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View Full Version : How to inspect a new uke?



yook
07-29-2014, 11:16 AM
I'll be upgrading from my cheap beginner ukulele soon and was wondering how to inspect new ukes for proper sound and setup. I'm most likely getting a mass produced uke, and from my understanding, these tend to have lots of variability in their build quality. My main concern is how to check that I've got a good one as I have no clue on these things...

So far I've read about the 12th fret intonation thing. But what else can I do? Do I just attach a tuner and pluck each string at each fret to make sure it's all in tune? Should plucking each fret produce a perfect tune on the tuner?

philrab66
07-29-2014, 11:49 AM
I'll be upgrading from my cheap beginner ukulele soon and was wondering how to inspect new ukes for proper sound and setup. I'm most likely getting a mass produced uke, and from my understanding, these tend to have lots of variability in their build quality. My main concern is how to check that I've got a good one as I have no clue on these things...

So far I've read about the 12th fret intonation thing. But what else can I do? Do I just attach a tuner and pluck each string at each fret to make sure it's all in tune? Should plucking each fret produce a perfect tune on the tuner?

Buy from a dealer that you know who do a good set up.

SteveZ
07-29-2014, 01:08 PM
The easiest thing is to just google "ukulele set-up" and check the youtube videos that come up. Also, Colchester Academy has a great "how to buy and set up" page (http://www.colchester-ukulele-academy.co.uk/16.html) which summarizes a lot.

Doug W
07-29-2014, 02:46 PM
I'll be upgrading from my cheap beginner ukulele soon and was wondering how to inspect new ukes for proper sound and setup. I'm most likely getting a mass produced uke, and from my understanding, these tend to have lots of variability in their build quality. My main concern is how to check that I've got a good one as I have no clue on these things...

So far I've read about the 12th fret intonation thing. But what else can I do? Do I just attach a tuner and pluck each string at each fret to make sure it's all in tune? Should plucking each fret produce a perfect tune on the tuner?

Checking the 12th fret against the open string is a good start. If you check all the notes going up the neck they won't all be perfect but it doesn't hurt to check.

Play a bunch of chords up and down the neck and make sure that they are in tune.
Check for sharp ends at the edge of frets.
If there is a uke player at the music store, ask him/her to play it while you listen.
Look down the neck from each side to see that it is not bowed or warped.

PereBourik
07-29-2014, 04:20 PM
If you check each note with a tuner realize that too much fretting pressure can cause a note to go sharp. This is more a reflection on technique that intonation.

moetrout
07-30-2014, 08:19 AM
In addition to the above, I would also take a small steel ruler and check that the frets are level.

Inksplosive AL
07-30-2014, 10:32 AM
Unless you want to start playing luthier as stated, buy a ukulele from a person that you trust to have done a good setup. I bought one used uke here from ukegirl that has a decent setup and another that was originally set up and sold from mims. Both are setup well though one I would lower the string action a bit at the nut if I were that picky but its not bad.

I believe there will never be a flea or fluke with a setup issue, the Risa stick seems bullet proof as well.

Good Luck

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?89687-Blueprinting-Smiley!

PhilUSAFRet
07-30-2014, 01:36 PM
Here's another link re: setup. Basically you check to see if the uke has been set up properly. This was just posted in an earlier thread today.

http://www.theukulelesite.com/ukulele-setup.html