Set up

keenonuke

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Wow does buying a uke from Mims, TUS or I imagine Aloha City, Uke Republic, Gryphon Strings make a difference.

I recently received a Ohana Soprano SK-75g from Mims. It is a dream to play (at least for me and the short stubbies). And I went overboard with Reverb and purchased a TK-75cg through Reverb. The price was irresistible. Well welcome to high action and the C string standing higher than the others and an ick experience to play. It's the latter C string that is more of an issue for me.

It's a beautiful uke, but I'm not sure if I should risk sanding down the saddle when it probably also needs to have the nut filed for the C string. And after that I don't like the strings and would change those.

I'm seriously thinking of doing a return as I have 14 days and could actually drive to a Sam Ash (the store provider).

Any thoughts?
 
Sam Ash can probably do a setup. Doubt that they will do it for free but maybe if the alternative is to give you your money back they just might. Worth a call before the drive.
 
Well, @keenonuke, you could give yourself an April Fool’s Day present by buying the tenor from Mim and returning the Reverb one to Sam Ash.

OTOH, you could rescue the tenor by having a luthier give it a splendid setup. Somebody is probably dumping it precisely because it’s so badly set up.

Which makes the most sense, economically? Might be a wash.
 
The strings settled in and the ukulele was fine. But with 30+ ukes, I didn't think I'd play it much. I brought it back and as @rhiggie said, they did offer to do a setup for free. But at that point I had already made the choice to return it as no need for a super pretty uke. at a really good price
Besides I have the soprano sibling.

It's a lesson not to buy a ukulele just because the price is right. :ROFLMAO:
 
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There's a lot of value in buying from these reputable dealers like you mentioned. They have spent a lot of years building a great business and earning the trust of their customers. A good set up is so important. 👌
 
... It's a beautiful uke, but I'm not sure if I should risk sanding down the saddle when it probably also needs to have the nut filed for the C string. And after that I don't like the strings and would change those.
Any thoughts?
Thoughts:
Unless clearance at the 12th fret is too high (greater than 3mm - many like it around 2.5) leave it alone.
Adjust the nut slot depths for minimum clearance (about .003-005") at the 1st fret while holding the string down between the 2nd and 3rd fret. As a reference, .003" is the thickness of a sheet of common printer paper.
 
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Just a note on Sam Ash. While they are a great guitar place, my experience with them is that they don’t know squat about ukuleles.
I have a very popular Sam Ash store right around the corner from my office. Luckily for me they have almost no ukuleles. A few Kalas and a Martin Mexican and the rest are cheap off brands. Maybe a dozen ukuleles in total and they have hundreds of guitars in this store.
I asked if they could do a setup on a Uke for me and the guy said he didn’t think their setup tech had ever done a ukulele but he could try.
No thanks.
 
The message I take away from this is that it can be beneficial to buy from a physical store that is willing to do setup AFTER issues that need addressing were identified by the owner.
 
While many places do or may offer set ups, not all set ups are created equally! I only bring this up so others don't have to go through the pain I did.

I personally have taken one of my instruments into a local shop for a setup and noted to them there was some minor buzzing and I wanted to get a level and dress of my frets as well as any setup adjustments. Wood moves with time and changes to temperature and humidity--setup adjustments are normal over time.

Anyway, the tech sighted down the neck and said it looks pretty good. The tech said they would see what they can do to adjust without a truss rod and they'll get those lower frets nice and leveled. I said, well the buzzing was actually on the 8th fret and the tech said something to the effect of "You don't play up there anyway on the ukulele." :eek:

Some people will lack skill and understanding for this specific instruments and some will not take you or the instrument seriously. And sometimes people will just damage or mess up your instrument in the process!

If you find a skilled tech, do whatever you can to stay in their good graces because you'll be seeing them again for adjustment over the years and they are few and far between lol
 
While many places do or may offer set ups, not all set ups are created equally! I only bring this up so others don't have to go through the pain I did.

I personally have taken one of my instruments into a local shop for a setup and noted to them there was some minor buzzing and I wanted to get a level and dress of my frets as well as any setup adjustments. Wood moves with time and changes to temperature and humidity--setup adjustments are normal over time.

Anyway, the tech sighted down the neck and said it looks pretty good. The tech said they would see what they can do to adjust without a truss rod and they'll get those lower frets nice and leveled. I said, well the buzzing was actually on the 8th fret and the tech said something to the effect of "You don't play up there anyway on the ukulele." :eek:

Some people will lack skill and understanding for this specific instruments and some will not take you or the instrument seriously. And sometimes people will just damage or mess up your instrument in the process!

If you find a skilled tech, do whatever you can to stay in their good graces because you'll be seeing them again for adjustment over the years and they are few and far between lol
So true! There are many "experts" out there with a list of "who's who" as clients that will charge an exorbitant amount for a simple adjustment, set-up or repair and even more that have no clue. When you find someone good with reasonable pricing you're set. They are out there and it's best to find them before you need something.
 
Just to add another perspective, I've gotten to the point where I buy too many ukuleles and guitars and have a very specific preference when it comes to setups that it almost makes no difference where I get them from as long as the instrument itself isn't defective.

I do all my own setups, and usually prefer my own setups compared to a luthier's.

I am not more skilled than a luthier, but being my own customer I can be as fussy and time consuming as I want in getting things 'just right'. I even have the liberty of going too far to realize I've gone too far, and starting again by either installing a new saddle or filling the nut slots to re-file them.

Having done my own setups for years, what I have realised is that there is no one-size-fits-all perfect spec numbers.
Two ukes could have the exact same setup specs, but feel vastly different due to other subtle factors of being 2 separate instruments.
For me, setting up an instrument by trial & error and "feel" is a deeply personal process. Some ukes want to be set up low, and some want to be setup a bit higher to feel right.

Like seriously, sometimes it gets to the point where one tiny fine-grit sandpaper sweep on the top surface of the saddle over one of the strings makes or breaks the entire setup, and there are times I've started from scratch because I've literally gone 1 sandpaper sweep too far 🤣

Of course, if the setup is part of the package - I would prefer a setup instrument vs a non-setup one.
However, when the setup option adds significant time for me to receive the instrument (eg: The Ukulele Site), on my last few purchases I've just gone with the no setup option :). It did surprise me how high Kamaka's factory action is for their tenors. My recently acquired HF-3 came with like over 3mm action and I sanded it down significantly. That being said, 3mm may be the ideal action for some players; and I suspect Kamaka did it like this so that people who prefer lower action have the option of lowering it. The nut slots were spot-on straight from factory though.
 
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Just to add another perspective, I've gotten to the point where I buy too many ukuleles and guitars and have a very specific preference when it comes to setups that it almost makes no difference where I get them from as long as the instrument itself isn't defective.

I do all my own setups, and usually prefer my own setups compared to a luthier's.

I am not more skilled than a luthier, but being my own customer I can be as fussy and time consuming as I want in getting things 'just right'. I even have the liberty of going too far to realize I've gone too far, and starting again by either installing a new saddle or filling the nut slots to re-file them.

Having done my own setups for years, what I have realised is that there is no one-size-fits-all perfect spec numbers.
Two ukes could have the exact same setup specs, but feel vastly different due to other subtle factors of being 2 separate instruments.
For me, setting up an instrument by trial & error and "feel" is a deeply personal process. Some ukes want to be set up low, and some want to be setup a bit higher to feel right.

Like seriously, sometimes it gets to the point where one tiny fine-grit sandpaper sweep on the top surface of the saddle over one of the strings makes or breaks the entire setup, and there are times I've started from scratch because I've literally gone 1 sandpaper sweep too far 🤣

Of course, if the setup is part of the package - I would prefer a setup instrument vs a non-setup one.
However, when the setup option adds significant time for me to receive the instrument (eg: The Ukulele Site), on my last few purchases I've just gone with the no setup option :). It did surprise me how high Kamaka's factory action is for their tenors. My recently acquired HF-3 came with like over 3mm action and I sanded it down significantly. That being said, 3mm may be the ideal action for some players; and I suspect Kamaka did it like this so that people who prefer lower action have the option of lowering it. The nut slots were spot-on straight from factory though.
Agreed. It typically takes me a year or two (adjusting in very small increments) to get nut slots dialed in. It is easy to overdo it; believe me, I have wrecked a few. Each instrument is unique. No matter what I paid, it can become a keeper if it sounds good, feels right, and is easy to play.
 
I purchased an Enya MAD-EUT from Aloha City and I can only say positive things about the experience - the instrument they sent to me is awesome and the whole transaction went without a hiccup. Contrary to that experience, I purchased a Guitarlele from Terry Carter Music and so far the experience has been miserable. The instrument they sent was advertised as Brand New but came without any box or any factory information - like I bought it off Craigslist. And bonus, it is defective: the neck angle is wrong and the action is way too high. I took it to a Luthier here in Seattle and he advised me to return it.
 
In the beginning I had no idea what I wanted, so it helped to have a luthier who really knows ukuleles. With time I am getting a little more insight into not only my preferences, but what sorts of things can be "problems" with setup. Of course I trusted TUS. Locally, I went with the recommendation of my ukulele teacher.
 
I purchased a Guitarlele from Terry Carter Music and so far the experience has been miserable. The instrument they sent was advertised as Brand New but came without any box or any factory information - like I bought it off Craigslist. And bonus, it is defective: the neck angle is wrong and the action is way too high. I took it to a Luthier here in Seattle and he advised me to return it.
Gee, you got shafted by Terry Carter Music? I’m stunned! :sneaky:
 
Gee, you got shafted by Terry Carter Music? I’m stunned! :sneaky:
Yeah stupid me I feel like Flounder from Animal House: "You f****d up. You trusted us.",
I bought this thing to help with my blood pressure and this has been anything but.
Advertised on Reverb as Brand New, they/Terry Carter sent me a used defective piece of junk - that the Luthier told me was not worth fixing and suggested I try to send it back, Not my happiest day.
 
Yeah stupid me I feel like Flounder from Animal House: "You f****d up. You trusted us.",
I bought this thing to help with my blood pressure and this has been anything but.
Advertised on Reverb as Brand New, they/Terry Carter sent me a used defective piece of junk - that the Luthier told me was not worth fixing and suggested I try to send it back, Not my happiest day.
You did not f**k up, the retailer did. You as a customer have a right to be treated fairly. Unfortunately you were taken advantage of. You should complain to Terry Carter and demand your money back. It might also be a good idea to complain to Reverb that the item was not as described.
 
It might also be a good idea to complain to Reverb that the item was not as described.
^this... check the Reverb buyer protections and if that fails consider going to the mfger.
 
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^this... check the Reverb buyer protections and if that fails consider going to the mfger.
So follow up on this. Thank you for the recommendation. I did contact Reverb and I was able to receive a full refund with shipping covered, based on the fact that it was initially mislabeled. I see that it is now relisted on the market as--used and excellent. It is for less money than I paid but a luthier here told me it has issues. Not sure I'd call it excellent. Maybe if somebody wanted to tinker and knew what they were doing. Whole episode has made me reconsider the purchasing sight unseen process.
 
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