#1
Hi,

How do I correct intonation problems on an acoustic?
This is a general question but..
I bought a cheap acoustic 6 string ukelele guitar for my kids.

It didn't cost much but if I tune it up using the 5th fret method, then they all sound in tune yet when I strum a full chord the bottom E is out by quite a way.

Obviously if I then tune so the open E is fine, then it goes out as you play up the neck.

Can this be rectified at all?
Main Gear:
Ibanez RG550EX
Ibanez S470
Epiphone SG CS Ltd Ed 1966 Reissue
Cort M200/WS
Richwood RS17CCE acoustic
Hayden Mofo
Harley Benton 2x12 Celestion V30

My Band - Haemasmtha
#2
Bargain ukuleles almost always have intonation problems. You may be able to do a few things to make yours a little better.

First, if you have tension tuning keys, the ones with no gears and are verticle to the back of your headstock, tighten the little screws on the ends to increase the tension so they don't go out of tune all the time.

Next, pull off the nut and saddle (one at a time) and file them down until the action is as low as possible -- on the nut, you can just deepen the string slots without removing it. When the action is too high, fretting the instrument actually increases the string tension and throws off the intonation as you play up the neck -- kind of like bending a note. These little ukes often come with really high action too.

Lastly, keep playing it and wait -- those nylon strings will gain some stability as they age a bit and your instrument will play in tune a little better.

Remember, a bargain uke is a bargain uke and may you may never be completely happy with the way it plays, but if your kids take to it (and I hope they do, the world needs more happy ukulele players), it'll be worth a bigger investment in a better playing uke down the road.

Good Luck!
Last edited by milagroso at May 21, 2008,
#3
Thanks.
I realise it is a cheap old thing (well, new) but if the kids wreck it who cares?
It has geared tuners but the strings are steel not nylon.
The action is high, so I'll take a look at that.
Thanks.
Main Gear:
Ibanez RG550EX
Ibanez S470
Epiphone SG CS Ltd Ed 1966 Reissue
Cort M200/WS
Richwood RS17CCE acoustic
Hayden Mofo
Harley Benton 2x12 Celestion V30

My Band - Haemasmtha
#4
When I was a kid, I couldn't play, but I still tried to be Eddie Van Halen onstage and banged up my first guitar pretty good against the walls, dresser, chairs, and my own head (luckily it was harder than the guitar). Good thing my parents, like you, had the forsight not to invest too much money in it until after I got over abusing it.