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Thread: Open strings out of tune with closed strings

  1. #21

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    Hello Botnet,

    As a permanent fix, use a piece of metal paperclip (not the regular but a big one) cut with pliers to the exact neck width : it will remain in its place only with the pressure of the strings (of course, you can glue it as well).
    I saved a cheap mahilele this way and the intonation is now OK.
    regards,
    Gilles

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    Queanbeyan, NSW Australia.
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    Quote Originally Posted by botnet View Post
    THIS THIS absolutely improved things. Yes the fretted strings were about 17 cents sharper than the open strings, and a matchstick made them correct.

    What are the next steps to make a more permanent fix here?
    I'm glad it worked for you. There are two approaches that can be taken here.

    One is to remove the nut, file the end of the fretboard towards the frets and reinstall the nut. Its best to take this slowly and check progress often as you go.
    Two is to make a shim out of bone to replace the matchstick but be more permanent if not completely permanent.

    I suggest taking it to an experienced luthier. It's not that expensive a fix.
    Last edited by anthonyg; 02-16-2018 at 01:58 AM.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
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    11

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    Just as a sanity check, here’s how far I had to put the matchstick. Does that look correct? It seems like quite a bit of fretboard will need to be filed away. when I compare my ukulele to the picture on the mele site, they look identical. Is it possible this model has a design defect?5C1B91CE-8AF8-4050-B501-8E08FC2C4D76.jpg

  4. #24
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    UK
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    A matchstick is approximately 2 mm's? thick. That's quite a margin for your ukulele to be out of spec by and you certainly should not be filing any fretboard away. You need to take note of my earlier reply. There are theoretical measurements for these things. You need to measure the position of the nut in relation to the first fret and the position of the saddle in respect of the string length. You need to know the compensation factor and whether they have included it. Do that before messing around with the nut position. If the nut position is correct you can tweak compensation at the nut but these are usually very small adjustments. Take away the matchstick and fret the octave. What is it like and how far out is it? But the measurements with a known accurate ruler is required.
    Last edited by Michael N.; 02-20-2018 at 09:09 AM.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    Northen California
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    What Michael N. said. With an accurate ruler, measure from the nut to the exact point on the saddle where the strings break over it. Measure from the nut to the exact crown of the 12th fret. Measure from the nut to the exact crown of the 1st fret. Measurements need to be to a 32nd of an inch, or 1/2 mm. Come back and tell us what you found.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Queanbeyan, NSW Australia.
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    Quote Originally Posted by botnet View Post
    Just as a sanity check, here’s how far I had to put the matchstick. Does that look correct? It seems like quite a bit of fretboard will need to be filed away. when I compare my ukulele to the picture on the mele site, they look identical. Is it possible this model has a design defect?5C1B91CE-8AF8-4050-B501-8E08FC2C4D76.jpg
    Having looked at the photo, that's a LOT of compensation and I don't recommend that you take that much off the fretboard.I suspect that the error is at both ends, the nut AND the saddle is out of place so now what you really need to do is measure the entire scale length of the instrument checking where the nut and saddle are placed in relation to the centre of the 12th fret.

    What you need is a steel rule a little longer than the distance from the nut to the saddle or a decent tape measure will do.

    TO be honest, thats not having the matchstick up against the nut which is what I recommended and now I'm struggling to believe that it would have been possible to have all the fretted notes in tune which is what you claimed to start with. You must have had a variable intonation error before that changed up the fretboard and my advice was specifically addressing there being an error between open strings and ALL fretted strings.

    We can walk you through it but you need to respond to us. Its complicated.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
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    11

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    Thanks all for the replies. I'll work on getting an accurate ruler and come back with all of these measurements. I recently moved to a new part of the world without a lot of access to these things, so I suspect it could be a few days.

    I really appreciate the help and all the suggestions. Per Anthonyg's response, with the matchstick things did seem correct all the way up the fretboard, but I can verify that tonight with the tuner and see if things go sharp or flat.

  8. #28

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    That is some impressive problems solving in this thread. I always thought that Mele was a higher end Hawaii based brand and I would have considered a uke from them. But something like this is just not acceptable. Did you contact them and ask to replace the uke?

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
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    11

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    Quote Originally Posted by merlin666 View Post
    That is some impressive problems solving in this thread. I always thought that Mele was a higher end Hawaii based brand and I would have considered a uke from them. But something like this is just not acceptable. Did you contact them and ask to replace the uke?
    I did contact them through the website and via email, as soon as I started this thread. No response yet. I also wasn’t able to reach them over phone so i’m not sure what’s happening.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
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    I hope I did this right. basically the ruler was pressed square against the nut for the measurements.

    Quote Originally Posted by Uke Don View Post
    With an accurate ruler, measure from the nut to the exact point on the saddle where the strings break over it.

    nuttosaddle.jpg
    ~348.5 mm

    Quote Originally Posted by Uke Don View Post
    Measure from the nut to the exact crown of the 12th fret.
    IMG_2110.jpg
    ~173mm


    Quote Originally Posted by Uke Don View Post
    Measure from the nut to the exact crown of the 1st fret.
    1stfret.jpg
    ~20.5mm

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