FAQ Topics

Collings Koa Ukulele

Custom Orders

How long does it take to place a special order?

The lead time for new orders can vary depending on the model and the existing backlog of orders. Most models can be delivered within 4-6 months. Our various customizable options can increase that lead time. If you are considering placing a custom order, your dealer will be able to provide you with a price quote and time estimate for delivery. All custom orders must be placed through an authorized Collings dealer.

Can I order direct from Collings?

Unfortunately, we do not sell instruments directly from our shop. We're happy to assist you in any way we can, but all orders need to be placed through an authrozied Collings dealer. For a list of dealers, please visit our dealers page.


Care & Maintenance

How can I tell if my ukulele needs to be humidified?

Our ukuleles are built in a controlled environment with constant 49% relative humidity. In order to keep your instrument in proper playing condition and prevent cracking or other structural problems, it is very important that you maintain a similar level of humidity where you store your instrument. In many climates, it can be difficult to achieve an adequate humidity level without help from a sound hole humidifier.

We strongly recommend investing in an inexpensive hygrometer to monitor the environment where you store your instrument. A hygrometer can help you gauge whether your instrument is in danger of becoming dried out or over-hydrated. We also recommend familiarizing yourself with the symptoms of a dry instrument, so you can identify potential problems before they cause any real damage. This is an extremely important topic, so please visit our Care and Maintenance page for additional information.

What type of humidifier do you recommend?

There are a wide variety of products out there that can help you keep your instrument properly humidified (see Care and Maintenance). A great humidifer for ukuleles is the Oasis OH18. It's also a good idea to invest in an inexpensive hygrometer to help you monitor the environment where you store the instrument. These are available from Oasis in a special slim size that allows you to measure humidity on the soundboard of the instrument while it is in the case. A hygrometer will help take the guess-work out of knowing when and when not to humidify. Keep in mind that it is possible to over-humidify your instrument, which can also lead to problems.

How can I prevent my instrument from developing cracks?

The overwhelming majority of cracks are caused by inadequate humidity. Exposing your instrument to a low humidity environment can cause the woods to contract and change shape, which can lead to cracking and a host of other structural and finish problems. It's important to be aware of the humidity where you store your ukulele. If you find that your instrument is being exposed to conditions with less than 40% relative humidity for any length of time, you should consider humidifying. In very dry conditions, a ukulele can dry out to the point of cracking in a matter of days. This is an extremely important topic, so please visit our Care and Maintenance page for more information.


Setup

What strings do you recommend for concert and tenor ukuleles?

All of our ukulele models are strung at the factory with Savarez ukulele strings-

Concert ukuleles (.62mm, .74mm, .86mm, .62mm)
Tenor ukuleles (.57mm, .69mm, .81mm, .57mm)

What are the factory setup specifications for ukuleles?

String Height (measured from top of fret to bottom of string):

Bass-side string height at 12th fret: 3/32"
Treble-side string height at 12th fret: 5/64"

We consider these measurements to be a medium action height. You should have some room to lower the action from these measurements, but keep in mind that an ultra-low action usually requires lighter playing or adjusted technique to prevent buzzing. Please feel free to contact our service department if you need assistance.

How do I re-string my ukulele?

Please view this PDF Guide for properly re-stringing your ukulele.

Can I add a low "G" string to my ukulele?

Yes, using a wound bottom "G" string tuned an octave lower is a common alteration. As long as the string diameter remains below .70mm, this can be done without needing to adjust the nut slot.


Necks

What tuners do you use on ukuleles? How do they work?

Collings ukuleles feature geared tuners made by Pegheds that combine the appearance of traditional friction mount type tuning pegs with the convenience and tuning stability of a geared tuning machine.

Please see this diagram for a cross section of Peghed tuner construction.

Pegheds feature a push/pull locking mechanism that is designed so that the tuner can be pulled out (it only travels about 1/16th of an inch) for large tuning adjustments and then pushed back in to lock the threads and keep slippage from occurring.

When making a tuning adjustment, first pull the knob of the tuner backwards from the headstock. Once it has been unlocked you can make large tuning adjustments until the string is tuned to pitch. When the string is properly tuned you can push the knob in towards the shaft and it will stiffen the rotation to prevent slippage. You will still be able to make small tuning adjustments when it is locked.

Pegheds tuners are designed to always operate smoothly and never slip or stick, if you have any questions about using them please feel free to contact our service department.

Where do you recommend installing a strap button on my ukulele?

Please see this diagram for the strap button location we recommend on our ukuleles.

What type of fret wire do you use?

Each of our ukuleles is equipped with 18% nickel-silver fret wire that measures .051" wide by .039" tall.


Pickups

What type of ukulele pickup do you recommend?

There are a number of pickup options available for ukuleles, and the best choice really depends on the individual player's needs and preferences. We have been impressed with the tone of the Mcintyre UF-07 ukulele feather system which features a thin film transducer. This pickup is very lightweight so it doesn't color the response of the uke and has a very natural tone. Due to its is low output level the feather pickup is recommended for use with a preamp. The feather can also be combined with Mcintyre's disc soundboard transducer which is higher gain for a full range pickup system.

We do not recommend the use of under-saddle pickups on our ukuleles. Due to the "cutthrough" style saddle that we use and the degree to which under-saddle pickups can alter the tonal and structural coupling of the saddle to the bridge, we recommend using internally mounted soundboard transducer pickups only.

Your dealer should be able to offer further advice in selecting the best pickup to suit your individual needs and can generally help with installation.


Finish Options

How does the satin finish compare to a full gloss nitrocellulose lacquer finish?

Our satin finish provides a natural "scuffed" finish texture that is popular among some players who find it feels smoother and creates less friction on the back of the neck while playing. It is also a finish that requires less time to produce so it is a lower cost option than a traditional high gloss nitrocellulose lacquer finish. Gloss lacquer provides a clear "mirror-like" finish that will provide a bit more protection and have a more consistent appearance over the life of the instrument.


Serial Numbers & Dating

Where can I find my ukulele;s serial number?

Serial numbers are printed on the Collings label inside the instrument which can be seen through the sound hole.

How do I determine the age of a particular ukulele?

Collings ukuleles have a hand-written serial number on the label inside the body. The table below lists serial number ranges issued into production by year. Serial numbers are assigned at the beginning of the build process, so some ukuleles would have been completed and shipped in subsequent year(s). Most ukuleles spend 3-6 months in production, but build time can vary from instrument to instrument.

Concert Models   Tenor Models
Year
Serial Number Range
 
Year
Serial Number Range
2012
U806
to
U1011
 
2012
U805
to
U1020
2011
U523
to
U804
 
2011
U527
to
U803
2010
U266
to
U520
 
2010
U241
to
U525
2009
U004-P
to
U265
 
2009
U130
to
U232

Warranty & Registration

What is covered under my instrument's warranty?

Collings instruments are warranted to be free from defects in materials and workmanship, to the original purchaser, for as long as he/she owns the instrument. This limited warranty constitutes the entire warranty of Collings with regards to its instruments. No representation or warranty by any Collings salesperson, dealer, agent, representative or employee shall be binding upon Collings Guitars, Inc. other than as expressly set forth herein.

The Collings Limited Warranty does not cover the following: wear and tear from normal use and any damage that is the result of misuse, abuse, or unauthorized modifications, damages from unauthorized or self-made repairs, improper maintenance, accidents, exposure to adverse temperature and/or humidity, and other careless action, which by its nature results in damage to the instrument or to components not manufactured by Collings.


Parts & Repair

My instrument is in need of repair. Where can I take it for service?

Your local Collings dealer is usually the best place to start. Many repair issues can be resolved by simple adjustments to the nut, saddle, or truss rod. Your dealer can most often help in this area and can also rule out the causes of common problems. Alternatively, we offer warranty repair services at our shop. Your dealer can usually assist you in packaging and shipping your mandolin to our shop if needed. Please visit our repairs page for more detailed information.

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