We work on a lot of ukuleles here at 13th Street Guitars. We understand and address the needs of this special little instrument. We can make yours play its best, too! Many ukes have very high action when they're new. This distance of the strings to the frets can make it difficult to play, as well as making it pull sharp when you fret it. We can tighten that down as well as dress the frets to make sure it rings every note out clearly.
Many ukuleles, including very expensive ones, come with irregularities in the frets. Sharp fret ends sticking off the edge of the neck can make it very uncomfortable to play. High and low spots in the frets are sometimes not apparent to the eye, but you can hear it when you play it. Some notes die out or have a slight buzz, while others play perfectly clean. With a fret dress, we'll ensure every fret is properly seated, level, crowned, and polished. This allows the strings to be lowered to a comfortable height while still maintaining great tone.
A good setup and fret dress usually means the difference between a uke that plays well and one that doesn't. Often times people will not buy an ukulele because it is setup poorly. Even most inexpensive ukes can be setup to play right. We will make your ukulele play better than it ever has.
Another common problem we see with ukuleles is poor intonation. If you check your uke on the tuner at different notes around the fretboard, you may find it goes very sharp or flat in places. Compensation at the saddle allows us to dial it in tighter. Most saddles are a straight line or poorly compensated. We can custom file one to intonate your uke better. This makes your chords sound much prettier, and keeps you playing more in-tune all over the neck. Sometimes the existing saddle is too short to compensate or it's just made of very cheap plastic. We can replace it with custom bone, ebony, rosewood, or Tusq (man-made ivory). Better material at the saddle will improve the tone of every note you play.
We can also upgrade your tuners. We carry traditional friction-type as well as sealed gear tuning machines. (Such as these Grovers - like what they put on some Koalohas at the factory). Sealed gear tuners have a gear ratio that allows you to dial in the tuning more accurately, and they hold a tune better. We can also work with your stock tuners to see some stability improvements.
Everyone wants to amplify their Ukulele these days, as it's really hard to hear them in a crowd. Once we install a pickup, you can plug it into a PA or amplifier and play as loud as you like. This is great if you're performing live or playing out at a jam session.
Our favorite ukulele pickup is the MiSi Acoustic Trio. We have installed these in many ukes with great results. It's a battery-free active pickup system that reproduces the natural sound of the instrument well without coloring the tone. It adds almost no weight to the uke, and no batteries to change is nice. You just charge it for 1 minute, and you get 16 hours of play time.
We repair cracks, broken necks, holes, strap buttons, etc... Most of this stuff needs to be quoted in person. Please bring it in and we'll give you an estimate.
Any Questions? Give us a call at 714-596-5050 and we'll help you out.
Don't feel overwhelmed if you don't know the proper terms, etc...
We're here to help.
We repair and setup all brands. We are an official Warranty Repair Center for Lanikai Ukuleles. We're also official dealers of MiSi pickups, and can install and repair them for you.