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View Full Version : Maybe it's the Little Things that Count



sequoia
11-05-2015, 05:39 PM
I'm not a real luthier, I just like to build ukuleles. After two years and a boat load of ukuleles later, I finally built a couple of ukes that I think will stand up to any high end sounding uke on the market. The last two ukes I built are absolute beasts in terms of volume, sustain and articulation. The previous ukes were not that bad and could stand up or even better any mass market Indonesian jungle uke (some of them are not that bad by the way). To be honest, the first two ukes I built were what Pete would probably describe as "oddly heavy feeling and strangely muffled".

A luthier friend of mine asked me what it was I did that made them sound so good and you know what? I had no bleeding idea and no answer and that was a little discouraging.

Thinking back, what I really changed was my fan bracing system and I think this might be the cause. Here was my thinking: 1) Make the bridge patch (plate) tightly integral with the central and two side braces so that the system would function as one solid unit. (2) Bridge the braces just a little bit at the heel end of the patch.

I used to just butt my my side braces to the patch and then I got more sophisticated and bridged all three braces. What I did on the last two were to carefully notch the two side braces into the patch and suspend the braces on the heel side about 3/32".

Anyway, way too long a post and I apologize, but I think this little thing made a BIG difference. Pictures below. The braces are just laid in and not glued up and I will carve them thinner once they are glued in later. Could it be the little things that made all the difference?

85039

85040

Michael N.
11-06-2015, 02:30 AM
Why do that pocket in the braces? Why not just butt them up against the bridge plate?

70sSanO
11-06-2015, 04:34 AM
Just curious... did you glue the braces to the patch or just straddle it and glue them to the soundboard?

John

sequoia
11-06-2015, 06:21 AM
Why do that pocket in the braces? Why not just butt them up against the bridge plate?

To make a stronger joint? Plus, it's just kinda cool. Does it make a difference in the sound? I like to think so.... And yes, I glue the fans securely to the bridge patch.

Pete Howlett
11-06-2015, 07:55 AM
You lucky man - after 21 years I am still trying to figure out why my instruments sound the way they do and why clients keep coming back for more.... I think I know why but as I have no proof I am not going to make an idiot of myself by telling y'all. :)

Michael N.
11-06-2015, 08:45 AM
To make a stronger joint? Plus, it's just kinda cool. Does it make a difference in the sound? I like to think so.... And yes, I glue the fans securely to the bridge patch.

Seems a bit of an unnecessary complication to me but of course you are perfectly free to do what you feel is right.