View Full Version : Which bridge stringing do you have/prefer?

02-25-2017, 05:12 PM
I hope I haven't repeated this....here goes.
Which stringing method on the bridge to you prefer?

1. Pin bridge
2. Slotted bridge
3. Tie bridge
4. Through the body

Can you say why?

02-25-2017, 05:25 PM
I have pin bridges, slot bridges and tie bridges. Tie bridges are my least favorite, pin bridges are the easiest and neatest to change strings on, slot bridges second.

Oh, my UBass has through the bridge, haven't changed strings on it yet.

02-25-2017, 06:22 PM
I have two tie and two slotted. Both are good. With tie block the tie bridge is easy to change string and re use string only played for a short period of time. My next tenor I want a string thru system. Just want to try it. Having played guitar for year the only one I'm not in a hurray to go to is pin bridge.

02-25-2017, 06:28 PM
My favorite is the slotted bridge, and my least favorite is the through the body type.


02-25-2017, 06:31 PM
I have slotted, tie, and through the body types, and prefer the through bridge. It has a clean look and requires less fiddling to change strings once you get the hang of it. Never had a pin bridge.

02-25-2017, 06:59 PM
I have experienced all types of bridges mentioned.

The easiest to change strings, for me, is the pin bridge, which may look a little over-the-top on a small uke, though.

Hardest to change strings is the through-the-body type; almost impossible for me to change just one string at a time.

Slotted bridges would be easy and light, but I've seen knots slipping and slots tearing.

So I guess to me, the usual tie bridge is a good compromise of looks and functionality. They may be more problematic in how the strings pull at the bridge, but I have never personally experienced bellying or that a bridge got pulled off.

There seems to be advantages and disadvantages to every type of bridge.

02-25-2017, 07:11 PM
I have not tried pin bridges or through the body, so I have no comment on them.

I currently have a tie-bar bridge and a slot bridge. I really really hate the slot bridge and think the tie-bar works fine. On the slot bridge, I've had knots slip and I've had to sand out one of the slots to fit thicker strings. No problems at all with the tie-bar.

Croaky Keith
02-25-2017, 10:41 PM
I always look for a tie bridge, very easy & secure, (when you have learnt how to successfully tie the knots ;) ), you can also use a knotted string with (or without) a bead, if you so wish. :)

I've only got one slotted, that's on my RISA Uke Ellie, I don't like it, & I had to file it out to fit a low G.

I remember pin bridges from my guitar days, I had one fly out when strumming, not too keen on them.

Through body sounds like a good idea, but a lot of aggravation just to change one single string, probably the best mechanically though. :cool:

02-25-2017, 11:34 PM
Visually, and for ease of changing strings, I prefer a tie bridge (especially the nice old-fashioned chunky ones).

But yes, knots (even double & triple knots) tearing through, taking chunks of the bridge with them, and whole bridges coming off, make those feel a little less secure - so, for practicality, durability and ease of mind, I prefer a tie bridge.

I don't have any hands-on experience with the other two kinds.

02-26-2017, 12:53 AM
I have ukuleles with tie bridges, slotted bridges and pin bridges. There is something to be said for tie bridges. Its stood the test of time and generally doesn't cause any problems. I have one ukulele with a slotted bridge. It works with care but it needs to be very accurately slotted or there will be problems. These are both what we will call top mount systems. They are traditional on classic string instruments as the string tension isn't usually high enough to pull the bridge off but it has been known to happen.

Pin bridges and through body are BOTH thru body types. The BIG technical advantage here is that the string is anchored under the top so there is zero risk of pulling the bridge off. Pin bridges work brilliantly with ball end strings or strings you fit a bead to the end of. The nature of the design is that the hole is big enough to fit a ball end through which anchors under the bridge plate when the pin pushes the ball end SIDEWAYS. Bridge pins are designed to resist sideways forces ONLY. Not vertical forces. Tying a knot or two in you classical strings isn't usually enough and leads to problems but with a ball end or bead on the end of your strings its a great system.

What we are referring to as through body is where there is only a tiny hole just big enough for a string and its held in place by a simple knot on the end of a string. Technically its a very good system which is reliable and avoids any of the possible pit falls of pin bridges but trades this for a slightly awkward string changing regime. Its not that difficult to change these strings but you need to get the technique right.

02-26-2017, 01:38 AM
I do have ukuleles with each type of bridge. The tie bridge is traditional, looks and functions very nicely but I prefer the through body type. Custom builders like Moore Bettah, Kinnard and Ono have switched over to this style of bridge, these guys know their stuff. I understand that there is a mechanical advantage to this method and I know changing strings can more difficult. I just really like how clean and slick everything looks with this bridge.

02-26-2017, 02:47 AM
Every ukulele I have owned is a tie bridge. I tend to change strings more often then necessary, just to try something new. I do not have an issue with the knots.

02-26-2017, 06:18 AM
Mine have the tie bridge. That's just what they came with. I'm pretty good at tying things, as my brother was a Boy Scout and I was a sailor for a while, so wrapping them and tucking the ends under the next is pretty easy for me. I think that I would like to try the slotted bridge, it just seems so simple and quick, but I'm not going to buy another ukulele to do it.

02-26-2017, 06:27 AM
Both of our ukuleles have slotted bridges. The guitars of my former life had tie bridges and pin bridges. I could live with either on a uke. I do not think I'd like a "tie through the body" bridge at all.

A tip for those with slotted and tie bridges: Tie your string end in a knot and then melt the end of the string with a bit of flame from a lighter. The heat will cause the tip of the string to ball up. It will make it almost impossible for the knot to untie itself, which is most likely to happen on the thinner strings. I learned this technique while studying classical guitar.

02-26-2017, 07:24 AM
Through the body seems really tedious to be honest, and regardless of benefits from the construction, not something I would like on any uke I have.

02-26-2017, 08:15 AM
Slotted. Pins are a deal breaker, and I even find tie bridges to be too fussy for me - while I can tie the knots, I'd prefer not to. I've never encountered through the body tying on a uke and I'm pretty sure I'd consider that fussy as well. For me, simpler is always better.

02-26-2017, 08:17 AM
My first uke, a Pono tenor purchased about a year ago has a tie bridge. Being new to the uke I went a little crazy trying different strings, must have had 8 or 10 different sets on over several weeks. I never had a problem with the tie bridge until I tried Fremont Blacklines and tied the knot as usual but on both the C and E string the knot slipped loose under tension and the result was two little dents in the perfect finish. I consider it newbie mistake- I should have added an extra loop to the knot! I like the tie bridge now that I've gotten used to it.. but I share this here as a cautionary tale as it did seem the Fremont's were more prone to slipping.

02-26-2017, 02:28 PM
My favorite is the one I've used the most when changing strings (tie bridge). My least favorite is through-the-body (because I've never done it, and some of the comments here about it are scaring me from it). The slotted ones are the easiest, but so easy that I think that something must be wrong or the uke can't be that good if that's all it takes. Last night I changed a pin bridge uke for the first time in at least a year, and dreaded it -- until I remembered/realized that it's as easy as my favorite (back to the tie bridge, and I'm done).

02-26-2017, 04:21 PM
My favorite is the slotted bridge, and my least favorite is the through the body type.


Ditto! :) :rock: :nana: :music:

02-26-2017, 04:34 PM
My fave is through the body/bridge stringing. I hope it doesn't scare anyone off. It is the easiest for me. Strings come wound in the package and this shape makes it easy to get the string out of the soundhole. It just takes a little niggling and holding my mouth just right. I do tie a piece of C string into the end of the A string, so it doesn't slip through the bridge during tuning.
2 ukes at our house have it, and if I ever buy another uke, it shall have this type of bridge. Neat, clean looking, and some folks think it helps sustain.

tenor madness
02-26-2017, 05:41 PM
My favourite is through the body. It may not be the easiest to change, though really not that bad poke the string through until you can access at the sound hole tie a knot and pull back on other end and you are good to go. My least favorite is the pinned bridge, I've had some problems with the strings getting cut there.

02-26-2017, 09:16 PM
I don't change strings often. I like the looks of tie bridge best.

mountain goat
02-26-2017, 10:25 PM
string through for me. less stress on the soundboard.

02-27-2017, 04:12 AM
Personally I think the tie bridge is generally the easiest to get along with. I have fewer problems with it.
I find the pin bridge on my Kanilea just too big on a soprano or concert Uke it's bound to have a deadening effect on the sound board.
I also find that the A and G fluro strings aren't held all that securely without adding a 3mm bead.
With slot and knot bridges I find the same sort of problem Kamaka's bridge works better with thick nylon strings Kiwaya's better with thinner fluro strings.
Again you can add tiny beads to the knot to hold the G and A strings in the Kamaka. One of family Martins has a repair bridge were the knot pulled through the slot.
Tie through sound-hole bridges - I only ever had one worked OK was fiddly.
Tie bridges seem to hold anything, easy and quick, small and neat, and don't generally seem prone to damage. Can't imagine why they are seen as awkward

Rob Uker
02-27-2017, 08:02 AM
Tie bridge seem to be the preferred for classical guitars.
I've had problems with strings in slots coming loose and pins aren't intended for nylon strings.

02-27-2017, 08:40 AM
compare the size of a tie bridge to that of a through the body bridge and it seems to me that the one with the least area would be more responsive...with all other factors the same.I was sitting next to a fellow with a brand new well known name brand ukulele. I was about a foot behind him rather than in a straight line. something flew in front of my face, and then flew back toward his hand. Talk about getting your knuckles rapped! The entire bridge had let go and came forward past me and then returned to hit his hand. I cannot envision that ever happening with a through the body strung instrument. I have a ukulele that has a hole large enough to drop a knot straight down and an L shaped slot so the string moves over and forward into front end of the |part. I have numbered bits the size of the string and I will try it on one of my cheap ukes. When I do through the body , I remove the |__| piece where the string was formerly tied. so the bulk is reduced.
Lehua ukuleles are now strung throught the top.They are solid acacia blackwood, and designed by Bob Gleason of Pegasus, and made in Portugal. My Brad Donaldson pineapple, the Ono concert and the Nicaraguan cocobola are also throught the body

02-27-2017, 10:43 AM
I've only had tie and pin. My preference is tie. The pin works, but it is also a tie of sorts because you need to tie a bead onto the string and then pin it. On occasion I have had to use multiple knots to keep the string from slipping with higher tension strings.

I do have a ukulele with a variation of a tie bridge. It is a 12 hole bridge (some guitars have 18 hole) with 3 holes per string. Basically the string goes through a lower middle hole then through a side hole, across and back through the other side hole and the tucked underneath the first bottom to side cross. The theory is that there is no wrapping around the string that will pull the string up and lower the string break angle. Pretty cool and easy to string, but somewhat of a pain when removing strings.


03-12-2017, 09:31 PM
I have ukes with tie, slotted, pin, and string-through bridges. I'm fine with any of them, though some are more fiddly.

Tie bridges: It's fast and hasslefree to replace strings. Once you know how to make the knot, it looks tidy too. What bugs me a bit is that the part where you tie the strings to will over time get dents and cut into. Minor cosmetic thing, though.

Slotted: Easy to install strings on, but on my vintage soprano, the A (B, in my case) string ate through the bridge in the course of 90 years. This seems common with older slotted bridges. I doubt this is a problem in the first few decades, though.

Pin: I like the look. On my Barron River, the pins are hand carved and very easy to pull out. On the Kanilea I had, they were plastic and I needed a bridge puller (I worried about damaging the top due to the force needed). Can be a bit annoying if the A string slips through the bead.

String-through: My Black Bear uses this bridge. It's a bit tedious to fish the strings out of the sound hole as the beads don't fit through the bridge (they do with pin bridges). I like the simplistic look here.

I'm not sure if I have a preference, they all work for me (after learning how to use them, thanks to HMS and their great videos). If I had to pick one, it would be the tie bridge because there are no knots that slip through beads or slits.

Rob Uker
03-13-2017, 06:51 AM
I've only seen pin bridges on line on hand make instruments.

03-13-2017, 07:19 AM
Hmm, this one was tough. All my keeper ukes have pin bridges - so I guess I must think they sound best. However, I functionally prefer tie bridges. They are simpler. Occasionally, despite my best efforts, a pin will will pop out of the pin bridge when changing strings.

And don't even get me started on slot bridges. They always seem like an accident waiting to happen to me. I once had a slot bridge explode on me (Collings uke) and I decided right then that I didn't like them.

03-13-2017, 07:29 AM
I've only seen pin bridges on line on hand make instruments.

All of Kanile'a ukes are pin bridge, even sporanos. I have an Islander (their economy line) long neck soprano and it has pin bridge.

03-13-2017, 08:21 AM
I hope I haven't repeated this....here goes.
Which stringing method on the bridge to you prefer?

1. Pin bridge
2. Slotted bridge
3. Tie bridge
4. Through the body

Can you say why?
For many years I have only had ukuleles with #3....Tie bridge....
I always converted these to be #4.....Through the body...
I have my latest Tenor from Caramel with a #1.....Pin bridge.....
I am not going to make it into a string through as has been my custom.
Instead I am going to keep it as a Pin bridge, the bridge looks so very neat on this Caramel tenor from Amazon.ca.
I have always been a "play before I pay" guy. This time I was tempted and was pleasantly surprised with the instrument from Caramel which is as nice inside as outside. The 5mm fan struts under the sound board are exquisite. I made a little rosette for the tenor I was so pleased. Here is a picture of the Pin bridge from Caramel with my homemade rosette. PS: The bridge plate inside is so nice and thin, looks less than 2mm thick so it is not hampering the vibrations of the sound board in any way and is not affecting the nuances and timbre and all the other big dollar words the sales brochures use.

03-13-2017, 08:27 AM
The tie bridge requires a larger foot print and there for more mass plus the look screams Guitar. I play mostly sopranos so the large bridge is too bulky.
The bridge pin system is fine on my Tenor and Baritones. I have lost a pin or two that went flying to the other side of somewhere. I now have or made spares.
I like the slot bridges if intact on my vintage sopranos. When encountering a blow out I've used a small bead (easiest), replaced the bridge (most intense) or drilled straight down through the slot and made it a though the body system. Bridge lifting has happened when the environment was hot with slotted bridges.
I prefer the through the body system as it has the potentially least weight and will never detach the bridge. String changing is more complex. I have a curved 10.5" hemostat to assist the operation when necessary.
I've made some bridges that are both slotted and through the body. The look is the same as a slotted system and can be used as such, yet there are string holes through the body to facilitate through the body stringing. These were replacement bridges on vintage Martin Sopranos. the Martins had a thin cross strip under the bridge so I wasn't concerned about blow outs of the drilled holes and the holes are the same size as the slots so you don't see them. On a softer sound board a bridge plate would be placed on the underside and that is the usual practice anyhow. If I was replacing or using on build I would go with the combination on sopranos and concerts. On Tenors and Baritones I'd use a pin or through the body. On the one 22" Bass I've used through the body.

03-13-2017, 09:19 AM
I have slotted, pin and tie bridges on my ukes. No string-throughs, which I understand is a lot like a pin bridge but with a smaller hole diameter and no pins. My preference is tie, then pin, then slotted. Tying is just the easiest for me. Pins are easier with a bead. Slotted is a mixed bag. It is a PITA for my Kamaka because I prefer fluorocarbons, which are of course narrower strings than it came with. But the beads that fit through the hole on the pin bridge are wayyyy too big for the hole for the "knot in the slot" and I had to find something much smaller. My Kelii's slotted bridge is no problem, it was built with Worth Browns on and has a larger space for the knot. So I just tie a fisherman's knot and need no beads.

03-13-2017, 12:55 PM
I just have tie on bridges on my Ukes and like them. If you tuck the tag end of the string back into the hole they look a lot better, although some sttings are too big for that. Fluorocarbons look neat this way.