Tuning and first fret notes

Hoopoe

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This forum has serious tech issues the way it cuts off posts.

My question was: is the first fret expected to tune the same as the open strings. Some of mine are way into the yellow bar territory on the Snark.
 
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Hoopoe

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And this is most pronounced on the C string ��
 

Ukecaster

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If notes on the first fret are showing sharp on your tuner, you may just be pressing harder than necessary, which will sharpen those notes. Also,, your nut may be a bit high, requiring excess pressure to fret the note, which can also cause sharpness there.
 
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MJB

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If your open tuning is GCEA then first fret notes should be G#C#FA#. Not sure if this is what you're asking.
 

Arcy

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If by yellow you mean that the first fret doesn't tune to the right pitch when the open is tuned correctly then you have an intonation problem. In theory if the open string is tuned correctly then all frets should tune correctly. If this isn't the case then something is wrong.

If the problem is just on the first (or the first few) frets then likely the nut is too high. This is common for a straight from the factory uke: even for a high end uke, different players what different action and there's an expectation that a luthier will set up the instrument. It's much easier to lower the height of the nut than to raise it.

The nut slots can be filed down to lower the action and fix this. If it's only on the one string then you may need to file just the one string. Search for "ukulele setup" and "lower action at the nut" for more info. This end is a bit tricky and requires the right files so it's generally not the first DIY job you'd want to do. You'll probably need to take the Uke to a luthier. If it's an Amazon or Big Box special you might want to return it and hope you can exchange for a better one.

This is one of the reasons to buy from a vender who will set up the instrument. They'll fix such issues (and catch unfixable problems and reject the uke).

Mim on setups
BazMaz on setups:
 
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Hoopoe

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The funny part is that I went to a guitar store and the reply I got was “it’s the nature of the beast, you’ll never be able to have those in tune same as the open strings”.

I’ve had the uke for a few months now, don’t think I can return it. Will need to google someone that can adjust it locally, that C string hasn’t sounded right from day one but I felt it was just me being a complete beginner.
 

Graham Greenbag

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The funny part is that I went to a guitar store and the reply I got was

The funny part is that I went to a guitar store and the reply I got was “it’s the nature of the beast, you’ll never be able to have those in tune same as the open strings”.

I’ve had the uke for a few months now, don’t think I can return it. Will need to google someone that can adjust it locally, that C string hasn’t sounded right from day one but I felt it was just me being a complete beginner.

That’s the nature of most shops most of the time. Palm off whatever product you have to whoever you can get to buy it; if there’s an issue later well either the customer is using the product wrong or all those products are like that so the customer just needs to get on with using it as it is. I’ll always try to support a good and honest local shop and realise that some customers ain’t saints either but mostly I’m now sceptical of whatever any sales person says.
 
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Kenn2018

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The funny part is that I went to a guitar store and the reply I got was “it’s the nature of the beast, you’ll never be able to have those in tune same as the open strings”.

I’ve had the uke for a few months now, don’t think I can return it. Will need to google someone that can adjust it locally, that C string hasn’t sounded right from day one but I felt it was just me being a complete beginner.

There is a bit of slack in the electronic tuners. Especially the Snark tuners. Many times I have picked up the uke and plucked the strings and the tuner reads that it is in tune. But then I tighten the string a small amount and the tuner reads that it is flat! I then tighten it until it is almost sharp. And back it off a hair. Until it reads blue every time I pluck it. Sometimes the string will be blue until it decays and then I get a brief flash of yellow.

It's always better to tune from a string that is flat and then tighten it until it is in tune. It's much more consistent than loosening a string to get it in tune.

Try getting one string in tune using an app or a tuning fork (440 A) and then fretting to get them in tune to each other.
IE: C string in tune then 4th fret to give you an E. 5th fret of the E string to give you an A. 3rd fret of the E string to give you a high G.

See if that makes it sound more correct to you.
 

clear

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The funny part is that I went to a guitar store and the reply I got was “it’s the nature of the beast, you’ll never be able to have those in tune same as the open strings”.

I’ve had the uke for a few months now, don’t think I can return it. Will need to google someone that can adjust it locally, that C string hasn’t sounded right from day one but I felt it was just me being a complete beginner.

That's true, physically, when you press on a string, its length isn't going to be the same as un-pressed (i.e. triangle vs straight line). However, the change should be very small that the note should sound correct. Otherwise, you'd be without G#, C#, F, and A# notes (1st fret); and you won't able to play music that sounds like what you and everybody expects.

Have you tried other ukuleles in that guitar store? How do those ukuleles sound compared to yours?

What is the brand and model of your ukulele? You may be able to use the warranty.

Have you tried different strings? A bad string will have non-uniform density which causes intonation issues.