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View Full Version : This is why I dislike slotted bridges



strumsilly
11-21-2015, 07:32 AM
What do I do now. a bigger knot. a small bead? any way to repair it?
8561485613

Steve in Kent
11-21-2015, 07:47 AM
I think I would try a bead.

hmgberg
11-21-2015, 08:39 AM
You can repair it with CA glue.

http://www.lmii.com/products/finishing/adhesives/cyanoacrylate-gl

I would get one of the more viscous varieties and a can of accelerator. Mix the glue with some colorant and drop it in the slot (I use a toothpick) and use the accelerator to dry it one drop at a time until the gap is filled. If necessary, you can recut the slot using a small file.

JustinJ
11-21-2015, 09:31 AM
I use these on my ukulele http://www.amazon.com/Ukulele-Diamond-BridgeBeads-String-Ties/dp/B00HB8TOPG This should work well for you.

BlackBearUkes
11-21-2015, 09:41 AM
The best fix for this type of bridge IMO is to simply drill a 1/16" diameter hole at the end of the slot, straight down into the top. This is now a string through type bridge. Always use a bead on the strings, not just a knot. No more torn out bridge slots and the bridge will never fly off, and the original look is the same.

wayfarer75
11-21-2015, 11:08 AM
What kind of beads should one use? Glass? Plastic?

BlackBearUkes
11-21-2015, 11:22 AM
I would use glass or metal.


What kind of beads should one use? Glass? Plastic?

johnson430
11-21-2015, 12:27 PM
What kind of beads should one use? Glass? Plastic?

I use these on my Pono:
http://www.amazon.com/Ukulele-Diamond-BridgeBeads-String-Ties/dp/B00HB8TOPG
I have no wear or string tie marks on my bridge.
Very happy with this product.

M3Ukulele
11-21-2015, 03:09 PM
Making it a string thru makes a lot of sense. Fast and simple. I like slot bridge as they are so easy and have never had an issue. If you do string thru conversion , please post a picture. I have a string thru on my list to try. That being said I really like the tie blocks and have converted two tie bridges to that. It's just easy! Where do you get glass and metal beads? Craft shop or $Store$. Good luck.

wayfarer75
11-21-2015, 03:32 PM
I use these on my Pono:
http://www.amazon.com/Ukulele-Diamond-BridgeBeads-String-Ties/dp/B00HB8TOPG
I have no wear or string tie marks on my bridge.
Very happy with this product.

Looks like a nice solution for a tie bridge. Unfortunately, I don't see that working on my Kamaka pineapple's slot bridge, which is the one I have trouble with. My Kelii's slot bridge is easier for me, but it was constructed with fluorocarbon strings in mind, not the thicker nylon Kamaka uses. Since I prefer fluorocarbon, it makes string changes a pain.

kohanmike
11-21-2015, 08:26 PM
I made a bridge into string-through on a Lanikai quilted ash/spruce top and it worked great (sold it awhile ago). My logic is the bridge and top are pressed against each other and should transmit vibrations better.

http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/Bridge string thru.jpg

TaoCat
11-22-2015, 03:34 AM
I use these on my ukulele http://www.amazon.com/Ukulele-Diamond-BridgeBeads-String-Ties/dp/B00HB8TOPG This should work well for you.

These look very cool, but all the extant examples I've seen seem to be on a through-bridge rather than a slotted bridge. Would somebody mind sharing experiences or even better, a pic of their use in a slotted bridge? Thanks.

SloJimFizz
11-22-2015, 05:12 AM
Thanks for the awesome tip Duane from BlackBear ukeleles. (My BB pineapple Sopronino is well loved btw)
Had my A string slot on my '30s Martin bridge blow out due to string tension and being an old ass uke.
Was not sure if fixable,literally 20 minutes after opening this thread,the thing is strung up and tuned to pitch.
Used a glass bead used to make rosaries and 1/16 drill bit.
Awesome resource for all things ukulele is what this site is.
Thanks for bringing the sweet sound of my Martin back to life..
requested pics on slotted bridge:
85684
85685
85686


edit: sorry for the ginormous pics

actadh
11-22-2015, 05:44 AM
Love both ideas. I will use beads for my vintage slotted ukes from now on, and the bridge beads for the other style.

Just ordered a set of the Ukulele Diamond bridge beads. I have a ukulele that I had been putting off a string change because of having difficulty with limited hand strength and hand dexterity. I think the bridge beads will make it much easier to change strings.

M3Ukulele
11-22-2015, 06:14 AM
SloJimFizz,
Looks like you just fixed the damaged slot with string thru. I wondered when I saw you pics if you might not be better doing the other three at same time to prevent a future tear out. Just a thought not a criticism ........especially on a old ukulele. I've always wanted to try strin thru so until I buy one might just do this mod to my Fluke. I have no issue at this time but wonder if pull on soundboard would be beneficial?

KohanMike,
Did you notice any improvement in sound when you did mod to tie bridge? I wonder why more ukuleles don't do string thru. It seems so simple and safe?

SloJimFizz
11-22-2015, 06:39 AM
It crossed my mind and may do it in the future.
Just stoked to get it back off the I.R. list.

wayfarer75
11-22-2015, 11:17 AM
Looks like a great solution to me!

TheCraftedCow
11-22-2015, 11:24 AM
Why such a big hole for such little strings?. My first through the body was from Shawn Hines when he was Bloodworks A 2013 Brad Donaldson is also t.t.b. A 2014 Les Stansell is t.t.b and they are not beaded. They are bored with numbered bits just a bit thicker than the string diameter. I bore at the front of the slot on ones which knot behind the slot on top. For ones with the ties which go forward and do the figure 8 knot, the hole goes at the front side of the ledge. Since the holes are the same height on the ledge, that entire holes on each side chunk of wood can be completely removed by using a chisel or a small motor tool. A piece of sandpaper glued to the proper length and width makes it as smooth as the rest of the bridge. It is a clean, uncluttered look.. and there is no fear of the bridge coming off. { I was sitting beside , but a little behind a fellow on my right with a brand new K _ _ _ concert when the bridge came off. I was out of the line of fire. Yes, they replaced the entire ukulele}

kohanmike
11-22-2015, 12:04 PM
KohanMike, did you notice any improvement in sound when you did mod to tie bridge? I wonder why more ukuleles don't do string thru. It seems so simple and safe?

I actually got the idea at the LA Uke Expo a couple years ago when I saw it on a Pepe Romero uke. I felt like it gave the uke a bit more resonance, but that could just be wishful thinking. I sold it shortly after.

Nickie
11-22-2015, 03:49 PM
Does through the bridge stringing give a uke more sound, volume, better tone, sustain?

Tigershark
11-22-2015, 05:07 PM
The best fix for this type of bridge IMO is to simply drill a 1/16" diameter hole at the end of the slot, straight down into the top.

That would be fine on a cheap ukulele. For something valuable, it's actually not that hard to (completely or partially) fill the slot and hole with wood dust & superglue, and then recut the slot and redrill the hole. Even easier to do with the bridge off. Masking tape helps control the glue. The way you knot the string can make a difference too.

Briangriffinukuleles
11-22-2015, 05:47 PM
String through is the only way to go. The traditional slotted bridge has several problems, The slots tear out as in the case in hand, but worse, The bridges frequently tear off the top sometimes taking critical top wood with it. I wonder who ever designed such a weak method in the first place. I make my ukes with a thin hardwood backing plate under the top and directly below the bridge. A hole just larger than the string is drilled through the bridge, the top and the backing plate. You don't need a bead, just a knot to snug up against the backing plate. Or I use pegs, slightly smaller than normal guitar pegs that I buy from Hana Lima Ai. They penetrate the three layers and make changing strings a snap.

BlackBearUkes
11-22-2015, 07:26 PM
It has been my experience that if you don't use a bead, the small knot ( and it doesn't matter how you tie the knot ) on the string will eventually wear through the bridge plate and top over time, just like it does with the slotted style bridge pictured in this thread.



String through is the only way to go. The traditional slotted bridge has several problems, The slots tear out as in the case in hand, but worse, The bridges frequently tear off the top sometimes taking critical top wood with it. I wonder who ever designed such a weak method in the first place. I make my ukes with a thin hardwood backing plate under the top and directly below the bridge. A hole just larger than the string is drilled through the bridge, the top and the backing plate. You don't need a bead, just a knot to snug up against the backing plate. Or I use pegs, slightly smaller than normal guitar pegs that I buy from Hana Lima Ai. They penetrate the three layers and make changing strings a snap.

Kiwiohana
11-22-2015, 07:55 PM
I use these on my Pono:
http://www.amazon.com/Ukulele-Diamond-BridgeBeads-String-Ties/dp/B00HB8TOPG
I have no wear or string tie marks on my bridge.
Very happy with this product.

Hi Johnson. These look great. Do they rub on the soundboard at all or stay clear?

Thanks.

Tigershark
11-22-2015, 08:06 PM
String through is the only way to go. The traditional slotted bridge has several problems.

I own/have owned many many many old slotted bridge ukuleles and have only had enlarged string slots on two of them, both repaired without problem. And just one loose bridge on an old Martin Style 2, compared to almost every old guitar I buy that has a loose bridge :)

I think the flaw is more in the use of the slotted bridge. If the knot is small, or not seated properly in the hole, and the uke brought to tension, damage can happen. This A string probably had a single knot and wasn't big enough to hold in the slot when tightened.

With proper use & maintenance, it's an effective bridge design. Still holding strong after 100 years of service.

85712

Pukulele Pete
11-23-2015, 12:05 AM
Thank You Ken Timms for this video. Great knot for the A string.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-rBcbXqql0

Camsuke
11-23-2015, 10:28 AM
Here's a little video on the Diamond Bridge Beads that may be of interest.


http://youtu.be/muFht-LLJTo

strumsilly
11-23-2015, 11:40 AM
That would be fine on a cheap ukulele. For something valuable, it's actually not that hard to (completely or partially) fill the slot and hole with wood dust & superglue, and then recut the slot and redrill the hole. Even easier to do with the bridge off. Masking tape helps control the glue. The way you knot the string can make a difference too.I think I may go this route . this is a Gibson 2 . valuable enough?

hmgberg
11-23-2015, 12:18 PM
I think I may go this route . this is a Gibson 2 . valuable enough?

This is what I would recommend, as I did earlier in the thread. I saw the finish crazing in the pictures you attached and figured it was a vintage ukulele. I think an old Gibson is valuable enough...

If you use the accelerator, you can fill in the gap quite quickly, a drop at a time, so that you don't overdo it and have to refile the slot. It doesn't appear that you have to fill in all that much.

strumsilly
11-23-2015, 01:13 PM
This is what I would recommend, as I did earlier in the thread. I saw the finish crazing in the pictures you attached and figured it was a vintage ukulele. I think an old Gibson is valuable enough...

If you use the accelerator, you can fill in the gap quite quickly, a drop at a time, so that you don't overdo it and have to refile the slot. It doesn't appear that you have to fill in all that much.
thanks, yes, just near the end where the knot pulled through. It was already big. I should have put a bigger knot or bead on, hindsight.

Tigershark
11-23-2015, 03:35 PM
I think I may go this route . this is a Gibson 2 . valuable enough?

Any ukulele that you care about is worth doing a proper repair. I would never take a drill to a ukulele bridge :)

Superglue can be tough to control, and it easily damages lacquer finishes. If you're not comfortable with it, a luthier who works on acoustic guitars should have the tools & experience to do it for you. Those guys are always dealing with worn bridge plates, a very similar problem.

BlackBearUkes
11-28-2015, 08:56 AM
When a bridge of this type suffers a string blow out, infusing a bunch of glue and wood dust is a futile repair IMO. It will not hold for long and it is actually better to replace the bridge. Also, drilling a small hole down into the top and making it a string through type bridge, is better in the long run. The small holes don't damage anything, are mostly invisible and add years of life to the uke.

If you simply can't stand the idea of drilling small holes, then it is better to replace the entire bridge.


Any ukulele that you care about is worth doing a proper repair. I would never take a drill to a ukulele bridge :)

Superglue can be tough to control, and it easily damages lacquer finishes. If you're not comfortable with it, a luthier who works on acoustic guitars should have the tools & experience to do it for you. Those guys are always dealing with worn bridge plates, a very similar problem.

strumsilly
11-28-2015, 10:00 AM
When a bridge of this type suffers a string blow out, infusing a bunch of glue and wood dust is a futile repair IMO. It will not hold for long and it is actually better to replace the bridge. Also, drilling a small hole down into the top and making it a string through type bridge, is better in the long run. The small holes don't damage anything, are mostly invisible and add years of life to the uke.

If you simply can't stand the idea of drilling small holes, then it is better to replace the entire bridge.It would maintain more of the original look if I drilled the holes as the bridge exactly matches the top. I've drilled bigger holes than this in more valuable ukes.You said at the end of the slot. Where would you drill the holes, which end?? straight through where the string exits the slot?. what size? a different[slightly bigger] size for each string? there does seem to be a thin piece of wood inside under the bridge. thanks in advance.

strumsilly
11-28-2015, 10:08 AM
Thanks for the awesome tip Duane from BlackBear ukeleles. (My BB pineapple Sopronino is well loved btw)
Had my A string slot on my '30s Martin bridge blow out due to string tension and being an old ass uke.
Was not sure if fixable,literally 20 minutes after opening this thread,the thing is strung up and tuned to pitch.
Used a glass bead used to make rosaries and 1/16 drill bit.
Awesome resource for all things ukulele is what this site is.
Thanks for bringing the sweet sound of my Martin back to life..
requested pics on slotted bridge:
85684
85685
85686


edit: sorry for the ginormous pics
so you just did the A string blowout?

BlackBearUkes
11-28-2015, 11:04 AM
You would drill the small 1/16" diameter or smaller hole at the end of the slot, were the string comes out of the bridge. As long as the string you are fitting goes through the hole you are drilling, that should work fine. Always use a bead, that way the string won't wear its way into the wood


It would maintain more of the original look if I drilled the holes as the bridge exactly matches the top. I've drilled bigger holes than this in more valuable ukes.You said at the end of the slot. Where would you drill the holes, which end?? straight through where the string exits the slot?. what size? a different[slightly bigger] size for each string? there does seem to be a thin piece of wood inside under the bridge. thanks in advance.

Kayak Jim
11-28-2015, 11:52 AM
There is a tool called a gimlet, and another called a pin vice or similar, that are made for drilling tiny holes. The gimlet is like a thin drill bit with a handle you twist with your fingers, and the pin vice holds a thin bit so you can twist it. You have a lot of control because it is all done with your fingers.

I have this one and it's great.

85879

http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/page.aspx?p=41753&cat=1,180,42337

strumsilly
11-28-2015, 12:14 PM
thanks all. I took black bears advice[thank you]. I figured no harm done , and if a future owner wanted to attempt a different repair, what I did will not impact that. This is for sale in the marketplace and I reduced the price because of the damage. Now $250

85887
8588585886

TheCraftedCow
11-29-2015, 03:17 PM
and the Amish Dutch still illuminate with candles and drive a horse and buggy. Through the body stringing is as much of a step forward as was replacing gut strings with synthetic materials. That "many" still use something traditional is no evidence that it has not been greatly improved by means of a different way

UkeOG
02-05-2016, 07:51 AM
I have an old Gibson with worn/split slots, I have been considering, drilling holes through the bridge, (they seemed to have used a bridge plate under). and use expensive bridge beads ?? Is there an actual better bead which will work with out paying $20.

strumsilly
02-05-2016, 08:21 AM
I have an old Gibson with worn/split slots, I have been considering, drilling holes through the bridge, (they seemed to have used a bridge plate under). and use expensive bridge beads ?? Is there an actual better bead which will work with out paying $20.if you look at the pictures in post 38,, you can see the white bead I used. I got a giant bag of them for $2, you can get them at any craft store , mine are 5mm pony beads. if you can't find them PM me your address and I'll send you some.

Tootler
02-05-2016, 10:53 PM
As strumsilly says, go to a craft supplies shop and look in the beadwork section. You will find all sorts of beads. I bought some very small ones to slip into the knot on my slotted bridge ukes to make the knot bigger without having to tie multiple knots. I use them on the A, E and G strings but not the C as the hole is too small. The C string doesn't need it anyway.

flailingfingers
02-06-2016, 04:27 AM
I use these on my ukulele http://www.amazon.com/Ukulele-Diamond-BridgeBeads-String-Ties/dp/B00HB8TOPG This should work well for you.
Same here on my Moore Bettah "through body" bridge. The knots, especially the E and A strings could be hard to remove when changing strings. No such problem with the beads. Chuck recommended it. Clean and simple.

Mivo
02-06-2016, 05:00 AM
I have always felt iffy about slotted bridges, but wasn't sure if I wasn't just worrying over nothing. Apparently it's a valid concern! Hmm. I have two ukuleles with slotted bridges, and I guess I should take some precautions.

Other than beads from a crafting store, what do you think of these String Ties (http://www.thomann.de/gb/string_tie_ukulele_tiger_brown.htm)? Around $15 is not precisely cheap, but I like the way they become "part" of the knot. Do you see any downsides of them? For the sound or the structure.

Mivo
02-09-2016, 12:55 PM
... what do you think of these String Ties (http://www.thomann.de/gb/string_tie_ukulele_tiger_brown.htm)?

I ended up buying them, just to try them out. They are tinier than they look in the photos, just about 10x5mm (bit less than 0.4x0.2 inches?). They each have six holes (two on each side, one at top and bottom), and I think they would take up to Nylguts. Probably cheaper to just buy crafting beads, but I still like that you can tie the strings around them. They are available in brown, white, and black. Will be using them on my slotted bridges when I change strings the next time. Small price for some peace of mind! (Thanks Strumsilly, I needed a nudge to do that; the slotted bridge design had always worried me a bit, but I had disregarded it as unfounded.)

TheCraftedCow
02-10-2016, 05:27 AM
Thank you Brian for Your comments and suggestions. A 1/16 bit is big enough for a manhole compared to the size of the actual string Take a cutting of each string... or the whole long thing as a set to a REAL hardware store and asked for numbered bits. lay the string beside the one that is the exact size of the string and go one number larger for all four strings, and drill each one separately. All of my custom made ukuleles are through the body, and so --thanks to me-- re a lot of my production made ukes. I offer it as a no charge service on new ukulele sales.

bonesigh
02-10-2016, 05:56 PM
This is what I'd do. Might even make the uke sound better (:


The best fix for this type of bridge IMO is to simply drill a 1/16" diameter hole at the end of the slot, straight down into the top. This is now a string through type bridge. Always use a bead on the strings, not just a knot. No more torn out bridge slots and the bridge will never fly off, and the original look is the same.

Mim
02-11-2016, 03:26 AM
This may have already been mentioned, but just in case it hasn't let me throw this out there,

when changing the G and A strings of a slotted bridge, one little knot will hold it, but then it has a tendency to start to slip through the bridge slowly over time, stressing the wood, and then this happens.

If you can tie it twice where you have a big know... Like, double the know. Not meaning making 2 knots, making one bigger one. That will help in the future from this happening.

(Speaking from experience ;) )

bearbike137
02-11-2016, 08:05 AM
I had a Collings slotted bridge blow up on me just like that. Yeah, I guess it was user error on my part - but when a mistake is that easy to make, there is some aspect of design error involved. So, yeah, I hate slotted bridges as well. :)

strumsilly
02-11-2016, 08:28 AM
This may have already been mentioned, but just in case it hasn't let me throw this out there,

when changing the G and A strings of a slotted bridge, one little knot will hold it, but then it has a tendency to start to slip through the bridge slowly over time, stressing the wood, and then this happens.

If you can tie it twice where you have a big know... Like, double the know. Not meaning making 2 knots, making one bigger one. That will help in the future from this happening.

(Speaking from experience ;) )
yea, hindsight is always 20-20. I don't play sopranos anyway, I don't know why I keep buying them! I sold the Gibby.