Thursday, 17 May 2012

Ukulele Improvement (...ish)

Some time ago I spent £32 on a soprano uke by Stagg.
Not the greatest instrument in the world but a great test bed for improvements.

I ordered some machine heads from Hong Kong via eBay and a set of Aquila Nylgut strings:
The plan is to improve the cosmetic appearance and find out if Aquila strings make any difference to the overall sound.

Whip off the existing rubbish machine-heads and fit lovely Gibson style versions:
Now, who can spot what went wrong here?

I had to drill the post holes out to 8mm so the ferrules fit.
A moment's inattention, a slip with the drill and I scratched the logo on the headstock.
No problem I thought, I just use a razor blade to clean the rest of the logo off and all will be well.
Any cosmetic advantage the lovely new machine-heads bestowed has been ruined.
Fortunately I do have something in a tin that will restore the colour, if only I could remember where I put the tin.

I added a jolly paper label to the interior:
Fitted the new strings and:
Now here's the problem, I can't tell if it sounds any better than it did before I started faffing about with it


Oldfool said...

Fixing a paper label inside changes the sound as does paint, laccer, snot and peanut butter.
I like the strings. I have some expensive "I'talian" strings, that I can't remember the name of, that have been on mine for years and they still sound great.
You do understand don't you that my hearing is deteriorating.

Outa-Spaceman said...

The label I put in replaced the original makers label and although I willing to concede it does have an effect on the overall sound I'd suggest it's negligible
(I'll take your word on the snot and peanut butter).
Fact is this is a budget uke and I wanted to find out if there was anything that could make it sound better than it did.
The Aquila Nylgut stings are really good!
It's taken about a day of playing, retuning, playing, retuning until they're nicely bedded in and are a vast improvement on the original strings.
The machine-heads are also a great improvement on the originals so I've ordered some more.

The next step is to apply the findings of this research to my beloved baritone uke.