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Thread: Frets, How Tall are Yours?

  1. #1
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    Default Frets, How Tall are Yours?

    I tend to play Kala, Makala and Lanikai Ukuleles but have recently started trying a few others out too. Once set up and with some Fluorocarbon strings fitted Ukes from the brands just mentioned have played well for me and provided excellent bang per buck. I’m particularly pleased with my own (well sorted out) Kala KA-P and use it as a bench mark against which to judge other similarly priced instruments.

    Recently I’ve owned and played some other brands and, after experiencing some difficulty with playing bared chords on them, discovered that they had shallower/shorter frets than I was used to. As I measure it on my remaining Kala/Makala Ukes their frets stand 1.0 mm above the fretboard but the other brands are more like 0.7mm and that small height reduction does make a (negative) playing difference to me.

    What’s working or not for you, how tall are your frets?
    Last edited by Graham Greenbag; 01-17-2019 at 05:23 AM.

  2. #2
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    I will just say that I also find some frets too short to play comfortably. I can't think of a specific uke right now like that, as I've never kept one. I'm also a fan of Kala and like the way they play. The taller frets (or just averaged size compared to really short frets..i'm not saying the Kala are extra tall) do require a bit more touch though or you'll pull the note sharp. That's fine by me as I prefer the feel.
    Last edited by jer; 01-24-2019 at 06:55 AM.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by jer View Post
    I will just say that I also find some frets too short to play comfortably. I can't think of a specific uke right now like that, as I've never kept one. I'm also a fan of Kala and like the way they play. The taller frets (or just averaged size compared to really short frets..i'm not saying the Kala are extra tall) do require a bit more touch though or you'll pull the note sharp. That's fine by me as I prefer the feel.


    I’m rather surprised that in all the talk we’ve had on the forum about difficulties with barred chords no one has picked up at all on the influence of fret height. With regard to pulling a note sharp that’s perhaps a possibility but it doesn’t seem to happen to me unless I push a string sideways. Typically I’ve not got a heavy touch on the strings and the action on my Ukes is set low too so not much deflection is needed to fret the strings. Of course perfect technique helps with all things but, having had to sell a Uke with low frets, the biggest concern is the noticeable and unnecessary difficulty in avoiding dead notes within a barred chord.

    What have other people noticed or found?
    Last edited by Graham Greenbag; 01-27-2019 at 02:26 AM.

  4. #4
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    I don't know if it is setup or fret height, but I got a ukulele one time that was set up and it appeared that they had to really dress the frets down to get them even. Several of them were just a bit flat on top and I always thought that they looked short. I never measured them. But also the string height at the 12th was 2mm, maybe shy a bit. No buzz at all, and intonation was right on the button. I found it touchy. I also found myself really bearing down on the strings when I fretted it. I played it for a long time and then I got another one that was not like that. It also had a little higher action. It actually had a lighter touch, which I know is counter intuitive. Same strings on both. Anyway, it could have been any one of those factors or a combination of all of them, but that was my experience.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

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