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Thread: Schoenhut 5400

  1. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by bnolsen View Post
    i now have 2 flukes. a newer one with aquilas and an older one I aquired with the black hilos. the aquilas are serviceable but the hilos need to go! I put martin m600s on a schoenhut... which is the right choice for that instrument
    Actually, it was bnolsen who led me to discover the HUGE difference by putting Martins on the Schoenhut. As we discussed, the Schoenhut (licensed by Fluke) uses a similar plastic body that is naturally much, much brighter in sound than a Dolphin, or even some of the $100 laminates.

    These laminated instruments tend to absorb sound and can appear dull and lack projection; thus the standard recommendation is to use Aquila's, an excellent choice to power and brighten them up. The issue with the Schoenhut is just the opposite - it is ALREADY quite bright, and the objective is to smooth them, but without losing clarity or sustain. A good fluorocarbon string does exactly that, and the Martin 600's are frequently recommended.

    As both bnoulson and I have discovered: just like the Aquila's will greatly improve the Dolphin, likewise the Martin 600's with the Schoenhut, resulting in wonderful clarity and sustain, smooth and lovely.

    The reverse would also be true. Putting soft and subtle Martins on a dull Dolphin wouldn't really help; likewise putting brassy Aquila's on an already bright Schoenhut will sound terrible. Using the right quality string with the right characteristics on the right instrument is key. No ukulele should be rejected based upon the strings on it. Not to mention personal taste - some players actually dig Hawaiin "plinky" sounds.

    Oops, gotta go - I'm sauteing a nice Dolphin filet, or as some call it, Mahi Mahi. Did you know they glow in the water when you catch them? They simply look magnificent in death. BTW, the choice of pan is critical...
    Last edited by Kayouker; 02-25-2014 at 10:33 AM.
    "The Dude"

    Kala KA- 15S, Aquila's std.
    Kala Ukadelic Soprano, Aquila's std.
    Kala KA-TREG (tenors, 2), Aquila's std.
    Schoenhut 5400 (Martin 600's)
    Lanikai LU-21B

    Survivor of Kala bridge ejection... nice doggie, nice doggie!
    Scorecard: Kala's - 3 saddles, 2 nuts, 2 bridges, 1 fret

    Schoenhut with Martins - great OOB, the Dolphin Killer

  2. #32
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Western Kentucky
    Posts
    324

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    So I got mine today. I replaced the strings with the Martins and I didn't even get them to tune and the bridge flew off. Fortunately amazon is phenomenal. But are these not to be tuned GCEA?
    Ono Walnut/Sinker Redwood Baritone
    Covered Bridge Claro Walnut/Spruce Concert
    Covered Bridge Myrtle/Western Red Cedar Tenor
    Ken Timms Style 0
    1930 Supertone W. Lange Co. Banjolele
    Willie Wixon Custom Tenor #129

  3. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by justinlcecil View Post
    So I got mine today. I replaced the strings with the Martins and I didn't even get them to tune and the bridge flew off. Fortunately amazon is phenomenal. But are these not to be tuned GCEA?
    That's up to you, the most common tuning is gCEA (high G), not GCEA (low G): there's an online tuner that will give you the tones for gCEA, here...

    http://www.get-tuned.com/online_ukulele_tuner.php

    As far as popping bridges, this is more common than you think - I just went through two Kala Tenors (list $155) with bad bridges, so this does happen, and yes Amazon was quick to replace, no questions asked.

    There are two causes: first and less likely, a faulty bridge. Second and perhaps a bit more likely is trying to achieve full tune right out of the box. Strings need to stretch, over anywhere from a few days to a week or more. Try to do it all at once and it is possible to pop the bridge. Happens to many, and on other ukes.

    When you first tune up, keep plucking the string as you turn the tuning knob. You should hear the pitch increasing as you turn. At a point you'll notice that you are turning, but the pitch isn't increasing as fast as it did. Stop there.

    If you keep going you can overstretch the string - do this with all four strings and bingo, bango. So take it easy, stop too early rather than too late. Although there are many methods, during the stretching period, I increase the pitch carefully 2 or 3 times a day, give the strings a chance to stretch inbetween.

    There are also methods to manually help stretch the strings, but in your case perhaps it might be better to take your time and avoid overstretching them too fast. Hope that helps. I'm sure others will chime in, hopefully constructively...
    "The Dude"

    Kala KA- 15S, Aquila's std.
    Kala Ukadelic Soprano, Aquila's std.
    Kala KA-TREG (tenors, 2), Aquila's std.
    Schoenhut 5400 (Martin 600's)
    Lanikai LU-21B

    Survivor of Kala bridge ejection... nice doggie, nice doggie!
    Scorecard: Kala's - 3 saddles, 2 nuts, 2 bridges, 1 fret

    Schoenhut with Martins - great OOB, the Dolphin Killer

  4. #34
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Western Kentucky
    Posts
    324

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    I'd like to state that it isn't my first string change rodeo. high g is what I am going for. =) The bridge is held on with two small screws from the bottom. I wasn't even close to reaching pitch. And I do bring them to tension very slowly while plucking. It just broke free of the sharp small screws. I am working on reattaching it currently.
    Ono Walnut/Sinker Redwood Baritone
    Covered Bridge Claro Walnut/Spruce Concert
    Covered Bridge Myrtle/Western Red Cedar Tenor
    Ken Timms Style 0
    1930 Supertone W. Lange Co. Banjolele
    Willie Wixon Custom Tenor #129

  5. #35
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Western Kentucky
    Posts
    324

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    I received the second uke and it is strung up and tuned with the Martins. I can see a gap in the bridge on either side though. This was scary while tuning. =) Not a bad sounding little uke though.
    Ono Walnut/Sinker Redwood Baritone
    Covered Bridge Claro Walnut/Spruce Concert
    Covered Bridge Myrtle/Western Red Cedar Tenor
    Ken Timms Style 0
    1930 Supertone W. Lange Co. Banjolele
    Willie Wixon Custom Tenor #129

  6. #36
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    49

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    just picked up one of these, unused off of craigslist for $20...the parrot version. Hate the design but I wanted to try one of these out.
    First, history. I've had a flea and a fluke. I was never really happy with the tone of the flea(for the price) and so sold it. I like the tone of the fluke but not the shape so will be selling it. I've not been crazy about the plastic fretboard of either uke at all. Just not much of a fan. I do love the fact that they are almost indestructible and the flat end for setting down.

    So when I saw this one for $20 I thought I'd check it out.

    First impressions are that it 'feels' just like a flea. the neck, plastic, soundboard all feel just like my flea did.
    The strings, as others have mentioned, are terrible.
    The tuners, as others have mentioned, are terrible. Really really bad tuners. They seem to have a lot of 'give' before they actually turn the string end. I'm not sure whats going on there, but they are hard to use.

    I have been able to get it in tune briefly and I have to say the sound is quite decent. Same plastic fretboard that I don't like very much, but for $20 I can live with it.

    I'm going to change the strings to either martins or aquilas and see what happens

    I might also either paint the horrible parrot design or put a bunch of stickers over it.

    How much do you think stickers would alter sound?

    and does anybody know what tuners might work as a replacement?

    my initial impression is that to give one of these to an absolute beginner with no knowledge of how to fix things would be a very bad idea.

    but for someone who has played a uke before and might be willing to tinker a bit they might be a heck of a deal.

    For an absolute beginner I think a shark/dolphin is still the way to go at least from a reputable dealer. The tuning issue would frustrate a child or beginner too much.

    just my impressions, others might have a different experience.
    Koaloha kcm-00 concert
    Cordoba 15cm
    Fluke Concert
    Flea Soprano

  7. #37
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Centennial, CO
    Posts
    1,387

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    Quote Originally Posted by seanmorr View Post
    and does anybody know what tuners might work as a replacement?

    my initial impression is that to give one of these to an absolute beginner with no knowledge of how to fix things would be a very bad idea.

    but for someone who has played a uke before and might be willing to tinker a bit they might be a heck of a deal.

    For an absolute beginner I think a shark/dolphin is still the way to go at least from a reputable dealer. The tuning issue would frustrate a child or beginner too much.
    Grover 2b will replace the tuners. However they won't be a big improvement. In fact the stock tuners are either grover 2b or very close copies. That's the grover 2bs with the black plastic under the head and not the metal finishing type washer (which both my flea and fluke shipped with). You get used to the tuners pretty quickly and they aren't a problem for fine tuning, even if there is a little slip.

    Grover 4b would be an improvement but cost more than the ukulele itself.

    If a beginner is taught how to deal with friction tuners and the screws it shouldn't be a problem. Many classical instruments, violins, etc use friction pegs.
    In order of play time: Martin OXK, Lanikai LU21B, Islander MT4, Rubin Sopranino

  8. #38
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    49

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    I've used friction tuners on my flea, fluke and koaloha without problems and I actully like friction tuners.

    Mine on the 5400 are not good at all though. There appears to be 'slack' when you turn the pegs until it turns the string end if that makes sense. It makes it very difficult to tune accurately. maybe the tuners are slipping inside the holes in the headstock?
    Koaloha kcm-00 concert
    Cordoba 15cm
    Fluke Concert
    Flea Soprano

  9. #39
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Centennial, CO
    Posts
    1,387

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    The slip happens with some tuners when you go between tightening and loosening the string. Kind of like a transition gap between when they grab and don't grab right? One of the tuners on my concert flea does that a bit (I think). And a couple on the schoenhut do as well. Something to get used to. For fun I may just go ahead and swap out the schoenhut tuners for some genuine grover 2b (black plastic under the head style).

    Btw I agree with you about the friction tuners in general. I actually like them a bit more. A good quality friction tuner like a grover 4b (I think martin uses these) are pretty sweet. I put some of these tuners in my concert fluke although it's been mostly bagged since I've been working on finally fixing the nut on my old dolphin and also working on a production prototype plastic bugsgear.
    In order of play time: Martin OXK, Lanikai LU21B, Islander MT4, Rubin Sopranino

  10. #40

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    "The tuners, as others have mentioned, are terrible. Really really bad tuners. They seem to have a lot of 'give' before they actually turn the string end. I'm not sure whats going on there, but they are hard to use"
    Actually, the Schoenhut's tuners are a decent version of a Grover. All friction tuners need adjustment before attempting to tune. This is actually pretty easy - one common method is to completely loosen the strings, then slightly tighten the adjusting screw until you feel a little friction. That should do it.

    Since excellent intonation and easy fretting are especially important for beginners, it's hard to recommend a Dolphin, whose setup will be of the quick 'n dirty variety. It will be playable, but both the action and intonation cannot be predicted, and at 2 to 3x the price.


    A word about the bridge: even mine has a visible but inconsequental "gap" between the bridge and the soundboard, as it is not glued on, but rather attached with screws from below. Not an issue.

    BTW, it appears your tuners were slipping, which is not a fault of the tuner, but does mean that you likely need to tighten them. You can proceed as above, or you can loosening them a turn, tightening the screw a quarter-turn, then tighten again, and repeat as necessary. The adjustment screws are there for a reason.

    When I did a search for comments on the Schoenhut, there were a number of posters who had loose tuners (which is the proper way to ship the instrument), but who had no problem in adjusting them. Once adjusted, they are extremely reliable. With my Martin 600 strings our Schoenhut holds tune better than any of our four other Kala's with Aquilas and standard tuners.


    And string selection: do not - I repeat - do not put Aquilas on this. Enough of us have used and strongly recommend Martins for this uke. The reason is that due to the plastic design, the Schoenhut is already quite bright, and will be overpowered by the Aquilas - loud, harsh and dull. The Martins provide much improved clarity and good sustain, almost harplike, lovely - and they are easier to play. But it's your money...
    Last edited by Kayouker; 03-13-2014 at 11:51 AM.
    "The Dude"

    Kala KA- 15S, Aquila's std.
    Kala Ukadelic Soprano, Aquila's std.
    Kala KA-TREG (tenors, 2), Aquila's std.
    Schoenhut 5400 (Martin 600's)
    Lanikai LU-21B

    Survivor of Kala bridge ejection... nice doggie, nice doggie!
    Scorecard: Kala's - 3 saddles, 2 nuts, 2 bridges, 1 fret

    Schoenhut with Martins - great OOB, the Dolphin Killer

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