View Full Version : New player, new uke--help!

11-27-2012, 05:47 PM
I'm a longtime guitar player who, over the last few months, found myself playing my 7-year-old daughter's ukulele (a Makala MK-S) a fair bit. Although it's in dire need of a setup, it's fun to play with, and I was enjoying it enough (and had in mind adding a ukulele part to a recording I'm working on) that I decided to treat myself to a decent instrument. After browsing these boards for a couple of weeks, I decided on a Mainland red cedar concert--I liked the idea of getting an instrument that had received some personal attention and a setup, and as a Hoosier I liked the idea of supporting a Hoosier business. So I placed my order on the Mainland website on Friday, and I waited.

The ukulele arrived this morning, and first impressions were very positive. It's beautiful. I tuned it up, started playing chords on the first three frets--very nice sound. Then I started playing up the neck. Uh oh. It's not fret buzz, exactly (or at least what I think of as fret buzz), but the notes up the neck become fuzzy and indistinct, with a very quick decay, once past the third fret. And the intonation on the A string is way off--by the time I get to the 12th fret, it's about an eighth of a step flat (about 1/4 of the way from A to Ab, in other words--way, way off to the ear). It's not quite that far off from, say, the fourth through eighth frets, but it's still audibly flat, even to my less than perfect ears.

I'm sure that Mainland will treat me right--their reputation for customer service on these boards seems impeccable. My question really is, what should I reasonably expect when I buy from Mainland, or Uke Republic, or another outfit that promises a setup. I paid a premium to go with Mainland in part because of the positive reviews of how well their ukuleles played on arrival (as opposed to, say, the cheap Makala that I bought for my daughter at Sam Ash, which came straight out of an unopened box). And so I'm very disappointed with what I received--a ukulele that, at the very least, is in immediate need of a setup.

Thoughts? Thanks.

Coconut Willie
11-28-2012, 05:35 AM
That is a bummer!! If the dealer sets up the uke, there should be no problems, especially with buzzing!!! Contact Mike and I know he will correct the problem!!

11-28-2012, 05:50 AM
Humidity durting shipping, cold weather exposure, etc. etc. Mike at Mainland will do you right.

11-28-2012, 05:53 AM
I'd let the uke settle in a few days and get used to its new home and environment.
Mike is a good guy and you should definitely contact him privately and off the forum.
Welcome to the fold.

11-28-2012, 05:59 AM
Welcome to the fold.

It's sort of sweaty in here, but yes, welcome.

11-28-2012, 05:27 PM
Well, I still say congrats on the new uke. I feel confident that the Mainland folks can make you happy! Good luck!

Harold O.
11-29-2012, 05:18 PM
I'd let the uke settle in a few days and get used to its new home and environment.

Ukes are small, sensitive instruments. But after a few days, they will/should settle in to the new home. The nylon strings will also take some time to stretch into their tunings. You'll especially notice it when changing to new strings. They'll go out of tune by the time you've worked your way down to the last string. These, too, will settle in and find their balance.

In short, give it a few more days. Play it some. Enjoy.