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Thread: Knots & slots -- argh!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    Oahu Isle, Hawaii
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    451

    Default Knots & slots -- argh!

    Is it just me? I detest slot headed ukes. To me, slots are useless eye candy that make it a lot more difficult to string a uke. (No doubt, everyone else loves slot heads & finds them easy to use. sigh)

    Is it just me? I love bridges that use pins (like a guitar) and also bridges that use pull through. I hate tying those dadgummed knots. I can do it, but I have to ask the grandkids to leave the room because I sometimes mutter foul words under my breath while I'm doing that job.

    Is it just me? I like ukes with Fender Stratocaster-type heads, where the strings go perfectly straight from the nut up to the winding mechanism. Why? With regular uke heads, the strings are angled from the nut to the winder, especially the #1 & #4. So... suppose I have a string that's just a wee bit flat:
    • I start to VERY gradually tighten it, to get it in tune.
    • Slowly the tuner needle moves toward *perfect* until it's almost right there then -- RATS! the string suddenly jumps to being a wee bit sharp.
    • That happens because the angle from nut to winder doesn't let the string move through the nut smoothly. With a Fender-type head, that problem 99.99% disappears.


    So dislike of slots & knots, plus love of Fender-type heads -- am I the only one? If not, why not?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
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    229

    Default

    I just realized, I've never done a string change on a slotted head uke.

    I really dislike pins on ukuleles (guitars are fine). It could be aesthetics. I tend to associate pins with guitars, and seeing them on ukuleles is kind of like seeing a lift kit on a sedan. Maybe acceptable on vintage baritones, but in general, I'm not a fan. It could also be bad experiences. I've had pins fly out after restringing on admittedly very cheap ukuleles with shoddy bridges. Sometimes while stringing. Sometimes afterwards with no warning. I don't think my dislike is wholly rational, it's just a preference. The benefit is that's one less K brand burning holes in my pockets, since I don't think Kanile'a makes em any other way.

    A while back, I got a Martin soprano with the quirky outside winding for g and A, and inside for C and E. Since then, I've switched my sopranos to that same outside inside winding pattern. I've also done it with a tenor where the 2nd and 3rd strings almost touch the 1st and 4th tuners, just so there's more space there. It takes a few tunings to get used to, and I've only done it with ukuleles that have back of the head tuners, friction or planetary (it feels like it would be wrong to do it with geared "ears"). Now all those outside wound strings go to the tuners with little or no angle from the nut.

    I see how the Fender style head keeps them straight, but aesthetically, that kind of headstock is about as appealing to me as bridge pins. Clearly these preferences are not all utilitarian.
    Last edited by snowdenn; 03-10-2020 at 06:02 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
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    1,024

    Default

    yeah, you're the only one, but that's alright.

    Slotted headstocks are a lot easier to string, but I don't like them because they're ugly. I prefer solid wood as a look. I have never had any problems with the tuners slipping as you've described it, but I am in sympathy with your fender headstock...but for aesthetic reasons. I am probably going to get one more uke before I die, a custom baritone, and it is going to have a stauffer headstock with planetary tuners behind the headstock. I've fished since I was a kid, so tying knots has never been an issue for me.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    MN metro area
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    Default

    A slotted bridge and a pin bridge are both deal breakers for me. I've been attracted to several ukes and ended up automatically rejecting them because of the bridge. I would never buy a uke with either bridge.
    Money can't buy happiness but it can buy a uke which is basically the same thing.

    Ukes are a lot like potato chips. It's hard to stop with just one!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    Pacific Inland Empire
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    Default

    Slotted head=yuck

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Twin Cities, Minnesota, USA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bellgamin View Post
    .....Is it just me? I like ukes with Fender Stratocaster-type heads, where the strings go perfectly straight from the nut up to the winding mechanism. Why? With regular uke heads, the strings are angled from the nut to the winder, especially the #1 & #4. So... suppose I have a string that's just a wee bit flat:
    [LIST][*]I start to VERY gradually tighten it, to get it in tune.[*]Slowly the tuner needle moves toward *perfect* until it's almost right there then -- RATS! the string suddenly jumps to being a wee bit sharp.[*]That happens because the angle from nut to winder doesn't let the string move through the nut smoothly. With a Fender-type head, that problem 99.99% disappears.
    Well that problem with the nut is true for most acoustic and electric guitars too. It can be a pain, but by properly opening up the string slot and lubricating the slot with graphite you can keep that from happening.
    Blackbird Farallon Ekoa Tenor
    Beltona Songster Resonator Tenor
    Klos Carbon Fiber Tenor
    Magic Fluke Tenor Firefly Banjolele

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    Los Angeles, near the Beverly Center.
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    Default

    I like slot head but it is a chore to change strings. I just bought a bamboo uke that needed some design improvements, it has nice looking black and gold tuning machine, but the fret markers were white, as was the nut and saddle, the strap button chrome and the strings plain nylon. I knew when I first looked at it that the strings will be black, and I was going to add black beads to the end of the strings so I don't have to fight tying at the bridge. I also changed the strap button to black with a gold screw to match the tuners, and use black stick-on fret markers, plus change the nut and saddle to black. Looks real nice now.




    This is Michael Kohan in Los Angeles, Beverly Grove near the Beverly Center
    9 tenor cutaway ukes, 6 acoustic bass ukes, 12 solid body bass ukes, 14 mini electric bass guitars (Total: 41)

    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

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    Oahu Isle, Hawaii
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    Quote Originally Posted by kohanmike View Post
    ... ...I was going to add black beads to the end of the strings so I don't have to fight tying at the bridge. ... ...
    Great idea. Where did you get the black beads?

    That's a nice looking bamboo uke and your fixings look splendid. By the way, what is that black material that is used for the nut & saddle?
    Last edited by bellgamin; 03-10-2020 at 09:10 PM. Reason: syntax

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
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    Mississauga, Canada
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    Default

    I don’t like the slotted heads either but not for the looks, only because it takes more string to wind around and sometimes I’m JUST short of having enough, haha.

    Slotted bridges are nice because I have fun tying the knots and I feel they are easier to change strings than pin bridges (can be so frustrating if you don’t have/lost your pin puller). Also I just think it looks neat and tidy!

    Recently I have come to like tie bridges too because they look deceptively difficult but actually aren’t that bad, maybe easier than a slotted bridge too

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
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    Finland
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    I don't mind a slotted headstock in a functional sense but aesthetically I would never want one on a smaller uke. Even a concert is a strectch so preferably only on tenors and baritones. Something like an Enya X1 soprano looks absolutely ridiculous with a slotted headstock.

    Same thing with a pin bridge, only for larger ukes. The Kanile'a/Islander sopranos don't look good with a pin bridge imo. I massively prefer a slotted bridge on sopranos, aesthetically minimal and easy string changes. Pin and tie-bar bridges are ok on larger ukes, although I'd say a tie-bar bridge isn't a deal breaker for me on sopranos.

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