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View Full Version : OU2E: Fixable by me?



anniekate76
12-29-2008, 05:53 PM
So I got an Oscar Schmidt OU2E at my local music store and did not notice in the noisy store that there is something NOT QUITE RIGHT about the sound... I thought adding Aquilas would help, and it did, but there's still something off...it's just not fun to play. I keep going back to my blue Mahalo. :rolleyes:

I think I have traced it to the fact that the A string's kind of buzzy. I found instructions on the internet of how to use a straightedge to check if the frets are level and found that the sixth fret, under the E and A strings only, is higher than the surrounding frets. (Short edge of a credit card over the fifth, sixth and seventh frets will rock back and forth with the sixth fret as a fulcrum.)

Internet videos about guitar setup show a guy using a big flat file to level all frets on a guitar but that seems overkill for one slightly high fret. It does not seem loose or not totally seated. What can I do to get it down to the level of the other frets? Without totally murdering the instrument? Something involving sandpaper and/or steel wool?

Please and thank you for any assistance. :)

katreetrunk
12-29-2008, 07:42 PM
That same thing is happening to me now! I have the same model, and the plug for the pickup just popped out of it's socket two weeks after i bought it...

How much did the sound change after you re-stringed with aquilas?

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
12-29-2008, 08:14 PM
Before you start filing it could be that that fret simply became a bit loose and worked its way high. It happens and it doesn't take much. The fix for it is to tap the offending fret in with a small hammer. If it truly is too high, a small file or sand paper backed with something straight should level it after hitting it with some steel wool.
If it were me, I would just return it to the store.
Chuck Moore
Moore Bettah Ukuleles
http://www.moorebettahukes.com

anniekate76
12-29-2008, 08:55 PM
That same thing is happening to me now! I have the same model, and the plug for the pickup just popped out of it's socket two weeks after i bought it...

How much did the sound change after you re-stringed with aquilas?

Yeah, I had to tighten the plug thing too. Luckily it had not come completely undone.

It sounded better, sweeter, with the new strings, because I like that kind of string, but it did not address the main problem.

anniekate76
12-29-2008, 09:36 PM
Before you start filing it could be that that fret simply became a bit loose and worked its way high. It happens and it doesn't take much.

Thanks... Would I be able to see a gap if that were the problem though? Or movement when pressing on it real hard? I see neither.

The ends of the frets are a bit sharp too.



If it were me, I would just return it to the store.

Hmmm, I think I have kept it past the return period. Foolish.

koalohapaul
12-29-2008, 09:37 PM
Taking it back would probably be the easiest option, but it's not that hard to fix yourself. As Chuck said, you can file or sand it down to level relatively easily, but you won't be able to re-crown the fret unless you have a special crowning file. You can get them in different sizes from Stew-Mac. The cheaper ones are about $30 and they're good to have on hand, if you're a uke do-it-yourselfer.

Ukuleleblues
12-30-2008, 02:19 AM
I would start out like someone said and bring it back to the store and tell them the exact story you told here and show them the high fret. Show them how it buzzes. Ask them for some help. Be real friendly and find a salesperson you might recognize and start out by saying. "I am so glad you are working today because I really need your help".

Remember it's not their fault, but they sure can help you. Treat them like you would want to be treated if you were them and someone brought in a bum uke. They might have a luthier fix it for free or replace it. Maybe OS has a return policy.

You should also do as sugested to make sure the fret is seated.also look at it close to make sure it is not loose, get a magnifier and press on it with something hard like wood or plastic and make sure it doesn't move.


While up at the mountains my old guitar started buzzing on the low E at the thrid fret. It was driving me nuts, I carry a dimond nail file in my string bag. It filed the high fret down with no problem and left a nice finish. I was even abel to get a small crown, casue it was so thin.

anniekate76
01-01-2009, 12:05 AM
Thanks for all the advice, everybody! I really think it's too late to return but maybe someone at the store could help me out with a repair anyway.

E-Lo Roberts
01-01-2009, 08:38 AM
Taking it back would probably be the easiest option, but it's not that hard to fix yourself. As Chuck said, you can file or sand it down to level relatively easily, but you won't be able to re-crown the fret unless you have a special crowning file. You can get them in different sizes from Stew-Mac. The cheaper ones are about $30 and they're good to have on hand, if you're a uke do-it-yourselfer.
koa, not true. I have crowned frets using a 2"X2" piece of maple with a groove in it the radius of the fret I am crowning. Tape off the sides of the fret with blue tape and get some 320, 600, 1000 sandpaper and round that baby off to a high polished finish!

koalohapaul
01-01-2009, 08:51 AM
E-Lo,

Definitely works! I was thinking that it would be easier for anniekate to buy a file, though. There's always more than two ways to skin a cat, but crowning may be difficult for a beginner. Especially if they're only doing one fret and have never done it before.

anniekate76
01-14-2009, 11:24 AM
Well, last night I used a tack hammer with a sock over it to tap the offending fret down... it's almost entirely level now. Maybe the tiniest bit of wobble over it, but it's much better. I also took a nail file to the fret ends so they don't feel sharp and catchy anymore. And I found that the plastic wire-holding thing inside the body had come unstuck, so I stuck it back down to the back. Hopefully in a good place. I don't know where it was before.

Unfortunately, something still sounds wrong with the thing. Maybe the nut slots were cut wrong. I can see that someone tried filling (with superglue or something clear) and then refiling one of them at some point.

ukeninam
01-14-2009, 01:51 PM
it sounds like you've done quite a lot I'm sure its improved tenfold...as far as it not sounding quite right...i think that's why people have ACQUISITION SYNDROMES and in this case UAS....its that quest for perfection and by continually purchasing the instruments its one step closer to it!! hahah if it seriously still sounds wrong and your not going to be purchasing a new one take it to a local luthier!!

also its hit or miss with the affordable ukes....you have to try a bunch of the same model to really fine that ONE that sticks out and sounds and feels right for you!!

anniekate76
01-16-2009, 06:06 PM
Thanks, ukeninam, it does sound better, though still not really GOOD. I have done more investigating and found that the action is way too low, especially on the a-string. It's less than a millimeter at the 12th fret when it should be like 2.5. So that would be another reason for buzzing. And that's probably what was up with the e-string slot being filled with superglue and refiled. I have put a couple bits of paper between the string and the slot of the a-string which has helped a bit more. But it's still way low.

I think I'm going to order a new pre-slotted nut online. Hopefully that will help even more. I can't afford UAS and I do like do-it-yourself projects; thanks to everyone here for the advice and confidence.

Hmmm. What glue should I use to stick the new one on? Wood glue, superglue, Elmer's, scrapbooking gluestick, chewing gum?

koalohapaul
01-19-2009, 06:23 PM
anniekate76,

Sounds like you did a good job and had fun while doing it. If your action is that low, it does sound like you should raise it at the saddle. Keep in mind that a 1mm raise at the saddle will be roughly halved at the 12th fret position. So if you want to raise it from 1mm to 2mm, you will need to raise the saddle 2mm. (1mm X 2) Since you sound like you're going to redo the nut, you may want to redo the saddle, as well. It would be good to order an extra one.

I would use a small ball of krazy glue to tack the new nut in place. The string tension will keep it there, so you don't need a lot. You don't want to make it too permanent, or it will make changing it out in the future more difficult. And it does sound like you may fiddle around with it more.

Fine tuning the setup will create a noticeable difference in the tone and playability, but a uke does have it's limits, depending on how well it is constructed.

Anyway, some tidbits to think about while you continue to work on your project.

The tension of the strings is directly affected by the height at the nut and saddle. Higher action on either end translates to more break angle, as well as more tension when you press down. The break angle is the degree of pitch that from the nut/saddle to the tuning post/bridge tie. If you make the strings too high, you will bend the strings out of tune, even with a properly cut fret board. A good starting point it about .025-.030" above the first fret and about .090-.110" at the 12th. You can fine tune from there to see what you like, in terms of playability and tone. You don't absolutely need to stay within that range of measurements, but most people will find something within that spectrum that is both comfortable and sounds good.

I don't know what your bridge looks like, but sometimes it's hard to raise the saddle, so you can compensate by making the nut side a little higher. This won't affect the break angle at the bridge, but the over all string tension can be adjusted, to get a little more brilliance from the instrument.

Final thought. Don't worry about the krazy glue filling at the nut. It's a quick and easy way to redo a nut slot, without having to swap the nut. I do it on everything from our production line, to my high end customs, if I screw it up. If I do have to replace a nut, I will, but most of the time I just get a little over zealous with the file and need to raise it up a smidgen.

Have fun!