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Thread: Intonation Question

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarmo_S View Post
    We should not be put off with errors, because ukulele, guitar and piano are foremost accompanying instruments, yes. In that they work great.

    For melodies they can work sort of as a compromise. Not to be admired too much, but admired in a sense that they can do both. I could never much care about music from pianist Richard Clayderman, was it the name. The entertainment stuff. Some fixed pitch instruments like accordeon work better because of the dynamic volume control of a voice.

    Beethoven's piano music is another matter, cause it is so much based on harmony more than melody.
    In the hands of a skilled player, the ukulele handles melodies beautifully and is quite admirable, thank you very much.

  2. #22
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    Back to the OP. A well setup ukulele will have acceptable intonation at the nut and saddle. Build quality as a misplaced fret or saddle location is rarer these days even on inexpensive ukuleles.

    A number of years ago I bought a ukulele that had both a mis-located bridge and a fret that was slightly off. I made what I call an “L” saddle (actually upside down “L”) and was able to file the fret to move the crown just enough to make it acceptable. I spend a good deal of time, more so in years past, to get things as close as I can. I’m pretty good at hearing notes that are slightly off, but I am eternally grateful I don’t have perfect pitch as that would drive me nuts. I do play instrumental melodies.

    I can appreciate the discussion going on, more so if I skip every few words. I do find it funny that someone will spend $5K on a ukulele and put $5 worth of plastic on it that stretches when a note is played and then we all go to HMS and marvel at the wonderful arrangements and masterful artistry. I think I missed something in the translation.

    John

  3. #23
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    [QUOTE=70sSanO;2192746]Back to the OP. A well setup ukulele will have acceptable intonation at the nut and saddle. Build quality as a misplaced fret or saddle location is rarer these days even on inexpensive ukuleles.

    So far any intonation problems I’ve noticed have been resolved with a new set of strings.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by anthonyg View Post
    The OP was asking what was the reason for the intonation on their instrument to be getting BETTER up the neck.

    The short answer is because on their instrument the NUT is in the wrong place (string height across the nut is a MINOR factor, its mostly about distance from the frets) where as many other instruments have the nut placed correctly but the saddle is out of place.
    I'm sorry to contradict you, but string height across the nut is not a minor factor. If the nut slots are not low enough the intonation will be out at the lower frets, but will improve as you go up the neck.

    It's easy to verify this - just find a cheap uke with sky-high nut slots and measure the intonation. It will be out at the lower frets. I already explained why but there is no need to understand that, just press a string to the fret to see. Then you should cut the slots to the correct depth and accept the gratitude of the owner.

    If the nut slots are at the correct depth and the intonation is still out at the lower frets but improves up the neck, then of course the nut is in the wrong place. But this is quite rare, even on very cheap instruments.

    None of this has anything to do with equal temperament. If the string is "perfectly" intonated, in that the the fretted note at the 12th plays exactly an octave above the open string, and the frets are correctly placed, then almost all the fretted notes in between will be slightly off for any scale (and different notes will be differently off for another scale). This is because of equal temperament, which places the frets where they are likely to be least off, on average. Each scale requires different fret placement to play properly in tune, so to avoid moving them (like lute players sometimes do with tied frets) we place the frets in roughly the right places.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by ProfChris View Post
    I'm sorry to contradict you, but string height across the nut is not a minor factor. If the nut slots are not low enough the intonation will be out at the lower frets, but will improve as you go up the neck.

    It's easy to verify this - just find a cheap uke with sky-high nut slots and measure the intonation. It will be out at the lower frets. I already explained why but there is no need to understand that, just press a string to the fret to see. Then you should cut the slots to the correct depth and accept the gratitude of the owner.

    If the nut slots are at the correct depth and the intonation is still out at the lower frets but improves up the neck, then of course the nut is in the wrong place. But this is quite rare, even on very cheap instruments.

    None of this has anything to do with equal temperament. If the string is "perfectly" intonated, in that the the fretted note at the 12th plays exactly an octave above the open string, and the frets are correctly placed, then almost all the fretted notes in between will be slightly off for any scale (and different notes will be differently off for another scale). This is because of equal temperament, which places the frets where they are likely to be least off, on average. Each scale requires different fret placement to play properly in tune, so to avoid moving them (like lute players sometimes do with tied frets) we place the frets in roughly the right places.
    And I'm going to have to contradict you right back.
    Is string height a factor? Well yes it is yet the notion that its rare for the nut to be incorrectly placed is utterly false and I know this because I DO measure them and when you start measuring them you will find that they are often wrong.
    The only conceivable reason I can suggest for people believing that nuts are rarely placed incorrectly is because people rarely measure them to see.
    I have a bee in my bonnet about this and I am technically nerdy enough to ALWAYS measure.
    I was objecting in this thread to the bogeyman of Equal Temperament always being dragged out as the cause of any and every intonation fault conceivable and I'm also objecting to the same faulty notion that the nut is very rarely misplaced.

    We've debated this before. See this thread for the nitty gritty run down, https://forum.ukuleleunderground.com...on-Question%85

  6. #26
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    In one case the nut will be too high or has incorrect spacing. In the other case its the saddle. Mine was going out towards the saddle (although the nut was ill placed too). A set up made it like a new instrument!
    Last edited by LarryS; 11-22-2019 at 04:39 AM.
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  7. #27
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    I guess I'm a little slow here. I wasn't aware that there was ONE correct height for nut slots. My understanding is that the height depends upon the action you prefer on your instrument. Which will change the height at both the nut and the saddle. And that changing the string height will, in fact affect the intonation. (And loudness and maybe add a buzz.)

    Also, I thought that the slots in a well made nut are slanted. To approximate the angle of the strings from the nut to the tuners. (Which of course changes depending upon how the tuner is wound.)

    Are we assuming that the fret wires are in correct positions and that the distance from the nut to the 1st or 12th fret may be off? Ditto the saddle to the 12th or higher fret?

    Aren't compensated saddles supposed to address some of these issues?

    Am I misinformed? (Won't be the first time.)
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  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffelele View Post

    So far any intonation problems I’ve noticed have been resolved with a new set of strings.
    This used to be much more common. I remember one technique was to flip a string around if the intonation was off. Of course that was based on a instrument that was already setup and the intonation was good. But yes, I have found an occasional new string is bad where the intonation is off by 10cents or more and won’t settle in. Put on a different string and the issue disappears.

    I have found some strings can take a lot of abuse manually stretching them and others have issues unless you just let them naturally get there.

    John
    Last edited by 70sSanO; 11-23-2019 at 03:24 AM.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kenn2018 View Post
    I guess I'm a little slow here. I wasn't aware that there was ONE correct height for nut slots. My understanding is that the height depends upon the action you prefer on your instrument. Which will change the height at both the nut and the saddle. And that changing the string height will, in fact affect the intonation. (And loudness and maybe add a buzz.)

    Also, I thought that the slots in a well made nut are slanted. To approximate the angle of the strings from the nut to the tuners. (Which of course changes depending upon how the tuner is wound.)

    Are we assuming that the fret wires are in correct positions and that the distance from the nut to the 1st or 12th fret may be off? Ditto the saddle to the 12th or higher fret?

    Aren't compensated saddles supposed to address some of these issues?

    Am I misinformed? (Won't be the first time.)
    You have things a bit muddled together. I'm not surprised - it wasn't until I'd built around 20 ukes that I really got this all straight in my head.

    All that follows assumes the nut and frets are in the correct positions and the frets are level.

    1. The height at which a string leaves the nut is ideally the same height as a fret. I prove this empirically by building with a zero fret, where the strings can't be any higher! My ukes dont buzz at the first fret.

    Some like to set the nut height a fraction higher to avoid buzzing (less than a hairs width). Above that, intonation at the lower frets suffers because pressing down the string sharpens the note.

    2. If you use a nut the strings should leave it at the face of the nut, so the base of the slot should slope towards the tuners. The precise slope isn't important.

    3. Action above the 12th is set at the saddle. Raising or lowering the height at the nut only affects the lower frets appreciably.

    4. The saddle needs to be set a little further back than twice nut-12th to compensate for string stretching while fretting (see my earlier post).

    5. Ideally the neck needs a tiny bow (relief) between 1st fret and body join to give the string room to vibrate. This hardly matters on a soprano, matters a little on a tenor, is important on a steel string guitar. On a uke, string tension usually does this just right.

    That's it, for ukes. On a guitar subtle compensation at the nut can improve intonation even more, but I think that's overkill on a uke.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by ProfChris View Post
    You have things a bit muddled together. I'm not surprised - it wasn't until I'd built around 20 ukes that I really got this all straight in my head.

    All that follows assumes the nut and frets are in the correct positions and the frets are level.

    1. The height at which a string leaves the nut is ideally the same height as a fret. I prove this empirically by building with a zero fret, where the strings can't be any higher! My ukes dont buzz at the first fret.

    Some like to set the nut height a fraction higher to avoid buzzing (less than a hairs width). Above that, intonation at the lower frets suffers because pressing down the string sharpens the note.

    2. If you use a nut the strings should leave it at the face of the nut, so the base of the slot should slope towards the tuners. The precise slope isn't important.

    3. Action above the 12th is set at the saddle. Raising or lowering the height at the nut only affects the lower frets appreciably.

    4. The saddle needs to be set a little further back than twice nut-12th to compensate for string stretching while fretting (see my earlier post).

    5. Ideally the neck needs a tiny bow (relief) between 1st fret and body join to give the string room to vibrate. This hardly matters on a soprano, matters a little on a tenor, is important on a steel string guitar. On a uke, string tension usually does this just right.

    That's it, for ukes. On a guitar subtle compensation at the nut can improve intonation even more, but I think that's overkill on a uke.
    +1 on your post.

    Regarding 2., if one uses flexible welding torch tip cleaners it is vital to have enough slant and try avoid any bending when filing to lower nut action.

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