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View Full Version : Fan vs Ladder Bracing Tests with Worth Browns and Custom Set-Is there a difference?



hollisdwyer
06-04-2019, 03:04 PM
One of the people that I play with when I am in Perth, Western Australia is an amateur luthier. I say amateur only because he never sells any of his work. He either raffles them off to benefit children in hospital who are learning music while there or gives them away to friends.

He has just completed a batch of Ukes that have either fan or ladder bracing to see how the different bracing affected the tone. Each uke with the different bracing type was strung with Worth Browns or with a Frankenstein set that I have been using for a while now and that has been packaged by a well known online string shop.

He explains it all in the post he just uploaded to his website on June 3rd.

I just posted this in the Luthiers section and thought that some of you guys might also find it an interesting read.

https://jarrahdalestringinstrumentcompany.wordpress.com/

If your interested in the string set being tested, here is the direct link so you can see what the custom set is comprised of:

https://www.stringsbymail.com/custom-customer-concoction-hd-tenor-uke-21670.html

AustinHing
06-04-2019, 03:51 PM
Thank you for the link and honestly I would most definitely pay to get my hands on the pear shaped ukulele as they looked so uniquely his own style. They looked absolutely gorgeous and he needs to post some sound samples.

I have linked his ukulele images here as I canít help sharing them. Iím a fan of big bottom ukuleles. Let me know if this is inappropriate and I will remove them.

In regards to the bracing, I would prefer the x brace as he mentioned that there is more note separation than using the fan bracing. I like to have my ukulele with good note separation for playing finger style.

If he ever start selling, with overseas shipping and also makes in concert size or better a soprano size, you need to announce to the community here. Iím sure Iím not the only one who takes immediate liking to it. Still dying for a sound sample though.

https://jarrahdalestringinstrumentcompany.files.wordpress. com/2019/06/2.jpg

https://jarrahdalestringinstrumentcompany.files.wordpress. com/2019/06/1.jpg

Jan D
06-04-2019, 08:17 PM
I agree. Those are fabulous looking ukes!
Jan D

hollisdwyer
06-05-2019, 02:06 AM
Opps, I should have said X bracing, not ladder bracing. Tried to change the title but can’t.

tonyturley
06-06-2019, 04:29 AM
Those are gorgeous! I am getting ready to start building a baritone in a very similar body shape. Hope mine turns out as well.

hollisdwyer
06-07-2019, 02:54 PM
Those are gorgeous! I am getting ready to start building a baritone in a very similar body shape. Hope mine turns out as well.

I suggest that you contact Paul via the website. He’s a great guy and very easy to talk to.

Nickie
06-08-2019, 05:00 PM
Those are some of the nicest looking bridges I have ever seen!

Paul Henneberry
06-09-2019, 01:40 AM
Hi,
this is Paul who made the ukes. It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling that they are so appreciated and Austin I'm totally happy for you to use the images on my blog.
I have made 37 ukes - the first 24 were all long neck sopranos and now 13 of these pear shaped tenors. The pear shape came about from a desire to make some floating bridge ukes. Really it all started with the bit of chrome bling of the tail piece. A bit of reading over at the luthiers forum suggested that floating bridge ukes are a bit mute probably due to the low down force of 4 nylon strings. I took this as a challenge and came up with a bunch of features to try and make a loud floating bridge tenor uke. This included a 2.5 degree neck angle (19mm bridge), 15 foot radius on the sound board, and 18" scale on a tenor and some out there bracing patterns. The body shape was part of the solution in that by taking area from the front bouts and adding it onto the waist I would increase the free vibrating area around the bridge. That batch included 2 floating bridge ukes and 2 fixed bridge ukes as a reference. They turned out well but the floating bridge ones ended up sounding 10% down the road to being banjos. I did another batch of two floaters and two fixed with some refinements to drag them back to sounding more like ukes but they still sounded like banjos. All of the fixed bridge ones sounded fine. I think if I had stuck with the development and reduced the neck angle and bridge height a bit I might have got there in the end. But the fixed bridge ones of both batches sounded really good so I decided to concentrate on developing them instead.
The previous batch were all cocobolo and mahogany which were bright and clear. Going over to all mahogany with this batch was an attempt to mellow the sound a bit. It worked nicely but now I realise that my personal preference is for a bit of sparkle in the voicing. The X braced versions of this batch landed just where I wanted. Early on in my uke making adventure I started making a carbon fibre/ spruce laminated braces which allowed me to make smaller braces which testing showed were just as stiff as normal sized solid spruce braces but a lot smaller. I like to think this contributes to the sound but that is probably just me self justifying the extra work involved.
For Hollis and Kevin (Kinnard Ukes- who suggested lighter bracing) I did make a sound sample comparing strings on identical ukes and identical strings with different bracing systems. It was my first attempt at a sound sample and I used a Blue Yeti mic straight into my laptop and Audacity to edit it together. I cant hear as much difference on the recording as I can in real life but that might be down to the cheap ear buds I am listening to it with. If anybody is interested I could make it available. It goes for about 4 1/2 minutes and is about 10 meg. I've loaded pics in the past over at the luthiers forum but never sound samples. If there is any interest I'll need some tips about where to upload it. If I can remember how to do it here are some pictures of the floating bridge ukes I did and the gizzards of this batch. OK, not sure why the middle pic is upside down on the preview. It is fine on my computer. You can turn your screen upside down at your end.

cheers

Paul118810118811118812

AustinHing
06-09-2019, 01:58 PM
Another possible way of sound samples is through YouTube videos and provide the link here. Granted that the sound quality may not be ideal but if HMS is using it, i guess it’s generally accepted by everyone.

Thanks for sharing your ukuleles with us, Paul. :)

Jerryc41
06-09-2019, 11:46 PM
Sound ports seem to be getting more popular. In another couple of years, they probably become a rarity again.

Paul Henneberry
06-12-2019, 12:15 AM
Hi Jerry,
I was sceptical but am a convert. In the right space it is like listening to yourself play through headphones.

cheers


Paul

DownUpDave
06-12-2019, 10:48 PM
Hi Jerry,
I was sceptical but am a convert. In the right space it is like listening to yourself play through headphones.

cheers


Paul

I whole heartily agree. Until someone has actually owned an instrument with a side sound port and played it they dont have a clue to the difference it makes. Beautiful work by the way Paul, if Hollis is impressed that speaks volumes.

raffrox
06-13-2019, 03:56 PM
Hi,
this is Paul who made the ukes. It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling that they are so appreciated and Austin I'm totally happy for you to use the images on my blog.
I have made 37 ukes - the first 24 were all long neck sopranos and now 13 of these pear shaped tenors. The pear shape came about from a desire to make some floating bridge ukes. Really it all started with the bit of chrome bling of the tail piece. A bit of reading over at the luthiers forum suggested that floating bridge ukes are a bit mute probably due to the low down force of 4 nylon strings. I took this as a challenge and came up with a bunch of features to try and make a loud floating bridge tenor uke. This included a 2.5 degree neck angle (19mm bridge), 15 foot radius on the sound board, and 18" scale on a tenor and some out there bracing patterns. The body shape was part of the solution in that by taking area from the front bouts and adding it onto the waist I would increase the free vibrating area around the bridge. That batch included 2 floating bridge ukes and 2 fixed bridge ukes as a reference. They turned out well but the floating bridge ones ended up sounding 10% down the road to being banjos. I did another batch of two floaters and two fixed with some refinements to drag them back to sounding more like ukes but they still sounded like banjos. All of the fixed bridge ones sounded fine. I think if I had stuck with the development and reduced the neck angle and bridge height a bit I might have got there in the end. But the fixed bridge ones of both batches sounded really good so I decided to concentrate on developing them instead.
The previous batch were all cocobolo and mahogany which were bright and clear. Going over to all mahogany with this batch was an attempt to mellow the sound a bit. It worked nicely but now I realise that my personal preference is for a bit of sparkle in the voicing. The X braced versions of this batch landed just where I wanted. Early on in my uke making adventure I started making a carbon fibre/ spruce laminated braces which allowed me to make smaller braces which testing showed were just as stiff as normal sized solid spruce braces but a lot smaller. I like to think this contributes to the sound but that is probably just me self justifying the extra work involved.
For Hollis and Kevin (Kinnard Ukes- who suggested lighter bracing) I did make a sound sample comparing strings on identical ukes and identical strings with different bracing systems. It was my first attempt at a sound sample and I used a Blue Yeti mic straight into my laptop and Audacity to edit it together. I cant hear as much difference on the recording as I can in real life but that might be down to the cheap ear buds I am listening to it with. If anybody is interested I could make it available. It goes for about 4 1/2 minutes and is about 10 meg. I've loaded pics in the past over at the luthiers forum but never sound samples. If there is any interest I'll need some tips about where to upload it. If I can remember how to do it here are some pictures of the floating bridge ukes I did and the gizzards of this batch. OK, not sure why the middle pic is upside down on the preview. It is fine on my computer. You can turn your screen upside down at your end.

cheers

Paul118810118811118812

Hi Paul, I'm in Perth, WA as well so it's amazing to find out about you.

I'd be interested in having a closer look at your uke's at some stage. They look amazing and by the sounds of it how they play gets just as much detail!

Paul Henneberry
06-14-2019, 01:15 AM
Hi Raffrox,

If you fancy a drive down to Jarrahdale you would be welcome to visit my workshop. DM me if you feel like a drive . I'm just getting ready to launch another raffle for one of these ukes. I will be getting to the Navy Club, SUFFA, Sullivan Hall and Rabble if you are from south of the Swan.
cheers
Paul

raffrox
06-14-2019, 06:03 AM
Hi Raffrox,

If you fancy a drive down to Jarrahdale you would be welcome to visit my workshop. DM me if you feel like a drive . I'm just getting ready to launch another raffle for one of these ukes. I will be getting to the Navy Club, SUFFA, Sullivan Hall and Rabble if you are from south of the Swan.
cheers
Paul

My Mum grew up in Jarrahdale but haven't been there for a lithe while. It would be great to see your workshop so if I'm heading that way I'll get in touch!

Hollis let me know about SUFFA a while back so might be time for me to take a look. What date are you looking to be at SUFFA?

hollisdwyer
06-14-2019, 04:00 PM
My Mum grew up in Jarrahdale but haven't been there for a lithe while. It would be great to see your workshop so if I'm heading that way I'll get in touch!

Hollis let me know about SUFFA a while back so might be time for me to take a look. What date are you looking to be at SUFFA?
I’m back in Perth on the 18th July and will attend SUFFA for the next 4 Saturdays.

raffrox
06-14-2019, 10:04 PM
I’m back in Perth on the 18th July and will attend SUFFA for the next 4 Saturdays.

It might be time for me to finally get there in the next few weeks I think :)

hollisdwyer
06-14-2019, 11:26 PM
It might be time for me to finally get there in the next few weeks I think :)

Bring your Barron River Uke when you do. I’d love to see that.

raffrox
06-15-2019, 02:50 AM
Bring your Barron River Uke when you do. I’d love to see that.

Sounds great. I'll bring it along. I'd be keen to see your Barron River as well or basically any of your uke's. Quite the collection!

Karl Hoyt
06-16-2019, 10:09 AM
Please forgive me if you covered this earlier, but can you provide us with a summary of your observations especially about same strings/different bracing patterns? Thanks!

Karl

Paul Henneberry
06-17-2019, 01:30 AM
Hi Karl,
I'm happy to give my opinion on how I hear the differences but there are a few conditions attached. The differences I hear on my weird shaped tenors might not apply to regular shaped tenors. If you look at the build picks I put in about half way down this thread you will see that my X bracing is very unusual and any difference might not be the same with a regular X braced uke. I also mentioned that I make this probably unique spruce carbon fibre laminated bracing material which might make the characteristics specific to my ukes. And at the end of the day the differences might be more or less prominent based on my personal (poor and sloppy) playing style. So with that out of the way - my impressions of the differences.
I put side by side a fan braced uke and X braced uke where both had Worth Brown strings (both mahogany). The X braced one is a bit brighter and the fan braced a bit warmer when strummed and the same holds true when they are both picked. The X braced has more separation and also has a bit more sustain. Volume is about equal. The spruce topped uke also has Worth Brown strings and compared to the mahogany fan braced one it is louder and has slightly less sustain but the voicing is quite similar.
Hollis ( who started this thread) above talks about a custom String by Mail set which are wound bass and classical guitar trebles. I also fitted these to a fan brace verses an X brace uke and they sound more similar to each other than different. Tons of sustain and if there is any difference at all - the fan brace uke is slightly brighter. Weird - I wasn't expecting that.
To the side by side string comparison, first a pair of X braced ukes side by side (Worth’s / Strings by Mail). The Worth’s are a bit brighter with more separation between notes and the Strings by Mail are slightly louder when strummed. The same applies to picking but with the Strings by Mail set the huge bass sort of drones under the higher notes which is pleasant and interesting. With the fan braced pair side by side the difference is subtle with the Worth Brown uke slightly brighter when strummed. When picked the Strings by Mail set ring a little clearer and brighter.
Some of these results contradict some of the other results. I cant explain it other than to say that it is just how they sound to me.
As I said above, if any body can give me some advice on where and how to make available an audio file of about 10meg you can judge for yourself. Youtube was suggested and I have done a couple of uke making clips on there so am familiar with how that works. I might get around to it but will have to find the time to attach some interesting pictures to go with the audio that I have already made.
I hope that answers your question Karl. For what its worth I'm already planning the next batch and am thinking a pair of curly maples and a pair of American black walnut all with double X bracing.

cheers

Paul

Karl Hoyt
06-17-2019, 03:13 AM
Thanks for such an in-depth answer: I completely understand that it's a subjective thing.... just trying to gain some insights as a long time stringed instrument builder but rookie Uke builder

Enjoy your day and thanks again

Karl