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Thread: Kala ukulele out of tune and bridge leaning foward

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    West Midlands GB


    Just google "ukulele saddle blanks".

    John Colter

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2017


    Quote Originally Posted by cunparis View Post
    This is an interesting idea. Where can I buy a saddle to experiment with? I searched Thomann and I find them for guitar but not for ukulele.
    I get replacement bone saddle blanks off of eBay. Typically they come from China and take a few weeks to arrive. Be aware that sometimes the blanks are under width, perhaps it is a recent QA issue. Blanks need to be cut to length, filed to height and have a rounded crest shaped on their top.

    IIRC yours is a second hand instrument so a previous owner might have done modifications. The saddle fitted looks standard manufacture to me so your bridge’s slot might be over width or you might have an older style narrow saddle installed instead of the current standard. Anyway, just be aware that what you have might need a special solution.

    As a rule of thumb the distance from the twelfth fret to the saddle break point should be the same as the distance from the nut edge to the twelfth fret plus 2 mm. Get your ruler out and see where that saddle break point should be. If you want to get really clever than look up compensated saddles ... I find straight saddles (uncompensated) and in the right place meet my simple needs.
    Last edited by Graham Greenbag; 01-22-2021 at 01:17 AM.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    May 2019


    In my limited experience lately installing under saddle pickups, I have run into stark variations in Kala's saddles and slots, including what seems to be your issue of too narrow of a saddle for the slot (or visa versa). There seems to be poor quality control in this area. Anybody else find this?

    Additionally, one of your photos seem to indicate that the saddle is not bottoming out in the slot as the bottom looks rounded rather than flat. Is this true? If so, I would look at squaring up the bottom to receive the saddle, though the slot must remain flat to maintain full contact with the saddle.

    As has been mentioned, a new saddle could be purchased that would fit your slot better. In this case, thicker is better than not thick enough, as the saddle can be sanded to the correct thickness.

    Once the above is accomplished, the height of the saddle is adjusted to supply the appropriate action for that ukulele, and your playing.

    Also, as stated, I would perform some careful measurements, comparing the distance from the nut to the middle of the 12th and from the 12th to the contact point of the saddle. The latter should be approx 1.5 to 2mm more than nut to 12th. If close but a bit shy, a slant could be cut on the top of the saddle to move the contact point a bit further away. I would do this before adjusting the height, though.

    Nothing is too terribly complicated, but exactness and careful measuring matter. YouTube is an excellent resource for learning about each of the steps.

    Good luck and happy tinkering!

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2012


    Hello everyone,

    I made another attempt at shimming the saddle this time with a piece of cardboard. The credit card strip I cut was too thick and I couldn't find plastic the right size. The cardboard worked ok and I did get the bridge straighter. It pretty much fixed the G, G, & E strings (GDAE tuning). But the A string is horribly off at the 5th fret. Almost a semi-tone higher. I couldn't figure out how this could be. I noticed the end of the saddle with the A & E strings was a bit too high, the saddle wasn't level. But if that was the cause then the E string should have been off too. I wonder if a bad string could be the reason?

    Today I dropped it off at a ukulele shop that does setup & repair. The luthier wasn't there so I left it and they'll get back to me on Tuesday. After I left it, I was thinking I should have put the original 2nd string back on it as a test. If it was in tune then I could say it was the new string. and if it was out of tune then it was a setup issue. But I didn't think of that earlier.

    I'll report back once I hear back. Hopefully it won't be anything major and they can get it adjusted for me.

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