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Set ups range from checking over what comes from the factory to full
"Pro Level Sets Ups"
To play well the basics are,
* Are the frets level so there are no high or low frets that might cause buzzing or poor notes.
* How is the action or string height. That is measured at both the nut and the saddle (bridge).
* Are any of the fret's sprouting, sticking out beyond the edge of the fret board.
In New Mexico this is a really common problem on all fretted instruments.The wood in necks and fret boards are "Hygroscopic" they absorb and release moisture. As wood acclimates to our very dry climate it shrinks dimensionally .
Just think of the sponge in your kitchen, when it dries out it shrinks up, add water and it puffs back up again.
So while the wood is hygroscopic the metal in the frets is not. So when the fret board shrinks the frets stick out and need to be filed down to be smooth again.
Basic set ups include what is referred to as "fret level and dress". Which is what it sounds like, the fret are leveled and dressed to be relatively smooth. Action is also usually checked and adjusted. Unlike electric instruments nuts and saddles have to be carefully filed down to the desired height.
The "Pro Level Set Up" is what it sounds like, the ultimate set up. I don't know anyone who offers this level of set up that includes a mirror polishing of the frets not just smoothing them. It leaves them like glass, smooth and round and a dream to play.
This is above the basic set up that includes.
The string height adjusted to the players preference but normally 2.5mm at the 12 fret and .010 above the 1st fret at the nut.
How do I choose what level set up?
Is it dependent on the value of the instrument ? NO !
Even an "entry level" instrument will feel great with a great set up.
It takes 2-3 hours to do a Pro Level Set Up, so it's not cheap.
Every new instrument purchased through Andy's Ukes at retail prices will include the basic set up above what comes from the factory. This will include a hand polishing that is well above the "industry standard".
Keep in mind that fret sprout will happen until the instrument is fully acclimated and has gone through at least one winter (uber dry) cycle and I recommend that the instrument be brought back if and when you notice it.
The basic set up is far from basic compared to almost everyone in the industry.
It includes everything above but instead of the mirror polish I uses sanding materials. After the frets are leveled I start with 400 grit, 600, 800, 1,500, 2000 then 00 steel wool and finally 0000. This leaves the frets highly polished, 80-90% of the "Pro Level mirror polish".
It take a fraction of the time so it is far more affordable.
This is the set up every Ukulele gets that is sold at Andy's Ukes.
A completed "Pro Level Set Up" you can see the mirror polished fret work. The Aquila "Sugar" strings are very clear and the frets shine right through them.
Frets as they come in can have some roughness or gauging from being set up at the factories or distributors. This is "industry standard" and not uncommon, but it leaves plenty of room for improvement. They can be played just fine like this and most would never notice.
The fret board has to be taped off for the polishing a slow and PITA (pain in the ass) process.
After about and hour and half to two hours, they are "mirror polished"
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