PDA

View Full Version : Strings through bridge and top vs knots or tying



ukuDaily
07-14-2010, 11:14 AM
As I was watching a video by Dave of Waverly Street Ukes, I saw that he prefers to drill string holes through the bridge and top and then tie them to something inside the uke (he uses a piece of ball point pen cartridge.

At first, I wasn't sure how I felt about this method of attaching the body-end of the string, but the more I think about it, the more I like it. One particular thing I am thinking about is for a Flea I just purchased that will spend time in extreme conditions (mostly hot). Some people on the boards have said that in high temperatures, there is a chance that the bridge glue will soften and let lose. My thought was that if I used Dave's method for string termination, this would no longer be an issue.

I am wondering what all you luthiers think about this string termination method, both from a structural perspective as well as a sound perspective. I can't believe it would have much impact on the sound, but this is your domain, not mine.

Bradford
07-14-2010, 12:27 PM
Like Dave, I like the low stress aspect of this method, and use it on many of my instruments. The trade off is it is a little more trouble to change strings. You have to thread the string through the hole in the bridge and fish the end out through the soundhole, tie a figure eight knot in the end and pull it back out. For thin strings, a small glass bead is needed to keep the knot from slipping back through the hole under tension. A short length of wire with a small hook on the end makes it easier to fish out the strings through the soundhole.

Brad

Ahnko Honu
07-14-2010, 03:02 PM
I own a Waverly #51 and love it to death. My Emil Bader 'ukuleles are also tied at bridge in this same manner. I like the idea and knowing I have no fear of bridge separation. Changing strings is rare enough to not matter to me, and really not that difficult to do, just hold 'ukulele upside down when feed string in and it'll drop right in front of sound hole. I use a small red glass bead for a stopper that I have plenty of for fishing. I'm wondering if the vibration transfer may be more effective with this system the strings making direct contact with the sound board.

maclay
07-14-2010, 08:57 PM
I prefer to drill through the bridge and use bridge pins. Tie the string knot, slip a glass or plastic bead over it, and the bridge pin holds it in. Its the same concept as an acoustic guitar bridge. I find that it puts less stress on the glue joint since the string ball is anchored to the bridge plate. As far as tone goes, it doesn't seem to make that much difference.


Jake Maclay
http://www.hiveukuleles.com/

ksquine
07-16-2010, 03:25 AM
I've built ukes with all through hole and the traditional tie bridge. I think its just a matter of what look you like best.
Through hole looks nice and clean and gives you alot more design options for shaping the bridge....but I like the look of the traditional bridge too.
Lots of very old ukes and guitars do fine with tie on bridges. If your uke gets hot enough to loosen the bridge it will probably do other damage too. Just don't leave it in the car on a hot day and you'll be fine for many years

ukuDaily
07-16-2010, 06:08 AM
Thanks for all your insight. It seems that the through holes would certainly minimize or eliminate the risk of the bridge coming loose. As for the "don't leave it in the car on a hot day" thing, that is my problem. I want to be able to have a decent uke that can handle the high temperatures inside a car during east Texas summers. I go off to disc golf tournaments or other activities where I can't carry my uke with me while I play, but want to be able to chill out and play on breaks. Also, I would love to be able to play on lunch break, but don't want to have to carry my uke into and out of the office every day if I have a uke that sounds decent and can handle the high temps.

My thought was to get a soprano flea. The body and neck should handle the heat just fine I would think and if I through drill the bridge, I shouldn't have to worry about the bridge eithert. My other thought was to get a TV Pal or similar uke that is all plastic, but in my mind, a thermo-plastic also reacts poorly to "thermo". Any thoughts?

lindydanny
07-16-2010, 06:15 AM
I'm partial to the "through" method myself, but mostly for steel string guitars and other steel string instruments that have a lot of tension. The purest in me makes me fee like tying them to a bridge that is glued requires more skill and has it's merit there. With the relatively low tension on nylon strings, one would think that a modification would be more risky than simply learning to tie the strings on.

I'd be curious if there is any noticeable difference in tone between the two methods.

~DB

Bradford
07-16-2010, 04:27 PM
Hey Mike, I'm glad you clarified your intent. Most luthier glues are designed to release with heat. With a string through bridge in a hot car, the strings may not pull the bridge off the top, they will pull the top away from the sides instead, or pull the neck away from the body. Solid wood or laminate, they are still glued together and that glue will start to fail at 130 degrees F or so. Hide glue may be OK to about 150, but I would not risk it with any uke of value.

Brad

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
07-16-2010, 05:17 PM
You're exactly right Brad. A bridge is meant to be a sacrificial component in the event of exposure to high temperatures.

ukuDaily
07-16-2010, 06:29 PM
Well, I will certainly take your guys word for it. Just say no to wood ukuleles in hot cars. How about a TV Pal or other plastic Uke? Do you think they might be in danger in that kind of heat? Maybe I just need to get a Risa Stick. :-(

Any other suggestions?

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
07-17-2010, 07:53 AM
My advice on the care of any ukulele is to treat it as you would a new born baby.....or even your dog. Take it with you anywhere you go, even if it's just for lunch. If your playing is halfway decent you might even be able to pay for your meal. :) You meet the nicest people carrying an uke (or is that a Honda?)

fahrner
07-17-2010, 08:00 AM
And it's a lot easier carrying a uke around as opposed to carrying a Honda; especially in crowded restaurants.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
07-17-2010, 08:01 AM
And it's a lot easier carrying a uke around as opposed to carrying a Honda; especially in crowded restaurants.

I dunno, those 50s were pretty small.

camface
07-17-2010, 08:14 AM
I made a copy of a Risa uke. It's fairly simple and I'm not afraid of anything snapping or coming unglued. I even left in in my attic for a couple weeks and it was only horribly out of tune. I've never played a real Risa, so I can't speak on how they are, but I always hear good things about them.

fahrner
07-17-2010, 08:15 AM
I dunno, those 50s were pretty small.
Very true but it still took six of us to lift one.

Ahnko Honu
07-17-2010, 10:50 AM
In that kind of heat wouldn't the strings be relieved of some tension too thus lessening any risk of a popped bridge? Plastics including strings expand and contract with heat like so many other materials.
Are there any real cases of this happening (top pulling off from heat) due to thru sound hole string attachment? Hypothetical or actual experience. I'm not sure how hot the interior of the truck gets in the hot Hawaiian summer sun but my laminate pineapple has survived literally years of this "abuse" with no seams opening or bridges popping off. Off course it's kept in a gig bag and rarely in direct sunlight. Would do this with any of my solid wood 'ukuleles but that's what cheap laminate 'ukuleles are for. ;)

alndrkmp
05-14-2011, 08:05 AM
As for the "don't leave it in the car on a hot day" thing, that is my problem. I want to be able to have a decent uke that can handle the high temperatures inside a car during east Texas summers. I go off to disc golf tournaments or other activities where I can't carry my uke with me while I play, but want to be able to chill out and play on breaks. Also, I would love to be able to play on lunch break, but don't want to have to carry my uke into and out of the office every day if I have a uke that sounds decent and can handle the high temps.

Any thoughts?

I would reccomend a Dixie banjo uke. I live in my teepee in New Mexico. We had one night of 26 degrees below F this winter and we'll get as high as a hundred this summer. My Dixie lives in my car all the time. Dixie's are made of solid metal and are basically indestructable. And if someone tries to steal your car you can crack them over the head with it.

RandyC
05-15-2011, 08:22 AM
If you're worried about string tension damaging your uke when stored in the heat, wouldn't it work to just loosen the strings? Then when you want to play, just tune it up.

xjumper
05-15-2011, 09:41 AM
I live in Florida and keep a Republic resonator in my car. Just played it yesterday after awhile of not playing it. The 'a' string was a little off, but other wise in tune. It's built like a small tank, but sounds very nice.