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Thread: Need to set up my Cordoba Tenor

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
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    Cleveland Ohio
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    Joe, you are right about the intonation. While I intend to lower all the strings, it is my low G that makes my ears hurt the most. When I play an A at the second fret, I cringe. It is noticeably sharp. I am waiting on the string height gauge to start. Since I might introduce buzz if I take off too much, I want to know what my target should be with the replacement nut. I am still going to take very small adjustments with multiple iterations, as you and many others have suggested.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    Worcester, MA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe King View Post
    ... If you go by intonation (as low as possible in the nut slots, before getting string buzz),.
    How "low" can you go before you get string buzz? How do you know when to stop? if you got the buzz, you know that you went too low, but then you messed it up, already.

    This is one of my major uncertainties when I've tried to do this myself (with my cheap ukes).

    Thanks

    Eugenio

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Location
    Oakland CA
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    17

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    I do not see the need to replace the nut if you have gone too far.

    You can just fill the slot a bit and start over. Here is how to do it.

    Use masking tape across both ends of the slot like a pair of dams, then fill the slot with baking soda. Carefully apply 1 or 2 drops of thin super glue. It will start a reaction and in a few moments it will be hard as a rock! You can then remove the tape and start filing again. You do not need to fill the slot to the top if you only need a small correction. Just make sure that the baking soda is level.

    This method works well to change the string spacing by filling the slots completely.

    The color of the baking soda is almost the same as the bone nut.

    It's easy to do.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Cleveland Ohio
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    18

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    Thanks for the tip dcuttler! I will still take very small steps, but will less worry, knowing there is another avenue to success after buzz failure.
    I did receive the gauge from Stew-Mac. I have done a series of measurements at the first fret and at the 12th (I know, that gauge is less accurate at the 12th since the weight of the plunger changes the readings) But I wanted to get some kind of reading.

    Code:
    	Inches			MM	
    	Fret				
    String	1	12		1	12
    A	0.034	0.110		0.864	2.794
    E	0.033	0.110		0.838	2.794
    C	0.035	0.112		0.889	2.845
    G	0.039	0.116		0.991	2.946
    Now to make some time and work up the nerve to start filing.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Twin Cities, Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    360

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobhost View Post
    Thanks for the tip dcuttler! I will still take very small steps, but will less worry, knowing there is another avenue to success after buzz failure.
    I did receive the gauge from Stew-Mac. I have done a series of measurements at the first fret and at the 12th (I know, that gauge is less accurate at the 12th since the weight of the plunger changes the readings) But I wanted to get some kind of reading.

    Code:
    	Inches			MM	
    	Fret				
    String	1	12		1	12
    A	0.034	0.110		0.864	2.794
    E	0.033	0.110		0.838	2.794
    C	0.035	0.112		0.889	2.845
    G	0.039	0.116		0.991	2.946
    Now to make some time and work up the nerve to start filing.
    Based on those numbers you do indeed have a way to go. Just take it slow at the nut.

    Here are some tips on setups that I posted here last year. Be sure to check your frets for high spots too. If you don't already have a fret rocker that would be a good tool to add to your kit.






    I’ve been doing setups on my guitars for many years, and I thought I would share a couple of hints that may help those of you who would like to work on your own ukes.

    The steps of an acoustic guitar setup are usually given as: 1) adjust truss rod to set relief, 2) adjust string height at the saddle, 3) adjust string height at the nut, and 4) adjust intonation at the saddle. Life is a bit more simple with ukes as there is rarely a truss rod, and most saddles are not compensated for intonation. So with a uke we mostly just care about string height at the nut and at the saddle.

    As on a guitar I would start with adjusting the height at the saddle. But before doing that I would first measure the action at the nut. That’s because lowering the string height at the nut will affect action at the 12th fret too. If for example the action is 0.040” at the first fret, and you lower it to 0.020”, that would bring the action at the 12th fret down by half the difference, or 0.010”. If you set the action at the saddle first without keeping this in mind you could overshoot and be too low when finished. The usual way to measure this string height at the first fret is with feeler gauges. But if you’re a tool geek like me you could also invest in a nut slotting gauge which really makes these measurements easy.


    http://www.stewmac.com/Luthier_Tools...ing_Gauge.html

    And for measuring string height at the 12th fret I use:


    My target for action at the first fret is about 0.020”, and my target at the 12th fret is about 0.085”. So if I know I have to later lower the action at the nut by say 0.010”, I will target the saddle to give a string height at the 12th fret that is greater by half that difference, or in this case a preliminary target of 0.090” to eventually wind up at 0.085”.

    You might wonder why not just set the action at the nut first? You can, but again you have to think about the effect of changing things at the other end. With a little geometry you can show that the action at the 12th fret is reduced by 50% of whatever change you make at the saddle, while that at the first fret is reduced by 5.6%. That is, if you reduce the saddle height by say 0.070” that will drop the string height by 0.035” at the 12th fret, and by 0.004” at the first fret. That 0.004” is not a lot, but it could be enough to cause a string to buzz on the first fret if you set it really low at the start.

    So how do you adjust the saddle height? The common method is to draw a pencil line on the side showing how much to remove. In my example above the uke arrives with a 3.0 mm, or 0.120” string height at the 12th fret, and I want to lower it to 0.085”, so I need to remove twice 0.035” at the saddle, or 0.070”. You then sand the saddle across a flat surface (such as a granite tile) with the side of the saddle up against a block to keep the bottom square. This does work, but it’s really easy to mess it up and go too far, or to get an uneven bottom surface. And what if you want to take more off one end of the saddle than the other? I’ve seen several ukes where the string heights were not even, and I needed to remove more from one end of the saddle than the other. Doing that freehand is especially challenging.

    Fortunately there is something called a sanding jig that makes this a breeze to do. I first saw a homemade one years ago called the Dickey Saddle Sanding Jig.

    http://www.dickeyguitars.com/dickeyg...addlesand.html


    You lightly clamp the saddle in the jig, then elevate the sides of the jig by the desired amount to be removed, push the saddle all the way down, and tighten. If done correctly you now have just the amount of the saddle to be sanded away sticking out proud of the jig. You then sand away until the block hits the sandpaper, and you’re done. The bottom is perfectly smooth, flat, square, and of the correct height. For the measurement you can use sheets of paper or business cards, anything that stacks to the proper height. And best of all is that you can switch things around to elevate one end more than the other before you tighten the jig. Say take 0.050” off one end, and 0.030” off the other.

    You can make one of these for just a few dollars. Or…if you’re like me and love tools, you can buy one readymade – the Saddlemaster Saddle Sanding Jig.
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