Guitalele string height

TodR

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What is a standard string height for a guitalele?

I recently purchased a new Valenica GC-350 guitalele and the string height seems to be very low. It's lower than my Cordoba Mini M, and Yamaha GL1. I know the GL1 has a rep of high string height. I did the test of pressing the 6th string at the third fret and it touches the first fret, no movement.

Of course I didn't realize the low string height until after I changed the strings and drilled a hold for a guitar strap. I am going to take it the a local Guitar Center and have them measure the sting height.

But anyways, what do you guys think is a playable string height? When is it too low for a beginner?

Thanks in advance!
 

Jim Hanks

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I don't know that there is a "standard". As with uke, there is a degree of personal preference. Having said that, I prefer about 2.5mm at the twelfth fret, same as my ukes.

And having said that, I'd say most factory instruments get delivered at 3mm or higher. If you got one with a low action, I'd consider that a lucky break - as long as you aren't getting string buzz of course.
 

TodR

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And you can print your own string gauge. I have one like this
https://the-dro.com/music/guitar-setup-free-printable-action-gauge/

I am getting a little buzz on the 6th string, that's what got my attention. I have to be real gentle with it and that string is already hard to work with as a beginner. Guitar Center said they wouldn't charge me to measure it. But I'm pretty sure its close to or below 2.1mm. Your comment on 2.5 to 3mm is right on for my other inexpensive guitaleles and ukes. I bought this one on EBay so I'm pretty much guaranteed my money back if I want to return it.

I'll also check out the printable string gauge.

Thanks!!!
 

Jim Hanks

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You might need to experiment with strings and/or tuning. The specs on this say 18-5/16" scale which is an odd size - quite long for a tenor and short for a baritone. How would you describe the string tension? If it's low to medium, you might try tuning up a half step and see if the extra tension helps with the buzz.
 

TodR

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You might need to experiment with strings and/or tuning. The specs on this say 18-5/16" scale which is an odd size - quite long for a tenor and short for a baritone. How would you describe the string tension? If it's low to medium, you might try tuning up a half step and see if the extra tension helps with the buzz.

String tension seems to be similar to my Yamaha GL1 which has the same strings, Hannabach MT 890 1/8, and works great. Similar to my Cordoba Mini which also works great in E-E. Tension is lower than my tenor and baritone ukes.

I did try tuning up a half step and that did make it buzz less. If you have any other suggestions let me know!

I found my engineers ruler and I have been measuring string height on all my ukes and guitaleles. They are all about 2mm at the first fret and the Valencia VC-350 is 1mm. I also tested all of them by fingering the 3rd fret and seeing if the strings hit the first fret. All instruments are good except this VC-350, the 6th string presses on the first fret when I do that. The other strings are very close. And just looking I can see this VC 350 is the odd one out for string height.

I just want to make sure it is not in the "normal" low string height before I request to return it. I am going to have a tech at my local Guitar Center check it out and give me a professional diagnosis.

I'll let you know how it works out.

Thanks!!!
 

Jim Hanks

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I'd say it's on the low end of normal. It's a relatively simple job to get a new nut and/or saddle to raise the action. Whether or not that's worth it on this instrument is up to you.

Oh, one other trick you can try. This is gonna sound crazy but I've done it on one of my guitaleles that got a buzz after I switched to much thinner strings - and the trick has worked well enough that I haven't pursued a more permanent fix like a new nut. Loosen the string enough that you can get it out of the nut slot. Now cut a small length of string (about half an inch or a little shorter) and put it in the nut slot so it sits *underneath* the real string. Tune it back up and see if that helps the buzz. You will probably want to use an unwound string for the spacer and you might want some graphite lube if you have it - just to help the real string slide over it as you tune.
 

TodR

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I'd say it's on the low end of normal. It's a relatively simple job to get a new nut and/or saddle to raise the action. Whether or not that's worth it on this instrument is up to you.

Oh, one other trick you can try. This is gonna sound crazy but I've done it on one of my guitaleles that got a buzz after I switched to much thinner strings - and the trick has worked well enough that I haven't pursued a more permanent fix like a new nut. Loosen the string enough that you can get it out of the nut slot. Now cut a small length of string (about half an inch or a little shorter) and put it in the nut slot so it sits *underneath* the real string. Tune it back up and see if that helps the buzz. You will probably want to use an unwound string for the spacer and you might want some graphite lube if you have it - just to help the real string slide over it as you tune.

I'm glad you mentioned that fix with the string. I will add that idea to my list of things to try if I can't return this and exchange it for one that has a taller nut. That string idea would be a good way to experiment with different thicknesses to test various string heights. Did you glue the string shim? Or just let it be held in place by the real string?
 

Jim Hanks

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It's just held in place by tension by the real string. I wasn't really expecting it to work but it's never fallen out yet. I had to do it on two strings but they are all unwound. You could have a little more trouble with a wound string but it's worth a shot
 

TodR

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It's just held in place by tension by the real string. I wasn't really expecting it to work but it's never fallen out yet. I had to do it on two strings but they are all unwound. You could have a little more trouble with a wound string but it's worth a shot

I did more measuring from bottom of 6th string to top of frets. I'm getting .24mm at the first fret and about 2mm at the 12th fret. My previous measurements were from the fret board. I'm going to get a string gauge measurement tool and recheck my measurements.

I saw the baking soda trick and may try it if I cant return this one. I may also try fitting a new fret. Have you tried these generic frets and saddles?
https://www.ebay.com/itm/2-Pcs-6-St...ut-Made-of-Real-Bone-for-classic/402568514571