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View Full Version : Bridge patch on uke with a hardwood top?



fungusgeek
04-24-2016, 02:22 PM
I have put bridge patches under softwood soundboards (spruce, redwood) thinking mostly of strings pulling through when using a 'string through' design, which places a knot/bead trying to pull up through the soundboard, and to add a bit of strength/stiffness.

Do people put bridge patches on the bottom of the soundboard if the soundboard is a hardwood (koa, mahogany, myrtle, etc)? Do you consider the patch necessary for strength, and to help keep the bridge from 'rotating' under string pressure? Does it make any difference whether it is a concert or tenor sized uke?

weerpool
04-24-2016, 02:42 PM
you bet. carbon fiber sheet

sequoia
04-24-2016, 06:47 PM
Yes, because not only does it stabilize the top but distributes the string energy from the bridge into the soundboard ... Not sure that a carbon fiber sheet is needed as per Weerpool, but some sort of reinforcement is probably necessary. Not a big deal. Spruce is fine. Some use a hard wood like mahogany. Whatever...

Allen
04-24-2016, 07:53 PM
A bridge patch is also a brace and has a job to do besides protection of the string pulling through on a softwood soundboard.

Matt Clara
08-12-2016, 10:11 AM
Bridge patch is a brace, but there are braces there already, no? The fan braces, I'm thinking of. I'm not an expert--let me make that clear, caveat emptor--but I don't like dealing with the bridge patch and having to carve the bottom of the braces to fit over it. Never once have I got a perfect fit so there's always some space in there somewhere where the fan braces aren't touching top all along its length. So, I've just left them (the bridge patches) out of all the hardwood top ukes I've built. I've got two cherry ukes I built seven years ago, concert sized. Both are flat tops, neither has a bridge patch, both have been strung up under tension the whole time, and both are fine and sound good, too. They're the best sounding ukes I've made to date, honestly. Now I apply an arch to my tops, adding further strength to the area around the bridge.

sequoia
08-12-2016, 06:56 PM
I think the bridge patch is integral to the top and the sound of the uke. It not only strengthens the top by preventing the bridge from rotating on the top (not good), but also transmits the string energy of the bridge to the braces. I also have never had a problem getting a perfect fit of the fan brace over the patch. Easy. Cut and notch the brace a little proud of the patch and then holding both together, use a flat surface to sand them flat and flush. Ten seconds max. I consider this an important step. Could be voodoo. I don't know but I don't think so.

93377

Briangriffinukuleles
08-12-2016, 09:14 PM
I use a thin walnut bridge patch on all my ukes. Protection for a knot pulling through, and they don't effect the sound that I can tell. The fan braces are cut to connect with the brace. Never had a problem with the brace.

Matt Clara
08-13-2016, 03:26 AM
Can't imagine how the bridge patch would transmit the vibrations any better than the top itself.

Yankulele
08-13-2016, 04:36 AM
David Hurd is certainly an advocate of the carbon fiber bridge patch on all tops, if I remember correctly from "Left-Brain Luther."

Nelson

Kekani
08-13-2016, 08:34 AM
+1 to all who said the patch is needed.

It is functional, for more reasons than mentioned. Some design considerations to account for are not only thickness, but length, width, shape (rectangle, surfboard, oval/round edges, bridge shaped i.e.: Kasha, etc) and location.

jcalkin
08-13-2016, 09:43 AM
Bridge patch is a brace, but there are braces there already, no? The fan braces, I'm thinking of. I'm not an expert--let me make that clear, caveat emptor--but I don't like dealing with the bridge patch and having to carve the bottom of the braces to fit over it. Never once have I got a perfect fit so there's always some space in there somewhere where the fan braces aren't touching top all along its length. So, I've just left them (the bridge patches) out of all the hardwood top ukes I've built. I've got two cherry ukes I built seven years ago, concert sized. Both are flat tops, neither has a bridge patch, both have been strung up under tension the whole time, and both are fine and sound good, too. They're the best sounding ukes I've made to date, honestly. Now I apply an arch to my tops, adding further strength to the area around the bridge.

I'd say follow your own light and don't be bullied by popular vote. Seven years isn't a long time in the life of an instrument, but its longer then some guys here have been building. I'd still put a little disk of hardwood underneath each string when bottom loading. A growing number of luthiers are also becoming suspicious of radiused tops, thinking they inhibit tone and volume. I'm one of them. Designing an instrument to be maintenance-free at the expense of musical quality is bass akwards.

greenscoe
08-13-2016, 10:38 AM
I'm wondering whether those in favour of a patch primarily or exclusively use a pinned bridge? If I did, I would use a patch. As I always build with a tied bridge, I simply use 3 or 5 fans and don't use a patch. (I've experimented with a patch on a couple of instruments). I am of course only a hobby builder and not a pro.

Many classical guitars (tied bridge) do not use a patch.

spongeuke
08-13-2016, 08:01 PM
Here is my latest take on a bridge plate and braces93406 maple and bamboo