Outdoor ukulele issues

maki66

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We have had an Outdoor Ukulele for over a year and really like it.
Its a black carbon fiber tenor and until recently it played and sounded great.

Its been our dedicated car uke, and my wife will play on long drives while I sing.


It recently developed a serious buzz in the head stock.

I checked the hardware and everything is tight.


I suspect that the two piece lamination has separated enough to vibrate, particularly on the low notes.

I contacted OU with the same question, but its past the warranty date, so I don't know what they will say.

Thoughts on a home repair?
 

70sSanO

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If you can see the separation, you can just glue it together. I would find out what glue Outdoor recommends for their polycarbonate plastic. If they don’t have any suggestions, google it. My first thought is to use CA (super glue), but perhaps an epoxy would be a better choice. FWIW, I have used CA to glue down a loose fret and it has held in place for years.

John
 

DownUpDave

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Maybe use some black silicone chalking. It will adhere very well and fill any gap. Good luck
 

YogiTom

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Maybe use some black silicone chalking. It will adhere very well and fill any gap. Good luck

I was planning to do some filling and customizing on mine using clear Gorilla Glue as the adhesive. I planned to add something into that gap as a visual component, held in place with the glue, but now wonder if this silicone idea might be better...
 

ghostrdr

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Without knowing what your issue is or where it is coming apart, I might humbly suggest getting some clamps ready before you start...

I wonder if the glue melted in the car and that’s why it failed.
 

AQUATOPAZ

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We have had an Outdoor Ukulele for over a year and really like it.
Its a black carbon fiber tenor and until recently it played and sounded great.

Its been our dedicated car uke, and my wife will play on long drives while I sing.


It recently developed a serious buzz in the head stock.

I checked the hardware and everything is tight.


I suspect that the two piece lamination has separated enough to vibrate, particularly on the low notes.

I contacted OU with the same question, but its past the warranty date, so I don't know what they will say.

Thoughts on a home repair?

That is incredibly troubling, especially for an instrument whose sole reason for existence is indestructibility under most conditions. I would have thought it would have a lifetime warranty against defects in workmanship.
 

70sSanO

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Without knowing what your issue is or where it is coming apart, I might humbly suggest getting some clamps ready before you start...

I wonder if the glue melted in the car and that’s why it failed.

That is a good point. If heat is an issue, you’ll might need a higher temp adhesive. Car interiors can get to 180 degrees in the summer, so whatever you use has to withstand higher temps or your glue repair may not hold. I’m leaning more to a high temp epoxy, but Outdoor should be able to provide some direction. Last thing you want is to have the glue you use fail because you probably can’t get the surfaces clean enough for a second attempt.

John
 

YogiTom

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Probably why DUDave suggested silicone caulking earlier, as it should be ok up to 400F. My one hesitation for using it as a fix for keeping the top and body sealed together is that I’m not sure how well it would work. I would imagine, once set, it would be somewhat flexible still. If the issue persists, or is due to the pieces expanding and contracting from heat, the tack/adhesive of the caulk be enough to keep the pieces from moving further?
 
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YogiTom

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That is incredibly troubling, especially for an instrument whose sole reason for existence is indestructibility under most conditions. I would have thought it would have a lifetime warranty against defects in workmanship.

Honestly, I strongly believe these are a steal compared to solid or laminate wood instruments of similar price points. The company does provide a limited warranty, I believe for at least a year from purchase, but I’d imagine it could be fixed by OU if the problem is indeed just some re-fitting of the top to the body. That said, I’m sure if they accepted all “good guy” post-warranty claims, they would be out of business very quickly.

There is a good reason that the prices for these tops out around $200 for the priciest model, whereas a Blackbird Clara, made of one solid piece of durable material will set you back seven times that amount, or more for the Farallon. They are what I would look to for a more lifetime model. OU, for me, is a “beater” uke, and I fully expect mine to be imperfect even if I don’t use it to kayak around glaciers or camp in Anza Borego with it on my back hiking to the oasis.

I do try to buy things with the idea that if I care for them they will last well beyond my lifetime, but I can’t see being that worked up about what seems like an easy fix for either OU or the OP at home.

Just trying to add some perspective. Also just my 2¢. I know not everyone shares my views or beliefs, but that’s what makes this world so great, imho.
 

AQUATOPAZ

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Honestly, I strongly believe these are a steal compared to solid or laminate wood instruments of similar price points. The company does provide a limited warranty, I believe for at least a year from purchase, but I’d imagine it could be fixed by OU if the problem is indeed just some re-fitting of the top to the body. That said, I’m sure if they accepted all “good guy” post-warranty claims, they would be out of business very quickly.

There is a good reason that the prices for these tops out around $200 for the priciest model, whereas a Blackbird Clara, made of one solid piece of durable material will set you back seven times that amount, or more for the Farallon. They are what I would look to for a more lifetime model. OU, for me, is a “beater” uke, and I fully expect mine to be imperfect even if I don’t use it to kayak around glaciers or camp in Anza Borego with it on my back hiking to the oasis.

I do try to buy things with the idea that if I care for them they will last well beyond my lifetime, but I can’t see being that worked up about what seems like an easy fix for either OU or the OP at home.

Just trying to add some perspective. Also just my 2¢. I know not everyone shares my views or beliefs, but that’s what makes this world so great, imho.

The Blackbirds will warp if left in a hot car - they aren't made for that, so in that respect, they wouldn't be a lifetime model. Their reason for existence is to provide a great sounding instrument that is environmentally friendly as it doesn't use wood. Outdoors do not have the great sound of a Blackbird, nor can they hold their own against any solid wood I've seen. The compromise in sound is acceptable as a trade off for indestructibility. Take that away and I can't imagine the reason to own it when any other plastic uke can be used everywhere, is cheaper, and also won't last. The carbon is their strongest model. If it can't be depended on to last through adversity, I would prefer to own a Waterman or Turtulele at half the cost. I was considering an OU for a take anywhere leave in car uke. I am reconsidering.
 

actadh

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I have the composite polycarbonate model brown tenor. No issues and it has been in extremes of temperature in my car for three years. Perhaps it is a carbon versus composite issue, but I would not give up on an Outdoor Ukulele as a take anywhere ukulele.
 

YogiTom

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The Blackbirds will warp if left in a hot car - they aren't made for that, so in that respect, they wouldn't be a lifetime model. Their reason for existence is to provide a great sounding instrument that is environmentally friendly as it doesn't use wood. Outdoors do not have the great sound of a Blackbird, nor can they hold their own against any solid wood I've seen. The compromise in sound is acceptable as a trade off for indestructibility. Take that away and I can't imagine the reason to own it when any other plastic uke can be used everywhere, is cheaper, and also won't last. The carbon is their strongest model. If it can't be depended on to last through adversity, I would prefer to own a Waterman or Turtulele at half the cost. I was considering an OU for a take anywhere leave in car uke. I am reconsidering.

Fair enough! And good to know on the Blackbirds. I don’t think I would ever treat one like I would my OU, though, so maybe it wasn’t a good comparison.

Like I said, everyone has their own thoughts on this, and fortunately we are spoiled for choice when it comes to options.

I’ll stand by my opinion that for a beater that sounds great for what it is, I prefer my OU to both of the other brands you’ve mentioned. Being “indestructible” is only part of it for me, as I also want my instrument to sound reasonably good. For me, despite the issues described by the OP, OU is still the best option for my personal wants, budget and needs. As always, yumv.
 
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maki66

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I don't believe it was a high heat issue origin.

We have had a very cold winter here and no real heat yet. The buzz just started..

It survived last summer just fine.
 

Jerryc41

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I don't believe it was a high heat issue origin.

We have had a very cold winter here and no real heat yet. The buzz just started..

It survived last summer just fine.

If you have a decent music store nearby, you could bring it in and see if they can find the cause of the buzz.
 

AustinHing

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Any string change recently? Cos you mentioned the buzz in the head stock. Just trying to cover all grounds here.
Agreed with Jerry on the visit to music store or luthier.
 

maki66

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Original strings, which we like. It doesn't get a lot of play time.
After the repair I'll probably change them out.

BTW, we love the OU, sounds, set up, looks everything.
And I'll still recommend it to anyone.

Who knows why the joint failed. It could've been us.
We don't look for perfection in anything human.
Lest of all ourselves.

We'll give OU some time to respond but I think I know how to approach the repair.
I'll get to it eventually and let everyone know how it went.

In the mean time we have no shortage of Ukuleles to play with.
No shortage of mandolin, guitars, banjo, concertinas, accordions either.
 
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maki66

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I just got this reply from OU;

If you think the neck area may have come loose, you can fix it with a little super glue. The best way to do this is with a thin super glue that has a needle tip. You can place the needle in the gap between the parts. The glue will actually wick between the joints. It shouldn’t take very much.

Sounds easy. I'll let you all know how it comes out.
 

70sSanO

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FWIW... Gorilla Super Glue has a temp range of -65* to 220* F. That should cover any environment.

John