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View Full Version : Bridge preferences (tie, pinned, through the top...)???



robedney
10-08-2017, 01:38 PM
In my never ending prototyping I've made several ukes, some with string through the top bridges and some with the traditional tie type.

I like the string through the top better for lots of good, sound mechanical reasons. However, when I get to wondering what the strings on one uke might sound like on another uke there's a problem.

So, I've been thinking about bridge pins (from the guitar world). I've even gone so far as to order some pins and a taper tool, which have arrived. It seems to me that this might be ideal, in that it's still technically a string through the top system, but it's easy as pie (if you've got the right tool around) to remove strings in a way that leaves them reusable. On the other hand, pins add another level of complexity both in making and for the player.

I also realize that most folks put on a set of strings, play them until they're dead or break and then replace them -- so this whole question is not of much concern to many. Still, I need to pick a system, so what do you all think?????

RichM
10-08-2017, 02:11 PM
Having had every possible bridge stringing combination, string through top is my favorite simply because it's the simplest. I have yet to see a meaningful difference in tone based on the stringing method, so for me it's all about convenience.

M3Ukulele
10-08-2017, 02:36 PM
I would like to see string through for you new tenor that is what I would like. With four tenor, tow Pono's are tie. My custom Is slot. My Fluke is slot. I played guitar for 30 years with pin bridges and while they work good, aren't that hard to use, when I started Uke, I stayed away from pinned bridge. I wint not buy one with pins but would prefer next Uke to be string thru. They are so simple and sleek.
My .02 cents worth.

Ukulele Eddie
10-08-2017, 02:38 PM
I strongly prefer string-through or pinned vs. tie. And I am not hesitant to change strings.

anthonyg
10-08-2017, 02:46 PM
My two bobs worth is that being able to reuse strings is a VERY low priority when it comes to deciding on a bridge design. If you like string through the top then I would stick with it. Standard pin bridges only work properly with ball ends on the string. The whole design is based around the ball end being displaced sideways and then placing sideways pressure on the pin, rather than vertical force which pins aren't designed to resist.

You could look at redesigning the pin system for plain strings. You could have a hole and a slot on neck side to hold a string with a knot under but then the pin is completely superfluous to this design anyway.

jer
10-08-2017, 03:34 PM
My personal favorite is what Outdoor Ukulele uses for their bridge design. It's pretty much a string through, but loaded easily from the top.
http://ukulelego.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/outdoor-bridge.jpg

Next favorite would be the usual string through.
Then tie bridge.
Then the old slotted bridge that loads from the end as least favorite...but not a deal breaker if the uke has everything else I'm looking for.

anthonyg
10-08-2017, 03:45 PM
You could look at redesigning the pin system for plain strings. You could have a hole and a slot on neck side to hold a string with a knot under but then the pin is completely superfluous to this design anyway.


My personal favorite is what Outdoor Ukulele uses for their bridge design. It's pretty much a string through, but loaded easily from the top.
http://ukulelego.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/outdoor-bridge.jpg



There you go. Someone has already done it.

jer
10-08-2017, 04:09 PM
There you go. Someone has already done it.
Ah yes. For some reason, what you said didn't register with me at first as I didn't realize exactly what you were describing.

I have seen this design on an electric guitar with a metal bridge too. It could've been an electric bass. I can't remember for sure. I just know it worked the same way. I can't seem to find a pic of it now.

kohanmike
10-08-2017, 07:58 PM
I also like string-through, which I'm doing on my latest uke, though my others are all tie. To me a full string-through is the most advantageous and makes sense physically because it clamps the bridge to the top rather than pull the bridge across.

Rakelele
10-08-2017, 10:32 PM
I do like the clean look of string-through, but when it comes to changing strings, for me, pins are easiest, string-through the hardest.

jimavery
10-08-2017, 10:38 PM
I much prefer a simple slotted bridge. Tie bridges are just so fiddly in comparison. Anything else I reckon is just bling.

Croaky Keith
10-08-2017, 10:50 PM
It's your uke - but I buy tie bridged ukes. :)

So easy to use, once you learn to trap the string with the knot, (which I think is where most people that don't like it fail); & it's easy to swap & reuse strings with this method. Also, you can tie a bead on the string end if you are experimenting with strings, which will allow changing & reuse very quick & easy.

(I understand the advantage of string through, but don't like the idea of having to fish the strings out of the sound hole to tie the knots in them, & it's easier to replace a single string with other methods.)

TopDog
10-08-2017, 11:00 PM
My small collection are mostly tie-bridge,but one is
knotted,and one is a 'through bridge' type.

robinboyd
10-08-2017, 11:16 PM
I really really dislike slotted bridges. Everything else is just fine.

Booli
10-09-2017, 01:45 AM
Since I change strings a lot, I tie a knot on the end of the string, which allows me to put the strings on a slotted bridge, and if I am using them on a uke with a tie bridge, I feed the same string thru a 3mm bead and then into the hole in the tie bridge, which not only allows me to re-use them later without the twisted mess that results from removing them after installing them the traditional way, but ALSO allows for a more aggressive string break angle from the back of the saddle and into the string hole in the bridge.

Re-using strings on a string-thru design has been troublesome for me since if you remove the strings, there's no way to feed them from the soundhole up (since the soundhole is smaller than the width of my hand unlike on a guitar where I can fit my hand inside and 'thread the needle' with the string from the inside up), however, the solution to re-using strings on a thru-bridge is to snip off the knot, and feed from the top again.

While this wastes about 25mm of string when you clip the knot, in my case, since I ALWAYS leave extra at the tuners end, it's not really a problem.

Keep in mind that my string changing obsession only comes into play when I first get a new instrument and want to try different sets on it to see the range of tone, and once I've selected the set I want for the tone/tension/play-feel, the string changing is minimized and in the future on that instrument only done when the string wears out or breaks.

Pin bridges are fine, and I have smaller beads that I use for those strings, with the same knot, so it's not an issue for me.

Ball-end strings for ukulele do not exist, so with $2 spent at the craft store, you can get a bag of 200 beads in assorted sizes that will last you a lifetime, so these objections to using beads or pin-bridges for the PLAYER are really just a reason to avoid what is really minimal added steps. To each his own.

I care more about tone and playability than I do about bridge type, and the only issue I have with slotted bridges is when using wound strings, sometimes it's difficult to get the knot small enough to fit WHILE not breaking the windings of the outer wrap wire, which eventually causes the string to break at the bridge slot.

Happened to me many times. I've since taken to putting a few drops of clear nail polish on the knots in wound strings to help strengthen them by keeping the knot AND the windings from coming apart from being kinked by the pressure of string tension.

Mivo
10-09-2017, 01:52 AM
I like string-through bridges, but I dislike changing strings on them (fishing strings out of the sound hole). For convenience, I prefer tie bridges, like on classical guitars. Those are quick to do and don't cause problems or difficulties for me.

DownUpDave
10-09-2017, 02:32 AM
Tie bridge and pin bridge makes re-using strings the easiest but I think that is lowest priority. I have both bridge designs including slotted and string through. I prefer string through ( I even paid extra to have it on my Farallon) because of the clean look and mechanical advantage.

Croaky Keith
10-09-2017, 05:02 AM
Maybe the through body stringing needs to have a keyhole shape so that you can drop the knot through from the top, then pull it into the slot to secure it.

Nickie
10-09-2017, 06:10 AM
Through the body is my fave, by far.
My least favorite is tailpiece stringing, found on some reso units and all banjoukes.
I don't know why so many people have trouble with through the body re-stringing. It's so easy.

kohanmike
10-09-2017, 06:12 AM
Maybe the through body stringing needs to have a keyhole shape so that you can drop the knot through from the top, then pull it into the slot to secure it.

I like that thought.

besley
10-09-2017, 07:25 AM
I like the clean look of a string through bridge, and wish that option had been available when I ordered my Farallon. I've found that the string knots on the tie bridge sometimes irritate my forearm, so what I've begun doing is just using the regular tie bridge as a string through. It's easy to do, and does allow easy reuse of the strings.

Tootler
10-10-2017, 05:34 AM
I've no direct experience of a through bridge but mechanically it makes sense as the strings are holding the bridge down rather than trying to "pull it off" as in the other designs.

Reusing strings is not a consideration as far as I'm concerned. I find a slotted bridge easier than a tie bridge when it comes to changing strings. I tie small beads onto the strings with a tie bridge as I've had strings pull through even after "doubling up" the knot.

When I restrung a tie bridge uke recently, I considered fitting the strings in through bridge style, but didn't in the end. I wish I had as it would have made restringing the uke easier.