Need advise for a poor pickup install on a Koaloha, please.

Brockketcher

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I Brought my Koaloha KCM-25 to a local luthier that I have never used before in order to install a pickup. He seemed competent and legit. The good news is he install the pickup and it works. The bad news is he shaved the saddle down to compensate for the pickup but in doing that, the saddle is no longer flush with the bridge and actually has two sharp catch points on each side. My heart sunk when he handed it to me. Right away I knew I made a mistake going there and all I wanted to do was get out of there and find someone to fix it. usually if someone messes something up, I will want to them to fix it, but to be honest, I didn't want him touching it anymore. Anyway, I am attaching 3 photos in hopes of getting some advise on my next step. should I call Koaloha and order a new saddle and find a new luthier? I've never dealt with this before so that seems like the logical next step. or am I thinking about this wrong? help




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Brockketcher

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Another photo

f9d40d73eac3c176619242c2837dd7431fc268.jpg
that's what it use to look like. and should look like. thanks Poul
 

Brockketcher

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look at the pictures that show the left and right side of the saddle. the saddle is not flush with the bridge and it is razor sharp at the two ends. I can't imagine the is a proper instal.
 

Arik

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That saddle looks like the orig one from KoAloha. Not sure why it is sitting up so high. The filament that sits on the bridge normally isn't that thick. You could try sanding it down the saddle bone but I think there will still be a gap because how much its lifted. I don't think it's the end of the world. The hard part (drilling the bridge and installing the pickup) of the install is already done. I would maybe just loosen the strings and remove the saddle bone to see how the filament is seated. Here is a video from HMS on the install. You can reverse engineer it.

 
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Brockketcher

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That saddle looks like the orig one from KoAloha. Not sure why it is sitting up so high. The filament that sits on the bridge normally isn't that thick. You could try sanding it down the saddle bone but I think there will still be a gap because how much its lifted. I don't think it's the end of the world. The hard part (drilling the saddle and installing the pickup) of the install is already done. I would maybe just loosen the strings and remove the saddle bone to see how the filament is seated. Here is a video from HMS on the install. You can reverse engineer it.

thank you...ill give it a go.
 

Poul Hansen

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OK, if the saddle is raised now, that means you action(string height) is higher now which indicates that he DIDN'T sand the saddle down to compensate for the added height of the transducer.
 

Sporky

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Yeah it seems like your saddle is totally intact. Which I guess it shouldn't be - it should've been adjusted to retain the string action you had before - but no irreversible damage has been done
 

Sporky

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Yeah it seems like your saddle is totally intact. Which I guess it shouldn't be - it should've been adjusted to retain the string action you had before - but no irreversible damage has been done
Ohhhh I take that back - I think he sanded the whole saddle instead of just the area sitting on the pickup. Oh nooo. I would call KoAloha and ask how you can get a new one. Don't despair, it's pretty minor and easily fixed

Nice ukulele and nice pool table by the way
 

Brockketcher

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Ohhhh I take that back - I think he sanded the whole saddle instead of just the area sitting on the pickup. Oh nooo. I would call KoAloha and ask how you can get a new one. Don't despair, it's pretty minor and easily fixed

Nice ukulele and nice pool table by the way
I think your right. I was thinking he only needed to sand the bit where the pickup was. I think I’ll bring it to someone else tho. Seems like that might of been a rookie mistake. Thinking I might want Someone else to work on it. I will call koaloha abd see if they do replacement parts. Thank you. .
 

merlin666

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I would just losen the strings, slide out the saddle, and file and sand off the part where it sticks out. Mark it first with a pencil where you want it to be flush. Looks like a sloppy job but also easily fixable with little skill required. If the saddle wiggles and does not stay in place then I would call KoAloha for help.
 

Brockketcher

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I would just losen the strings, slide out the saddle, and file and sand off the part where it sticks out. Mark it first with a pencil where you want it to be flush. Looks like a sloppy job but also easily fixable with little skill required. If the saddle wiggles and does not stay in place then I would call KoAloha for help.
Thank you
 

Brockketcher

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I think you have an great point. Knowing what I know now, I should of done that in the first place.
 

rafter

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Oh man, I'm getting angry just looking at it. I don't think you were wrong to go to a luthier, but that guy shouldn't have touched the uke if he didn't know how to do the saddle properly. Where I live, there seems to be lots of guitar repair shops, but I'm paranoid about who I can trust. Man that really stinks, and I don't think you're at fault in any way. I don't know how well you handle confrontation (I hate it), but that guy owes you some sort of a refund. Maybe the pickup was installed well, but he should have to replace the saddle or something.
 

Larry Usselman

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I contacted Koaloha. They are sending me two new saddles. No charge. Wow. Their awesome. Buy more Koaloha!
Even the factory saddles from KoAloha might need to be sanded down to the proper height since you now have a pickup transducer sitting in the bottom of the slot. It should be a fairly simple do-it-yourself job (with a little research on the proper tools and techniques).
 

Brad Bordessa

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There's a number of things going on here. It's possible he sanded the top of the saddle instead of the bottom, exacerbating the problem, in which case definitely run away. But even sanding the bottom the thickness of the UST would still leave a gap.

To me, this is a byproduct of KoAloha's design. It doesn't seem like the average shop would really have any way around it unless they drastically reworked the saddle profile. If you were to pull the angled edges back evenly to be flush at the corner, your strings would fall off the corner.

You say that you thought he should have sanded just where the pickup is, but A- getting a "cutout" even without sanding the whole saddle seems unlikely, B- even if you could get it even, the original edges could easily hold the middle up and create contact issues with the pickup, and C- the tags left at the ends would probably be weaker for it.

The lack of communication during the process is disappointing (he should have stopped and asked you how to proceed), but he was probably halfway through what should have been a routine job before realizing he was backed into a corner by a silly proprietary design.

Just my $.02. I'm trying to think how you could solve the problem and it's all bad options.
 
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Brockketcher

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There's a number of things going on here. It's possible he sanded the top of the saddle instead of the bottom, exacerbating the problem, in which case definitely run away. But even sanding the bottom the thickness of the UST would still leave a gap.

To me, this is a byproduct of KoAloha's design. It doesn't seem like the average shop would really have any way around it unless they drastically reworked the saddle profile. If you were to pull the angled edges back evenly to be flush at the corner, your strings would fall off the corner.

You say that you thought he should have sanded just where the pickup is, but A- getting a "cutout" even without sanding the whole saddle seems unlikely, B- even if you could get it even, the original edges could easily hold the middle up and create contact issues with the pickup, and C- the tags left at the ends would probably be weaker for it.

The lack of communication during the process is disappointing (he should have stopped and asked you how to proceed), but he was probably halfway through what should have been a routine job before realizing he was backed into a corner by a silly proprietary design.

Just my $.02. I'm trying to think how you could solve the problem and it's all bad options.
After reading this, I’m almost wondering if I should just send it to koaloha trusting they will make th best decision on what to do now.
 

merlin666

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Looking at the pictures again maybe he just wanted to preserve as much of the saddle as possible and just took some off at the bottom to adjust for the pickup. Anyway with new saddles you will also need to do the work or find someone to do it, but at least you will have a spare if you take off too much. Did you tell the luthier that you wanted the saddle to be cut off at the ends?
 

Brockketcher

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Looking at the pictures again maybe he just wanted to preserve as much of the saddle as possible and just took some off at the bottom to adjust for the pickup. Anyway with new saddles you will also need to do the work or find someone to do it, but at least you will have a spare if you take off too much. Did you tell the luthier that you wanted the saddle to be cut off at the ends?
Initially I did not tell him how I wanted the saddle. I just asked him to install the pickup and adjust the saddle accordingly. Knowing what I know now, that was a error on my part. I’ve never Had anyone install a pickup before so I thought it was pretty elementary. Anyway, lessons learned, I’m just glad it was on my travel uke. I was installing the pickup so my kids could use it because I don’t want them toiching my other Ukes. Lol. It’s the same uke my 7 year old poured the coffee in. oh well. I’m going to bring it to a more reputable guitar shop and see what they say, after I get the spare saddles . If they aren’t confident they can fix it, I’ll just mail it to koaloha. Won’t do that again tho. Ouch .