Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 13

Thread: Kala ukulele out of tune and bridge leaning foward

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    28

    Question Kala ukulele out of tune and bridge leaning foward

    Hi,

    I purchased a used Kala KA-CE ukulele and when I bought it I noticed it was a bit sharp but I thought a setup would fix it. At home I did more testing and I tune the open string then it's sharp on frets. At the 5th fret it's 20 cents sharp on each note. At the 12th fret it's more than 20 cents sharp. I noticed the bridge is tilting forward a little bit so I wonder if that's contributing to it. It's too late to get a refund so I'd like to get it set up to be in tune.

    Here are a couple of photos:

    PXL_20210120_195239762 (Medium).jpg

    PXL_20210120_195219184 (Medium).jpg

    A local shop that sells ukuleles told me they do a set up for 30 euros (about $36 USD). Would fixing this kind of problem be included in a setup? If so I think it's worth it. If it's going to be more expensive then that, then I wonder if it's something that I could do myself. I plan to take the ukulele to the store but I'm waiting for some strings to arrive. I ordered Aquila 31U CGDA strings and when the store does the setup I'd like it to be done with these strings so that it's in tune with these strings. I'm not sure if the strings make a difference for the intonation.

    The ukulele is mainly for me to experiment with at home for when I can't play my violin or for when I want a plucked sound. If the intonation is off it bothers me, so I need it to be in tune.

    Thanks for any information you can provide. I am a bit clueless about ukuleles. On the violin we have a whole other intonation problem.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    NorCal
    Posts
    719

    Default

    The first thing I would do is loosen the strings and slide out the bridge. Apparently Kala uses plastic shims sometimes (look like zip ties). Whether shimmed or not, you could then put the bridge back in and see if it sits straight. Reversing front and back may help. GL.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Posts
    1,424

    Default

    Does that leaning saddle matter? Since it is stationary although not perpendicular, wouldn't it affect all the strings the same way and therefore not be a factor? I honestly do not know and I'm just throwing that out there for someone who does know to answer it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    New England, USA
    Posts
    4,190

    Default

    I had that same problem on a uke once. I loosened the strings, and checked the saddle. It seemed that the saddle slot was wider than the original saddle, not sure why, but think that the uke had probably dried out, as there was a small bit of bellying between soundhole and bridge too. First thing I did was to humidify well in a sealed container for about a week, which eased the bellying a bit. Then I made a thin shim out of a plastic credit card, and slid that in the saddle slot vertically, beside the saddle on the front side (soundhole side). That tightened things up in the saddle slot, and the saddle stood much straighter.

    Of course, the best thing would be to have a saddle with correct thickness, to fill the saddle slot, so shims wouldn't be needed. I never figured out why the saddle slot had apparently opened up, using the original saddle, that was weird.
    Last edited by Ukecaster; 01-20-2021 at 11:31 AM.
    John

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    West Midlands GB
    Posts
    2,467

    Default

    It looks as though the saddle is leaning because it is too narrow (front to back) for the slot in the bridge. Making it vertical (by shimming it so that it gives the maximum possible scale length) will improve matters but by how much?

    I would advise you to try that and see how much difference it makes.

    John Colter

    ps. I see Ukecaster has covered this rather more explicitly than I managed. It may well be all that is necessary.
    Last edited by ukantor; 01-20-2021 at 11:16 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Posts
    202

    Default

    I had a kala like that- a too narrow, leaning saddle shimmed underneath with a piece of ziptie. And it came straight from Kala new, as a warranty replacement. Not a cheap laminate either. Pretty sorry IMO, and obviously affected my view on kala brand and products. It wasn't badly out of tune/intonation nor did it change much when the zip tie was removed (as might be expected), but still...

    I'd try the plastic or a cardboard shim in the slot first and see it that does anything.
    Last edited by badhabits; 01-21-2021 at 04:57 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    North Central Illinois
    Posts
    103

    Default

    Concerning using credit cards for shims; their thicknesses can vary from .025" to as much as .035" and that it is quite thick. Another source is a plastic milk jug. My sample measured .018" and those may also vary. Blister packed items may be another source for making thinner "shims."

    A caliper is handy for measuring the inside of the bridge slot, thickness of the saddle, width of a nut and nut slots, and the diameter of strings. They are also inexpensive.

    -Wiggy
    Last edited by Wiggy; 01-21-2021 at 08:56 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    28

    Default

    Thank you everyone for all the advice. I loosened up the strings and cut a small piece of plastic out of an empty pack of ham. I put it in and tuned it up. It made a big improvement. Now the notes are just a little bit sharp. The bridge is still leaning forward slightly. I think if I cut one more piece it will be hard to get it into the saddle but it would fix the problem. I suspect maybe the space for the bridge was not cut properly.

    I'm happy to know there is nothing seriously wrong with the ukulele. I'd like it to be perfectly in tune so I'm thinking maybe i'll still take it to the luthier at the shop. I think it'd be worth the money to get it perfectly in tune and have the frets checked, etc. I'm waiting for my CGDA strings to arrive.

    I'm really impressed with this forum. Within an hour of my original post there were several helpful replies. It's a very nice community here.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    West Midlands GB
    Posts
    2,467

    Default

    If the uke is still very slightly sharp when the saddle is completely vertical, it would be worth making a new saddle of a different cross section. The original one has a rounded top (which is quite standard) but one which has a slanted top, moving the peak slightly away from the fret board, would probably fix it completely. It isn't difficult to do, if you are at all handy with basic tools.

    Give it a try - what could possibly go wrong?

    John Colter

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    28

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ukantor View Post
    If the uke is still very slightly sharp when the saddle is completely vertical, it would be worth making a new saddle of a different cross section. The original one has a rounded top (which is quite standard) but one which has a slanted top, moving the peak slightly away from the fret board, would probably fix it completely. It isn't difficult to do, if you are at all handy with basic tools.

    Give it a try - what could possibly go wrong?

    John Colter
    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.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •