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View Full Version : basic string gauge question having to do with nut and bridge



Erwin Dink
07-13-2015, 03:49 AM
I've got three ukes and just ordered a fourth. I hope to settle in to having two of them be my primary instruments, one Tenor and one Baritone. Since I'm still fairly new to ukuleles I have been doing a lot of experimenting with strings and tunings. What is just dawning on me is that nuts and bridges seem to be somewhat customized for particular string gauges. What do people do about this? Create custom nuts and bridges? Only use strings that are close matches to the original nuts and bridges?

An example that I mentioned in another thread is that I just restrung a uke and discovered that two of the strings are not sitting well into their slots. Is there a common way to deal with this challenge?

kypfer
07-13-2015, 04:25 AM
What is just dawning on me is that nuts and bridges seem to be somewhat customized for particular string gauges. What do people do about this? Create custom nuts and bridges? Only use strings that are close matches to the original nuts and bridges?

An example that I mentioned in another thread is that I just restrung a uke and discovered that two of the strings are not sitting well into their slots. Is there a common way to deal with this challenge?

All options are open ;)

Personally, I file the slots out to suit thicker strings where necessary. If I then later find the slot is wrong, due either to mistake or a change of mind, I shim/fill it with a sliver of plastic held in with superglue and start again.

Some use a mixture of baking soda and superglue as a filler ... I've not tried that but have been recommended that route by a professional guitar technician.

Personally I would consider replacing the nut, or having a variety of "custom" nuts, to be just a little extreme. For those who regularly change between re-entrant and non-re-entrant tuning on the same instrument, this may be reasonable on a high-end ukulele, but for a more run-of-the-mill instrument, I bought extra instruments ... save all that messing about ;)

kissing
07-13-2015, 04:33 AM
well.. would it be possible to take a close-up photo to show how the strings are resting on the nut?

It's usually not that hard to file the nut slot a bit to allow the string to rest appropriately on the nut.
If you are not confident in doing it yourself, you could always take it to the local luthier and allow him to do a proper setup for the new gauge of strings.

kohanmike
07-13-2015, 05:54 AM
Just as a note of clarification, the piece in the bridge is called the saddle, the bridge is the wood part, the saddle is the bone or plastic part.

Erwin Dink
07-14-2015, 02:33 AM
All options are open ;)

Personally, I file the slots out to suit thicker strings where necessary. If I then later find the slot is wrong, due either to mistake or a change of mind, I shim/fill it with a sliver of plastic held in with superglue and start again.

Some use a mixture of baking soda and superglue as a filler ... I've not tried that but have been recommended that route by a professional guitar technician.

Personally I would consider replacing the nut, or having a variety of "custom" nuts, to be just a little extreme. For those who regularly change between re-entrant and non-re-entrant tuning on the same instrument, this may be reasonable on a high-end ukulele, but for a more run-of-the-mill instrument, I bought extra instruments ... save all that messing about ;)

Funny, I was just looking at the files on stewmac.com and thinking about buying a few. Also wondering about buying nut and saddle blanks but that might be too extreme. My intention is to end up with three ukes: standard tuning, re-entrant D and Low D. I also don't plan to continue to fiddle with strings, assuming I will eventually discover the right strings for each instrument.

Erwin Dink
07-14-2015, 02:34 AM
well.. would it be possible to take a close-up photo to show how the strings are resting on the nut?

It's usually not that hard to file the nut slot a bit to allow the string to rest appropriately on the nut.
If you are not confident in doing it yourself, you could always take it to the local luthier and allow him to do a proper setup for the new gauge of strings.

I don't think I need to post a picture. I can see that at least one of the slots needs to be widened. I'll probably give it a try.

Erwin Dink
07-14-2015, 02:35 AM
Just as a note of clarification, the piece in the bridge is called the saddle, the bridge is the wood part, the saddle is the bone or plastic part.

Right, thanks for reminding me. I always forget.