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Thread: When an Ukulele is a source of stress, something is terribly wrong (faulty Eleuke)

  1. #1

    Default When an Ukulele is a source of stress, something is terribly wrong (faulty Eleuke)

    Just would like to vent my frustrations..

    A few weeks ago, I made a topic about an Eleuke purchase that went wrong:
    http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/fo...ad-Luck-Eleuke

    In a nutshell - I purchased a dud Eleuke on eBay that had pickup balance issues. One of the strings (the 3rd) greatly overpowered the others. I attempted to get it repaired locally, because shipping it back for a refund would be too expensive/hassle. An email I sent to Eleuke's representative was ignored.

    Got it back from the repair shop, only to find that the problem was not completely fixed. Did not bother going back due to their incapability to fix it the first time round.




    So having no support from Eleuke, nor the local music shop... I decided to attempt to make this cursed instrument playable myself.

    I've tried everything, from sanding the bottom of the saddle to make it flat. When this didn't work, I actually made a whole new "custom" saddle by getting a spare saddle, sawing it to length and filing it down to size.

    Alas, this saddle too ended up having the same balance issues (overpowered 3rd string, and other strings sounding unbalanced).

    I've changed strings twice!
    From Aquila Baritone to Martin Fluorocarbon Baritone and even Guadalupe's low-GCEA strings (I thought perhaps if I used an all-wound set, the situation would improve).


    I then spent another few hours, repeatedly trial-and-erroring saddle adjustments, using shims and trying to get this Eleuke to sound balanced..
    I am a bit closer getting the strings balanced, but now I have this horrid distortion problem where the bass strings are over-amplified.. and there is nothing I can do to fix it, it sounds horrible.

    This Eleuke will probably never play balanced... and even if it did, there is now another problem... the tuners have become stiff and unpleasant to turn and probably need to be replaced. I really don't understand - I have similarly priced ukes that I've had for years, and the tuners still feel smooth. The Eleuke, I just tuned some strings a few time, and it has already gone rotten.

    It is now about 3AM in the morning, and I have failed to make this Eleuke a playable instrument.

    It has left me feeling drained and wanting to throw it out the window and see it break.

    To be fair, I do blame myself for choosing to waste time on it.
    But one thing is for sure, I am never going to purchase another Eleuke, and I am never going to recommend it to anyone else.

    I had similar problems with another Eleuke purchase in the past, and wasted time and energy in the same way.

    Now I am stuck with an instrument that is a waste to throw away, but has grave imperfections that frustrates when played... what to do with this thing... expensive wall-hanger? I'm really considering getting rid of this wretched thing somehow, getting a new Baritone (probably an acoustic electric of a different brand) and pretending that it never happened..


    /vent.



    Anyone else had experience of spending hours trying to get a half-decent uke to play decent?
    Last edited by kissing; 07-11-2012 at 07:03 AM.

  2. #2
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    Could you put it back up for sale on eBay, disclose what you had done to it, and include a sound sample? Not everybody will have the same ear for imperfections that you do. I've re-homed several instruments that I had issues with, but the new owners seemed perfectly happy with.

  3. #3
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    Sorry to hear of your troubles. Agreed - ukes shouldn't bring stress, they should bring happiness. Good luck with whatever you decide.

  4. #4
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    You've ensured that the bottom of the saddle is perfectly flat - have you done the same for the slot in the bridge that it sits in? Piezo xducers are basically a compression sensor so both surfaces have to be perfectly flat.

    I think before I gave up I would "blueprint" the saddle and bridge. Put a very thin coat of slow-drying paint in the saddle slot of the bridge, install the saddle and tension up the strings, then carefully remove strings and saddle. If the transfer of paint to the saddle is not uniform along the bottom then either the slot or the saddle is not perfectly flat. Note that you need to insert the saddle straight down from above and remove it the same way. If it is allowed to slide you will not get meaningful results.

    If blueprinting reveals that the saddle and slot are both perfectly flat then I would say that the pickup is probably defective so replacing it would be the only remedy.
    I'm not entirely convinced that it is possible to polish a turd. However, if one were to accomplish that feat one would still have a turd, and one all the more noticeable for being shiny.

    Check out my ukulele-themed "stuff" at http://www.cafepress.com/fivebyfiveukulele - proceeds go to a good cause...UAS treatment!

  5. #5
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    You know - I've owned a couple of eleukes in my time - one of the very first (shocking build quality), then one of the ones when (as I recall) I think they were taken on by Kala.

    in both cases I thought the sound was uninspiring and both had balance issues on the pickup. And don't get me started on how poor the headphone amp is.

    It's the reason when I bought by third electric I went RISA.

    Sure, the Eleukes are cheap, but for me, they are cheap for a reason. If you buy a uke purely to plug it in, it needs to work plugged in -that should be it's key important feature!

    Share your pain!
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    Ukes include (!) Kanile'a K1 Tenor, Tinguitar custom solid tenor, Fluke, Flea, Tinguitar Reclaimed Mahogany soprano, KM Ukuleles Dreadnought Concert, Br√ľko walnut soprano

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by janeray1940 View Post
    Could you put it back up for sale on eBay, disclose what you had done to it, and include a sound sample? Not everybody will have the same ear for imperfections that you do. I've re-homed several instruments that I had issues with, but the new owners seemed perfectly happy with.
    If you're just done with the thing (and it sounds like you are), I think this is great advice. I'm always surprised at how willing people are to pick up handyman specials, often at prices not that much below the cost of a fully functioning one. I've done it twice; once with a guitar that needed a neck reset, and once with a camcorder (remember those?) that had the tape door stuck in the "open" position. In both cases I made the defects abundantly clear in the description, and opened bidding at just a few dollars. The guitar sold for 75% of what I'd paid for it new, and the camcorder at replacement cost (less than I paid for it, but about the same as a comparable model was selling at new). No doubt there's a Mr. Fixit who wants your Eleuke.



  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichM View Post
    If you're just done with the thing (and it sounds like you are), I think this is great advice. I'm always surprised at how willing people are to pick up handyman specials, often at prices not that much below the cost of a fully functioning one. I've done it twice; once with a guitar that needed a neck reset, and once with a camcorder (remember those?) that had the tape door stuck in the "open" position. In both cases I made the defects abundantly clear in the description, and opened bidding at just a few dollars. The guitar sold for 75% of what I'd paid for it new, and the camcorder at replacement cost (less than I paid for it, but about the same as a comparable model was selling at new). No doubt there's a Mr. Fixit who wants your Eleuke.
    Agreed. Sell with full disclosure.
    If everybody wanted peace instead of another TV, then there would be peace.
    -John Lennon-

  8. #8
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    Kissing - this may have already been mentioned, but I read it recently on a guitar forum. Apparently guitar players sometimes have the same balance issues with under the saddle pickups and sometimes its neither a bad saddle slot or saddle, although I am sure those contribute. Instead, its the way the players tighten up a new set of strings. They put the saddle in and proceed to tighten up to pitch the highest tension string on the outside. Then, they do the one next to it all the way to pitch. This can rock the saddle up on the side without strings so much that when you do put the other strings on, the saddle doesn't make good contact on that side. This is probably not your problem, but it might be someones with a similar effect.

  9. #9
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    Sorry to hear you're having problems. Selling it with full disclosure could work. In the alternative, you could try donating it to someplace that has luthier classes, and let students learning to build/repair stringed instruments have at it.

  10. #10
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    My heart is with you OP.

    I love the way my eleuke feels when I play it unplugged, the neck is perfect for my grip, the intonation is spot on, the build quality is superb (I have a bug gear era 100 series).

    BUT....Plug it in and the C string booms twice as loud as the other strings, NOTHING I have tried has fixed it, the only thing I can suggest is a good EQ in line and just pull those frequencies out, but it seems quite a few people have reported the same problems.

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