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Thread: Bizarre experience with a KoAloha

  1. #11

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    Hope you get this sorted, but this is not a problem I have personally encountered with any KoAloha and I've played a few.
    Ohana BK-70 | KoAloha KSO-02 | KoAloha Silver Tenor
    WTB So many...

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
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    Honolulu
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    801

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    I'm just guessing but it is not uncommon to have the nut slot angle off on new instruments. The slot needs to fall away at 20 degrees or so so the string sits on the front edge of the nut slot. If the string manages to make strange buzzes and harmonics when played forte, but is okay when played softer, it probably just needs a wee bit steeper angle on the fall away to keep the string from vibrating against the middle or back side of the nut slot.

  3. #13

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    I don't know the amount of buzz, but in situations like this, I like to resort to superglue (its a good hard plastic when dried). use a dot in the slot. Lifts it a bit.
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  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Sparta, Wisconsin, USA
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    2,104

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    Try strumming and picking at different angles. I have found some buzzing with some of tenors because I was hitting the string at an steep almost angle especially when strumming hard. This caused the string to vibrate towards the fret and away, hitting the frets. I changed the angle to one more parallel to the fretboard and the buzz went away. The ukes with the lowest actions were more susceptible than those with slightly higher actions.

    Do some test strums and picks, watching very closely and see if you replicate the buzzing.
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  5. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Copenhagen, Denmark
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    If the G string don't buzz when fretted you need a new nut. i'm shure Koaloha will send you a new one.
    What is the action at the twelfth fret?
    I've had a Koaloha with a dead c# note that drove me nuts.
    Ohana TK-35G, Ohana SK 38, Kanilea K1 DLX tenor, Kanilea K1 SF concert, Imua ICN, Famous FS-5, Luna (Kiwaya L400), Islander AC4, Flea concert, Anuenue Light Bird cedar tenor, Kala-Acacia-FS U-Bass, The Rebel Double Cheesecake

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Finland
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    291

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    I don't have great tools for measuring the action but at the 12th fret it seems to be about 2.5 mm. That's definitely on the lower side but the KoAloha seems to have larger frets than my other ukes. In any case, I'm fairly certain the buzzing is not occurring because of the action being too low. I'm positive it's either because of low string tension due to the shallow angle of the strings from the tuners to the nut, or alternatively the nut itself (or both, I suppose). The angle of the strings beyond the nut definitely seems shallower compared to my other ukes. This was also mentioned by the shop owner and he actually suggested that the strings should be wound around the tuner posts as low as possible for maximum angle to the nut. It makes sense to me but I'm still completely puzzled why this would be a persistent issue on KoAlohas (or more accurately, the ones I've been able to try out; I know many of you haven't had any such issues).

    Also, I'm certain the issue is not my playstyle regarding the angle of my picking or strumming. I always test my ukes for buzzes by plucking the string as horizontally (in relation to the fretboard, of course) as I can. There's very clear buzzing on this one when testing like this.

    At this point, I'm fairly determined to fix this without sending the uke back to the shop. As I mentioned earlier, the shop owner offered to fix the issue by raising the nut but I really don't want to do that since the action at the nut is just about comfortable for me as it is now. I got a response from KoAloha saying that they forwarded my email to one of their lead builders. No further response from them yet so I'll have to wait at least until Monday. I'll see what their response is and move forward from there. Simply having a luthier fix the uke is definitely an option for me at this point but I'm keeping it as a last resort.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    493

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    It sounds like either a nut slot that is cut too low (easily fixed) or perhaps the uke was under humidified this winter and the top has sunk a bit. If the shop you bought it from is located in a dry winter region, try humidifying properly. If a low nut slot, simply tape both sides of the nut to create walls on each side of the slot equal to height of nut - put a drop of Crazy Glue in the low slot - liberally sprinkle the slot with baking soda (or, my preference, sand a old saddle or nut you might have around, and use that dust) while glue is still wet - use a needle/pin to quickly mix the concoction (it will look ugly) - than blow the loose dust away. Remove tape and file the slot down to the proper height. Works like a charm.

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  8. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Posts
    182

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    If two strings are buzzing then maybe the whole nut is too low. Can you put a thin shim under it (slice of credit card)? The advantage of this is that it is a reversible experiment.

    Have you systematically fretted down the neck to identify the level of the buzz? I am sure you know all this but if you eliminate the buzz by barring at the first fret then the buzz is at the nut, if it is still buzzing it is one of the frets and you need to keep working down till you elimiate the buzz.

    Also have you tried new strings? if the strings are old they may have gone saggy in storage at the warehouse.
    Last edited by Davoravo; 03-14-2020 at 06:21 PM.

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    231

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dohle View Post
    I don't have great tools for measuring the action but at the 12th fret it seems to be about 2.5 mm. That's definitely on the lower side but the KoAloha seems to have larger frets than my other ukes. In any case, I'm fairly certain the buzzing is not occurring because of the action being too low. I'm positive it's either because of low string tension due to the shallow angle of the strings from the tuners to the nut, or alternatively the nut itself (or both, I suppose). The angle of the strings beyond the nut definitely seems shallower compared to my other ukes. This was also mentioned by the shop owner and he actually suggested that the strings should be wound around the tuner posts as low as possible for maximum angle to the nut. It makes sense to me but I'm still completely puzzled why this would be a persistent issue on KoAlohas (or more accurately, the ones I've been able to try out; I know many of you haven't had any such issues).

    Also, I'm certain the issue is not my playstyle regarding the angle of my picking or strumming. I always test my ukes for buzzes by plucking the string as horizontally (in relation to the fretboard, of course) as I can. There's very clear buzzing on this one when testing like this.

    At this point, I'm fairly determined to fix this without sending the uke back to the shop. As I mentioned earlier, the shop owner offered to fix the issue by raising the nut but I really don't want to do that since the action at the nut is just about comfortable for me as it is now. I got a response from KoAloha saying that they forwarded my email to one of their lead builders. No further response from them yet so I'll have to wait at least until Monday. I'll see what their response is and move forward from there. Simply having a luthier fix the uke is definitely an option for me at this point but I'm keeping it as a last resort.
    I own a longneck KoAloha soprano strung with KoAloha soprano strings. I think they recommend concert strings, but I always observed stepping up that direction kind of kills the sound on these smaller bodies. They are built light and donít need much to fully resonate the soundboard. It does buzz on a certain string certain chords tuned in standard C tuning with my vigorous playing style aka really digging in, but the trick is I tune up to D (ADF#B) and wala zero buzzing without so much floppy-ness in the strings. This is not a problem for me as a solo player, but you can always re-tune back to C at a uke group or playing with a band need be and itís really hard to notice in that loud of a setting. The upgraded UPT tuners really make tuning back and forth a breeze. Hope this helps, little soprano/sub-sopranos were originally tuned higher back in the days anyways itís just physics and sounds MUCH more ideal.

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Finland
    Posts
    291

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    As I mentioned earlier, the shop owner offered to raise the nut to fix the issue. He actually said that the issue might very well be that the nut is too low / the nut slots are cut too low. But before I mess with the nut (or have someone else to do it), I'll wait for KoAloha's response. I'm sure they will know what should be done next.

    The buzz indeed stops when fretting the strings. My little paper trick also got rid of the buzzing, so the issue is definitely the nut, or at least at the nut. I just think that jamming some paper under the strings is not an acceptable long-term solution as it can affect the sound of the strings. Also, I always try new strings first when dealing with buzzes so it's definitely not the stock strings. I even switched them to a slightly higher tension than the stock strings but that alone wasn't enough to fix the issue.

    Thanks for all the responses and support, btw. For now, I'll try to take it easy and wait for KoAloha's instructions. Although, being the impatient dolt that I am, I already ordered another higher-end uke from another dealer so I can at least have that one to play with, but I am still determined getting the KoAloha fixed as it's my only koa intrument.

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