View Full Version : Getting more sound from a harder bridge material?

11-19-2011, 02:54 AM
Trying to beat some more volume out of my cigar box ukulele. When I built it I made the bridge from some scrap plastic. (it was actually a section cut from a broken plastic ruler). Wondering if a harder bridge material would better transfer the sound to the top, and maybe give me a better (louder) sound. I realize for the most part a homemade cigar box is what it is, and its never going to sound great, but Im happy with the overall tone of it, would just like to be able to make it a tad louder. As for material? Bone is a possibility, how about metal? I have alot of aluminum and the tools to work it...copper? brass?....even hardwoods? The biq question is will it make a difference?

Rick Turner
11-19-2011, 08:00 AM
Are you talking about a whole bridge or just the saddle?

11-19-2011, 11:13 AM
As Rick suggests, you are probably talking about the bridge saddle material. If that is the case, the saddle material is not going to improve the volume, just the sound quality. Some of the major contributors to volume in an instrument like a cigar box uke is a properly thinned top plate (not a plywood top), braces that are not oversized or misplaced, sound hole size and placement, bridge height and placement, scale length and strings, and how the neck is attached to the body. All will help volume but they must be done correctly.

Since you have completed the cigar box uke, my guess is there isn't much you are going to be able to do to get more volume, it is what it is. I mean no offense to any who have simply stuck a neck on an old cigar box, but that is not the way to make a good playing and sounding uke. Learn from what you've done and the next time you can improve your design.

11-19-2011, 12:06 PM
If you want "more sound" play it in the bathroom:)

11-19-2011, 01:36 PM
If you want "more sound" play it in the bathroom:)

Now theres an idea I like.........no like i said it is what it is, my next one will be better from what I learned doing this one. hopefully.....

Rick Turner
11-19-2011, 01:42 PM
I like properly prepared and graded cow bone for bridge saddles.

The question re. bridge material is relevant, though. At least with guitars, the choice of wood can help shape the tone with ebony being a bit more bassy and rosewood tending to bring up the highs a bit more. This is because of the differences in mass and resonant Q between the two woods. Note that on virtually all high quality classical guitars, the choice of bridge rosewood, even though the fingerboards are ebony. That's not blind adherence to tradition. It's to get the trebles to sing better.

11-19-2011, 03:17 PM
Try a Corian, Tusk or bone saddle. I believe all those materials are available and are fairly inexpensive in blank form that one can shape to fit. So you can experiment.
I found enough Corian from tossed out countertops at the waste disposal site to last for years. I have to build a cigarbox uke at some point myself!
Good luck.

Vic D
11-19-2011, 07:36 PM
I really like Corian and bone. Corian is easier to cut though and scraps are cheap. It's also pretty and you can color coordinate.

Michael Smith
11-19-2011, 09:24 PM
If you want corian you can order 4x4" half inch thick samples from Dupont for $2 plus shipping. There is quite a pallet of colors to chose from http://www2.dupont.com/Surfaces/en_US/products/corian/pr_corian_colors.html?src=undefined

11-20-2011, 05:16 PM
I like the idea of corian! I can raid the sample rack at the kitchen dept. of home depot!