View Full Version : ukulele forensics

04-26-2014, 09:06 AM
I bought this ukulele on ebay

The ukulele came with a korg AH40 tuner and a leaflet.

I'm the most inexperienced musician you can imagine. Proof : by tuning it I've applied so much pressure on a chord that the nut (at the bottom where the chords are tied with a little knot separated itself from the ukulele quite surprisingly. I've been very lightly hurt in the proceed.

There is a sticker with "Lazy" on the inside and no other brand or builder identification. Is it known ? Is it any good ? Can the nut be screwed back ? Glued back ?

A shop sells Mahalo colored ukuleles for a bit less than what I payed on ebay. Would that be my best bet ? My budget currently does not reach the 100 euros ukulele range.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

04-26-2014, 12:44 PM
Yes, you can reattach it. Best to post this question here: http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/forumdisplay.php?30-Ukulele-Building-Luthier-s-Lounge
Perhaps a Moderator will move it for you.

Or you can check this out: http://www.frets.com/FretsPages/Luthier/Technique/Ukulele/ReglueUkeBridge/reglueukebridge.html

04-26-2014, 04:04 PM
If you are thinking of buying a different one, I would if I were you. A lot of new players make the mistake of not asking the right people which uke would be best or buying it on a whim. I'm not sure what the exchange rate is, but I'm pretty positive you can buy a very nice beginner uke for your budget.

04-26-2014, 10:42 PM
Thanks. The frets.com page mentions regluing. In the case of my between-life-and-death uke there are screws (without the screwdriver-friendly head otherwise I would have rescrewed it).

04-26-2014, 11:22 PM
Do you mean the whole bridge has come off? If so, it sounds like your string tensions were too great in the first place, rather than simply pressing down a chord too strongly. I've heard through the grapevine that such a thing can happen when people have misunderstood which strings to tune (reading the 1st string as the one nearest to your head when you play. When in fact, the first string is the one nearest your feet). Or else they've assumed it tunes like a guitar and found out the hard way it doesn't.

That looks like a really cheap Uke and is almost a twin of one I bought from a Lidl Supermarket as a Uke I could take with me on Holiday and not worry about leaving it in a steaming hot car at a beach, or whatever. (Because if it upped and died I wouldn't have lost an instrument I really loved).

I think you'd probably be best getting a new cheap one. There are lots around. And lots of threads on this forum about which cheap ones to get. You'll find many of us here have a special soft spot for the Makala Dolphin range. But whatever you choose it's worth buying one from a dealer who does set ups if you have no experience of filing down bridges to get the action and intonation right. My Dolphin needed very little work when it arrived, but it needed some. If you're inexperienced, it'll be best for you to not risk messing up your second instrument. Could put a damper on your Uke enthusiasm and we don't want that!

Welcome to the UU community, BTW.



04-27-2014, 04:49 AM
I intended to apply the following tuning 4G -> closest to my head // 3C // 3C // 2E // 1A (closest to my feet).

Is this the correct order or should I reverse it ?

04-27-2014, 06:15 AM
As you started this thread with a statement that you are inexperienced may I ask if you are familiar with the fact that ukes normally have re-entrant tuning. That is that the 4th string, G, (top, nearest your head) is tuned a whole octave higher than if the 4 strings were to run, like a guitar, top to bottom from low to high in tone.
If for example you didn't know this and tuned strings 3, 2 and 1 to get progressively higher from string 4 the latter 3 strings would get hugely overtightened and...possibly pull the bridge off the body.

04-27-2014, 06:20 AM
(blushing) er... that's exactly why I did. Seemed logical at the time. Any definite guide for a beginner on how to tune a uke without destroying it in the process ? There seems to be a million on youtube. Which one would be the most beginner-friendly ?

Thanks in advance

04-27-2014, 07:34 AM
There are lots and lots of apps for iPhone and Android phones for tuning ukes.....many are free. Or you can buy an inexpensive Snark tuner or similar clip on tuner via Amazon, other online stores or a local music shop- they are cheap, accurate and highlyrecommended, only cost a few .

its a shame about your uke, but it does seem you overtightened the strings very severely, so even if it was a cheapie, it wasn't the manufacturers fault. It might be cheaper just to buy another, maybe slightly better uke. Depending on the size, you might want to look at Aria's full wood soprano and concert ukes, they cost under 100 each and shipping from the UK to Belgium incurs no customs duties as it is EU. Check them out on Omega's site, its better to buy from a reputable uke outlet as they will set the uke up for you before posting it - don't buy from Amazon as this will not be done.

04-27-2014, 07:55 AM
My ebay uke came with a Korg ha 40 so I have an electronic tuner. I will look into the Android apps.

04-27-2014, 08:08 AM
I'm sure that you will get plenty of advice on tuning but as you asked about not destroying the uke in the process you might benefit from the following. If you suspend say 4Kg from a thick rope, the rope will not get very stressed but the same 4kg for a thin rope will stress the thin rope much more, maybe to breaking point. In Uke strings the higher the stress the higher the note, we get our desired note by adjusting the stress (tension), As we've shown the 4kg weight can cause different degrees of stress depending on the rope thickness...so, applying this, if we tried to get a high note with a thick string you would have to put a higher load on it than you would with a thin string...perhaps damage the Uke. Uke strings are graduated in thickness so they more or less give the desired pitch at roughly the same load (or tightness) giving nice even loading from one side of the bridge to the other and within design limits. You will find there is some flexibility in a set of strings, you might be able to experiment by raising or lowering a tone but not an octave. You need to ensure you always have the right set of strings for the range you want to play in. I once bought a Richwood Tenor Uke tuned to DGBE, although possible, it would have been a mistake to just tighten up to get standard tuning gCEA or even GCEA, I had to buy new strings.
Finally you are currently tuned to gCEA (high g) but plenty of people prefer to tune with a low G (GCEA)for the 4th string but for this you need to change the string(s).

04-27-2014, 09:11 AM
The chords that came with the ebay uke were of different thickness. Two about a millimeter thick, two about half as thick. They are white.

I will ask plenty of advice at my local shop.

04-27-2014, 11:44 AM
Sounds like you bought a Lazy Palm Ukulele (the palm part is depicted by a drawing of a palm tree after the written Lazy) ...they are okay for about 10 quid ...which is what I paid for mine about four years ago...to get back into the habit of Ukeing.....and I still use it and it still has three of the original strings as supplied and it sounds fandabbydozo for strumming and plunking on ...Cheap ukes can rock ...but don't tune them to death ...it's cruel..and that's why it bit you.

04-27-2014, 11:54 PM
The chords that came with the ebay uke were of different thickness. Two about a millimeter thick, two about half as thick. They are white.

I will ask plenty of advice at my local shop.

The "chords" you mention are actually called strings, chords are collections of notes that you fret and strum on the ukulele.
It is perfectly normal for the strings to vary in thickness - thinner for higher notes such as the first string, thicker lower down like the third string.

04-28-2014, 04:01 AM
Long story short I bought Uke number two, cheapest of the Azzato shop and managed to tune the strings without breaking anything. :)