View Full Version : fretboard level with body ?

06-19-2013, 06:30 AM
I recently came across a soprano with the fretboard level with the body, the ones with the frets set directly in the neck. were they built with only strumming in mind? I could not pick it at all, the strings were so close to the body.

06-19-2013, 02:13 PM
I don't pick so I haven't had this problem but some early ukes were built this way as is the Anuenue 1876, which is a replica of a 19th century uke (Dias, Santos etc.?) as it's name suggests. I have one of these ukes and they are incredible - one of the only non-vintage ukes that I like. g2

Kayak Jim
06-19-2013, 02:22 PM
Like this one then...


Interesting that you couldn't pick it. Makes sense I guess with the strings set lower. I was somewhat interested in getting one of these as a vintage recreation but that would rule it out for me.

mm stan
06-19-2013, 02:52 PM
Older hawaiian ukes was built this way....no fretboard...frets directly on the neck....

David Newton
06-19-2013, 04:35 PM
I build a uke of this style, I call it a "Primitive Uke".
The strings are the same height over the 12th fret (or whatever fret meets the body) as a uke with a fret board. The strings are lower over the upper body where the board is missing, but if the neck is set back a bit, the strings at the bridge are about the same. If you are comparing it to a uke with a thick fretboard and thick bridge, all bets are off.
The whole point is to get the strings close to the upper body for playing like the original ukes were.
I guess some people like "vintage style" stuff, and some go with "evolution".

06-19-2013, 11:05 PM
I love my anuenue 1879. You are right though - picking isn't quite the same. I can do it but I end up touching the soundboard with my nails, which creates a tip-tappy noise. For strumming though it is delightful. The low action and feel of the strings close to the body make it the most comfortable ukulele I've played. The soundboard gets more scratches than my other ukes though as I hit it a lot when strumming.

06-19-2013, 11:17 PM
I have an old (no-name) uke in that style. Bright, loud strummer, but I fingerpick on it, too, and my nails are pitiful.

Perhaps the one you tried had a low saddle, or maybe the nut needed to be adjusted/replaced? (On mine, the bridge and "saddle" are all one wooden piece, so the saddle was never sanded.)

Come to think of it, I seem to pluck more than pick. Maybe that's the difference?

06-20-2013, 03:26 AM
I have a uke like what you describe, and yes, it is hard to finger pick that uke. It is an awesome strummer, and if I pick closer to the bridge, which is a bit uncomfortable to do, I can definitely pick there, but it's a feat. I still try to finger pick the thing though because it has such a sweet sound, especially for being all solid birch.