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Matt Clara
11-24-2009, 11:43 AM
The fret calculators I can find out there say things like, .842" My ruler doesn't do .842. My calipers do, but only up to six inches. After that, I'm left doing the inches part with my straight edge, and then figuring out the decimals with my calipers. The end result is a fretboard with accurate frets for the first six inches, and then they tend to wander. I know most people use a jig, but you had to measure for that jig first, so I'm wondering what people do in this situation.
Thanks,
Matt

luvzmocha
11-24-2009, 12:38 PM
I use this program:

http://3d2f.com/programs/41-680-fret-calculator-download.shtml

It is written for Windows only. You can chose whatever scale you like and print it to paper. Very fine lines that can be fine tuned to match your printer. My Epson did not need any fine tuning. Set the scale length to 20 and print. Then check with your scale at the 12 fret marking making sure it is exactly 10. This is where the fine tuning comes in handy! Adjust once if needed and you are done.

ukantor
11-24-2009, 12:42 PM
I use millimetres, calculating my measurements to two decimal places, then use a 12" steel rule (sorry - 30.5 cms!). I see you have already sussed that it is important to measure from the nut, every time. Afterwards, you can measure the gaps fret to fret as a check, before you start cutting.

It is time consuming, intense work, but I always enjoy it.

John Colter.

ps. If I used a computer program to generate the info, I'd have to check it myself, anyway - that's just the way I am. So I do it longhand.

RonS
11-24-2009, 12:45 PM
Prints out a template

http://www.fretfind.ekips.org/2d/standard.php

dave g
11-24-2009, 01:07 PM
You could cut a perfect 6" block of wood and clamp that to the fretboard after your calipers run out of space...

I use Autocad and print paper templates.

Matt Clara
11-24-2009, 01:35 PM
You could cut a perfect 6" block of wood and clamp that to the fretboard after your calipers run out of space...

I use Autocad and print paper templates.

I actually have Rhino 3D, but have never used it to produce something to scale.

Matt Clara
11-24-2009, 01:53 PM
Prints out a template

http://www.fretfind.ekips.org/2d/standard.php

I like the looks of this, but when it asks for a calculation method, the links in the explanation box are all dead, so I am unsure of what calc method to use, or what numbers to input if I did.

luvzmocha
11-24-2009, 02:48 PM
A scan for a Concert scale from the program I posted.

Matt Clara
11-24-2009, 02:57 PM
I use this program:

http://3d2f.com/programs/41-680-fret-calculator-download.shtml

It is written for Windows only. You can chose whatever scale you like and print it to paper. Very fine lines that can be fine tuned to match your printer. My Epson did not need any fine tuning. Set the scale length to 20 and print. Then check with your scale at the 12 fret marking making sure it is exactly 10. This is where the fine tuning comes in handy! Adjust once if needed and you are done.

Thanks, but I'll be danged if I can actually find a working download link.

Matt Clara
11-24-2009, 03:01 PM
A scan for a Concert scale from the program I posted.

Thanks. I'll see what I can do with that.

luvzmocha
11-24-2009, 03:11 PM
Thanks, but I'll be danged if I can actually find a working download link.

http://www.brothersoft.com/fret-calculator-download-44473.html

Download from Server 2

The original author is no longer hosting it on his site.

erich@muttcrew.net
11-25-2009, 05:22 AM
I like the looks of this, but when it asks for a calculation method, the links in the explanation box are all dead, so I am unsure of what calc method to use, or what numbers to input if I did.

For a ukulele, or other "standard scale" instrument, you probably want to use the default "Equal" calc method with 12 tones per octave. This should give you the expected chromatic scale (half tones between frets).

Sayyadina
11-25-2009, 05:43 AM
The Hana Lima book contains a plan for a tenor fretboard. Copy that and glue it to the fretboard, then saw with a mitre box. Worked pretty well for me.

curlykoa
11-25-2009, 06:40 AM
The Ukulele by Denis Gilbert: "In order to find the correct position for the frets ...you must decide the distance that will be between the nut and the saddle. This distance is called the scale. For a tenor uke with 18 frets, the scale is 17 1/4". Each fret location corresponds to a semi-tone pitch. To arrive at the correct fret interval, the scale is divided by the constant 17.817. This will give you the location of the first fret. Subtract this difference from the scale and again divide by the constant and you will have the distance from the first fret to the second fret. Continue this until you have the locations of 18 frets".

for the tenor uke in question, Gilbert has the frets in descending order from the nut (0") at 61/64", 1 55/64" 2 23/32", 3 17/32" 4 9/32",5", 5 11/16",
6 21/64", 6 15/16, 7 1/2" 8 1/32", 8 35/64", 9 1/32", 9 31/64", 9 29/32", 10 5/16", 10 11/16" 11 3/64".

neck tapers from 1 1/2" at the nut to 1 /7/8" at the base. --Wendy

Also: ...I learned the hard way (had to re-place the bridges of three new ukes): To set the bridge placement, measure from the contact point of the nut to the same on the 12th fret, then repeat this distance PLUS 1/8" and THAT is the location for the SADDLE on the bridge. Your uke won't ever sound great without accuracy in these measurements, SO PLEASE EVERYONE, CORRECT ME IF I'M WRONG.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
11-25-2009, 06:59 AM
You're not going to like hearing this because it cost a few bucks. Buy a fret slot template. It will be 100% accurate and will last a lifetime. I've said before that there are few hard and fast rules in the process of building instruments but the mathematics that determine your scale is one you shouldn't mess with. It's probably the most crucial element you'll encounter. Doesn't matter if your uke is sloppily built or your finish is poor or your neck is square or if your tuners aren't the right color, or if you've used AAAAA koa or a fiber glassed pig's bladder or Spam cans for the body,......if your intonation is off because of poorly laid out frets, you have failed as a builder. It's the one thing you've got to get right.....on every fret.

Matt Clara
11-25-2009, 08:02 AM
You're not going to like hearing this because it cost a few bucks. Buy a fret slot template. It will be 100% accurate and will last a lifetime. I've said before that there are few hard and fast rules in the process of building instruments but the mathematics that determine your scale is one you shouldn't mess with. It's probably the most crucial element you'll encounter. Doesn't matter if your uke is sloppily built or your finish is poor or your neck is square or if your tuners aren't the right color, or if you've used AAAAA koa or a fiber glassed pig's bladder or Spam cans for the body,......if your intonation is off because of poorly laid out frets, you have failed as a builder. It's the one thing you've got to get right.....on every fret.

I wrote StewMac last night to ask about a fret slot template--I agree, I don't want to screw this one up, even in the least--they wrote back and said they had nothing uke specific, but wanted to know what scale I'm interested in. Which brings me to a question of scale. I want to write them back and say 15" for a concert uke scale. 15" isn't always the scale used, though, as indicated by luvzmocha's scale chart, which has the first fret at .829. If I use a fret calculator, putting in 15" comes out with the first fret at .842. I've seen that .829 number elsewhere, too, but can't remember where. What's the story there, should I just go with 15", or is there a more specific number I should be using? What about for tenor and soprano? I've got it in my head, 13", 15", and 17".

Flyfish57
11-25-2009, 08:21 AM
LMI has a 13.5/17" template...:)

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
11-25-2009, 08:28 AM
Those guys don't know. You need to contact somebody who knows ukes. Try Bob Gleason @ http://www.pegasusguitars.com/wood_and_parts_sale_page.htm

Ask him for his fret scale templates. He even sells pre slotted fretboards for pretty much the cost of the wood itself. His tuners are also a good deal.

I use a similar template and cut all three sizes from the same template. Off the top of my head I think my scales are Tenor: 17", Concert 15 3/16", Sopranos: 13 1/2". Scale lengths will vary a bit amongst builders but more importantly IMO is to get a precision fret template and stick with it. Scale length is not as important as the correct fret spacing for a particular length. (You've also read about compensation on this board, but that's for a different thread and involves several factors.)
I've been on this board long enough to hear too many people try to do things on the cheap, only to write later about intonation problems and the such. Intonation must be spot on on every fret, not just the 12th. Cut corners elsewhere if you must. Fret spacing is the one firm mathematical rule that cannot be denied. We really don't care how it looks but music is based on math and it's not a variable. This is about the only time you'll hear me talk about a firm rule. Again, you want to make crappy ukuleles, do anything you want.

Pete Howlett
11-25-2009, 08:40 AM
I had my own templates made up but converted to LMI. It's a no brainer - marking out by hand or eye will not be 100% accurate, period. I'm firmly with Chuck on this - I leave it to the experts to get my fret template right..

Steve vanPelt
11-25-2009, 09:37 AM
Noobs agree, too. I went with the LMI fret slotting gizmo for table saw before I tried to even contemplate figuring it out myself. LMI has the template for tenor on one side and soprano on the other. I don't know if it's technically correct, but for concert I just start on the 3rd fret of the tenor scale and go 18 frets from there. It's really easy. I went with LMI because they already have an 'ukulele template on their website and because you keep the stiffeners and only have to replace the blade, potentially saving $$ down the road. Dollarwise about the same as all the Advil I didn't need, so for me it's a wash.

just my 2cents, Steve

Matt Clara
11-25-2009, 09:47 AM
I went with the LMI fret slotting gizmo for table saw before I tried to even contemplate figuring it out myself. LMI has the template for tenor on one side and soprano on the other. I don't know if it's technically correct, but for concert I just start on the 3rd fret of the tenor scale and go 18 frets from there.

That sounds like the most economical way to go--one $35 template and you've got all your bases covered. Anyone else want to weigh in on Steve's method of just starting on the third tenor fret for a concert scale fretboard?

luvzmocha
11-25-2009, 09:58 AM
I wrote StewMac last night to ask about a fret slot template--I agree, I don't want to screw this one up, even in the least--they wrote back and said they had nothing uke specific, but wanted to know what scale I'm interested in. Which brings me to a question of scale. I want to write them back and say 15" for a concert uke scale. 15" isn't always the scale used, though, as indicated by luvzmocha's scale chart, which has the first fret at .829. If I use a fret calculator, putting in 15" comes out with the first fret at .842. I've seen that .829 number elsewhere, too, but can't remember where. What's the story there, should I just go with 15", or is there a more specific number I should be using? What about for tenor and soprano? I've got it in my head, 13", 15", and 17".

I am using 14.78 scale length. That is why you are getting a different first fret dimension.

Matt Clara
11-25-2009, 10:02 AM
I am using 14.78 scale length. That is why you are getting a different first fret dimension.

I've got the picture that doesn't matter so much, provided your frets are in the right place, as well as the saddle and nut. However, considering that 15 is such a nice round number, easy to figure the 12th and the bridge placement, why would people choose an odd number that isn't that far off 15" anyway?

Steve vanPelt
11-25-2009, 10:18 AM
I've got the picture that doesn't matter so much, provided your frets are in the right place, as well as the saddle and nut. However, considering that 15 is such a nice round number, easy to figure the 12th and the bridge placement, why would people choose an odd number that isn't that far off 15" anyway?

In my case it is because I didn't have a 15" scale template. I believe you are correct about frets in the right place because it's all about the fraction of what's left or whatever (math...why I bought the template). Anyway, putting the nut at the slot for the 3rd ( 4th maybe ) fret gave me a scale length of just a hair under 15-1/4".

BTW, Chuck, thanks for the link to Pegasus, nice stuff there, I'm gonna go have a look around their site.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
11-25-2009, 12:10 PM
Since most of what we do as ukulele builders comes from the guitar building world, a lot of people have used Martin (or other) scales and adapted them for ukes. That accounts for some of the differences in total scale length. Nowadays there are some places (already mentioned) that have ukulele specific fret slotting templates available. I use one template, cutting on the first slot for a tenor, cutting on the third slot for a concert and the fifth slot for sopranos. I don't worry about baritones because those aren't ukuleles!:eek:

ukantor
11-25-2009, 12:40 PM
Pete Howlett said, "It's a no brainer - marking out by hand or eye will not be 100% accurate, period."

Dogmatic statements like this are not helpful - or accurate. I would agree that it is easier to arrive at the correct fret positions by using the various computer programs, print-outs etc. but it IS possible to do the job accurately by hand and eye.

I suppose it is a matter of how good your eyesight is, and how steady your hands are - and how much time you are prepared to spend on the task. I don't ALWAYS do it longhand, but it is something I enjoy doing.

Perhaps Pete would like to define what he means by 100% accuracy?

John Colter.

RonS
11-25-2009, 01:39 PM
I would agree that it is easier to arrive at the correct fret positions by using the various computer programs, print-outs etc. but it IS possible to do the job accurately by hand and eye.


You mean... like it was done 100 years ago?

camface
11-25-2009, 01:54 PM
You mean... like it was done 100 years ago?

Are you saying they didn't have computers 100 years ago? That can't be right...

RonS
11-25-2009, 03:52 PM
Are you saying they didn't have computers 100 years ago?

Surely you jest :eek:
No Computers! Get Real!

Flyfish57
11-25-2009, 06:18 PM
Iím planning on getting the LMI template sometime in the future as well, but not to be more accurate, but to be quicker at cutting them. Since weíre dealing with a mathematical compromise to start, the real question should be How close is close enough. I think if I pulled out a tape measure and got the frets plus or minus a 16th, Iíd be able to hear it on some frets if not all. But if I have an AutoCAD printout (or another source)and mindfully mark and cut my fret slots, the difference between mine and those using templates is minimal if not averaged out. Of course Iíve only cut three fingerboards so what do I know!

I love this fourm!!
Stephen

PS I was scared stupid to cut my first fretboard because there was no way I could be as close as CNC. However, my freehand cuts provided a better tuned uke than the three Iím not playing anymore:-) Beginners luck strikes again!! I did have trouble starting two cuts and I thought they were off by at least a 64th at the high end but I canít find them after I fretted (the board) Myself , I was fretting until I tuned the ukulele up!!

Flyfish57
11-25-2009, 06:25 PM
"the difference between mine and those using templates is minimal if not averaged out." Of course "those" of equal skill :D

ukantor
11-25-2009, 10:04 PM
Thank you, Flyfish and RonS. That's my point exactly. We might state the required measurements to three decimal places, but you are not expected to attain that degree of accuracy in drawing the line, or in cutting the slot.

To talk of 100% accuracy is misleading. If you can draw a line with a pencil where you intend it to be, you can make your own fretting guide/template, and you CAN get the frets in the right places.

John Colter.

Pete Howlett
11-26-2009, 12:06 AM
Chuck and I will bow to your greater knowledge and skill John...

However a former colleague of mine, luthier Tony Revell who used to cut his fret slots by hand spent 2 hours one day very cleverly recrowning the 5th fret on a mandolin because it was misplaced. I've also seen luthier Jimmy Moon with a radial arm saw and magnifying glass cutting fret slots to marked lines. This stuff ain't for me. I need the security of a CNC made jig and my clients demand accuracy with the fretting and final intonation so much against my better nature I also compensate the saddles on tenor ukulele. I also recently saw an 8 string tenor by the German builder Claus Mohri - he had individually compensated each string at the saddle to cope with the different string guages. he also used a zero fret... It's a good job we are all different.

David Hurds site has a lot to say about this as does his Left Brain Luthiery treatise.

ukantor
11-26-2009, 01:02 AM
Pete, your sarcasm is wasted on me, and if Chuck wishes to be associated with that comment, let him say so himself.

There will always be people who are prepared to go to extremes in the search for perfection. That does not prove that it is necessary. Those people have my respect, nevertheless.

I stand by my previous comments. It IS possible to achieve satisfactory intonation in a uke, fretting by hand and eye. To state flatly that it is not possible, or even worth trying, is arrant nonsense.

John Colter.

Timbuck
11-26-2009, 02:30 AM
How can you say accurate... when a real'y accurate fretboard looks something like this...Or so I'm told.

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc143/shiregreenbod/welcome_vert_gui_neck-1.jpg

Pierre
11-26-2009, 04:59 AM
One problem that may arise with printing out a pattern on regular paper is that paper itself is not dimensionnally stable (dimensions change depending on air moisture and temperature).

Dibblet
11-26-2009, 06:12 AM
How can you say accurate... when a real'y accurate fretboard looks something like this...Or so I'm told.


Not really. It's a different temperament. Nothing to do with accuracy.

mwalimu
11-26-2009, 06:48 AM
Measure twice because you can only cut once.

etkre
11-26-2009, 06:58 AM
Not really. It's a different temperament. Nothing to do with accuracy.

That's what I was thinking. Maybe it's in just temperament, in which case it'll sound great in one key and absolutely horrible in every other. Bending notes would be awkward too!

I'm curious about the buzz feiten system. Is it like stretch tuning? I can't find a whole lot of info on the physics behind it. Does anyone know of some good links?

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
11-26-2009, 07:29 AM
Pete, your sarcasm is wasted on me, and if Chuck wishes to be associated with that comment, let him say so himself.
.
You're correct, pete shouldn't be speaking for me.
I don't need to justify my methods to anyone on this board.
A question is asked and I give the best information I can based on my experience of building over 350 ukuleles. If my advice is criticized or ignored, I simply ignore it. Maybe you should do the same. I don't have the time or interest in arguing. There are several on this board who enjoy engaging in that nonsense, I'll leave that up to them.
You want to build excellent ukuleles, I can help you. If you want to build substandard instruments there is a lot of advice here and elsewhere.
Good luck.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Matt Clara
11-26-2009, 07:46 AM
Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

And to you, Chuck, and all the rest. I try to listen to you at least some of the time--a guy's gotta make his own mistakes, though! ;)

ecosteel
11-26-2009, 08:00 AM
Surely the questions here are what kind of tolerances are required to produce good intonation and what constitutes accuracy? With my setup I can get within .01 mm which I reckon is close enough and that involves eyeballing two lines on my cutting jig. Even with a shop bought template or registration setup you can still be out. I just discovered a lot of wear at the bottom of my mitre saw slots (.5 mm) but the fret job was fine all the same. I think one main advantage of a registration/template setup (apart from speed) is not having to measure each time you cut, so less chance of mistakes. Steve

ecosteel
11-26-2009, 08:17 AM
Sorry that should have read within .1 mm :o

ukantor
11-26-2009, 09:26 AM
All the best, Chuck - and Pete.

John Colter.

funaddict
11-28-2009, 06:05 AM
Hello all! What a lively debate! This is my first post although I've been following this forum for a while now. I'm in the middle of my first uke build, and I'm attempting to build completely from scratch using only free salvaged, scavenged, and found materials (well, I DID buy the tuning machines, fret wire, and strings).
I'm chiming in because I noticed that earlier in this thread CURLYKOA referred to Dennis Gilbert's book "Building the Ukulele" and the scale measurements he gives. I'm also using this book as my main reference, although I'm more or less copying an old 6 string tenor Kamaka for size and shape. Anyway, I believe that his measurements are off for his fret placements. If you do the math, or use StewMacs fret calculator you get different fret lengths for his 17 1/4" scale. I think he may have been rounding off and then calculating each new fret from the previously rounded number compounding the error as he went just as Ukantor warned not to.
I don't mean to criticize Gilbert's book. Just a warning to anyone who may be using it as a reference for their own project. CHECK THE MATH!!

Thanks for all the helpful info and entertaining commentaries. I hope to post pics soon.
Alan Afualo
Yakima, WA

RonS
11-28-2009, 06:30 AM
funaddict, There is always compromises in intonation when using an equal tempered fretboard (which is what commonly used). The fact remains that a heavy grip while fretting the strings or installing thicker strings can knock out the intonation. Even the width of the fret will make a difference. All this leads me to believe that being off a couple of thousands of an inch isn't that critical.

Timbuck eluded to this in an earlier post.
http://www.doolinguitars.com/intonation/images/frets.gif


What is nice about templates is a increase in production and repeated results, good and bad.

Sven
11-28-2009, 09:09 AM
I use one template, cutting on the first slot for a tenor, cutting on the third slot for a concert and the fifth slot for sopranos.

This sounds really good. I couldn't have thought of that in years, yet it makes perfect sense of course. I made a template with soprano on one side and tenor on the other. And one mark for the "nut-cut".

Which leads me to ask me one thing Chuck, do you cut off the fretboard in the first slot used? I would worry about doing so since I figure the edge of the nut will then be slightly far forward compared to the frets where the crown is in the middle of the cut. Do I make sense?

Sven

Dave Higham
11-28-2009, 12:29 PM
I would worry about doing so since I figure the edge of the nut will then be slightly far forward compared to the frets where the crown is in the middle of the cut.
Sven

Sven, a lot of luthiers say this is just what you want. Moving the nut forwards by half the thickness (or more) of a saw cut gives some 'nut compensation' and helps combat that effect of having the E chord sound great and then the C chord sounds crap. It's not such a big deal on nylon strung instruments but can be on steel strings. You can read all about compensated nuts here:

http://www.mimf.com/nutcomp/

Sven
11-28-2009, 01:03 PM
Thanks for the link. I see I have some learning to do. :)

Sven

Vic D
11-28-2009, 10:24 PM
Great thread. I made a fret slotting jig and made a couple of fretboards that were a hair off here or there, that wasn't gonna do it. Sure I'd get better with practice but I wasn't about to ruin another piece of rosewood, I picked up the LMI 17-13.5 template and Stewmac's blade and fretwire. So far, everything I've made is kinda like me... a bit off everywhere, but the fretboard and bridge placement has to be dead on or it's firewood or future inlay material.

Now... I have a bridge plate drying right now my first ukulele, ( hope no gremlins move it a hair while I sleep ) and was going to glue up the bridge tommorow. This is the Stewmac Soprano kit, the instructions say to place the bridge exactly 13.75 at the saddle center.. it's a 13.75 scale.
Please advise, I have a batch of four soprano sets I'm about to glue up, using 13.5 scale, what should the compensation be?

Also, bridge plates... honduran rosewood good or bad? Just did a google on it, seems a lot of folks like it. I'ma use it.

Steve vanPelt
11-29-2009, 08:25 PM
The scale length is twice the distance from the nut to the twelfth fret. So measure from the nut to the 12th fret and double it. You shouldn't need to compensate the angle of the saddle or bridge on a soprano with re entrant tuning.

Sven
11-30-2009, 02:27 AM
I would compensate by increasing the length 1.5 - 2 mm. And then some more on the C-string. Can it be seen here? Otherwise it its here: http://argapa.blogspot.com/2009/08/compensated-saddle.html

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_gXMDRA552Y0/SoJdxTU4Y2I/AAAAAAAAAl8/LhC0fk2VWlQ/s320/bild-769628.jpg

Matt Clara
11-30-2009, 04:16 AM
...

Now... I have a bridge plate drying right now my first ukulele, ( hope no gremlins move it a hair while I sleep ) and was going to glue up the bridge tommorow. This is the Stewmac Soprano kit, the instructions say to place the bridge exactly 13.75 at the saddle center.. it's a 13.75 scale.
Please advise, I have a batch of four soprano sets I'm about to glue up, using 13.5 scale, what should the compensation be?

Also, bridge plates... honduran rosewood good or bad? Just did a google on it, seems a lot of folks like it. I'ma use it.

I started another thread on the subject of saddle compensation (http://ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=19663&highlight=compensation) a month or so ago.

cornfedgroove
11-30-2009, 05:20 AM
I didnt read all the comments...but cant you just get a longer caliper?

then again, for the money you might as well get the template

Vic D
11-30-2009, 07:28 AM
I would compensate by increasing the length 1.5 - 2 mm. And then some more on the C-string. Can it be seen here? Otherwise it its here: http://argapa.blogspot.com/2009/08/compensated-saddle.html

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_gXMDRA552Y0/SoJdxTU4Y2I/AAAAAAAAAl8/LhC0fk2VWlQ/s320/bild-769628.jpg

Thanks Sven, that helps a lot. I believe I need to go a little thicker with my saddle. Love the site BTW, great work!

Vic D
11-30-2009, 07:33 AM
I started another thread on the subject of saddle compensation (http://ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=19663&highlight=compensation) a month or so ago.

Thanks Matt! Not sure why I didn't find it before.

Sven
12-01-2009, 12:59 AM
Thanks Vic, I do my best. Wouldn't get far without the resources on this and other forums.

Sven

curlykoa
12-03-2009, 07:05 AM
This is the hurdle I have to get over right now so I just read the entire thread. I'm trying to clarify and this is my understanding:

The fretboard will be identical from one instrument to another in the amount of decrease from fret to fret BUT depending upon the length of the neck the STARTING POINT will be different. So if you purchase a tenor uke slotted fretboard for example, you could use that fretboard for a soprano or concert uke if you cut off the fretboard at the top to shorten it for your soprano or concert neck. When Moore Bettah says get a fretboard template from an expert and use that I think he's saying that the math to create that accurate amount of decrease CAN be done, but why not use an accurate template as it will never vary. Only the starting point on the template will vary. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Then the BRIDGE PLACEMENT on the instrument body makes that fretboard have the proper scale using the distance from nut to 12 fret doubled + the 1/8" compensation= saddle position. The bridge is placed after the neck/ fretboard are attached to the body (Matt's post about bridge plate gluing and bridge placement sounded like he was planning to glue on the bridge. Maybe I read him wrong)

I'm finishing a tenor started long ago. (I'm ready to place the bridge plate and tone bars and want the bridge plate in the right place.) I'm using the fretboard I found with the instrument. The pearl dots are already in place so it's for a tenor (3rd fret, 5th fret etc. dot placement would be further down the neck if I wanted to use the fretboard for a concert; get it?)...I determined that by comparing it with my own concert uke.

I placed the fretboard so the fourteenth fret is on the finished-body line at the top of the instrument body and measured for the bridge/saddle placement. My first question is "Is the 14th fret always the point where the fretboard and the instrument body intersect?"

So I've set up this "scenario" and am gazing at my instrument: The bridge position seems closer to the sound hole than I think it "should" be....My question then is, acoustically, is there an optimal placement of the bridge on the soundboard, or in relation to the sound hole? (I look at a lot of instruments and the bridge on sopranos is much closer to the butt of the instrument than the bridge on a tenor is.) So I wonder how much the position of the bridge on the top matters to the sound of the instument as opposed to the intonation which will be determined by accuracy of scale. I KNOW that accuracy of scale is essential so I'm thinking THAT is what matters, and IF the 14 fret is where the fretboard and body join then where I have the bridge is where it needs to go.

ukantor
12-03-2009, 07:30 AM
Sounds right to me Curly. Sopranos traditionally join at the twelfth fret (but not always). Concerts and tenors often join at the fourteenth fret (but not always).

There are varying opinions on the extent to which bridge placement affects the sound. Obviously, it does come into the equation, but it is a combination of several factors, all contibuting to the final result. If the layout of your uke falls into line with other tenors, it should be OK. If it is significantly different, or looks "odd", I would ask myself why.

John Colter.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
12-03-2009, 07:47 AM
While less common, body/neck joints are sometimes placed at the 13th or 13 1/2 fret as well. Depends on where you wants to place the bridge.
Compensation isn't just determined by string length but also by the height of the strings above the fret board (the "action") as well as the type of strings used and how they will be tuned.