Need Advice on Ukulele Setup

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Michael Baresi
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Need Advice on Ukulele Setup

Post by Michael Baresi »

Sorry if this topic has been covered elsewhere. I searched for ukulele setup and got no returns.
My uke restoration project needs a neck reset. What should the action be and is it measured at the 12th fret?
Also is the compensation adjusted by listening at the 12th like a guitar?
thanks

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Jon Whitney
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Re: Need Advice on Ukulele Setup

Post by Jon Whitney »

Answer to the second question is yes. I have a very little experience with ukes (I'm building one right now, though), but I did replace a bridge on one a year or so ago, under the tutelage of a pro repairman, and he had me make a compensated saddle and everything.

I can't give an authoritative answer to the question about action height but I imagine with nylon strings, anything in the ball park will be OK. The ballpark being around 5/32 to 3/16 high at the 12th fret. If I'm wrong, someone please correct me.

Gary Gill
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Re: Need Advice on Ukulele Setup

Post by Gary Gill »

I use StewMac's 0746 fret wire and aim for 1/8" off the board at the 12th fret.

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Michael Baresi
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Re: Need Advice on Ukulele Setup

Post by Michael Baresi »

Thanks Jon and Gary. My action at the 12th is 7/32 so I think a reset is in order.
I have done a couple guitar resets and plan to proceed in the same manner. Pull the 15th fret (this uke joins at the 14th) drill holes and steam. If this is not correct for a ukulele I hope someone will let me know

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Jon Whitney
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Re: Need Advice on Ukulele Setup

Post by Jon Whitney »

It's hard to tell if your steaming method will work without knowing what the neck joint looks like. Your method is for a dovetailed joint that is more or less standard on guitars. Many ukulele neck joints are much simpler, even to the point of being a simple butt joint. The only advice I can give you, is that if the joint is a little loose, try shining a bright light through the joint so you can see it from the opposite side, and see if it looks like there are dowels, tenons, screws, or whatever else blocking the light.

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Michael Baresi
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Re: Need Advice on Ukulele Setup

Post by Michael Baresi »

The neck is definitely not a butt joint and there is no evidence of any bolt on hardware in the headblock. The heel of the neck is lifted off the sides about 1/32

Chris Reed
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Re: Need Advice on Ukulele Setup

Post by Chris Reed »

I've already posted partial answers in your other thread. The butt joint would be just a glue joint, no hardware, and if it's separated but not fallen apart its not that!

Can you get a feeler gauge in to probe what's there? And it might be worth releasing the fretboard extension just to see if the neck simply taps off.

I'm with Gary Gill on the 12th fret action, 1/8 or 3mm.

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Michael Baresi
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Re: Need Advice on Ukulele Setup

Post by Michael Baresi »

Yes I received your helpful info in the other thread.
thanks again

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Michael Baresi
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Re: Need Advice on Ukulele Setup

Post by Michael Baresi »

I got a .50mm feeler guage in between the heel and the sides. There is definitely a tenon.
I'm going to move ahead with releasing the extension and see how it looks.
Also the bridge is one piece and 11/32 high. It has a bone saddle that is very yellowed so it probably looks like wood in the pic.

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Michael Baresi
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Re: Need Advice on Ukulele Setup

Post by Michael Baresi »

Update on the neck joint.
As you suggested Chris I released the fretboard extension (very easy and not much heat required) and the neck joint was a bit loose. With a little wiggling and finesse it popped right off as you thought. No steam required.
Its a dovetail and reset should be easy now.
Thanks for everyones help

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