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Thread: 1st and 4th strings compensated similarly on saddle

  1. #1

    Default 1st and 4th strings compensated similarly on saddle

    I have a Flight Juliana concert, which has a compensated (bone) saddle. The compensations of the 1st and the 4th string seem identical. Does this suppose that the string set should have a similar gauge 1st and 4th string, if one wants to keep the intonation good?

    As per the manufacturer's website, it was set up for Aquila Super Nylguts at the factory. I forgot to check the intonation before I started swapping the strings, but at least the Martin M600s I currently have on, the A string (.0191) seems spot on at the 12th fret, but the G (.0220) is a bit on the flat side. To be honest, the E and C are not spot on either.

    Aquila doesn't have the information on their website now, but I found a thread stating that at least the Tenors have similar gauge A and G and that the Lava and the SN have similar gauges.

    So the buying tip I'm asking for is, what choice is there for strings that have a similar gauge 1st and 4th? And can there be differences in the composition too, rendering the compensation off with a similar gauge? I gathered the Aquila Red might be such, for example? It has more of the red stuff in different strings? And are there so much differences between the 2nd and 3rd string gauges between different string sets that it would have an impact on the compensation, or am I stuck with the Super Nylguts, if I want to keep the intonation as good as possible (assuming it's right and doesn't change).

    Anyway, the strings with similar 1st and 4th gauge I know of (only the first two are from the forum's spreadsheet) are:
    GHS 20 (clear nylon, D-tuning), .220
    D'Addario pro arte J92 (clear nylon), .280
    Ernie Ball (clear or black nylon), .280
    Aquila Super Nylgut, .???
    Aquila Lava, .???

    Any input appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2014


    This compensation would typically indicate that it is meant for high G ?or for a single wound low G string along with three unwound strings). I assume that this setting is quite tolerant for slightly varying string gauges, but I guess you'd just have to try and see.
    Enjoying instruments by - Beau Hannam - Jay Lichty - Jerry Hoffmann - Luis Feu de Mesquita - Kala - Kamaka - Kanile'a - KoAloha - Ko'olau - Moore Bettah - Pono - Romero Creations - and others

  3. #3


    Low G I didn't even think about (as I'm not keen on installing one), but thanks. It came with a high G.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    JoCo, NC (near Raleigh)


    Pretty much all a and g strings will be similar in gauge as to make little difference in terms of compensation or intonation. And plenty of ukes are made with straight, non-compensated saddles and the results are acceptable to many players. What is your definition of "a bit" and "not spot on"?
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - A, WoU Clarity
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, cFAD SC LHU
    Kala KSLNG, Eb SC XLU
    Flea soprano, C LW
    Hanson 5-string tenor, dGCEA
    Bonanza SLN GCEA
    Bonanzalele concert
    Jupiter #47, G, TI CF127
    Pelem, A, EJ45LP


  5. #5


    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hanks View Post
    What is your definition of "a bit" and "not spot on"?
    Good question. I think the biggest deviation is about a quartertone, and the G is less than that. I'll measure them more precisely in a while.

  6. #6


    Hmm, I just realized I had remembered the scale of the D'Addario clip-on meter wrong: there is another set of bars on the display, on the way to the next semitone, a total of 12. The biggest deviation isn't a quartertone but about an eighth: 2-3 out of 12 possible bars, when a quartertone would be 6 (I think it was 3 or 4 earlier, but maybe they've settled more). And I think I had to pick a bit harder than I normally would, in order for the tuner to wake up. It's a bit hard to get a precise reading, but that's the level. The E is on the sharp side and the on G the flat side. The G is actually a bit less, so maybe that answers my original question...

    I mean, none of the strings are way off, but I would tune them further, if the meter showed that kind of reading with an unfretted string.

    It's just that, AFAIK, ukulekes have a bit of a reputation for having bad intonation, and maybe that's why I have my looking glass out and nitpick. But I've heard folk tales about a perfect intonation?

    And I do enjoy a precise tone and I do use the high frets (there's 18 in total).

    And of course, my fretting and picking technique might have a bigger effect, but that's my fault, not the uke's. I'm trying to look for the uke's faults, so that I don't start compensating the tone with my playing technique and learn it wrong.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2010


    Pretty much all fretted string instruments, by design, are a little out of tune somewhere. The frets are placed to give all strings a good approximation of a just scale no matter what key you are playing in.

  8. #8


    Ah, stop press. I just realized the original strings weren't Super Nylguts, now hat I saw a set of them with my own eyes. The manufacturer still says they are on the website:
    If I understoon correctly, the shop hadn't changed the strings either. So maybe it was a different patch with different strings or something.
    And, as such, I have no idea, whether the A and G strings were of different gauge or not. But, theoretically, the question is (as) valid (as it ever was).

    And, for future reference, the original strings were some kind of clear strings, and they sounded great. I now have Martin fluorocarbons, and they sound at least as great. I suppose the original ones were some fluorocarbons too. These feel quite the same too on the fingers.

    And talking about fingers, they are itching to try all the different fluorocarbons on the Juliana... Maybe Aguila Reds I might wanna try, but the Martin Polyguts nor especially Aquila Sugars - no need to ever get back to them with this uke.

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