New uke: Weird tuning problem

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jobriath
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Location: North of England

New uke: Weird tuning problem

Postby jobriath » Thu Dec 29, 2011 10:06 pm UTC

My new uke is bitchin' except for one problem, which makes it considerably less bitchin'. The C string doesn't like being fretted. What I mean by that is that I can tune it absolutely, using a tuning box, or I can tune it relatively, by tuning it so the 4th fret on the C string matches an open E string. However, both of these approaches produce different notes. Tuning absolutely makes fretted notes sound too sharp, by about a quarter tone. Tuning relatively makes the open C string audibly too flat. None of the other strings have this problem. I have replaced the strings and found the problem remains unchanged. A visual inspection of screws, nut, bridge, distance of strings from fret board---all of these seem identical for each string.

I can tune a guitar fine and the strings seem to hold their tone well enough. It's just that I need to learn songs that either never require a fretted C string, or always fret it!

Has anyone come across this problem before, and does anyone have advice? Many thanks in advance.

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Proginoskes
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Re: New uke: Weird tuning problem

Postby Proginoskes » Fri Dec 30, 2011 10:23 am UTC

Sounds like an intonation problem; you might have to adjust the height of the bridge slightly to make the notes match up. (Playing at the 12th fret should produce the same note as the 2nd harmonic.) See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intonation_(music)#Fretted_instrument_intonation

This is what is usually the problem is when a guitar can't be tuned correctly.

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jobriath
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Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 2:11 pm UTC
Location: North of England

Re: New uke: Weird tuning problem

Postby jobriath » Fri Dec 30, 2011 11:45 am UTC

Thanks for your reply! I haven't solved the problem, but have fixed my attitude towards it. Absolute tuning tends to spread the error across all strings, rather than concentrating it on one string. By tuning with an electronic tuner and taking care to fret more softly I can get a nice sound. The "problem" might just have been my being used to a good steel-stringed guitar, rather than this shivering budgerigar of an instrument.


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