PDA

View Full Version : A Dead Sound...Is it me?



Hope4U
05-03-2013, 02:51 PM
My uke is sounding dead. I changed the strings, but it hasn't made any difference. Could it have something to do with how my finger is strumming? If so, what am I doing wrong? It's making me lose interest in playing. Any help you can offer is appreciated.

mikelz777
05-03-2013, 03:01 PM
Maybe you're resting your forearm on the face of the uke and deadening the soundboard?
Maybe you're holding the back of the uke so the whole back is pressing against your body? If so, try pushing the neck forward or away from your body so the back opens up and is not pressing against your body so much.
Sometimes my uke has sounded dull and when I looked, the sleeve of my shirt was dampening the strings without me even realizing it for the longest time.

These would be my first guesses. Check them out and see if they might be the case. Good luck.

dav_9
05-03-2013, 03:12 PM
Do you recall the condition and specs your ukulele was in before it started sounding dead to you? Climate.. strings.. Has the humidity/air changed where you're playing? Are you using the same brand strings as before? Maybe share what ukulele you have--could help us.

Patrick Madsen
05-03-2013, 06:28 PM
What brand of strings did you change too. Some string sets are dead sounding no matter how new.

barefootgypsy
05-04-2013, 03:08 AM
Study carefully exactly what you're doing with your fingers.... play each string at a time, open than fretted - see how clean the sound is. Strum a C chord with your thumb - make sure your clothes are not catching the strings. Then try a finger strum. Then try a two finger chord.... just look very carefully to see where you might change something in your fingering to improve the sound.... are you sure the uke is correctly tuned? I'm sure you'll find the cause if you stick with it..... don't lose heart! We've all been there, one way or another! Good luck..... :)

UkeKiddinMe
05-04-2013, 03:21 AM
If you really want some solid advice, and you have the ability to video yourself, post a link to the video,
and I'm sure the experienced players will help you along.

Kanaka916
05-04-2013, 03:44 AM
My uke is sounding dead. I changed the strings, but it hasn't made any difference. Could it have something to do with how my finger is strumming? If so, what am I doing wrong? It's making me lose interest in playing. Any help you can offer is appreciated.
There was an older thread where the OP mentioned the uke didn't sound the same after he changed out the strings. Well, turns out the saddle wasn't in the bridge. Just sayin it could happen.

mm stan
05-04-2013, 03:59 AM
Did the uke sound dead before the string change or only after the string change....it could be that you put the strings on the wrong places...or you have different strings from GCEA
or bad strings...try to put the old ones back and see if you have the same dull sound...if all fails get another new set and try it out....how long did you have the strings on...on Aquilas
it may take a week to break in.... good luck....

OldePhart
05-04-2013, 04:12 AM
If the old and new strings are Aquila Nylgut what is the humidity like right now? I took a uke to Louisiana with NylGut strings - it was pretty dead while I was there and for a week or so after the return. I went back later with the same uke with Fluorocarbon strings and the humidity didn't affect it.

Also, did the uke once sound good and now is bad, or has it always sounded dead?

Finally, if all else fails and you can't make the uke sound better don't give up playing, just chalk it up to lessons learned and get a better uke!

Finally, people talk a lot about ukes "playing in" and sounding better the more they are played. It's a thing I've only seen that for certain a couple of times out of dozens of good instruments I've owned and I think a lot less common than people are willing to admit. However, one thing simply makes sense - if some instruments sound better as they "play in" and joints settle, wood changes, etc. then there are probably a few instruments that get worse. I have one of those, in fact. It's still not a bad uke and if anyone played it they would think it was fine, but it was spectacular out of the box and faded to merely good - several string changes to try to take it back to spectacular have not worked. :)

John

Hope4U
05-04-2013, 08:43 AM
The uke was sounding dead, so I thought it was the strings, which I changed. It still sounded dead. I am using Aquila, so maybe I need to try different strings. I have a Kala KA-SMHC. I think I might be putting too much of my arm on the face of the uke. It seems I have to though if I'm strumming at about the 10th or 12th fret. The uke did sound good, and now sounds bad.

Newportlocal
05-04-2013, 09:52 AM
There was an older thread where the OP mentioned the uke didn't sound the same after he changed out the strings. Well, turns out the saddle wasn't in the bridge. Just sayin it could happen.

That happened to me once. I actually have a spare for that uke now in case it gets lost.

Kyle23
05-04-2013, 12:32 PM
Can you post a video of you playing or something? Or even just a sound sample.

mm stan
05-04-2013, 12:59 PM
The uke was sounding dead, so I thought it was the strings, which I changed. It still sounded dead. I am using Aquila, so maybe I need to try different strings. I have a Kala KA-SMHC. I think I might be putting too much of my arm on the face of the uke. It seems I have to though if I'm strumming at about the 10th or 12th fret. The uke did sound good, and now sounds bad.

A uke usually don't sound bad after a string change unless you've got bad strings or they are breaking in or changed something while doing so..Aquila take a long time....be patient....are you sure you stringed the strings in the right position....

Hope4U
05-04-2013, 02:06 PM
Can you post a video of you playing or something? Or even just a sound sample.

I don't know how to post video or audio?? And, I don't own a video camera. Go figure :o

Kyle23
05-04-2013, 03:41 PM
Does your computer have a mic or a webcam? Maybe a camera on your phone?

Hope4U
05-05-2013, 07:36 AM
Yes, I do have a mic and a webcam. Can you record from skype?

Kyle23
05-05-2013, 03:04 PM
Not sure, but you can record straight to youtube from a webcam.

Hope4U
05-05-2013, 04:58 PM
Not sure, but you can record straight to youtube from a webcam.

Ok, I didn't know that. I'll have to check it out, and if I'm successful I can post it.

Hope4U
05-09-2013, 02:10 PM
Ok, here's a video link to what the uke sounds like, though the audio quality is not good so it may not be of much use. I changed the strings again, but it still sounds dead to me. What do you think?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ShnX8vBEmE

Gadzukes!
05-09-2013, 02:15 PM
That sounds ...not right.

Newportlocal
05-09-2013, 02:19 PM
Is the saddle in the bridge, and are you using an electronic clip on tuner with a new battery to tune it.

Hope4U
05-10-2013, 02:28 AM
Yes, the saddle is in the bridge, and.I do use an electronic tuner.

OldePhart
05-10-2013, 02:50 AM
Something is way off with the tuning. Your C chord is not even close to a C chord, the G not close to a G, etc. Make sure that you are tuned 4th string (the one closest to your face) to G, third string to C "under" that G, second string E "above" that C and the first string (the one closest to the floor) to A above that E.

I tried to play my uke along with your video but backwards, as if I'd tuned the strings in the opposite order, and it was hard to tell if that's exactly what you've done but playing along with you that way sounded closer to us being "together" than if I played using the same fingerings. Make sense?

Also I only caught a quick glimpse of the bridge but, unless that Kala has a black saddle, it looks like the saddle might be missing, too, as someone else noted. If the saddle is missing it could make the uke dead and possibly buzzy, and throw the intonation (tuning) way out of whack.

Now, for the good news, other than the tuning that doesn't sound that far off from many inexpensive Kala ukes - they just don't have a lot of sustain and volume. So, I think if you get the tuning worked out you'll be fine.

John

mikelz777
05-10-2013, 03:01 AM
It's hard to tell from the video but I agree, it looks like the saddle is missing unless it's the same color as the bridge but you indicated in an earlier post that it is there. If the saddle is indeed there, is it high enough so that the strings are not resting on the bridge?

mm stan
05-10-2013, 03:17 AM
Ok, here's a video link to what the uke sounds like, though the audio quality is not good so it may not be of much use. I changed the strings again, but it still sounds dead to me. What do you think?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ShnX8vBEmE

Aloha kat
Can you pick each string separately slowly ......maybe you have the string or strings in a different octaves...and make a video....thank you

mikelz777
05-10-2013, 05:32 AM
If you do make another video, perhaps a close up of the saddle/bridge area and the nut area of the uke may reveal something.

Hope4U
05-10-2013, 07:40 AM
The saddle is in place, and both the nut and saddle are black. I'm using an electronic tuner, so I'm not sure what's going on there, but I'll double check my tuner, and when I make the video I'll pluck each string separately. The other thing is that I can't get this uke to stay in tune. I didn't use to have that problem, but I've stretched the strings, like I do on my acoustic guitar to get the strings to set, but it still won't stay in tune.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hTI5421gg8

OldePhart
05-10-2013, 07:53 AM
When you shoot the next video, include video of yourself tuning the uke, if possible, with the tuner showing in the camera if you can.

John

Gadzukes!
05-10-2013, 08:24 AM
The problem with electronic tuners is that they don't generally differentiate between octaves. So you might be tuned to G, but an octave higher or lower than it should be. Try using an online tuner.

Hope4U
05-10-2013, 08:35 AM
I have a Kala tuner, so it should be tuning specific to a uke.

gitarzan
05-10-2013, 09:13 AM
Split brace?

Hope4U
05-10-2013, 09:27 AM
Split brace?

I don't know what you mean by "split brace."

mikelz777
05-10-2013, 09:55 AM
The problem with electronic tuners is that they don't generally differentiate between octaves. So you might be tuned to G, but an octave higher or lower than it should be. Try using an online tuner.

I think what this poster meant was to find an online tuner so you can hear what each string should sound like. (See link below.) What I do is use a tuner like the one below to get each respective string to sound like the online tuner. I then use my own tuner that I clip onto the head to fine-tune each string.

http://www.ukuleletricks.com/ukulele-tuner/

mikelz777
05-10-2013, 09:59 AM
I don't know what you mean by "split brace."

A brace would be the pieces of wood inside the uke that support the sound board.

Hope4U
05-10-2013, 10:12 AM
I think what this poster meant was to find an online tuner so you can hear what each string should sound like. (See link below.) What I do is use a tuner like the one below to get each respective string to sound like the online tuner. I then use my own tuner that I clip onto the head to fine-tune each string.

http://www.ukuleletricks.com/ukulele-tuner/

Got ya! It all sounds good. Very close to the electronic tuner, so my ear must not be too bad :o

Hope4U
05-10-2013, 10:13 AM
A brace would be the pieces of wood inside the uke that support the sound board.

I was thinking that he must be talking about the bracing, but nothing appears or sounds loose.

mikelz777
05-10-2013, 11:03 AM
Got ya! It all sounds good. Very close to the electronic tuner, so my ear must not be too bad :o

The online tuners are really handy for when I change strings. I use the online tuner sound to get the string in the neighborhood of the right note then I use my chromatic tuner from then on to hone in on the specific note for each string. The dead sound thing is a puzzler. After hearing the video, it sounds like it could be something with the uke rather than the strings but I could be wrong.

mm stan
05-10-2013, 12:03 PM
Aloha Kat,
go to a music store and try other ukes...if they sound bad too, it is your strumming....hope it helps....there is Hope4U :)

Hope4U
05-10-2013, 12:09 PM
Aloha Kat,
go to a music store and try other ukes...if they sound bad too, it is your strumming....hope it helps....there is Hope4U :)

I'm laughing about Hope4U. It's encouraging to know there's hope for me. I wondered if it's my strumming but I don't know what I'm doing wrong, and why would the uke sound good then turn bad, unless my strumming went downhill too.

Hope4U
05-10-2013, 12:30 PM
Ok, here's a very, very, very rough Edelweiss. See what you think about the sound of the uke, not so much my playing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHhauJ5rnw4

OldePhart
05-10-2013, 01:15 PM
It seems to sound better when you play up the fretboard ("up the fretboard" means closer to the body, i.e. the higher-numbered frets). Comparing your previous video and this one it sounds like perhaps the intonation is really poor at the first couple of frets, that is most often caused by very high action at the nut.

Since this happened after a string change, there are two fairly common scenarios to consider...

1) Did you replace the strings with the same kind that were on it? If the new strings are thicker than the strings that were on it before, they may not be sitting all the way down in the slots in the nut - this would cause poor intonation at the first few frets - most often on the C string though others have to be considered as well.

2) Was the nut glued firmly in place, or was it loose when you changed the strings? If loose, make sure that nothing got under the back of the nut to lift it. If so loose that it came off while you were changing strings, check both that it is seated fully back in place AND that it is right/way around. In fact, a backwards nut could cause exactly what you're seeing. The slots should slope slightly so the edge closest to the frets is a little higher than the edge closest to the tuners. If it is the other way around, your intonation at the first few frets will be dreadful AND it could also buzz and or muffle the strings because they would be vibrating loosely against the edges of the slot nearer the frets.

John