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View Full Version : New Mainland Uke Buzz



Depthy
05-11-2013, 11:27 PM
Hey guys,

so I got this new mainland mahogany tenor slotted headstock cutaway w/ pickup blemish two days ago and its been great except for some buzzing/rattling along the C string from around the 2nd-5th frets and occasionally on the E string around the 1st-5th frets. The other strings don't seem to buzz.


Here's a sound sample of what it sounds like:

http://vocaroo.com/i/s0sMC213zBzw

if you listen, you can hear the rattles when I pick some strings.




What do you guys think might be the issue? I changed the stock strings to Living Waters, and I changed the C string a day later again to a different Living Water string to check it it was just a bad string. The buzz seems to have stayed.

Do you think the strings might just need time to stretch? Will it go away? Should I humidify it more?a Should I send it back to mainland or just bring it to a guitar center or somewhere else? Could it be a problem with the electronic pickup wires? Pretty sure it's not because of any excess string ends. Should I try putting a piece of paper under the bridge slot?

I really wish I didn't have this problem because the uke is perfect other than the annoying rattle.

Thanks!

52960

mm stan
05-11-2013, 11:33 PM
Call wherever you bought it from and tell them..either it is a high fret...or neck issues...I am sure because the C and E are the thickest....so they may be hitting a fret...if you try to
fix it yourself or take it elsewhere, you would void your warranty...good luck....

Depthy
05-11-2013, 11:51 PM
Call wherever you bought it from and tell them..either it is a high fret...or neck issues...I am sure because the C and E are the thickest....so they may be hitting a fret...if you try to
fix it yourself or take it elsewhere, you would void your warranty...good luck....

Definitely. Gonna call them tomorrow. thanks

Depthy
05-12-2013, 10:08 AM
Called Mike, they're not open on Sundays so I'll have to wait till tomorrow.

Tried putting 2 pieces of newspaper under the bridge slot, that didn't work...

Very frustrating. May have to send it back..

hoosierhiver
05-12-2013, 09:00 PM
Sorry to hear about that. We spend a lot of time on each uke before they go out. I remember we made the action on that uke excessively low as you and your mom had requested. Of course with very low action you can get the strings to buzz if you pluck them hard. We will be in the shop most of the day tomorrow.

PhilUSAFRet
05-13-2013, 01:18 AM
First thing I always check in a uke with a pickup is whether a wire inside is touching the sound board somewhere.

Depthy
05-13-2013, 11:20 AM
So Mike gave me a call and suggested I raise the action by sanding a different saddle. My saddle I ordered with the uke is at home which I won't be at for a few days so I tried cutting pieces of a printer card (like a credit card) and putting them under the saddle.

Three pieces of card later, the buzz is pretty much gone. Unfortunately it seems a little more difficult to play and get my hammer on exercises to ring out with the raised action. It seemed to have to raise a lot to get the buzz to go away. Oh well. I'll have to sand down a different saddle later in the week, maybe that will work a little better. Does anyone know if having card under the saddle affects the pickup? It seems to have lowered the pickups sound, which is to be expected I guess.

haolejohn
05-13-2013, 11:26 AM
So Mike gave me a call and suggested I raise the action by sanding a different saddle. My saddle I ordered with the uke is at home which I won't be at for a few days so I tried cutting pieces of a printer card (like a credit card) and putting them under the saddle.

Three pieces of card later, the buzz is pretty much gone. Unfortunately it seems a little more difficult to play and get my hammer on exercises to ring out with the raised action. It seemed to have to raise a lot to get the buzz to go away. Oh well. I'll have to sand down a different saddle later in the week, maybe that will work a little better. Does anyone know if having card under the saddle affects the pickup? It seems to have lowered the pickups sound, which is to be expected I guess.

No idea. I do know that the higher your strings the louder the instrument should be, or at least that is what i was told once before.

bnolsen
05-13-2013, 11:39 AM
Raising the saddle would definitely change your intonation down the frets due to the extra string tension from the extra distance to fret the string. Also keep an eye on that.

OldePhart
05-13-2013, 11:56 AM
Does anyone know if having card under the saddle affects the pickup? It seems to have lowered the pickups sound, which is to be expected I guess.

It will have some affect, yes, especially three layers. Three pieces are probably absorbing enough vibration to affect the acoustic volume a little bit, too. I did much the same thing on my Kiwaya - I had asked MGM for a super low action on it when I bought it from him a couple of years ago and he delivered. The action was extraordinarily low. There was no buzz, either (MGMdoes great setups). However, when I recently put a soundboard pickup in the uke I discovered that with the low action I was very often hitting the fretboard with my thumbnail. It didn't show up acoustically, but boy did it show up in the pickup! Also, I'm doing more pattern picking now and you need a little space from the fretboard for that. Anyway, I used two strips from a credit card under the bridge saddle. Once I dry fit them I took them back out and super-glued them together (obviously, do this with the pieces removed and away from the uke). You might want to try that with your three strips as it will probably help reduce the reduction in vibration.


No idea. I do know that the higher your strings the louder the instrument should be, or at least that is what i was told once before.
That's kind of an oversimplification - if your strings are higher you can play more loudly without getting rattle or buzz. Also, with the action a little higher it is much easier to pick cleanly, which sort of makes it sound louder, I guess.


Raising the saddle would definitely change your intonation down the frets due to the extra string tension from the extra distance to fret the string. Also keep an eye on that.

The saddle has to be ridiculously high to have much impact on intonation. The nut is extremely critical to intonation at the first few frets because the frets are so close to the nut so the strings do indeed pull sharp if the nut is high. The higher frets are much further away from the bridge saddle than the lower frets are from the nut. I've taken the action from the quite high saddle of a fresh-from-the-factory KoAloha down to "crazy low" and it didn't affect the intonation at the 12th fret enough to show the difference on a Snark tuner.

In fact, the only uke I've had that showed a measurable (on the Snark) difference in intonation after lowering the bridge saddle was a Kala pocket uke. The combination of very short (10") scale and a saddle that was pretty high resulted in a 1-bar change in the intonation at the 12th when I lowered the saddle.

John

AndrewKuker
05-13-2013, 01:13 PM
The C string in that area will be easiest to buzz. Whenever it's just one string buzzing after setup I first change the string. Inconsistency in the radius will cause a wider vibration or warble of sorts that will cause buzz. I setup a Kala this morning and after fret dress had a buzz right in that are. Sure enough a new C string and it was perfect. So that's something to try if you had not already.

As a side note, your sound sample seems to be plucking rather hard and I still don't hear a pronounced buzz. Perhaps it's not coming through but you might need to be more aware of technique and also the reality of having low action and the physical limitations of that luxury.

jwieties
05-13-2013, 01:20 PM
As a side note, your sound sample seems to be plucking rather hard and I still don't hear a pronounced buzz. Perhaps it's not coming through but you might need to be more aware of technique and also the reality of having low action and the physical limitations of that luxury.

Yep, I thought a pick my have been used in the sound sample. If so, that could greatly contribute to the buzzing.

coolkayaker1
05-13-2013, 03:12 PM
Low action ukuleles...play gently. Gentle picking, bet that Mainland sounds gorgeous. Really.

Depthy
05-17-2013, 02:14 PM
I always specify the string I use when ordering a set up, including several types if I am going to experiment. This helps the set up person work out how high to set the action.
Apart from the credit card slices, I use a 2'' piece of string wriggled under the buzzing string at the nut and trimmed, to raise the string height slightly. Vary the diameter/type of string to adjust the height.
When trying to find the problem, wriggle a piece of paper under the string at the bridge, keep folding the paper until you get rid of the buzz. Then you know how high you need to raise the bridge. The paper is just for the test, not a permanent fix.

So I changed the saddle with credit card strips to a new saddle that I ordered with the purchase. Oddly, I didn't sand down the height of the new saddle at all because it wasn't much taller than the last one. the C string still buzzed only a bit less than last time.

I then added a piece of an E string in the nut under the C string. It helped, but I can still hear the rattle if I pluck hard. The buzz doesn't appear if I play softly, but its a bummer the buzz still appears with a fresh saddle. (I tried a bunch of string sizes - a C string was too thick, the top string wouldn't stay in the nut)

Anyone have any more tips to help me?
Should I just live with not plucking hard on the C string 2nd and 4th frets or consider sending it back? It's a shame because I love the uke other than the worrisome buzz.

hoosierhiver
05-17-2013, 02:32 PM
It might be the C string not laying in the nut groove well, it could be a dead spot on the string. If it looks OK at the nut try removing the C string and "flipping it" ie, tie the former bottom end of the string at the headstock. This sometimes helps you diagnose if it's the string or the uke.

Depthy
05-17-2013, 05:16 PM
It might be the C string not laying in the nut groove well, it could be a dead spot on the string. If it looks OK at the nut try removing the C string and "flipping it" ie, tie the former bottom end of the string at the headstock. This sometimes helps you diagnose if it's the string or the uke.

Just tried flipping the string and also a different C string, neither of them fixed the problem. Also tried putting two pieces of index cards under the c string at the nut, buzz is still there if I pick it with my fleshy part of my thumb with some force on the 2nd and 4th frets, particularly to the left side of the fret.... very frustrating. Do you have any higher saddles Mike?

Here's another sound sample... The first half has two pieces of index card under the c string, the second half I took them out.

Http://vocaroo.com/i/s1c9dGmmxtQ2

What would you guys do? I need an electric uke to busk this summer and I love the uke except for the buzz... should I just play lighter and get over it or send it back? I know that's a personal choice but I can't decide arghhh

hibiscus
05-17-2013, 05:45 PM
If it's new, can't you send it back for a fix?

coolkayaker1
05-17-2013, 05:46 PM
If it's new, can't you send it back for a fix?

Depthy
05-17-2013, 06:14 PM
If it's new, can't you send it back for a fix?

I guess that would be the smart thing to do.

Guitar2ukulele
05-18-2013, 12:18 AM
Just tried flipping the string and also a different C string, neither of them fixed the problem. Also tried putting two pieces of index cards under the c string at the nut, buzz is still there if I pick it with my fleshy part of my thumb with some force on the 2nd and 4th frets, particularly to the left side of the fret.... very frustrating. Do you have any higher saddles Mike?


You should work on your technique if anything. It seems you are trying to make it buzz instead of playing normally like you would do. I remember my luthier telling me one time that if you wanted to make it buzz, you will succeed.

coolkayaker1
05-18-2013, 02:44 AM
You should work on your technique if anything. It seems you are trying to make it buzz instead of playing normally like you would do. I remember my luthier telling me one time that if you wanted to make it buzz, you will succeed.

Especially if you've ordered a uke that is with a particularly low action. True.