View Full Version : Is it my ear?

03-28-2014, 02:23 PM
My daughters little hohner ukulele sounded so good to me when I started. I was suprised by how good it sounded.

Now I've moved on to a solid mahogany kala and we also have the dolphin. When I go back to that hohner it sounds so out of tune even when i tune it, and the sad thing is my daughter can tell! She likes the dolphin better, and I think it sounds a bit better. They both have aquila on them.

Have I outgrown it because of my ear? Or could the strings have gone bad already? She got it at her 4th birthday so thats about 6 months old and not heavily played as she's 4 and she does use it but its not like me when I practice. I don't even think I put the new strings on it right away so less then 6 months.

03-28-2014, 03:36 PM
It's probably not the strings. It might be your ear. It might be that something has shifted a bit. Are the tuning gears slipping at all? They might need to be tightened. It would not surprise me if the intonation was bad on the Hohner. If you have an electronic tuner, try checking the notes at the frets. You should be able to see if the intonation is bad. For example on the G string at the second fret the note should be A, and it should not be sharp or flat. On the 12'th fret it should be G. If it is way out at the 12th fret, which is common on cheap ukes, then your are right, it's your ear.

03-28-2014, 03:50 PM
It may also be that your ear is getting *better*. It's possible the Hohner always had intonation issues, but it didn't bother you much when you first got it. Now that your ear has grown accustomed to a properly intonated uke, you may be more sensitive to the dissonance that comes from poor intonation.

03-28-2014, 04:01 PM
I would bet your ear is getting better. It's why I always recommend getting the best instrument you can and getting it set up if it needs it. Your ear will develop much more quickly that way. The hohner probably always intonated poorly, probably because of a nut that is too high, it's just that now that you've been playing something that intonates better you know what a chord should sound like...


03-28-2014, 04:11 PM
Agree with the 2 above. I used to think my Luna sounded fantastic until I got a better instrument. Now I think it sounds bad. It's just the way it is.

03-28-2014, 04:46 PM
I'll do the fret test, thats super interesting and I've been wanting to learn about intonation and that seems like a nice first step to understanding it! Thanks :)

Its a bit frustrating, I don't even want her practicing on it if it sounds that bad.

03-29-2014, 05:13 AM
Here's a good video intro to what is involved in a setup. That Hohner would be a good uke to "practice" some basic set up skills. Install bone nut and saddle, file frets, adjust nut/saddle, etc. Make sure it has Aquila strings on it while you are at it. Generally makes the lower end ukes sound as good as their likely to.
Lots of tutorials on YouTube will walk you through each step.