View Full Version : Replacing the front on a soprano ukulele.

09-28-2014, 08:25 AM
I recently made a mahogany fig. 8 uke, and deviated from the usual practice of using an internal bridgeplate. The front kept trying to curve inwards, so instead I fitted a brace under the bridge, curved to make the front slightly convex.

The sound it produced was very trebly - top-endish - lacking bass tones. Some people quite liked it, but I couldn't stand it, so decided to change the front. In order to maintain some strength around the neck joint, support the fretboard extens7134571344ion, and hold things in alignment while the front was off, I left in place the small area of front between the neck and the cross brace near the sound hole.

The new piece of front is now in place, and uses a conventional bridge plate. I am delighted with the improvement in the sound. It even looks quite interesting - a bit like some South American instruments.

It's a odd thing to do, I know, but I was determined to retrieve a little success for all my hard work. I'm glad I did it.

I seem to have cocked up the posting of photos, but the first one shows the finished article, and the second shows the new piece of front ready for fitting.

John Colter.

09-29-2014, 01:08 PM
Interesting way to change the top. It looks kinda cool... almost looks like you applied a pick guard at the top. Glad you're happy with the result

09-29-2014, 10:58 PM
Great recovery. It looks like an Italian-made ukulele I own which has a lot of mandolin like features - including a different coloured pick guard covering part of the upper bout.

09-30-2014, 12:22 AM
Thanks for the encouraging responses! Changing the whole of the front is a much more challenging operation, but this way, it saves disturbing the fretboard where it extends over the front. The "box" structure remaining around the neck/body joint holds things in alignment - almost! The neck angle changed very slightly, but a 1mm increase in saddle height fixed it nicely.

Rather than try to hide the join, I made a feature of it by inserting a strip of maple .035" thin.

It plays well, sounds delightful - to my nackered old ears - and I like the way it looks. It's a keeper!

John Colter.

Michael N.
09-30-2014, 12:51 AM
But you wouldn't do that on an expensive vintage instrument.:rulez: I think in that case I would pull the last fret and carefully cut through the fretboard. Reuse the fretboard extension when replacing the Top.

09-30-2014, 12:56 AM
Michael, I agree completely.:agree:

This was a uke I made myself, so my rules apply.:)

John C.