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View Full Version : Oscar Schmidt OU28t frets



dhoenisch
10-22-2013, 05:10 AM
Been a while since I've been on here (I spend too much time on forums while at work, so I swore off of them for a while). Hope you all don't mind a quick question from someone who's been gone for a while.

Anyone here own an Oscar Schmidt OU28t 8-string tenor uke? Just wondering what your thoughts were on the fret height. I recently purchased one, and the frets seem really shallow. Seems I really have to mash the strings down so it doesn't buzz. I handed it to a couple of other folks who felt the same way. I have played other Oscar Schmidt ukes and haven't noticed this on them. Maybe they all use the same fret wire and the 8-string just needs higher frets? I will be re-fretting the instrument, but just wanted to see if other owners of this instrument notice the same thing.

Thanks for your input,
Dan

Flyinby
10-22-2013, 09:42 AM
If you're going to re-fret the instrument, you obviously know what you're doing so maybe I shouldn't ask, but is the neck straight and the top of the frets even all the way down? I have an OU28t, and the frets do seem a little shallower than the couple of ukes nearby (just by feeling with the finger, not by measuring) but I've never had any buzzing issue...in fact, it arrived so well set up that I've never had to mess with it. Have you changed strings? Mine are the Aquilas it came with, and I've had no reason to change them. The action is actually a bit lower than I'd have set it, but since it works fine, I'm happy about it. I never noticed any unusual pressure needed when fingering, in fact everyone that's picked it up has loved it.

A friend bought one of these shortly after I got mine a year or so ago, and has been very happy with it, no buzzing that I'm aware of.

I have an Oscar solid mahogany tenor, and feeling the frets, they seem to be of similar height as the OU28t, but again, no problems with buzzing.

I would check that the neck is not bowed or twisted, and that the frets are reasonably level, and if you've changed to some different strings, change them back before refretting. They do also have a lifetime warranty, though that only works if it's a product defect, and worth the cost of time and shipping.

river_driver
10-22-2013, 02:30 PM
Dan, I have the ou28t as well and have also noticed that you have to press hard to get the notes to sound cleanly. I just assumed it was because of the doubled strings - I tried playing mandolin a few years ago and had the same king of finger strain, though not as bad on the uke. I'll have to compare its frets against my other ukes when I get home.

As to the question of re-fretting it - to me, it just seems like a lot of effort for a $100 uke - and not worth it if you're paying someone else to do the refret. But if you're a project guy and those kinds of things make you happy, I say go for it.

dhoenisch
10-22-2013, 04:14 PM
Thank Flyinby. When I'm sitting at home alone and having a strum or doing some fingerpicking on the OU28t, I don't notice it as much, but when I am playing along with some others, I tend to hear it more as I tend to play a bit harder. I compared these frets to the frets to my OU2, and they seem just slightly shallower on the 8-string (though that can be an illusion being a larger uke), and the OU2 never has a buzzing problem. The neck is straight. The uke does have the original aquila strings and they feel good. I do believe my uke was set up by the online store I purchased it from. The action is really nice on it and all. If they messed with the frets, they did a great job crowning them because they don't look like they were messed with at all.

Driver, thanks for your input as well as it confirms my thoughts on the frets on this uke. I actually AM a mandolin player, and I don't have any buzzing problem. IN fact, I also enjoy playing a 12-string guitar, so I don't think the way I am playing the OU28t is off, I think it's the frets themselves. I do repair musical instruments and have about 35' of small instrument fret wire in my shop, so doing a refret on this thing won't be a problem. I refretted another uke with the same fret wire, and it brought new life to that uke (old frets were flat). I may even use some of the low crown guitar fret wire I have on this uke as it might make playing this uke that much more enjoyable.

Dan

river_driver
10-23-2013, 03:45 AM
Compared my ou28t to my other (4 string) ukes..... wow, what skinny little frets it has!

dhoenisch
12-10-2013, 03:23 AM
I forgot to report back on this...

I did actually refret my new Oscar Schmidt OU28t with acoustic guitar frets, and WOW, what a difference. The uke is so much easier to play, and I don't have to smash the strings down for a clean note. I can play this uke like a 4-string with no problems. Also, since I don't have to smash the strings down, it's smoother playing and sounds much better as I can play it at the same speed I like to play. Finger picking is also just as comfortable to play and both strings ring out instead of one ringing and one buzzing. This was a great improvement and I am finally enjoying that uke.

Dan

Flyinby
12-10-2013, 02:43 PM
Thanks for the update. Do you think the difference is due to the new frets being higher, giving less fret/string distance or being higher above the fretboard so you can press them down more solidly, or because they're wider?

Just curious. I am OK with playability of my OU28T, but will definitely keep that in mind if I later feel otherwise. Not that I have replaced frets before, but that doesn't mean there won't be a first time eventually.

dhoenisch
12-11-2013, 06:34 AM
It's more the height of the frets more than anything. I don't have to smash the strings down so hard for a clean note. With the original frets the lower octave got the note and the higher octave either sounded muffled, buzzed or didn't sound at all. It just didn't sound like something with octaves should sound, which is why I purchased it in the first place. The higher frets (and naturally a slightly higher nut and saddle) just made playability so much better. I don't have to think so much about how I'm fretting the strings so I can think more about the song itself.

I do a lot of finger picking, so maybe the issue was more noticeable to me that way than it would be if I was just strumming, but I noticed it both ways really.

Dan

dhoenisch
12-11-2013, 06:37 AM
Also, I noticed on some older Oscar Schmidt ukes, they used larger frets than they do on newer ones. My mom has a concert from when they were still using straight bridges, and her frets are much higher, plus another OS from maybe three years ago with higher frets. I also have an OS concert uke from maybe six or seven years ago with higher frets. My 8-string was brand new, so maybe they switched to a smaller fret wire on newer ukes. Just speculation.

Dan