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Thread: String height.

  1. #1
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    Mar 2014
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    Default String height.

    First of all, I'm not real particular about it, unless it is so low that it is too touchy or so high that it takes and effort to play it, which for me is a wide range. I'm not real discriminating. But I bought a string height gauge and got it yesterday. Why did I buy a string height gauge? Because it was under ten dollars and I wanted to buy something I guess. I thought that it might be more accurate to read than a ruler. I don't think so. But I had to check it out.

    So, Ohana concert Cedar top Myrtle sides from Elderly, just a string width under 3mm. Ohana solid spruce top soprano from Mim, 2.5mm. Mainland solid Mahogany concert, 2mm, and that's a tight 2mm. Makala MK-C no setup, a string width under 3mm, just the same as the Ohana Cedar. Interesting comparison. I've always thought that the Mainland was quick, but touchy. The Ohanas are both good working man ukuleles with a forgiving touch to them. The Makala is interesting because it is stock from the factory.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

    I just want everyone to understand that I am not a ukulele expert, even though it may look at times like I'm pretending to be.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Default

    Those gauges are handy to have, just lay ir on rhe fretboard at the 12th fret, then view from the side to match up the graduated mm bars ro see your string height.

    I was recently considering a vintage soprano on eBay. Not much of a description, but everything about it looked great, with a pristine logo on a clean headstock. I asked about condition, he said no cracks or separations. Then I asked about action at 12th. And he said 1/4", which is over 6mm. Maybe he measured wrong, but that scared me off! I prefer 2.5 to 3mm. I wish the guy had one of these gauges.

    20190715_004120.jpg
    Last edited by Ukecaster; 07-14-2019 at 06:50 PM.
    John

  3. #3
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    Mission Viejo, CA
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    Default

    I’ve used automotive feeler gauges on my guitars and ukuleles for years. Haven’t found anything as compact or as accurate to replace them. So simple to use. Just slide it along the fret under the string and tap the string; unless it visibly lifts the string.

    John

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    NH
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    Default

    I have a six inch machinists scale that has 32nd of an inch scribes on the ends so when laid length wise on the frets parallel to the strings, it shows the string height above the frets in 32nds of an inch.
    Kamaka HF3 Tenor
    Eastman EU3C Concert
    Martin S1
    Martin T1K

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Default

    The measurement is at the bottom of the string right? I've been propping the edge of a ruler on the 11th and 12th frets to assure it's level and measure my uke action that way. The bottom of the string just touches the upper edge of the 2mm mark on the lowest action uke and the top of the string just touches the bottom edge of the 3mm mark on the uke with the highest action. (so a likely range of 2.1/2.2 to 2.5/2.6?)
    Ohana CK-42R - all-solid concert, sinker redwood top, rosewood body, maple binding, Ltd. Edition
    Kala KA-FMCG- solid/lam concert, spruce top, spalted flame maple body, mahogany binding
    Ohana CK-120G - all-solid concert, 5A acacia top sides and back, mahogany binding, Limited Edition
    Ohana SK-30M - all-solid mahogany long neck soprano (concert scale)
    Romero ST - solid/lam concert, spruce top, mahogany body

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
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    Default

    Yep, you measure from top of the fret to the bottom of the string.
    More an appreciator of the ukulele than a true player. My motto is: "Don't matter how good it ring if it ain't got some bling."

    Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.—Voltaire

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  7. #7
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
    I’ve used automotive feeler gauges on my guitars and ukuleles for years. Haven’t found anything as compact or as accurate to replace them. So simple to use. Just slide it along the fret under the string and tap the string; unless it visibly lifts the string.

    John
    I like the feeler gauges as well. Very accurate. Easy to check all 4 or more strings. Can bend to check radiused frets and strings.
    There is a subtle yet profound difference between the learning of something and the knowing of that thing.
    You can learn by reading, but you don’t begin to know until you begin to try to do.

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  8. #8
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    Default

    From what I've read here and there, 2.5 mm seems to be the goal of many builders and sellers. For me, it doesn't matter unless it's extreme. Aside from ukes I've built, I've never adjusted string height. I'm such a great player that I can play with any string height. Either that, or I'm not good enough to realize the difference.
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!
    https://www.catskillukulelegroup.com/

  9. #9
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerryc41 View Post
    From what I've read here and there, 2.5 mm seems to be the goal of many builders and sellers. For me, it doesn't matter unless it's extreme. Aside from ukes I've built, I've never adjusted string height. I'm such a great player that I can play with any string height. Either that, or I'm not good enough to realize the difference.
    I bought one of those gauges from Stew-Mac and then an identical one from eBay for a fraction of the cost.
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!
    https://www.catskillukulelegroup.com/

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Philly, PA
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    Default

    Anything in the 2mm to 3mm range is fine with me, but my preference is for 2.5mm. 2mm feels great for the fretting hand, especially when playing way up the neck, but makes it hard for me to strum hard or finger pick over the fretboard. 3mm is fine but when playing way up the neck something closer to 2.5mm definitively makes accurate fretting easier. I have one of those little gauges too. I find it super useful as I do adjust or make my own saddles sometimes. I just made an ebony saddle for my Bruko yesterday to replace the plastic one that came on it, so my gauge definitely gets used.
    Kala KA-ATP-CTG
    Takumi TC-1M
    1940s Martin Mahogany Concert
    Bruko Cedar Top Mahogany Soprano

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