PDA

View Full Version : "Setting up" a ukulele



WKerrigan
06-28-2014, 02:03 PM
I hear this term all the time--e.g Mainland Ukes are made in China, but "set up" in Indiana, and recommendations that one buy a uke from a local store, so they can "set it up" for you. Does this just mean making sure the action is not too low or too high, or is there more involved in "setting up" a ukulele? The two music stores nearest me only stock a few ukes, and as far as I can discern, the folks that run them don't know much or care much about ukes, so I am not really sure they can do any "set up" anyway.

Gary52
06-28-2014, 02:28 PM
There is a video describing the set-up process here:
http://www.theukulelesite.com/

SteveZ
06-28-2014, 02:51 PM
The problem with mass-produced instruments is that many makers' quality control seems to be IMHO more concerned with looks than playability. The local (or specialty) stores which actually take the instrument out of the box, inspect it, check out the "playability factors" (e.g., intonation, string height at various frets, neck straightness, evenness of frets, etc.), and do the adjustments which make the instrument truly playable (versus just being a noisemaker) before the instrument is delivered to the customer are worth every dime they get. Many of those stores can tell horror stories of the shape of some instruments they see out of the box, and they reject them rather than have them come back as warranty headaches.

Buying from a "we sell a box containing what we hope is an instrument" operation may save a few bucks, or it can be the beginning of a miserable time. For the person who is unskilled at or without the tools for instrument set-up, the decision to buy a "box" can prove expensive in the end.

I've done the "buy from a quality store" and "buy a box" before I knew how to do my own set-ups and basic maintenance. I've been rewarded and I've been burned. Lessons can be expensive.

actadh
06-28-2014, 08:00 PM
Here is another video on setup by Zen Ukes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAkWp_e2Scs&list=UUJTJ8TVXqLffE9rtwTjLr7A

iamesperambient
06-28-2014, 08:04 PM
I hear this term all the time--e.g Mainland Ukes are made in China, but "set up" in Indiana, and recommendations that one buy a uke from a local store, so they can "set it up" for you. Does this just mean making sure the action is not too low or too high, or is there more involved in "setting up" a ukulele? The two music stores nearest me only stock a few ukes, and as far as I can discern, the folks that run them don't know much or care much about ukes, so I am not really sure they can do any "set up" anyway.


Set up means making sure everything from nut to saddle and action etc and intonation is
working properly. I would personally buy from a dealer (if your concerned) like Hawaii music supply
or elderly music who does deal with ukes and knows about them, they ensure they set up all their
instruments before shipping them out and do a great job of it.

Ukejenny
06-29-2014, 05:48 AM
I ordered the last of a model that I could find, and therefore had to take it without a setup. But I wanted the uke and was willing to take it and have it set up. Out of the package, it didn't play easily and didn't feel "smooth" to me. I took it for a setup. They checked the nut, the bridge and they also checked the frets and dressed/leveled them. It also looked like the ukulele had been cleaned up very well and the fingerboard had been conditioned. It was much smoother and easier to navigate the neck after the setup.

coolkayaker1
06-29-2014, 08:59 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZOqW5S1NVM

Gary's setup link to HMS is great. Here's a gentleman, a luthier of ukes and guitars for decades, showing the setup of a guitar.

If one has their own bastard file, they might try some of this themselves.

hawaii 50
06-29-2014, 09:29 AM
50% or more of the import(Asia) ukes are sent back to the manufacture before they get to the buyer,a setup will not help these ukes.....all kinds of other problems other than the action and fretwork etc...exp. finish,cracks,warped necks...if you never open the box you will never see these problems

if a shop does not do a setup or take it out of the box before they sell it...could be trouble...

iamesperambient
06-29-2014, 10:38 AM
50% or more of the import(Asia) ukes are sent back to the manufacture before they get to the buyer,a setup will not help these ukes.....all kinds of other problems other than the action and fretwork etc...exp. finish,cracks,warped necks...if you never open the box you will never see these problems

if a shop does not do a setup or take it out of the box before they sell it...could be trouble...

its always good if you buy from a commercial store like guitar center or sam ash if you like the floor model
to ask to play a model in the box and take it out maybe even ask to see a few, usually if their all consistent
its a good make, if one or 2 are off intonation, action sound wise than i would stay away from that model or make.
I DId this with a kala concert and every one i tried of the same model was spot on, with lanikai and cordoba i did not
find this they both seem very inconsistent.

hawaii 50
06-29-2014, 10:46 AM
its always good if you buy from a commercial store like guitar center or sam ash if you like the floor model
to ask to play a model in the box and take it out maybe even ask to see a few, usually if their all consistent
its a good make, if one or 2 are off intonation, action sound wise than i would stay away from that model or make.
I DId this with a kala concert and every one i tried of the same model was spot on, with lanikai and cordoba i did not
find this they both seem very inconsistent.


as usual..always good to play the uke you are buying....but what about the people who have to order from guitar center or any other large misic store on-line...
do you think guitar center have the resources(people to check everything they send out) and charge the prices they do?

Icelander53
06-29-2014, 01:41 PM
Set up means making sure everything from nut to saddle and action etc and intonation is
working properly. I would personally buy from a dealer (if your concerned) like Hawaii music supply
or elderly music who does deal with ukes and knows about them, they ensure they set up all their
instruments before shipping them out and do a great job of it.

That has not been my experience with Elderly and I don't trust them anymore to do a decent inspection or set up. HMS yes for sure.

Nickie
06-29-2014, 04:25 PM
That has not been my experience with Elderly and I don't trust them anymore to do a decent inspection or set up. HMS yes for sure.

I've never had dealings with HMS, but I hear nothing but good things. Elderly has been great with accesories, but the only uke I bought there wasn't setup properly, so back it went....although it was beautiful, I didn't like playing it....funny, I got lucky at Sam Ash Music here...and have had issues with them too....Guitar Center, forget it....the uke is a red headed stepchild there....the best service I've had was from Mim, and Compass Music here in town...I got the most beautiful Ohana I've ever seen, at a really good price, and had no issues....it's hit and miss, unless you stick to who you know, and the dealers here who are supporters of UU...just sayin'

SteveZ
06-30-2014, 04:29 AM
On any given day every store is a hero or a goat. Have had good experiences with Elderly on other instruments (never got a ukulele from them) as well as my local GC. A store's reputation is at daily risk, thanks to these forums, and overall service is better because of it.

Generic set-up is all that a store can do, especially if the instrument is going to be shipped any distance and no face-to-face customer interaction occurs prior to delivery. Only once have I been fully satisfied with a generic set-up, and almost every instrument has found me filing a nut slot, adjusting a bridge or some other activity (have never had to touch a fret, though) before that instrument was set up "for me."