View Full Version : Help with baritone design

03-08-2017, 04:42 AM
Well I've made my baritone mold, and now need to finalise the internal design. As explained in a previous thread, this will be my first attempt at a baritone and the prospective customer is wanting to tune to GCEA rather than DGBE. From Allens advice in the earlier post, I'll go with a 19" nominal scale length and play around with the frets-to-body to position the bridge in a reasonable location. Strings will be selected to suit the tuning.

I would appreciate guidance with the bracing though!

I don't want to push the boundaries, so the body is standard shape 14" long x 10" lower bout. From what I can glean from Google, the norm seems to be 5 fans and a bridge plate?

I'll be using spruce for the top. For the fans, does 5 mm wide x 7 mm high, peaked in front of the bridge plate and tapering to nothing at each end sound about right? That's a tad smaller all round than I would use on a tenor.
For the lower soundhole transverse braces I thought around 7 mm wide x 9 mm high and for the upper transverse go a little larger to around 10 mm wide. The soundhole itself to be re-enforced with a spruce doughnut.

Very grateful for any help!

03-08-2017, 08:02 PM
I know nothing about building baritone ukes nor have I ever built one, but I like to think about it... You don't say how many brace fans you are using. I would guess three with a patch. But the thing is, a baritone is bigger than a tenor, but smaller than a guitar. How about four thin fans? Or maybe X-bracing would be better since it is getting guitar sized but on the other hand it isn't a guitar. It seems to me design-wise that the baritone is caught in this neither world between two sizes. Tenor uke on the one hand and guitar on the other. I'm not saying that is bad, just challenging. Just keep in mind that as things increase in size, it is not a linear progression but an exponential progression. Thus one could take the measurements on a tenor uke and multiply them by the appropriate log number (getting out of my depth here) and come up with the appropriate size. More of less.

03-09-2017, 01:16 AM
I'm not sure if Brucewei is the builder that you guys would refer to yet my brucewei 19" baritone has 3 well tapered braces and a bridge plate. Its a nice responsive instrument.


03-09-2017, 06:02 AM
I use five fans that tend to be a bit lower but the same width as for a three-brace tenor. They taper to nothing at the tail but are still around an eighth inch where they butt up to the lower transverse brace. Transverse braces are a bit taller and wider than for a tenor. I never use a donut, just a small, low brace on each side of the sound hole between the transverse braces. much depends on the top, though. All my bridge plates are carbon fiber rather than wood.

03-09-2017, 07:23 AM
Thanks David - advice much appreciated. Your sizes sound pretty close to those I had in mind for the fans and the transverse braces, so that gives me the confidence to proceed. I've always used low braces either side of the soundhole before now, but thought I might try a doughnut on this one!

Anthony - thanks for the Bruce Wei info, but I think on balance I will go with five rather than three fans. The only baritone I have looked inside was a Mahalo - it had three chunky fans and a bridge plate, but that was on a plywood top.

Sequoia - you nailed the reason I have asked for advice!