Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Intonation Adjustments?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    177

    Default Intonation Adjustments?

    The Intonation on my little beginner ukulele is awful. Its settled itself down now, and stays in tune great, but you can tell where its off....you can hear very well on the basic C chord that the A string is sharp....you can hear it go sharp the harder you fret....would making the groove deeper in the nut help? I was going to do this anyway as the strings have a hard time staying in the very shallow grooves factory made into the nut....any advice would be appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Herts, UK
    Posts
    3,610

    Default

    Hi ejnovinsky,

    Poor intonation on a cheap uke is most often due to high action at the nut, especially if the problem is most marked at lower frets.

    Check out this guide to checking nut action on fretted instruments: http://www.frets.com/fretspages/musi...nutaction.html

    Regardless of nut action it's worth bearing in mind that low-tension, stretchy strings such as those on an 'ukulele will bend slightly sharp if you press hard. Fretted noted should be held down with enough pressure to give a clean note and no harder otherwise intonation issues will arise when playing.

    Personally, if you're going to adjust the action I would suggest that you get a couple of spare nuts from eBay or a luthier supplier and tweak one of those. That way, if you screw up you can always replace the original, unchanged nut and be no worse off than when you started.
    And whether the blood be highland, lowland or no,
    And whether the skin be black or white as the snow,
    Of kith and of kin we are one, be it right, be it wrong,
    As long as our hearts beat true to the lilt of a song.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    177

    Default

    thanks for the input, I think part of the problem as you said is fret pressure. As a guitar player I find myself throttling the ukulele alot when obviously thats not needed. The nut is without a doubt too high, and Ill probably try to make a slight tweak, if for nothing else so the strings stay seated in the groove properly.....Im also a lefty so my ukulele is turned upside down with the strings swapped. I know this has caused intonation issues for me on acoustic guitars before, but didnt expect itd be a problem with a ukulele.......could that possibly be part of the issue?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Floyd, Virginia!
    Posts
    18,072

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ejnovinsky View Post
    thanks for the input, I think part of the problem as you said is fret pressure. As a guitar player I find myself throttling the ukulele alot when obviously thats not needed. The nut is without a doubt too high, and Ill probably try to make a slight tweak, if for nothing else so the strings stay seated in the groove properly.....Im also a lefty so my ukulele is turned upside down with the strings swapped. I know this has caused intonation issues for me on acoustic guitars before, but didnt expect itd be a problem with a ukulele.......could that possibly be part of the issue?
    Sometimes you simply need a new set of strings. If they get "old". Also a different kind of string. Do you know what your uke is strung with? Also, what brand is it? It makes a differnce. Too cheap (like not really a uke but more of a toy), they just have problems. But most with a little TLC can be good as new! Any questions you can PM me as well.
    www.mimsukes.com... facebook... twitter... Youtube: For Fun... Youtube: Business...
    You're an awesome maniac! -Mark Stay weird, Mim. -RichM
    ...perhaps your quality expectation looks different from me. -PK

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    4,953

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mim View Post
    Sometimes you simply need a new set of strings. If they get "old". Also a different kind of string. Do you know what your uke is strung with? Also, what brand is it? It makes a differnce. Too cheap (like not really a uke but more of a toy), they just have problems.
    Yeah, what brand/model of uke and do you know what strings it came with?

    Oftentimes beginner (cheaper) ukes come with less than optimal strings. A string change is about the cheapest thing you can do for an upgrade.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    177

    Default

    The ukulele is a Lanakai Lu-11. the strings are Aquila which I was led to believe are a good name brand in strings. Overall the sound of the ukulele is great and on barred chords you really dont hear it being off...The only time I really notice it is chords that use open strings with one fretted note (like C, Am etc....) I think alot of it is still learning curve from guitar to ukulele.....The scale is obviously shorter, so slight nuances in the intonation would be easier to hear......also had an issue with the c string popping out of the nut groove while playing......overall I quite pleased with my little 60 dollar guitar center ukulele, but it will need a good setup I think...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    177

    Default

    well using buddhuu's link as a guide (thanks!) I made some adjustments today, and I'm super pleased with the results. The intonation is very, very much improved. Heres basically what I did: 1) I made a thin wooden shim to mimic optimal string height off the fretboard 2) I laid a straight edge down the fretboard, and nut to serve as a string 3) using a very tiny triangular file I filed out the groove in the nut until the straight edge achieved what in the website was considered a good string height. (the site said the nut height should be about the same as if it were riding over a fret). restrung retuned, and tried it and the results were pretty dramatic for such a small tweak.....much more comfy to play in the lower frets (especially the first), and a much, much better sound....Keep in mind though this is no means a edorsement for folks to go out the there and take a file to their ukuleles. When the time comes for me to upgrade to a next level ukulele I will have it professionally setup. For this 60 dollar entry level model though it worked brilliantly...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    DFW, TX, USA
    Posts
    8,342

    Default

    Congratulations. There's a lot of satisfaction to be had in basic instrument setup and, honestly, I consider being able to adjust the nut slots on a uke (or guitar) is something every player should learn right along with their chords and scales. So, you're off to a good start!

    Oh, and the nut being quite high on LU-11's and LU21's and ukes in that price range from other manufacturers is not at all unusual.

    John
    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!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Bradenton, Fl., but travel all 48 cont. states all year.
    Posts
    86

    Default

    Had the same problem on my $24 Rogue. After filing the string grooves deeper in my nut and pulling the bridge and sanding the bottom to lower it I went from 3.7mm string height to a 1.5mm string height at the point between the nut and first fret. What a difference. Much more in tune, and much easier to play. Mine came with cheap black Martin strings, I've ordered a set of Aquilas for it too.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

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

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
  •