Weird loud sound when picking the open E-string? Need help please.

littlemonkey

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Hello everyone,

I just invest in a Kamaka HF-3 Tenor and absolute love it. I play it for a few days and have one question keep bother my mind.

When I pick the open E-string, it will make a weird loud sound, like a resonant or something. It make the body of uke tremble hard than other note too. I also notice that picking on 4th fret C-string (E note) will also make the same sound and tremble. Is it normal?

I try changing string from Aquila to Kamaka and it still have the same issue.

When I compare with my Oscar schmidt Tenor, it do not have this problem on open E-string. Instead, it will make the very similar weird loud sound and tremble on 1st fret E-string and 5th fret C-string (F note).

I also try other uke on local shop, seem like tenor size will have this issue ether on open E-string or 1st fret E-string.

So anyone please tell me that is it normal? cause I quite worry with my new Kamaka tenor I invest in.
I try e-mail to the shop I brought from hawaii and kamaka too but they didn't answer yet.

I appreciate in every comment and answer, Thank you so much guys!
 
It sounds like what's called a "wolf note." It's a strange combination of resonances that line up exactly that makes one note sound louder and harsher than the others. Most builders try to minimize this effect by making sure body and top resonances don't hit the same frequency, or tune the body to make the note appear somewhere between two other notes, sort of like halfway between F and F# rather than right on either one.

If string changes don't cure it (differing tension could have some effect, although somewhat minimal) then some body surgery might be in order. You can experiment with dampening the note with Blu-Tack placed in different places on the top and see if you can deaden the sound somewhat. If that works, you can make it more permanent by attaching it to the top from inside the body at the appropriate place.
 
Hello everyone,

I just invest in a Kamaka HF-3 Tenor and absolute love it. I play it for a few days and have one question keep bother my mind.

When I pick the open E-string, it will make a weird loud sound, like a resonant or something. It make the body of uke tremble hard than other note too. I also notice that picking on 4th fret C-string (E note) will also make the same sound and tremble. Is it normal?

I try changing string from Aquila to Kamaka and it still have the same issue.

When I compare with my Oscar schmidt Tenor, it do not have this problem on open E-string. Instead, it will make the very similar weird loud sound and tremble on 1st fret E-string and 5th fret C-string (F note).

I also try other uke on local shop, seem like tenor size will have this issue ether on open E-string or 1st fret E-string.

So anyone please tell me that is it normal? cause I quite worry with my new Kamaka tenor I invest in.
I try e-mail to the shop I brought from hawaii and kamaka too but they didn't answer yet.

I appreciate in every comment and answer, Thank you so much guys!

Are you saying that other tenor's in the Uke shop produced the same sound? or was the "weird sound" unique to your kamaka?
 
I'm very hesitant about "body surgery" on a new Kamaka!
 
Wow, thank you very much DaveVisi.
Finally I know what it call "wolf note" I quite sure with what DaveVisi comment. Glad someone notice about this particular resonance too. Cause I play piano for many year so my ear is quite good with each note. Now it not just me that can hear this resonance :)

for olgoat52,
Yes, all the tenor produce this same "wolf note" sound. Some on open E-string, some on 1st fret E-string.
 
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Wow, thank you very much DaveVisi.
Finally I know what it call "wolf note" I quite sure with what DaveVisi comment.

for olgoat52,
Yes, all the tenor produce this same "wolf note" sound. Some on open E-string, some on 1st fret E-string.

Ok. well I guess that kind of eliminates the idea that your particular uke has the problem. Sounds more like your ear needs training (ie get used to it) or you playing technique needs some adjustment. The blu-tack idea is interesting. Never heard about that one. Blu-tack is just a sticky stubstance that is totally reversible. So no permanent body surgery is required. They use it alot to secure speakers to stands in audio systems to better transmit frequencies from the speakers to the floor. Never tried using it to eliminate frequencies like that. Interesting.
 
It sounds like what's called a "wolf note." It's a strange combination of resonances that line up exactly that makes one note sound louder and harsher than the others. Most builders try to minimize this effect by making sure body and top resonances don't hit the same frequency, or tune the body to make the note appear somewhere between two other notes, sort of like halfway between F and F# rather than right on either one.

If string changes don't cure it (differing tension could have some effect, although somewhat minimal) then some body surgery might be in order. You can experiment with dampening the note with Blu-Tack placed in different places on the top and see if you can deaden the sound somewhat. If that works, you can make it more permanent by attaching it to the top from inside the body at the appropriate place.

I try placing my hand on the top sound board and the "wolf note" is almost gone. Great idea for the Blu-Tack. Maybe I try find some to place inside the top sound board ;)
 
I believe that they are more noticable on the C and E strings because they are thicker, which makes them resonate more..
tuning a little higher or lower if you don't lke it...helps....
 
Another test for body resonance is to hold the Uke in front of you, soundhole in front of your face. Mute the strings with your hand to eliminate strings as a possible trouble source and "sing" into the soundhole. Do a basic "la la la" kind of thing running the scales from low to high. A single continuous Laaaaaaaaaaaaaaa running up and down in pitch will work too. Don't let anyone see you do this or they'll think you've gone nuts if they don't think that already.

You're looking for a single pitch that echoes back to you much louder than the rest. This is the body resonance frequency (Helmholtz?). Listen to the tone and either match it with a fretted note or some other reference until you can name the bad note in question. Dampening this note (Blu-tack or other methods) should help. Other methods include more serious changes like shaving braces, enlarging (or reducing!) the diameter of the soundhole, things like that, none of which I'd recommend you do yourself. If you can get away with Blu-Tack, you're way ahead of the game and will save you a trip to a luthier.

You're looking for a spot on the soundboard that dampens this note the most. Adding Blu-Tack adds mass and should reduce (or at least alter slightly) the vibration at that point and hopefully change or reduce the amplitude of the resonant frequency. Do the la la thing again and see if it changes.

Have fun!
 
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My sense of the Lanikai S-T I traded just improved!!! Had a wolf note just like a Kamaka!

Frankly I think a lot of soprano and tenor players would benefit from doing a "James Hill" when it comes to tuning. There would also be fewer string choice discussions/ruminations and folks might be happier with their already-in-hand instruments.

Wolf notes closer to the nut are more like hound dogs.
 
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Now, I have to tune my Tenor down a little bit (between F#&G, B&C, D#&E, G#&A instead of GCEA) to make the Wolf Note disappear.
But I feel like it's not the best way to solve this problem. I will try to contact Kamaka on workdays again to see if they have any suggestion.
 
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