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Thread: Buying a Uke: What Does "Setting Up" Involve?

  1. #1
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    Default Buying a Uke: What Does "Setting Up" Involve?

    I've been looking around various sites with the intention of buying a new Uke to replace my intro model, and I see a lot of talk about buying one that's been properly set up. Could someone tell me exactly what this means, and how I can ensure that I'm getting a good setup?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaleKnight View Post
    I've been looking around various sites with the intention of buying a new Uke to replace my intro model, and I see a lot of talk about buying one that's been properly set up. Could someone tell me exactly what this means, and how I can ensure that I'm getting a good setup?
    Hawaii Music Supply has a really good video on setup on their home page.

    http://www.theukulelesite.com/

    It is quality control (buzzing and cosmetic issues) and adjusting the ukulele for intonation (true notes up the fretboard) and action (height of strings above fretboard). You ensure you are getting a good setup by the reputation of the seller. The online merchants who do setups are doing work that will cost you $50-75 if you take it to an instrument tech post purchase. Also, it comes to you setup so you don't have to be without your cool new ukulele for a week or so after you get it.

    Hawaii Music Supply, Mim's Ukes, Ukulele Republic and many more do setups on the ukes they sell. If you have questions about a seller's reputation you will get plenty of advice from UU.
    “Justice is like a train that is nearly always late,” - Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko.

    “62,400 repetitions make one truth.” - Bernard Marx, character in Brave New World, Alduous Huxley

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  3. #3
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    I want to tell my story, I bought a lanikai lu21 for my first Uke for a great price after the local luthier got finished setting it up I spent way more than I would have for the same Uke from someplace that sets them up. I bought my next Uke from HMS. It arrived and really it almost plays it self. They were great to work with answered lots of questions and emails and never got aggravated with my beginners questions. I had an absolutely great experience with HMS.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spud1$ View Post
    I want to tell my story, I bought a lanikai lu21 for my first Uke for a great price after the local luthier got finished setting it up I spent way more than I would have for the same Uke from someplace that sets them up. I bought my next Uke from HMS. It arrived and really it almost plays it self. They were great to work with answered lots of questions and emails and never got aggravated with my beginners questions. I had an absolutely great experience with HMS.
    Pretty much the same story except for the luthier part. I did the fiddling myself. No doubt your LU-21 sounds a lot better than my LU-21P.
    “Justice is like a train that is nearly always late,” - Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko.

    “62,400 repetitions make one truth.” - Bernard Marx, character in Brave New World, Alduous Huxley

    Dig In-finity! - The Naz, in the words of Lord Buckley

  5. #5

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    I've only ever owned two ukes. My first was a Kala KA-15S that I bought off Amazon, and the second is a Kala KA-SMHC I got from HMS.

    The difference with setup is night and day! I didn't know much about it myself but realized quickly when comparing them side-by-side that there was a noticeable difference in action (string height) and intonation among other things. Of course the SMHC is nicer, but overall you can tell it just "behaves" better after having been adjusted.
    Kala (Laminate) Mahogany SopranoKala (Solid) Mahogany Concert KoAloha Pikake Soprano

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    Default HMS is great!

    This is my first post on this forum although I've been lurking about for a couple of weeks. I have been a musician for more than 50 years, singing as well as playing various instruments. I always liked Fender instruments and have a Strat guitar, Mustang Bass, and a Bantam Bassman amp. I wanted to learn a new instrument now that I'm retired and after some thought and research, the ukulele seemed perfect! Nice, relaxing instrument with only four strings and small enough to play almost any place. When I discovered that Fender was making ukes, I was sold. I ended up ordering a Fender NoHea Koa Tenor Uke from HMS, but only after reading the importance of the set up on this forum. I wasn't thinking, but in the past, I had made sure that my guitars were properly set up. I almost made the mistake of having one drop shipped to me and I'm glad that I didn't! My Uke arrived in beautiful shape and it plays like a dream! The set up is well worth it! I think it sounds very nice and bright and the laminated Koa wood with the gloss finish and abalone binding is gorgeous! It comes with a nice gig bag with the Fender logo proudly displayed. I love the Telecaster shaped headstock! I think that it's well worth the $199.00 plus shipping. Oh...I also ordered a tuner and I got a message from HMS that they had another one on sale that was just as good and would save me a few bucks. They ajusted my bill and I was quite impressed that a company would go out of there way to save me some money! Now, that's great customer service that you just don't see much of anymore! I am sold on HMS and should I decide to get additional Ukes, they will get my business!

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