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View Full Version : Quit the uke to take up the guitar?



Lideruke
02-20-2013, 05:25 PM
I don't like to complain, but I will anyway; I need to be talked down.
Months ago, I ordered a bruceweiart, which came with the bridge busted.
Then 3 or 4 weeks ago, I discovered my Kelii with a crack that expanded a couple times over an evening.
Then, checking my other ukes, I found the not at all unusual crack on my Koalana.
I figured, fine, so long as my go-to fav uke, my KoAloha, is fine, I'm ok. Then I found the seam on the back has separated some. Crap.
Then tonight, I went to take out my Mainland and the bridge had popped off.
That's 5 out of 6 ukes that need repair. The only uke that's fine is the only one that's a laminate (the top is solid). This is right around my first anniversary of picking up the uke. I'm really frustrated with this instrument. I would see the pattern and think it's probably my fault, and yes, the Kelii likely was (I left it out not humidified for a week or so). But the others have been humidified, with both a Herco and a Grover in each of their cases. I'm on the verge of throwing up my arms, putting the lot of them up for sale, and buying a Yamaha acoustic guitar from Sam Ash and picking up a new djembe.
Thoughts?
Suggestions?
Phone # for a good luthier in the Cleveland area?

RyanMFT
02-20-2013, 05:38 PM
Wow, I'm at a loss here. I've never heard of such bad luck with several ukuleles. I don't think the Kelii is your fault. Seems to me that one should be able to have a ukulele out for a bit without constant humidification. I realize you are in Ohio and your humidity is different than mine, but wow....what the heck is going on with your ukes?

I feel for you. I hope you don't give up on ukulele, this is bizarre! I doubt many Mainlands have that issue, and I have a KoAloha concert that hasn't had an issue since I bought it four years ago. In guitar land, you won't find the love you find in ukulele land. Plus, ukulele will draw you back anyway!

SeattleSean
02-20-2013, 05:59 PM
Wow, that's a bad run by anyone's definition... that sucks. But on the other hand, with that run of bad luck behind you, maybe the universe will owe you a run of off-setting good luck in the near future.

If you love playing the ukulele, don't give it up. If you've always wanted to try the guitar out and this is as good as any time to give it a go, then no one would think less of you for picking up a guitar and putting your uke down at least for a while. But either way, sorry to hear that you've had such a bad go of it lately.

pdxuke
02-20-2013, 06:03 PM
Terrible luck!. Buy a Martin OXK or Kiwaya KS1 and change your uke mojo. Both are high quality great sounding laminates and bomb proof.

hmgberg
02-21-2013, 12:18 AM
I'm sorry about your troubles. Do you by any chance have an in-case hygrometer? I'm reluctant to suggest anything because your spate of cracks and the separation seems so freaky, but the idea is to keep the ukuleles at a fairly constant RH, around 50%.

tangimango
02-21-2013, 01:40 AM
man thats some sad news. to be on the positive side maybe you were ment to be a lutier and fix the problems and gain good knowledge on fixing them. but either way you can also salvage them and one day pick up a good one that will have no problems. either guitar or the uke just continue to play joyful music. what size is the koalana?

Doc_J
02-21-2013, 01:57 AM
I'm sorry about your troubles. Do you by any chance have an in-case hygrometer? I'm reluctant to suggest anything because your spate of cracks and the separation seems so freaky, but the idea is to keep the ukuleles at a fairly constant RH, around 50%.

Hmgberg is right. Even if you're humidifying you might not be at 50%. You probably need to check RH and make sure. You may need additional humidification in Ohio during the winter.

Sorry about your ukes. 5 of 6 cracking is unreal.

hmgberg
02-21-2013, 02:07 AM
Hmgberg is right. Even if you're humidifying you might not be at 50%. You probably need to check RH and make sure. You may need additional humidification in Ohio during the winter.

Sorry about your ukes. 5 of 6 cracking is unreal.
Thanks, Doc. I'm thinking that they may be over humidified in the cases. So, in and out of the cases they are going through extreme changes, swelling and contracting, etc.

HBolte
02-21-2013, 02:26 AM
I think that whatever you are doing, you'd do the same to a guitar. Figure out if you are over/under humidifying first. If it was one out of five I'd say it was the uke. Five out of six I'd look at what you are possibly doing wrong. As hmgberg said over humidifying can be a problem too.

lakesideglenn
02-21-2013, 02:54 AM
I live just outside of Philly and have quite a few high end guitars and ukes. Humidity is always low this time of year. I also have a wood burning stove that really dries the air out. I run three room humidifiers constantly from late fall to spring that keeps my house 40 to 45%. I keep a lot of my instruments out on stands or hangers for easy access and have never had a problem with cracks or any other issues on my instruments.
I'd try getting some humidifiers to do you whole house, or at least the rooms where you keep your ukes.

RonT
02-21-2013, 04:12 AM
I'm curious also, as my (hopefully soon to arrive) T1K will be treated the same as my banjo....out where I can reach it, no humidifier.
R

hoosierhiver
02-21-2013, 04:45 AM
Sorry to hear about the troubles. Any decent hardware store should have a humidity guage for a few bucks, cold dry air is a killer this time of year. I'd aslo consider a room humidifier, aqauriums and houseplants will also help raise the humidity in the air. If you aren't comfortable reglueing the bridge, you are welcome to send it to us for a fix.

BigSkyUkuleleGirl
02-21-2013, 04:49 AM
I would definitely get a hygrometer to fix your uke issue but nothing wrong with having a guitar either. I play both and go back and forth according to my mood. I find one helps me with understanding the other's fretboard.

OldePhart
02-21-2013, 07:00 AM
Ummmm...not to sound insulting but to have that many problems with that many different brands when most of us with the same ukes never have a problem (well, with the exception of the KoAlana) kind of points to something in your house being the problem...in which case you'd probably not have much better luck with quality guitars...

Yeah, guitars are braced a little heavier for the increased tension and the larger bodies tend to have more "give" so they'll tolerate bad environment longer before cracking - but the bottom line is you have to be prepared to take reasonable care of things. It might take longer but eventually your guitars will be cracking, too.

I'd say you have very dry air in your house - a good whole-house humidifier would be good not only for the instruments but for your health. Barring that, a room humidifier or very diligent use of case humidifers would be called for.

John

osogris
02-21-2013, 10:47 AM
What about a carbon fiber uke? Regardless of your humidification, that should hold up...

Freeda
02-21-2013, 10:53 AM
Laminates are our friends.

BWright
02-21-2013, 04:34 PM
Sorry about your trouble. I agree with those who recommend room humidifiers. Without a humidifier our North Idaho house is about 35% in the winter. We bought a Sunbeam whole-room humidifier from Home Depot for about $60. It keeps the humidity at 45-50%. My wife and I like to keep our instruments (a couple of Mya-Moe's and a Martin) out of their cases to be easy to pick up and play.

Lideruke
02-21-2013, 05:21 PM
Thank you all for the comments! I'm a little embarassed for myself for starting this thread. I realize my initial mistake was thinking in-case humidifiers would be enough. It's killer dry here in my house. 24%. So I set up a humidifier I got when I was sick. We'll see what that does before investing further in another one. I keep my ukes in my dining room (because where else?) but there's no door to shut. So we'll see if it does the trick.
Also, I'll put on my Junior Luthier hat and try to repair at least the bridge on my Mainland. My KoAloha and KoAlana will be repaired/replaced thru the killer warranties.
The crack on the Kelii, however, will have to be fixed professionally. I'm not confident enough to take care of that.
Life goes on. I still want a new djembe.
Great community, guys!

ricdoug
02-21-2013, 07:22 PM
You'll have the same issues with guitars, if you don't find the root source of your issues.

Albert Einstein: "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

Lideruke
02-22-2013, 06:47 AM
You'll have the same issues with guitars, if you don't find the root source of your issues.

Albert Einstein: "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

I realize this. I do. The guitar I've been considering for some time is the Yamaha FG700S. It's a laminate guitar with a solid sitka top. Since the only uke that has survived this winter is a laminate with a solid cedar top, it might just work!
But either way, next winter there will be a badass humidifier moisturizing the air in here. So maybe I'll get that guitar anyway.

RichM
02-22-2013, 07:12 AM
Sorry about your trouble. I agree with those who recommend room humidifiers. Without a humidifier our North Idaho house is about 35% in the winter. We bought a Sunbeam whole-room humidifier from Home Depot for about $60. It keeps the humidity at 45-50%. My wife and I like to keep our instruments (a couple of Mya-Moe's and a Martin) out of their cases to be easy to pick up and play.

I'll second that. I have found that room humidifiers are more effective and easier than maintaining case humidifiers. You also get the added benefit of properly humidifying your furniture, your hardwood floor, and your lungs and nasal passages. If you're constantly moving your instruments from place to place, a case humidifer is probably more practical, since you'll maintain the humidity level wherever you go; but for instruments that are house-bound most of the time, I think room humidifiers are the best solution.

connor013
02-22-2013, 08:24 AM
Gigantic bummer.

We have super-low humidity as well. If you can't figure it out, here's a badass option: http://www.etsy.com/listing/96551092/carbon-fiber-ukulele-composite-ghost?ref=pr_shop

You could leave that puppy wherever whenever.

70sSanO
02-22-2013, 09:47 AM
Setting the humidity issue aside, if you want to go to guitar, it should be for what that instrument brings. I went from guitar to ukulele and I really haven't looked back.

For me I can do so much more on a uke than a guitar, I find it easier to play than a guitar, I don't really want to put in the time to develop good guitar instrumental skills, I really enjoy not being one of 100 million guitar players playing the same riffs, and playing the ukulele is just plain fun.

John

kalmario
02-22-2013, 11:13 AM
sometimes the bass strings in a guitar just sound better on some songs.

that said playing both has positives and negatives. guitar's tension is good for callous building.

but i end up strumming a uke like a guitar .i.e. not hitting the high g string, which comes from guitar playing (hitting the higher strings for C and D chords), and i end up strumming with chunks on the guitar as a result of ukulele playing!