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Thread: Tuning isn't right on my Uke

  1. #1

    Default Tuning isn't right on my Uke

    So this is about my handcrafted uke, i'v built it with the aid of a luthier a few years back, it's a Soprano black walnut all solid Uke, i am having a big issue with the tuning, i guess i didn't really picked up on what the problem was until now, basically i'n tuning it and it's perfectly tuned when i am checking open strings but then each string i am pressing on it takes the whole thing out of tune (if i happen to press all 4 strings it will sound tuned again), there seem to be a small gap between open tunes and pressed ones, and this of course make my playing sound out of tune most of the time. does anyone knows what is causing it and how it can be fixed? Thanks
    Handcrafted Black Walnut Soprano
    Koaloha Opio Acacia Concert
    Pono MT Mahogany Tenor

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    Petaluma, CA
    Posts
    217

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    From your description, the distance between the nut and the first fret is off. To check, put a capo (pencil and rubber bands work) at the first fret. If it goes sharp, the distance between the nut and the first fret is too long. If flat it is too short. Hope that the problem is just with the first fret.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Queanbeyan, NSW Australia.
    Posts
    1,870

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    The issue your describing is called Intonation. You have an intonation fault.

    Its unfortunately common.
    Its a HUGE can of worms.
    Search for guitar/ukulele intonation problems.

    EDIT. OK, I should declare this. PERFECT intonation isn't possible on stringed and fretted instruments. Its all about acceptable intonation. The shorter the scale length of the instrument the more difficult good intonation is.
    Hopefully its just a matter of adjusting the nut position.

    Are the fretted notes going sharp or flat?
    Is it the same all the way up the neck or is it getting worse or better?
    Last edited by anthonyg; 05-11-2019 at 04:28 PM.

  4. #4

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    Thank you very much! i have lowered both nut and saddle by filing, it magically solved the intonation! unfortunately i probably filed just a little too much and a couple strings started buzzing, i filed the two first frets and it is now much better although not completely solved, i will probably go to the bottom of this next time i replace the strings!
    Handcrafted Black Walnut Soprano
    Koaloha Opio Acacia Concert
    Pono MT Mahogany Tenor

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Queanbeyan, NSW Australia.
    Posts
    1,870

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    I'm glad it helped. Don't go too far with the fret filing. Its much easier to replace/fix nuts and saddles rather than the frets. Buy yourself a fret rocker to check the frets and only adjust frets when absolutely needed. Not to compensate for a fault in the nut/saddle.

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by PetalumaRescuke View Post
    From your description, the distance between the nut and the first fret is off. To check, put a capo (pencil and rubber bands work) at the first fret. If it goes sharp, the distance between the nut and the first fret is too long. If flat it is too short. Hope that the problem is just with the first fret.
    If you fret any string on a tuned instrument doesn't it make it go sharp, or am I misunderstanding? Like a first fret C string is a C#? I was just going to post something up about one I put together that comes out of tune a lot and I thought I'd check here before I post.

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by anthonyg View Post
    I'm glad it helped. Don't go too far with the fret filing. Its much easier to replace/fix nuts and saddles rather than the frets. Buy yourself a fret rocker to check the frets and only adjust frets when absolutely needed. Not to compensate for a fault in the nut/saddle.
    Thanks i will do that
    Handcrafted Black Walnut Soprano
    Koaloha Opio Acacia Concert
    Pono MT Mahogany Tenor

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    169

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by captain-janeway View Post
    If you fret any string on a tuned instrument doesn't it make it go sharp, or am I misunderstanding? Like a first fret C string is a C#? I was just going to post something up about one I put together that comes out of tune a lot and I thought I'd check here before I post.
    If it sharpens it too much it's a problem...

    You folks know of the superglue and baking soda trick, to fix too much nut filing?
    Last edited by aremick; 05-13-2019 at 01:20 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    356

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    Quote Originally Posted by aremick View Post
    If it sharpens it too much it's a problem...

    You folks know if the superglue and baking soda trick, to fix too much nut filing?
    It is a well established fix.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    169

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrytone View Post
    It is a well established fix.
    But I though that someone that filed his frets to fix over-filed nut slots might not.

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