyone!

BlackBearUkes
11-10-2012, 09:08 AM
Hey guys,

I'm just wondering what your prefered method is for setting up strings.
No matter how much attention I put into fret leveling, saddle shaping, etc, it just seems like a crap-shoot when it comes to getting good string action without any buzz, especially on the C string.

Is there a prefered method to setting up the strings?

Is there an obvious tool that I have overlooked?
It's so dissapointing to spend so much time on a build, only to have a uke rendered useless by buzzing strings.
Thanks in advance!

~Fred

If you are getting any buzzing on the fretted C string, assuming the nut is made correctly and the strings fit well, then the problem could be any number of other things such as, neck back bow, uneven frets, too low a playing action, a bad string or any number of other thngs. Also, I would never put slots in the bridge saddle. Whenever I see this on a guitar or uke, I assume it is from wear but occassionally it is done by someone with inexperience in how to do things correctly. The saddle should be replaced. A bridge saddle doesn't need any slots and the slots could contribute to frayed strings leading to breaking or poor intonation.

hawaii 50
11-10-2012, 09:26 AM
If you are getting any buzzing on the fretted C string, assuming the nut is made correctly and the strings fit well, then the problem could be any number of other things such as, neck back bow, uneven frets, too low a playing action, a bad string or any number of other thngs. Also, I would never put slots in the bridge saddle. Whenever I see this on a guitar or uke, I assume it is from wear but occassionally it is done by someone with inexperience in how to do things correctly. The saddle should be replaced. A bridge saddle doesn't need any slots and the slots could contribute to frayed strings leading to breaking or poor intonation.


I have many ukes and none of them have slots in the saddle..

mzuch
11-10-2012, 09:44 AM
Make sure that the nut and saddle slots are completely clean and flat. Same goes for the bottom of the nut and saddle. I had a problem similar to your a few weeks ago, when one string buzzed no matter how I adjusted the action. The buzz disappeared after I cleaned the bottom of the nut and the surface it rests on.

dannyb
11-10-2012, 04:23 PM
Thanks again for all your advise. I have been doing basically the same, just need to hear of other ways. Thanks All, Danny

Sven
11-10-2012, 09:02 PM
Also, the nut slots must have a steeper angle in the bottom, than the string angles from the front end of the nut to the tuners. This gives a clean point of contact and no buzz in the nut slot.

If the strings drop 15 degrees down to the tuners, the bottom of the nut slot should drop a few degrees more.

Pah! Being clear is overrated. I give up.

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
11-11-2012, 06:42 AM
And the order in which Allen gave instructions is important- Set the saddle height before fine tunning the nut slot depth.

thistle3585
11-11-2012, 02:10 PM
My slotting of the saddle stems from my mandolin background. I guess I should re-examine that. I have always done the nut then saddle, so I'll try it the opposite and see how that goes. Thanks. This is how threads should be.

Chris_H
11-11-2012, 04:33 PM
that sounded like nut-saddle and then nut for the fine tune... ?

Allen
11-11-2012, 08:15 PM
I always use the straight edge and drill bit method to get the saddle in the very close ball park. Then its the nut slots, and finally the action at the 12th fret, which if everything else was done correctly and in the order described, should be nothing more than taking a bit off the height of the saddle.

Compensation to the saddle is another matter though.

finkdaddy
11-12-2012, 09:41 AM
This is all very informative. Thank you for all of the great information!
Allen, I will try everything in your order. It all makes a lot of sense. Thanks again for that.
I will report my findings after I set up the next one. :)