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Thread: Baritone Soundboard - Repair/Replace

  1. #1

    Default Baritone Soundboard - Repair/Replace

    I talked a friend of mine out of a Kingston baritone he bought for $20, but immediately replaced with a soprano.
    I only have interest in it because I have a long neck banjo of the same brand.
    The top is indented toward the sound hole a little. The saddle could be sanded enough to make it playable, but what's the fun in that.
    I read about putting it in a plastic bag with a damp rag to see if it would go back to it's original position, but I feel that's not a good fix.
    The top has only one brace that runs parallel to the bridge.
    What I really would like to do, as much for the experience as anything, is to replace the top with proper bracing.
    I know this entails removing the fingerboard and then the sound board.
    If I accidentally ruin it in the process, it's no loss, really.
    I know that nobody will think this is worth the effort, but it would be a learning experience and maybe a usable ukulele, too. I might even try inlaying a rosette.

    Thanks,
    Matt

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    Queanbeyan, NSW Australia.
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    Default

    Pictures would be good. If its not an expensive instrument and you want to experiment then no harm done. I will say that its kind of normal for there to be a small degree of inwards bulging between the bridge and the sound hole. The only way to really avoid it is to build the top with a gentle arch in the first place.

    Instruments that are constructed with a flat top, WILL warp a little, unless they are horrendously overbuilt in the first place.

  3. #3

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    Here are a couple of pictures.
    As you can see, it's not real bad. If I could straighten the soundboard in a manner that would be a good long term fix, I probably would. I was thinking with only the one brace running under the bridge, that fix just might not stay fixed. That's the reason I thought I might replace the top.
    I now also notice that the neck has the slightest concave bow from the body to the nut.

    Thanks,
    Matt

    MattIMG_20171104_100642994.jpgIMG_20171104_100825692.jpgIMG_20171104_100847798.jpg

  4. #4
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    Queanbeyan, NSW Australia.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ash13brook View Post
    Here are a couple of pictures.
    As you can see, it's not real bad. If I could straighten the soundboard in a manner that would be a good long term fix, I probably would. I was thinking with only the one brace running under the bridge, that fix just might not stay fixed. That's the reason I thought I might replace the top.
    I now also notice that the neck has the slightest concave bow from the body to the nut.

    Thanks,
    Matt

    MattIMG_20171104_100642994.jpgIMG_20171104_100825692.jpgIMG_20171104_100847798.jpg
    I have numerous ukuleles that look like that. The dip in yours is slightly more than mine but not that extreme. Par for the course. A SLIGHT concave bow in the neck is GOOD. The last thing you want is a convex bow so slightly concave is great.

    Just as a learning experience, go for it, yet to improve the instrument. Unlikely.
    This is Flat Top CONSTRUCTION for you. A Flat top built to resist any warping will be TOO stiff and strong to sound any good. You make them light enough to sound good and they will warp over time. The only alternative is to build the instrument with a convex arch in the first place which takes skill and more time so its not a technique used on inexpensive instruments.

    EDIT: Oh and keeping the instrument hydrated if you live in a dry climate is good practice.
    Last edited by anthonyg; 11-04-2017 at 03:45 PM.

  5. #5

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    I may just adjust the saddle and nut and live with it, but what is the procedure for removing the fretboard if I decide to replace the top?

    Matt

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ash13brook View Post
    I may just adjust the saddle and nut and live with it, but what is the procedure for removing the fretboard if I decide to replace the top?

    Matt
    There is no good procedure for removing a fret board. Many just cut it off at the body and glue in on again later if they do anything at all.

  7. #7

    Default

    I've decided not to try and replace the top.
    But with the top warping toward the soundhole, is intonation affected? Also, with the string fretted at the 18th fret(highest) there's a considerable distance to the strings at the 8th. The nut is pretty high. Should I lower both the slots in the nut and the saddle to bring the strings closer to the fretboard? In what order?
    Also, I do think I'll strip it and refinish it. What's the best stripper to use? Regular furniture stripper?

    Thanks,
    Matt

  8. #8
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    Oct 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by ash13brook View Post
    I've decided not to try and replace the top.
    But with the top warping toward the soundhole, is intonation affected? Also, with the string fretted at the 18th fret(highest) there's a considerable distance to the strings at the 8th. The nut is pretty high. Should I lower both the slots in the nut and the saddle to bring the strings closer to the fretboard? In what order?
    Also, I do think I'll strip it and refinish it. What's the best stripper to use? Regular furniture stripper?

    Thanks,
    Matt
    It is possible that the intonation is effected by the warping however ukuleles are notorious for not being built accurately in the first place. Maybe the intonation got worse from the warping, maybe it got better. Measure the intonation with a tuner and find out.

    Yes if the action is high then lower it at both ends. I don't know if there is a correct order to do it. Lower the nut to get a decent action in the open position and lower the saddle to improve the action up the neck.

    Also, with the string fretted at the 18th fret(highest) there's a considerable distance to the strings at the 8th.
    Can you explain more? I really don't understand what you are trying to say.

  9. #9
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    Jan 2015
    Location
    Franklin, TN
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    Quote Originally Posted by ash13brook View Post
    I may just adjust the saddle and nut and live with it, but what is the procedure for removing the fretboard if I decide to replace the top?
    You heat the fingerboard until the glue turns loose. If you don't have a long enough heating pad you have to do this carefully starting at one end, carefully working your way toward the other end.

    Some take the shortcut of removing the fret closest to the top of the upper bout, and cutting through the fingerboard with a very narrow saw.

    Videos are on YouTube for both methods. https://youtu.be/jYJIJOF1ZV0

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by anthonyg View Post
    Can you explain more? I really don't understand what you are trying to say.
    I was trying to give an idea of the bow in the neck and nut height. But, I see that really doesn't say much. I'll lower the nut slots to about where I want them, then take care of the saddle. If the nut still needs some tweaking, I'll finish it then.
    What about stripping the finish? any advice there?
    Do you think I would be better off with a flat sound board, intonation-wise? I have no qualms about trying to replace the top as a learning experience.

    Thanks,
    Matt
    Last edited by ash13brook; 11-12-2017 at 01:47 PM.

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