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View Full Version : Sought: Washburn pre war bridge pin details



Pleasure Paul
11-16-2012, 02:02 PM
Hi all,
I just got a Washburn 711 "tenor" on the bay (I say "tenor", because it is halfway between concert and tenor size). It hasn't arrived yet, but I'm already preparing.. These pre war ukes had pin bridges, but this one has missing pins. They should be whitish w/o dot, made of ivoroid or so, and smaller than guitar pins. Could anyone here tell me the right dimensions of these Washburn pins? If you happen to have some lying around, that's fine too ;-)
Thanks, Paul.

hmgberg
11-16-2012, 03:59 PM
Congratulations on the 711. I watched it on Ebay. I think you got it for a great price. I'm a big fan of L&H. I have two Washburns with pin bridges. Actually, the two ukuleles came with six pins. I fashioned two out of cribbage pegs like the ones on this page:

http://www.caseyswood.com/shoppingcart/zen-cart/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=185_184&gclid=CMf6ztSA1bMCFQSf4AodiC4Amw

The standard peg has the same taper as the pins. The heads are very small balls. I cut the top of the pegs off at the first groove, sanded and shaped the over-sized peg heads into balls and painted them an antique ivory color, glossed them lightly with shellac. You have to get close to see the difference. If you like, I could get you precise measurements...just let me know. I am thinking of trying to cast some in ivory-colored resin. If it goes well, I'll most likely make a number of sets.

Pleasure Paul
11-17-2012, 10:38 AM
If you like, I could get you precise measurements...just let me know.

I am thinking of trying to cast some in ivory-colored resin. If it goes well, I'll most likely make a number of sets.

Hi hmgberg, I'm in! Tonight a Washburn Bell is going, the new owner will also need a set! What material are the originals made of? Thank you very much for the cribbage link and conversion info, I just ordered a few, I hope they're enough get the uke up & running, and no other problems will pop up.. really curious how it sounds (I understand it was made for DGBE tuning). BTW, perhaps I'll find out one day what a "cribbage peg" really is..

Paul

hmgberg
11-17-2012, 12:13 PM
Cribbage is a game, Paul. The Washburn bridge pins are made of plastic. I saw the Bell on Ebay as well. Had I not just spent money on a Hollywood concert ukulele, I would have been into it. Now, I must to speak with my sculptor friends about casting. I'll keep you apprised. Howard

Pleasure Paul
11-18-2012, 11:41 AM
Would be great, Howard..
Ah, the Hollywood went to you.. This morning at breakfast, we tried to guess what the Bell had done. My wife was closest with her guess. I thought it would be a nice project for a repairer who would take it apart, and build it up again. To be profitable, I guessed 555.. But I have to concentrate on my own clunkers.. get them working.
Paul

hmgberg
11-18-2012, 01:29 PM
Indeed, it would have been a good project, but I also have more than enough of those right now. The Hollywood is dandy, BTW. Do you have the Washburn yet?

Pleasure Paul
11-18-2012, 11:53 PM
No, the seven eleven is still in the USA, I'm trying to get through to comGateway, they have it, and their site is impenetrable..

Pleasure Paul
12-05-2012, 11:07 AM
The Washburn bridge pins are made of plastic. I saw the Bell on Ebay as well. (snip) Now, I must to speak with my sculptor friends about casting.

Hi Howard, cribbage pins and tenor are home now. The pins fit very well (I believe something very similar was sitting in the Bell's bridge!). Are your originals grooved? I did not mount strings yet, as I first want to get the crack in the front done. The uke is nice. I have only sopranos and this one is not tiny at all. BTW in the Washburn book, somewhere I read that the pins were 'polished bone'.
Best, Paul

hmgberg
12-05-2012, 12:05 PM
Hi Paul:

The original pins I have are not slotted. The bridge holes, have short grooves above them on the bridge to allow the strings to pass. I have the same book, but had not read it thoroughly enough apparently. The ones I have feel like celluloid. I don't want to bite into one to find out what their made of :-), both for the sake of the pin and my teeth. I'm still planning on casting some in resin. I have found someone who knows how to help me. It's just a matter of finding time to get together. I'll keep you apprised.

I didn't realize there was a crack on the one you bought. Where is it?

Some things you might know already about the Washburn tenors: they were designed (according to the book) to be tuned DGBE, like a re-entrant baritone. I've tried all kinds of string combinations and tunings. I think standard tuning is much too high. The body doesn't really respond well. I think DGBE is a bit too low. The body responds, but it doesn't sound particularly great strummed. I've settled on EAC#F#. I've also tried this with a low E. That sounds pretty great, but I'm not much of a low G or E, in this case, player.

The other thing is the action. The action on every one of the Washburns I've had has been a bit too high. The saddle is contoured to match the smile bridge, so you cannot remove the saddle and sand the bottom. Instead, I've slotted the saddle to lower the action. In most cases, that has been sufficient. In one instance, I ended up planing down the top of the bridge because I couldn't slot the saddle enough otherwise. What I'm suggesting is that when you take it to your luthier to have the crack fixed you might also have a look at the action.

Good luck with the ukulele. Let me know what you think of it.

Howard

Pleasure Paul
12-05-2012, 11:20 PM
Hi Paul:

The original pins I have are not slotted.

I didn't realize there was a crack on the one you bought. Where is it?

I think standard tuning is much too high.

The action on every one of the Washburns I've had has been a bit too high.
What I'm suggesting is that when you take it to your luthier to have the crack fixed you might also have a look at the action.

Good luck with the ukulele. Let me know what you think of it.

Howard

Hi Howard,
OK, that's nice and snug, the only string channel being the bridgegroove.

Yes, there is a crack, as was specified by the seller (in reality a bit more visible than in the pics ---- BTW, how hard can it be to make clear pictures? Pretty hard, judging from the general eBay listing..). It's about a middle finger long, starting the from the side, running to about an inch from the end of the smile. It is a clean crack, I guess it can be repaired cleanly, it does not need a fill in. I some light it is hardly visible, but both sides are uneven. I'm not able to do this myself, but the guy who will do it has a lot of experience.

Re tuning: The Wash tenor in this clip sounds very good, to my ear at least, in what seems modern tuning: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbepejAT6kM , mainly judging from the open string sound.

The catalog page in the book, as you probably noticed, specifies period Washburn tenor stringing: violin A's as outer strings, violin D gut and guitar D wound silk for inner strings. I think I will try this first, and work from there (perhaps duplicating your experiences...). With a little research, I hope 20's violin tensions can be found. This will be an all gut setup, with one wound silk. I guess the silk will be the one that's hard to find, as I think that modern silk & steel (steel, really?) will not be the same kind of string as the early silks, which were silk 'n copper with more of a soft sound, to match the gut strings of the period.

On your advice, I will check the action before proceeding, to see if a neck reset is needed.

Thanks for your comments & advice, I'll let you know how it's going.

Best,
Paul

Pleasure Paul
12-05-2012, 11:26 PM
The action on every one of the Washburns I've had has been a bit too high.
Howard

Is this also true for the soprano's you have or have had? I have one that's slightly high.

---- ( I am getting slightly more cautious with lowering saddles, to preserve the string's good leverage action on the bridge, perhaps I prefer neck reset).

What is good action @12th fret, for a soprano, and for a tenor, are they different?

Paul

hmgberg
12-06-2012, 03:20 AM
I have 3 Washburn sopranos, plus a camp uke and a Shrine. The 3 sopranos all needed slotting of the saddle. It does not appear to have adversely affected the volume, but it has improved the playability considerably. A neck reset would be expensive, I think. I'm sure you realize that you don't have to slot the saddle much at all to affect a greater change at the 12th fret. The Washburn tenors are really long concerts, or short tenors depending on your perspective. I don't play tenors, so I'm inclined to think of mine as a concert. Anyway, I like mine set at 3/32" at the 12th (between 2.5 and 3mm) regardless of the scale length. You should try yours first. Perhaps you got lucky.

hmgberg
12-06-2012, 03:36 AM
Yes, I make a habit of watching those Ukulelemania videos, and have seen the one you linked a number of times. Here's a video you may want to have a look at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDvcoIQyjYE

Tuning it lower would likely have the added benefit of make it more playable if the action is high.


Hi Howard,
OK, that's nice and snug, the only string channel being the bridgegroove.

Yes, there is a crack, as was specified by the seller (in reality a bit more visible than in the pics ---- BTW, how hard can it be to make clear pictures? Pretty hard, judging from the general eBay listing..). It's about a middle finger long, starting the from the side, running to about an inch from the end of the smile. It is a clean crack, I guess it can be repaired cleanly, it does not need a fill in. I some light it is hardly visible, but both sides are uneven. I'm not able to do this myself, but the guy who will do it has a lot of experience.

Re tuning: The Wash tenor in this clip sounds very good, to my ear at least, in what seems modern tuning: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbepejAT6kM , mainly judging from the open string sound.

The catalog page in the book, as you probably noticed, specifies period Washburn tenor stringing: violin A's as outer strings, violin D gut and guitar D wound silk for inner strings. I think I will try this first, and work from there (perhaps duplicating your experiences...). With a little research, I hope 20's violin tensions can be found. This will be an all gut setup, with one wound silk. I guess the silk will be the one that's hard to find, as I think that modern silk & steel (steel, really?) will not be the same kind of string as the early silks, which were silk 'n copper with more of a soft sound, to match the gut strings of the period.

On your advice, I will check the action before proceeding, to see if a neck reset is needed.

Thanks for your comments & advice, I'll let you know how it's going.

Best,
Paul