While most Ukulele brands will conduct their own quality control during the manufacturing process, there is usually still room for adjustment and improvement beyond that initial quality control. Since every brand will have their own definition and specifications for the final setup of the ukulele before it leaves the factory, there is a range of possibilities for how the instrument will feel and play, and there is always the possibility that there are issues that could have slipped through that initial factory quality control that wouldn’t meet their standards.
What we do is try to add a more consistent approach to the final setup so that it meets OUR expectations and standards. Each instrument goes through an evaluation by an experienced setup technician to see the areas that can be adjusted and improved to create a more enjoyable playing experience and to weed out any instruments that we feel don’t meet the level of quality we know to be standard for each brand.
There is a waiting period as we process and setup every instrument in the order it was received, so while wait times will vary depending on the volume of orders currently being processed and the setup option you have chosen for your order, once the instrument reaches the work bench we give it the same time and attention as the rest. Current setup processing times will be updated and listed under the “Setup Options” tab on every instrument listing.
OVERALL QC EVALUATION: to find defects in construction as well as to get an overall view of the instrument and note the areas that need extra attention and adjustment during the setup.
SADDLE ADJUSTMENT: in most cases the height of the saddle is higher than it needs to be, so we are able to lower it to reduce the distance between the strings and the fretboard, ultimately making it easier to hold chords and fret notes, especially higher up the fretboard. The less distance between the strings and the frets means less pressure is needed on your part, but setting the height too low can result in unwanted fret buzz and loss in the overall volume and sustain of the instrument. We aim to find the sweet spot between comfort and performance.
NUT SLOT ADJUSTMENT: in most cases the depth of the nut slots that the strings sit in can be lowered. It takes some skill to find the right depth and angle so that the strings sit low enough to make playing easier on the lower frets but high enough to give the strings proper clearance over the frets. In some cases the slots must also be widened to accommodate thicker strings.
FRET DRESSING: this covers the entire process of leveling and dressing the frets. When the string height is lowered, high spots in the fretboard or uneven frets will potentially cause fret buzz, dead spots, or other unwanted problems. We file the frets to create a more consistent level across the fretboard. After the leveling comes the crowning of the frets to add the rounded curvature back to the top of each fret creating a clear contact point for each string. After that we smooth and polish the frets and fingerboard to bring them back to new condition.
ADDITIONAL SERVICES we provide also include re-stringing the instrument if you prefer to use a string set other than the stock factory strings that come pre-installed. You can do this by selecting the “Replace Stock Strings” option when adding a string set to your shopping cart.
LEFT-HANDED SETUPS When requesting a left handed set-up, please select a set of strings from the site to add to your order, there will be a check-mark box for install, and you can include a note requesting "Left-hand tuning" in the special instructions.
*while the majority of instruments use non-compensated saddles, some compensated saddles will need to be re-shaped or replaced for left-handed setup. After your order is placed we will notify you if this is required.
STRAP BUTTON INSTALLATION: There is the option to have one or two strap buttons installed during the setup process. Color options are also available.
ELECTRONIC PICKUP INSTALLATION: A pickup can be installed for players who would like the option to play or record with amplification.
FRICTION TUNER UPGRADE: We offer upgrade options for select instruments with friction tuners to be retrofitted with new geared planetary tuners for better precision and comfort when tuning.
FINAL CLEANUP AND INSPECTION: We always do a final overall cleanup of the instrument to make sure it is in new condition and ready to play before it is prepared for shipment.
Overall the full setup services we provide would usually cost over $100 from a repair shop or instrument technician. We provide our FULL SETUP service at a reasonable price of $30 for instruments under $300 in value / $20 for instruments $300-$399 / and it is available at no extra cost for instruments $399 and over.
Essentially, with the FULL SETUP you get the benefits of an additional quality control to root out major defects or issues that were missed during manufacturing. Plus, a custom after-market setup that will only improve on the initial quality of the instrument, making it easier to play, better sounding, and ready for you to enjoy for many years to come.
ADDITIONAL SETUP OPTIONS:
BASIC QC ONLY:
The “Basic QC” option covers inspecting the instrument for any major defects that would have been missed by the factory and any faults in construction that could potentially damage or limit the function of the instrument over time. We make sure that it meets the basic standard for a brand new instrument and will be ready to play once you receive it. Additional setup work is not performed though we can still re-string the instrument and install strap buttons if you decide to add those services to your order.
Rush Setup & Delivery:
The rush setup and delivery service is for customers who would still like to receive the full setup but on a shorter time frame. We don’t skip any steps and the setup process in itself is not rushed. We also do not penalize our other customers waiting patiently in line for their instruments to be setup by pushing them further back in line.
With the RUSH SETUP and delivery, for an extra fee, one of our setup technicians will work overtime outside of normal business hours to complete the setup within 2-3 days of the order being placed and immediately hand it over to the shipping department for packing and shipment. The fee covers the cost and effort to produce the same level of quality as the full setup but along a shorter timeline.
Speaking for us as a team we would genuinely like to say mahalo and thank you for your support and choosing us for your ukulele needs. We are always happy to help and assist you any way we can and provide the best service possible for our customers. Aloha!