View Full Version : Differences between tone bars and bracing

Matt Clara
10-13-2009, 03:31 AM
I thought they were all one and the same falling under the category of "bracing". Now I see people refer to the braces on the lower part of the top as tone bars. Are there any physical differences between the two?

10-13-2009, 06:58 AM
For me the term "bracing" covers it. Braces give increased structural stability, but will inevitably have an effect on the sound. So if you put in a "brace", it will affect the tone, and if you put in a "tone bar" it will increase stiffness.

It would be valid for a builder to make such a distinction, since he knows the primary intention of adding that particular piece of wood.

FWIW I built a soprano uke with no lining and no bracing. It sounded very mellow provided it was strummed softly, but more vigorous strumming gave a "muddy" confused sound. There was too much going on. It lasted about nine years before the string tension pulled it out of shape.


Pete Howlett
10-13-2009, 07:18 AM
Braces provide strength and stiffness, tone bars rone. 'snot rocket science :) Tone bars also tend to be shaped one way of another - Dave Means carves them into parabolas the clever clogs :eek:

Matt Clara
10-13-2009, 07:55 AM
I think it's time I bought a book to read up on these kinds of nuances--any suggestions? I just bought the Hana Lima manual, but I don't expect it to cover the whys and wherefores, let alone the theory behind them.