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Thread: Intonation problem - on one string.

  1. #1
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    Default Intonation problem - on one string.

    Hey! So I changed the strings on my Luna concert ukulele and now the E string has horrible intonation. It's spot on played open, as are all the other strings. But by the time I'm at the 3rd fret it's rolling sharp and just gets worse up the fretboard (all others are fine). I'm a long time guitarist - but only been on the ukulele for a few years. This is the first time I've changed the strings, but this was not an issue with the original strings, and I didn't alter anything else. And I changed the strings one at a time to keep some stress on the saddle. I've occasionally gotten hold of a bad guitar string in a new set - but what are the chances I got a bad one in my first ever string change? Doesn't seem likely to me, so I was hoping someone here had some advice.

    FYI - I went from the original Luna strings to a set of Ernie Balls (been using them on guitars for years so I went with someone I knew)

    Thanks!.

  2. #2
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    I didn't even know Ernie Ball made ukulele strings. You didn't put steel strings on did you?

    It does seem to be an odd coincidence but if the other 3 strings are fine that would tend to eliminate a lot of other culprits. Martin M600s would be a cheap way to check
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hanks View Post
    I didn't even know Ernie Ball made ukulele strings. You didn't put steel strings on did you?

    It does seem to be an odd coincidence but if the other 3 strings are fine that would tend to eliminate a lot of other culprits. Martin M600s would be a cheap way to check
    Nope - Ernie indeed makes a set ukulele strings!

    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...-strings-clear

    I've actually talked to them and they are concerned, as it's not something they commonly see. (Impressed with their customer service, for sure). Looks like I just may have gotten a single bad string. I bet I've seen that twice in my 40 years of playing stringed instruments! I'll follow up when I know more.

  4. #4
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    The strings you linked have ball ends, but every Luna uke I've seen has had a standard tie bar. Did you cut the ball ends off and tie the strings on?

    Check the fit of the string in the nut slot. It seems pretty common (especially on cheaper ukes) that string slots often aren't cut quite wide enough, which means when you put fresh strings on they don't initially sit all the way down into the nut slot - and a high slot can cause intonation to go sharp as you're describing.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwizum View Post
    The strings you linked have ball ends, but every Luna uke I've seen has had a standard tie bar. Did you cut the ball ends off and tie the strings on?

    Check the fit of the string in the nut slot. It seems pretty common (especially on cheaper ukes) that string slots often aren't cut quite wide enough, which means when you put fresh strings on they don't initially sit all the way down into the nut slot - and a high slot can cause intonation to go sharp as you're describing.

    Yeah that ball end is EB's whole product idea. Reading reviews I saw no one who had any issues, so for $5 I grabbed A set. It does sit well in the slot (actually set it up myself). Just very strange. EB is actually sending me replacement set - they are curious what the deal is, as well. I'll put the new set on (or at least the E string) and see what's what.

    Thanks!

  6. #6
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    You didn't say how long you've had the string on the Uke. I've noticed that some strings need time to settle down. But a couple of days should be enough. No offense intended, but are you sure you put the right string on there? The wrong string could perform as you describe.
    "The sole cause of all human misery is the inability of people
    to sit quietly in their rooms." - Blaise Pascal, 1670

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by VegasGeorge View Post
    You didn't say how long you've had the string on the Uke. I've noticed that some strings need time to settle down. But a couple of days should be enough. No offense intended, but are you sure you put the right string on there? The wrong string could perform as you describe.
    No offense taken at all ... but yessir, 100% sure it's the right string. And yeah I also considered that it just needed more time. And they do still tend to stretch out of tune, but when I tune them they all sound good while in tune .. except the E string. And it sounds great with open chords/ notes. It's just when I fret the dang thing. I tried the match stick idea I read about somewhere and unfortunately even that didn't help.

  8. #8
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    Sometimes a string is just a badly manufactured string. Or as mentioned above, it is the wrong string. I had a string that I really liked (an E string) because the entire set was in really good balance. But, the intonation was off. I compensated my saddle by adding a 1mm sliver of bone to just that one string. Near perfect intonation on all 4 strings throughout the fret board. Most people will try another string first. Then go to a compensated saddle if needed.
    * * * * * * * * *
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    Ohana Mahogany Cynthia Lin Concert Performance uke
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    Brian Fanner Custom solid body/steel string tenor (Pixelator)

  9. #9
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    Tune the E string, third fret, to the G String. Make sure the octave Gs sound right. Then try out the chords that were bothering you. Does that make a difference?
    "The sole cause of all human misery is the inability of people
    to sit quietly in their rooms." - Blaise Pascal, 1670

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by VegasGeorge View Post
    Tune the E string, third fret, to the G String. Make sure the octave Gs sound right. Then try out the chords that were bothering you. Does that make a difference?
    Man I tried that very thing, and when those notes are in tune with each other, the open E is out. So .. this evening I tried something. Just kinda came to me. I swapped the E and G strings. (they did both sit in the nut slots) and ... now the G string was out of tune, exactly like it was when it was the E string. And the new E string (which was the G string) was perfect up the fretboard (well, slightly out due to the fact that it was tuned so low for a G string), but much better. I hope all that makes sense. But that convinces me it's a bad string. Which sucks, but Ernie Ball is making it right and sending me new strings. So when I get them and swap them out I'll chime back in here and update y'all. I sure appreciate the suggestions!

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