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Thread: Weird looking saddle groove on Cordoba 35T-CE -- Is this intentional?

  1. #1
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    Default Weird looking saddle groove on Cordoba 35T-CE -- Is this intentional?

    Hey all,

    I wasn't sure if I should post this here in the general discussion board, tech support, or luthiers lounge so I just decided to post it here.

    Last week I ordered a Cordoba 35t-ce. Without going into specifics I'll just say I got it at a pretty substantial discount from a reverb/ebay seller that seems reputable. While this dealer does setup all there instruments I bought this knowing it would not be an HMS or Mim setup but thinking that it would be overall a decent setup by guitar folks (as opposed to uke specialists). Based on the price I paid I also figured that it was likely a factory 2nd or returned item of some kind and might have a cosmetic issue or two.

    The uke arrived earlier this week and for the most part seems as expected. The setup is fine. Sure, it's not the lowest action ever but I don't always like crazy low action anyway. It was clearly setup by guitar folks as they added a slope to the saddle with the action being slightly higher at the G than the A. Again, not that surprising and since I'll be keeping this uke setup with a low G totally fine be me. It was also clear and encouraging that they took some time to do some work on the bridge. I can smell the solvents still from whatever wax or finish they added and there is some white residue left on it (that wipes off) from wet sanding.

    All in all I am happy with the setup, however, there is one aspect of this uke that was immediately of great concern to me, which can seen in the attached photo. If you look at the saddle groove from the G side there is a clear angled gap to the base of groove. I initially assumed this was some kind of overlooked CNC malfunction, but when I removed the saddle I saw that the little triangle gap is only at the very end of the G side of the groove and starts just after the piezo wire ends. Furthermore I noted the the saddle beds nicely from the A side all the way across the pickup and onto little tip of material left on the G side. I have tested the Uke plugged in and the pickup has even tone and volume across all the strings (at least to my unrefined ear). The uke sounds good both plugged in and unplugged. While it is not quite as loud as my cedar top kala it has a nice full tone, good sustain, and a resonance you can feel. I must say I quite like it.

    So I guess my question is two fold.

    1. At the risk of sound naive is it possible that this little triangle gap is intentional. In woodworking it is not uncommon to at times undercut some areas of joinery to get more easily create contact with other areas, so I got to thinking that this undercut might be intentional to help the saddle bed on the pickup better. I've never had a uke with a pickup so if this is not abnormal I would not know. Has anyone here ever seen this done intentionally?

    2. If it is not intentional and is indeed just flaw as I initially thought, does it objectively matter (subjectively is another can of worms)? I almost sent this thing back right away when I saw the gap, as I am aware of the importance of the saddle having good contact with the bridge and in this case the pickup. That said, after testing it out and also seeing that the saddle beds solidly everywhere else, I'm not convinced this little gap has any negative impact. More and more I'm feeling that something I initially thought was a fatal flaw really is just cosmetic.

    Any insights would be much appreciated.

    Thanks very much!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by CPG; 11-08-2018 at 07:28 AM.

  2. #2
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    You said that you tested it and that it sounds fine, and there are people who would say that is all the counts. I happen to be a details type person and I don't think that it looks right. I have not heard of cutting that slot crooked is some sort of trick. I'm not convinced that every single ukulele benefits from a setup. You gotta wonder if it was like that, or if someone did that.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rllink View Post
    You said that you tested it and that it sounds fine, and there are people who would say that is all the counts. I happen to be a details type person and I don't think that it looks right. I have not heard of cutting that slot crooked is some sort of trick. I'm not convinced that every single ukulele benefits from a setup. You gotta wonder if it was like that, or if someone did that.
    Thanks for you input. It certainly doesn't look right to me either. I really did almost send it back without testing it.

    That said, it's a rather smooth precise looking cut which is why I keep wondering if it might have been done intentionally. Or perhaps the wood broke off and someone simply smoothed it out.

    As far as whether I care or not/ I've gone back and forth on that. Initially I was pretty annoyed by it as I can very much be a details person and fixate on stuff like that, but given how nice it sounds and plays otherwise and given how much below typical street price I paid for it I find myself caring less and less.
    Last edited by CPG; 11-08-2018 at 10:11 AM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by CPG View Post
    Thanks for you input. It certainly doesn't look right to me either. I really did almost send it back without testing it.

    That said, it's a rather smooth precise looking cut which is why I keep wondering if it might have been done intentionally. Or perhaps the wood broke off and someone simply smoothed it out.

    As far as whether I care or not/ I've gone back and forth on that. Initially I was pretty annoyed by it as I can very much be a details person and fixate on stuff like that, but given how nice it sounds and plays otherwise and given how much below typical street price I paid for it I find myself caring less and less.
    If that triangle gap entered into the area where the saddle makes contact with the piezo strip then you would have troubles. But seeing as it doesn't and it sounds good acoustically and plugged in it's a non issue. It was not done on purpose, that is a manufacturing flaw but fortunately one that is not effecting the sound quality
    Ukuleles.............yes please !!!!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by DownUpDave View Post
    If that triangle gap entered into the area where the saddle makes contact with the piezo strip then you would have troubles. But seeing as it doesn't and it sounds good acoustically and plugged in it's a non issue. It was not done on purpose, that is a manufacturing flaw but fortunately one that is not effecting the sound quality
    Maybe that is why it was discounted.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by DownUpDave View Post
    If that triangle gap entered into the area where the saddle makes contact with the piezo strip then you would have troubles. But seeing as it doesn't and it sounds good acoustically and plugged in it's a non issue. It was not done on purpose, that is a manufacturing flaw but fortunately one that is not effecting the sound quality
    Thanks. Sounds like my initial reaction(that it is a flaw) was accurate. When I first saw it I just assumed that it went all the way through, and that the uke would be garbage because of it. I think I'll do another electric and acoustic sound test just to make sure its not causing issues, and also look under the saddle again to re confirm that it is really just on the end there. If that all checks out I guess I'll probably keep it. If it doesn't it will go back to the seller.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rllink View Post
    Maybe that is why it was discounted.
    That is exactly what I was thinking Rolli
    Ukuleles.............yes please !!!!

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    If you are happy with the sound and performance of the pickup as well as the price paid then I think you are done here.
    If it were something that noticeably affected the sound or tone, then you would already have sent it back.
    If it were something visible from 10 feet away, that is another matter.
    I would keep it and enjoy your ukulele!

    I have an ukulele that I bought new, and it was not a factory second, and when I really inspected it closely I saw it appears the fretboard end near the 14th fret had split and been re-glued. It is obvious this happened at the place of manufacture, as the glue line is evident underneath the finish.
    The ukulele sounds great and plays great and I did not even notice it when I inspected the ukulele prior to purchasing it. In fact, I did not notice it for several months, I only saw it when I was deep cleaning it during a string change.
    I would say this falls under the "no biggie" category.

    Cheers!
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rllink View Post
    Maybe that is why it was discounted.
    Yes. That is most certainly the case. I fully expected there to be some cosmetic issue(s) (I believe this seller mainly buys up and resells warranty returns). I was just taken aback by something that initially looked like a severe functional issue on an item that was listed as just having some wear from handling. Assuming my next test of the uke aligns with my first I'll still have gotten a nice uke at a really great price (about 55% of typical street price). I've shopped on Ebay enough to have pretty realistic expectations and I certainly didn't expect to get a flawless brand new instrument for that price. Though it does annoy me somewhat that the seller didn't clearly disclose the specific issue up front. The price was so low that I actually messaged them before buying and asked about the QC/condition and they said that Cordoba has some of the best QC in the business and that anything that didn't meet factory specs would be fixed in setup. Even with the issue I still feel like I got a really good value (again, assuming my next test aligns with the first) and that the issue is truly is just cosmetic. I just wish the seller had been more transparent.

    Anyway, I'm not sweating it too much. I suspect my next test will align with the first and that I'll be happy with how it sounds and plays. And, if not, I can still return it.

    I'll repost with the results of my next test.

    Thanks the input folks. Much appreciated.
    Last edited by CPG; 11-08-2018 at 11:51 AM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pueo View Post
    If you are happy with the sound and performance of the pickup as well as the price paid then I think you are done here.
    If it were something that noticeably affected the sound or tone, then you would already have sent it back.
    If it were something visible from 10 feet away, that is another matter.
    I would keep it and enjoy your ukulele!

    I have an ukulele that I bought new, and it was not a factory second, and when I really inspected it closely I saw it appears the fretboard end near the 14th fret had split and been re-glued. It is obvious this happened at the place of manufacture, as the glue line is evident underneath the finish.
    The ukulele sounds great and plays great and I did not even notice it when I inspected the ukulele prior to purchasing it. In fact, I did not notice it for several months, I only saw it when I was deep cleaning it during a string change.
    I would say this falls under the "no biggie" category.

    Cheers!
    Thank you. I think you are absolutely right.

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