View Full Version : Where to place bridge, did I make a mistake?

01-10-2011, 11:12 AM
I just got my fretboard from LMII, when I ordered I told him that the uke I am using as a model for my build is 14" from nut to bridge (13.742" scale doubleing nut to 12th fret). He told me the closet scale he had was a 14.032" scale. Comparing my new fretboard to the one I am modeling it after the difference is greater then I anticipated. I double checked the new one against the measurements for a 14.032" scale on the stew mac calculator and it is perfect. Did I screw up ordering the 14.032" scale, should I have have insisted on the 13.742" scale of my current electric uke or even use the 13.544 scale of an Eleuke? I am putting a lot of time into this build, will this effect the sound of the instrument? Also, the stew mac sight recommended installing the bridge 14.114" from the nut for the 14.031 scale, Rob at LMII recomended stepping it back 1/16" to an 1/8" from 14.031". What do you guys recommend for bridge placement and did I screw up ordering the 14.031 scale? Thanks

p.s. Rob at LMII has been very helpful, he also builds ukes, his web sight is:


01-10-2011, 12:13 PM
The only thing that strikes me is from your measurements, the compensation on the uke you are copying is over 1/4", which is about twice what is normal. That said, if the intonation is OK, then that's cool. I do not see any major issues, although without knowing exactly what you are building, my input is limited. Normally you can adjust the bridge position slightly without hurting the sound. Also, while it is normal to attach the neck at the 12th or 14th fret, this too is not cast in stone, so you can fudge this slightly to keep from changing the bridge position too much.


01-10-2011, 01:53 PM
Brad, I am building a steel string solid body uke. The Uke I was using as a model is nylon string solid body. The only reason I am using it as a model is all my other ukes have short soprano fretboards and this one has a longer fretboard. It plays well and stays in tune so I thought it would be a good starting point. As far as 1/4" compensation being more than normal, I had no idea. This is my first build, I did just measure my soprano Eleuke and it has between 1/16" and 1/4" of compensation, 106" to be exact. Without having to go out and measure a bunch of ukes I was wondering what is the best amount of compensation would be for my project (a steel string uke with a 14.031" scale and med. tall narrow frets). I saw in another post that someone recommended "David Hurd's (Kawika `Ukulele)" website, has great info, but only for figuring our compensation for nylon strings, unless you are willing to build the incredible jig he built to determine compensation for different types of strings.

My other concern was using the 14.031" scale, it is so much larger then my other uke, 13.742" for the uke I'm using as a model, 13.544" for my Eleuke and 13.556" for my Kala. Thanks

01-10-2011, 05:44 PM
With a solid body electric you can put the bridge where you wish, so the only consideration is how much compensation you need. My experience with mandolins tells me that 1/8" is about right. My mandolins had a scale length of 13 7/8" and used steel strings similar to what you would use. If you are fussy about the intonation, you may have to compensate the individual strings on the saddle as mandolins commonly do. The scale length of 14.031 is only a little more than a quarter of an inch over your other uke. I do not see that as a big deal.


01-11-2011, 09:19 AM
Use the fret calculator at Stew Mac.... http://www.stewmac.com/FretCalculator
Set it to electric guitar and enter your scale lengths. The compensation will be below. It says 0.13" for a 14" scale so Bradford sounds about right
That assumes regular electric strings with regular electric tuning tensions etc. I'm not sure how that would translate to uke tuning with steel strings.
The most definite way would be to actually try it. Attach your fret board and bridge to a 2x4 or something...like David Hurd has. Then you can see exactly where the bridge should be. Maybe you could do this on the solidbody if you have a tail piece set up or some way to hold the string ends

01-11-2011, 09:27 AM
You haven't said how wide your saddle is. If you are using one that is 1/8" wide you will have a fair bit of room to adjust compensation. It's what I use on all my instruments because I can't be sure what type of strings someone will want, and they all tend to have different compensation requirements for those that are ultra critical of such things.