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Thread: How to check setup on a ukulele?

  1. #1
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    Default How to check setup on a ukulele?

    Hey all, I am a long time guitar player and am familiar with how to set up an acoustic guitar, so I am fine with the concepts of neck relief, string action, and saddle adjustments.

    What I was wondering is whether there are general rule of thumb or guideline numbers to use for 1st fret and 12th fret action to determine if adjustments need to be made?

    My ukes feel fine and have decent intonation, so I am doubtful anything drastic would need to be done, but just curious what the consensus numbers are for a good setup.

    Thanks in advance for your feedback, been getting great info from this forum so far.
    ---
    Martin C1K
    Mitchell MU100
    and some acoustic guitars

  2. #2
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    As another long-time guitar hacker ("player" would be generous!) I really can't find any significant set-up procedural differences between guitar and ukulele. It's the same "touch" issue (which is individual preference) for the string height over the frets and the same intonation question. When I set up my ukuleles, I do the same thing I've done with guitars and mandolins (the floating mandolin bridge being the only real difference).

    The only consideration this amateur has between guitars and ukuleles is the use of nylon/composite strings. I'm much more concerned about having rounded edges/channels within the ukulele nut and any other angle point to insure that the locations where pinching and/or slicing could occur are adjusted to protect against those potential problems. I'm less sensitive to pinching/slicing situations where steel meets wood (because steel wins!) versus nylon meets wood (where sharp/hard wood usually wins).
    ...SteveZ

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  3. #3
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    Relatively new tinkerer to instruments here, longtime tinkerer.

    6/64-8/64 off the 12th fret was a hard piece of information to find in a metric dominated world. The nut I do by eye and feel. Press the string down at the third fret, bar a few first fret chords and see.

    ~AL~
    Last edited by Inksplosive AL; 01-07-2015 at 10:58 AM.
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  4. #4
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    I use a newish set of strings and a tuner to entirely drive all my setup. Any string heights, etc I use as a gut check. The most important pre-setup measurements you can take is the nut to 12th fret and 12th fret to saddle. The 12th to saddle should be slightly more than nut to 12th.
    In order of play time: Martin OXK, Lanikai LU21B, Islander MT4, Rubin Sopranino

  5. #5
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Inksplosive AL View Post
    Relatively new tinkerer to instruments here, longtime tinkerer.

    6/64-8/64 off the 12th fret was a hard piece of information to find in a metric dominated world. The nut I do by eye and feel. Press the string down at the third fret, bar a few first fret chords and see.

    ~AL~
    This is the type of info I was looking for here - a general value that would be considered good string height off the 12th fret. I did see the number of 8/64's (I think on the Hawaii Music Supply website) and I checked my ukes against that value last night and they are both slightly under. I didn't bother to get an actual measurement but I don't get any buzz and they feel good so I guess all is well.

    Thanks for the replies!
    ---
    Martin C1K
    Mitchell MU100
    and some acoustic guitars

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    Quote Originally Posted by Inksplosive AL View Post
    Relatively new tinkerer to instruments here, longtime tinkerer.

    6/64-8/64 off the 12th fret was a hard piece of information to find in a metric dominated world. The nut I do by eye and feel. Press the string down at the third fret, bar a few first fret chords and see.

    ~AL~
    Quote Originally Posted by dskids View Post
    This is the type of info I was looking for here - a general value that would be considered good string height off the 12th fret. I did see the number of 8/64's (I think on the Hawaii Music Supply website) and I checked my ukes against that value last night and they are both slightly under. I didn't bother to get an actual measurement but I don't get any buzz and they feel good so I guess all is well.

    Thanks for the replies!
    C'mon guys. Reduce those fractions. 3/32" to 1/8".
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    Quote Originally Posted by PereBourik View Post
    C'mon guys. Reduce those fractions. 3/32" to 1/8".
    Well between 6/64 and 8/64 is 7/64 or .109, a number quite unachievable using thirty seconds or eighths.

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by PereBourik View Post
    C'mon guys. Reduce those fractions. 3/32" to 1/8".
    Not sure if this was tongue in cheek or not , but the level of precision required when discussing setup warrants the use of 64th's of an inch. This is especially true on ukulele where the super short scale length exacerbates any change in action at the 12th fret.
    ---
    Martin C1K
    Mitchell MU100
    and some acoustic guitars

  10. #10
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    I am pretty sure 7/64ths sits squarely in the middle of 3/32nds and 1/8th. In fact there are many other "fine" number between them.

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