Fixing a ukulele that goes flat up the neck

wherahiko

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I have two ukes which gradually go flat as one plays further up the neck. At the 12th fret, both are around 20c flat. One is a Flight TUSL-35 and the other is a Mainland bari. Is there any easy way to fix this? (I'm guessing the problem is that the bridge is too far away from the nut and that's why the problem gets worse as one plays nearer to the bridge.)
 

anthonyg

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I have two ukes which gradually go flat as one plays further up the neck. At the 12th fret, both are around 20c flat. One is a Flight TUSL-35 and the other is a Mainland bari. Is there any easy way to fix this? (I'm guessing the problem is that the bridge is too far away from the nut and that's why the problem gets worse as one plays nearer to the bridge.)

Nominally this is correct. If I had the instrument in hand I would carefully measure it up using the help of the stewmac fret position calculator to see.
The first quick measurement to make is to measure from the inside nut to the centre of the 12th fret, and then from the centre of the 12th fret to the string contact points on the saddle. The distance from 12th fret to saddle should be a little more than nut to 12th fret but its it's too much greater (too much saddle compensation) then the intonation goes flat.
Now nut placement and fretting accuracy can also be contributing factors, but too much saddle compensation is the likely culprit.
 

wherahiko

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Have you tried changing strings?
Yes, I've tried with several different string brands—Living Waters, Aquila, and Martin M600 on the Flight; Guadeloupe, Martin, and Aquila on the Mainland. I've tried the bari with DGBE, dGBE, and GCEA too. The problem remains the same in all cases.
 

anthonyg

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Thanks for your help. I'll have a go at measuring this. Is it easy to change the saddle compensation if this turns out to be the issue?

It depends on how far out it is, and you should be able to make a visual assessment of how much the saddle needs to be moved, however, usually it means sending the instrument to someone who has the tools and knows how to use them.

First things first though. Measure the instrument and see.