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Thread: C-string tuning issue

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Default C-string tuning issue

    I got a new Lanikai CK-S for my birthday several months ago (my first uke) but haven't really had the time to play much until summer came along. The few times that I did play it, something sounded a bit off, but I didn't give it too much thought. Recently I sat down with the uke and figured out that the C-string, when tuned correctly open, is always sharp when I use the frets. All the other strings sound fine.

    What could be the problem? I'm really taking a shot in the dark here, but could there be something wrong with the nut? The C string seems to sit higher up than the rest, but then again it is the largest diameter string (high g tuning).

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Torrance/Carson Ca.
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    64

    Default

    Make sure your E string is tunned. Take your uke and put your pointer finger on the 4th fret on the C string (E note). Match that note to the open E and it'll be tunned.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by dannyboy View Post
    Make sure your E string is tunned. Take your uke and put your pointer finger on the 4th fret on the C string (E note). Match that note to the open E and it'll be tunned.
    I've already tuned the uke using both my piano and electric tuner so everything sounds fine except for the C string frets. If I try to tune it using the frets like you suggested, it sounds horrible.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Default

    It sounds like your nut and/or frets might be too high. When you push down the C string between the nut and the first fret, does it hit the fret while there is still room under the string on the fret board? In other words pushing the string down hard enough to hit the fret board might be stretching the string too much against the first fret, making it sharp. If there is a good music shop or luthier around you might have them look at it. this of course is just one idea..there are many others i'm sure.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boozelele View Post
    It sounds like your nut and/or frets might be too high. When you push down the C string between the nut and the first fret, does it hit the fret while there is still room under the string on the fret board? In other words pushing the string down hard enough to hit the fret board might be stretching the string too much against the first fret, making it sharp. If there is a good music shop or luthier around you might have them look at it. this of course is just one idea..there are many others i'm sure.
    I'm pretty sure you're right, Boozelele. There is plenty of room under the string after it touches the first fret. I tried pushing down as little as possible so it came in contact with the fret but not the fretboard, and it sounded much better than if I press it all the way down. It looks like I'll be taking it in to the guitar shop where it was purchased tomorrow. Thanks for the comment.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    well, I eventually got a replacement from Lanikai through the guitar store where I originally bought the uke, but the new one has the same problem to a lesser degree. The guy that helped me, who is also the repair guy at the store, said that it was unlikely that I was going to much better with another replacement. Plus I didn't want to trouble them anymore as I had brought it in quite a while after purchasing it anyway. He thought it wouldn't be worth the cost of fixing it, if that was even a possibility.

    So any other ideas? It seems as if I've received two of the same instrument with the same problem, it must be a fairly widespread issue. Should I bring it somewhere else to have it looked at?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    716

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    There are a couple of issues here, one is the height of the action (how high the strings are above the frets), and one is how high the frets are above the fingerboard. Tall frets will mean even if the note is in tune when you very gently press the string, you'll be able to sharpen it by playing harder. That part is too expensive to fix to be worthwhile on a cheap uke - fret dressing is possible, but would probably cost more than the uke did.

    I have the same problem on my Mahalo, and I improved it greatly by filing the saddle in such a way that the break point for that particular string was moved right to the back of the saddle. You'd be surprised how much difference a mm or 2 makes. If you're going to do this, use a needle file, and go slow. Take the saddle out of the bridge and do it in a vice (I scratched my paintwork a little because I didn't, but meh - it's a Mahalo). This could really help. Careful not to alter the part of the saddle that the strings which play in tune are on!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Hilo, Hawaii
    Posts
    365

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    Here's a link to lower the string height at the saddle on an acoustic guitar, I find guitar forums helpful for instrument adjustments http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/Musi...raction01.html
    "Fish Prints With Aloha"http://www.takeogyotaku.com
    Low G or High G? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWC4VFON998
    Moore Bettah Tenor Review: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFkOapP6FzM
    Savarez Alliance string review: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzcyJmnetvg

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