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Thread: Chord problems?

  1. #1
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    Cool Chord problems?

    I am having some trouble with the way some chords sound...for example a "G" chord makes the uke sound out of tune even though it is not. I am a long time guitar player but new to ukes...so I'm not sure if I am doing something wrong or not. Any suggestions?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by mthurman52 View Post
    for example a "G" chord makes the uke sound out of tune even though it is not.
    What kind of uke are you playing? What kind of strings? The reason I ask is because when I first started, I was playing a cheapie Ohana with GHS strings and had the same problem with the G chord. Changing out the strings to Aquilas solved the problem.

  3. #3
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    thats what I thought. But I just got my Mainland mahogany soprano set up with aquilas and it still sounds off.

  4. #4
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    This could be an intonation problem. Check the individual strings at the twelfth fret. Fretted, open, and the harmonic. Check it against the tuner.

    Mike
    Mike Kaplan

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  5. #5
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    The first thing is to get a good clip on tuner. Since you have a problem with the lower frets I would test each string at the 1st, 2nd and 3rd frets. If the notes are sharp on the frets close to the nut, but fine everywhere else you may have to lower the string height at the nut. This has happened to me.

    John

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mthurman52 View Post
    I am having some trouble with the way some chords sound...for example a "G" chord makes the uke sound out of tune even though it is not. I am a long time guitar player but new to ukes...so I'm not sure if I am doing something wrong or not. Any suggestions?
    You're a long time guitar player and you've never had an issue with the D chord (G chord on the uke) being out of tune? The B string on a guitar is notoriously sharp when played with too much pressure. I always tune my 2nd string a hair flat and sometimes tune my 4th string a hair sharp. That usually helps me but setting the action as low as possible helps also. Intonation is a lost art.
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  7. #7
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    Yes, an intonation issue. Causes and fixes:

    1. Strings too high in nut, as per earlier comment. Deepen nut slots, but make sure that buzzes from poor string fit in the slot or interference with fret 1 do not result.
    2. Poor strings, as per earlier comment - change strings.
    3. Frets too high - may need level/dressing.
    4. Saddle too high - similar effect to strings high in nut. Lower saddle, if possible.
    5. Scale length too short - check the distance from nut to fret 12 and fret 12 to the string bearing point on the saddle. The distance from fret 12 to the saddle should be 2-3 mm longer than the distance from the nut to fret 12. It is sometimes possible to crib a mm or two by angling the saddle top so that the bearing point is as far from the nut as possible (these comments assume that the strings are going sharp up the neck....which is almost always the case).
    6. Frets are in the wrong place. I recently worked on an old uke for a friend. It seemed to have never been played. No wonder - the intonation was way off. After checking on the wonderful Stewmac fret position calculator I found that the first fret was placed 4 mm too far up the neck. I was able to put in a nut extension that gave a good scale length with the frets and hey presto - the uke played in tune.

    With the Stewmac calculator, I like to measure the distance from the nut to fret 12 and double it to give the scale length input. The calculator then gives you the "real" scale length required to get good intonation and also the fret position measurements.

    I understand that Vincenzo Galilei, father of Galileo, developed the 17:18 rule behind fret positions...he played the lute, but only because ukes had not been invented yet.....
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    What are you tuning you ukulele with???

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    I am tuning with a guitar tuner and a uke tuner iphone app. The iphone app is great with guitar but i guess not with ukes. It sounds like I must purchase a new one :/

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by the52blues View Post
    You're a long time guitar player and you've never had an issue with the D chord (G chord on the uke) being out of tune? The B string on a guitar is notoriously sharp when played with too much pressure. I always tune my 2nd string a hair flat and sometimes tune my 4th string a hair sharp. That usually helps me but setting the action as low as possible helps also. Intonation is a lost art.
    Hmm. I've never had any problems with my B string on my guitar...but I did get it set up by a pro when I first got it so that may be why...

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