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Thread: Vintage uke intonation

  1. #1
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    Default Vintage uke intonation

    I have a vintage soprano uke on which I've noticed some intonation issues. On the E string, I first tune it, then check the harmonic at the 12th fret, which is spot on. However, when I fret that string at the 12th fret, it is 4-5 lines sharper on my Snark. So, when I play a standard G chord down low, the G note on the E string sounds slightly sharp, and is about 2-3 lines sharper on the Snark than the open G string. I'm being careful not to use a gorilla grip, and get same result when I just lay it down and check that G note on the E string. It's not terrible, but I can hear it on the G chord for sure, and it bugs me.

    The C string is similarly sharp at 12th fret, but not so much an issue on the ears while playing.

    I guess I'll first try some new strings. The current strings are Martin M600, which are about 3 months old. If the result is the same, what, if anything, can be done about it?
    Last edited by Ukecaster; 09-14-2018 at 06:08 AM.

  2. #2
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    First check your string height. The higher it is, the more the string stretches when you fret it, and the more intonation adjustment you need to compensate. If it's too high you may not have enough "meat" on the saddle to move the string break point enough. If it's where it needs to be then you can futz with intonation. How you do that depends on what kind of saddle you have.
    Regards,
    Michael
    Brüko Soprano #4

  3. #3
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    Thanks, I checked that, but the string height looks fine at about 2.25mm

  4. #4
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    You might want to post a picture or describe the saddle. If it's a fixed saddle, i.e. one piece bridge and saddle you could do what I did to mine, described in this thread.

    https://forum.ukuleleunderground.com...e-piece-bridge

    If it's bone or other material you likely won't be able to compensate much. Would help to see a picture, fairly close up.
    Regards,
    Michael
    Brüko Soprano #4

  5. #5
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    Fluorocarbon are significantly thinner than nylon due to their density. Perhaps that has some effect. I have sometimes wondered if it would help to use a string which is more like what would have been originally on the instrument.

    Mind you, this is pure speculation on my part with no scientific basis!
    Last edited by EDW; 09-14-2018 at 12:06 PM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ukecaster View Post
    On the E string, I first tune it, then check the harmonic at the 12th fret, which is spot on. However, when I fret that string at the 12th fret, it is 4-5 lines sharper on my Snark.
    Uhh...just so you know, the harmonic is not the string cut in half by a fret. When you play an harmonic, the note is determined by the string's vibrations. It will always divide itself where the vibrations from the opposite ends of the string meet. When you pluck an harmonic near enough the 12th fret, the vibrations will divide the string at the exact center, so the harmonic cannot be anything but "spot on." You'll never get a flat or sharp harmonic.
    Last edited by stevepetergal; 09-14-2018 at 05:07 PM.
    If everybody wanted peace instead of another TV, then there would be peace.
    -John Lennon-

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevepetergal View Post
    Uhh...just so you know, the harmonic is not the string cut in half by a fret. When you play an harmonic, the note is determined by the string's vibrations. It will always divide itself where the vibrations from the opposite ends of the string intersect. When you pluck an harmonic near enough the 12th fret, the vibrations will divide the string at the exact center, so the harmonic cannot be anything but "spot on." You'll never get a flat or sharp harmonic.
    Got it, I never expect a flat or sharp harmonic, but compare it to the 12th fretted note, which should match AFAIK.
    Last edited by Ukecaster; 09-15-2018 at 03:25 AM.

  8. #8
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    That's right.
    If everybody wanted peace instead of another TV, then there would be peace.
    -John Lennon-

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    John, is your bridge a "compensated" bridge? If not, and if just one or two of your strings are acting up, you may indeed find that a fresh set of strings will correct the issue. If the problem persists, then I wonder if the nut slots on the offending strings might need to be deepened a tad?
    Last edited by Bill Sheehan; 09-15-2018 at 04:32 PM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Sheehan View Post
    ..... if just one or two of your strings are acting up, you may indeed find that a fresh set of strings will correct the issue.
    Recently I had this happen. My C string was strangely out. I replaced that string and it was much better.

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