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l3uffer
11-04-2013, 03:24 PM
Hey guys, I'm fairly new to the ukulele world, but I wanted to get into the art of setting up ukuleles. Does anyone have any tips as to what tools I should buy off of Amazon or elsewhere that is less than the tool kit StewMac sells? I want to spend money on tools, but not THAT much money...
On another note, if anyone is selling these tools, I'd like to hear about that as well.
Also, any tips/tricks you can send my way would be much appreciated. ;)

jcalkin
11-05-2013, 03:11 PM
The tools you will need depend on how deep you want to dive. Do you want to level and dress frets? There are certain tools that ease that job. A set of nut files would be good. Maybe a set of feeler gauges. A steel rule that measures in 64ths of an inch. Ukes don't usually need the kind of finesse that goes into an electric guitar set up, they just aren't that adjustable. Many players can also deal with a variety of set ups, since the strings are low tension and tend not to hurt the fingers. One tool I couldn't do without, but that I've never seen mentioned, is a little screwdriver with the blade edges rounded and polished and a small bend put in the blade. I use it to lift strings out of the nut slots without detuning them so the slots can be worked on. Saves a ton of time.

vanflynn
11-05-2013, 03:32 PM
For nuts you can get by with two files or you could use a welding tip cleaner http://www.lowes.com/pd_178820-47120-SGY-C3_0__?productId=3064233&Ntt=welding+tip+cleaner&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNtt%3Dwelding%2Btip%2Bcleaner&facetInfo=
The cleaner isn't as good but does work.

l3uffer
11-05-2013, 04:28 PM
Yeah, basically I want to be able to setup up cheap factory ukes that have those common problems so I can provide a cheaper service to my friends and also fix some of my own ukes too -.-
I have a Luna Ovangkol Tenor that I took to a nearby shop a while ago to get the action lowered, but upon recent inspection, the buzz that they said that should be coming from the frets is actually just coming from incredibly low action near the top of the uke (silly me, right?). I just want to be able to do things myself so 1) I don't really have to go to a repair shop and spend lots of money, 2) I can help my friends and other people for a better price, and 3) if I buy a new uke from Amazon or Musician's Friend instead of HMS, I don't have to worry much about high action or unlevel frets because I can just rectify those problems myself :)
If you have any specific tools in mind (like a link to a website for a particular product), that would be much appreciated. However, thank you guys for your advice as well! :D

BlackBearUkes
11-06-2013, 04:03 AM
Yeah, basically I want to be able to setup up cheap factory ukes that have those common problems so I can provide a cheaper service to my friends and also fix some of my own ukes too -.-
I have a Luna Ovangkol Tenor that I took to a nearby shop a while ago to get the action lowered, but upon recent inspection, the buzz that they said that should be coming from the frets is actually just coming from incredibly low action near the top of the uke (silly me, right?). I just want to be able to do things myself so 1) I don't really have to go to a repair shop and spend lots of money, 2) I can help my friends and other people for a better price, and 3) if I buy a new uke from Amazon or Musician's Friend instead of HMS, I don't have to worry much about high action or unlevel frets because I can just rectify those problems myself :)
If you have any specific tools in mind (like a link to a website for a particular product), that would be much appreciated. However, thank you guys for your advice as well! :D

Doing a set up on a cheap uke is really no different than doing one on a expensive uke. A set up is a set up. Using cheaper tools isn't going to make the job easier, but the opposite. Check out Frank Ford's site for doing repairs and learn what to do before you purchase tools. You don't need a lot of fancy tools, you need knowledge and a certain amount of craftsmanship.

It also sounds like the repair shop you went to did a poor job, there are better luthiers out there, you just have to find them.

coolkayaker1
11-06-2013, 04:05 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZOqW5S1NVM

l3uffer
11-06-2013, 04:50 PM
Yeah, which is why I'm anxious to learn and know more. Thanks for the links - the tips on Ford's website are really insightful, and coolkayaker1's video gave me a good quick fix for my Luna :)
Looking at the video just makes me want to start some kind of apprenticeship at a guitar shop hahaha... not sure if they'd let me do that >.>
...but anyways, my eyes are being opened wider and wider to how complex problems on the ukulele can get. I dunno if I'll be able to do everything I can possibly do to an uke within the next decade, but I'm hoping I can at least do the basic setup within the next month or so! :)

Michael N.
11-06-2013, 11:43 PM
You can do the Nut slots with a fine round needle file. Don't buy the cheap sets. Get something like a Grobet. The tip end should be very fine and it's very easy to snap it if you apply too much pressure. The other alternative is a Pippin file but not the LMI one. It's not fine enough for strings. I don't even know why they sell it. The only other Pippin files that I know that are suitable are New Old Stock.
Frets can be crowned with a small flat second cut file.