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Thread: Ubass action (string height)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    Canberra, Australia
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    570

    Default Ubass action (string height)

    I just made this bass ukulele myself using Aquilla thunderguts and have looked around for guides on how high the action should be and have come up empty handed. I must admit when I looked at the factory made ones i was generally surprised by how high the actions were.
    How high over the frets would be a good height at the first and 12th fret?
    20190406_175319.jpg
    My friends call me Titch. I have been known to clown.
    Ian Titulaer is my normie name.

    https://sites.google.com/site/titchtheclown/

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Redmond, WA
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    Looks lovely!

    U-bass strings are so floppy they'll need a much higher action than normal uke or bass strings. They're a lot easier to fret, and they wobble a lot more and will buzz with low action.

    A quick measure of my solid-body hadean shows the E-string^H^H^H^H^Hcable at .05" (1.27mm) at the first fret and about .2" (5mm) at the 12th and this seems reasonable. I'd start pretty high, see how it plays for you, and then lower if needed.

    Take my word with a grain or three of salt. I've been playing bass almost two weeks ). I'm not up to anything beyond the most basic plucking techniques, but I can barre these with less effort than I can fret single strings on a normal bass.

  3. #3
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    Oct 2012
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    Thanks Arcy
    I did my usual traditionalish treatment on the nut and went for a 5mm action at the 12th fret. The D string played up a bit so I rechecked and the saddle was a little flat compared to the 8 inch radius I had on the fret board so I radiused the saddle better and readjusted the action back to 5mm at the 12th.
    For those interested the traditional method for setting the nut height is to press between the 2nd and third fret and have a "cigarette paper" between the string and the first fret. I don't use an actual cigarette paper but I do try to get it as close as possible without touching.
    My friends call me Titch. I have been known to clown.
    Ian Titulaer is my normie name.

    https://sites.google.com/site/titchtheclown/

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Los Angeles, near the Beverly Center.
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    Very nicely done Titch. Yes, my solid body bass ukes have high action with Thunderguts and Road Toad Pahoehoe strings. (FYI, the Thunderguts will get more and more sticky and sausage/indent at the frets.)

    I'm always amazed at the coincidences that happen to me. Yesterday I decided to modify one of my 24" scale Rondo Hadean solid body basses to look like a Fender Jazz bass. Here's a rough mockup drawing I made last night. I plan on using LaBella/Gold Tone 25" steel flatwounds, which I've done on a couple other bass ukes.




    This is Michael Kohan in Los Angeles, Beverly West near the Beverly Center
    9 tenor cutaway ukes, 5 acoustic bass ukes, 11 solid body bass ukes, 9 mini electric bass guitars (Total: 34)

    • Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children in hospital music therapy programs. www.theukc.org
    • Member The CC Strummers: YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/video, Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheCCStrummers
    Last edited by kohanmike; 04-19-2019 at 05:48 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    That looks fantastic. The template I used was from
    https://sites.google.com/site/guitar...les/fender-ish
    I used the scaling in the PDF printing to scale the body to 90%.
    My friends call me Titch. I have been known to clown.
    Ian Titulaer is my normie name.

    https://sites.google.com/site/titchtheclown/

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Los Angeles, near the Beverly Center.
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    Thanks very much. I'm a graphic designer and use Canvas Draw for Mac that combines the functions of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, drafting, presentation, desktop publishing. I took a photograph of the original bass uke, then imported it to Canvas Draw full scale, then made bezier pickguard parts, filled with proper colors, colorized the body. I'll print those as templates for my builder, Patt's Guitar Repair, to use to cut the pickguards. Paint will be done by Pat Wilkins.

    I made a change inspired by your Jaguar design, adding an upper chrome section for an on/off slide switch, which I do with my active bass ukes, so I can turn off the battery in between sets and not have to pull the amp cable to avoid killing the battery.


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