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CaleKnight
05-16-2013, 05:05 AM
Hey, gang! My brand new (gently used) banjolele arrived in the mail today and I only had time to run home, get the package into the house, and stare at the instrument longingly before heading back to work.

It has a floating bridge, which is laying sideways. I assume that happened during shipping since the dealer I bought it from promised a full setup.

Anyway, I only learned what a floating bridge was 20 minutes ago when I called a local music store to inquire about "bridge repair" and learned that I was asking a really newbie question. :o

There's a lot of stuff on the internet about how to set one of these up - can anyone help me narrow down what's out there and give me some info on getting it right? I'm meeting folks to play tonight and I want to use my pretty new piece!

WhenDogsSing
05-16-2013, 05:28 AM
It's pretty standard to ship a banjolele with the bridge laying down to avoid damage in shipment. All you need to do is measure from the nut (at the headstock end) to the 12th fret. This distance is one half the scale length of the instrument. Set your saddle up that same distance from the 12th fret on the head of the banjolele. If you have a tuner, you can fine tune the bridge location for the best intonation from there but it should be very close. If it has been setup, the bridge height should already be okay.

SailingUke
05-16-2013, 05:38 AM
After I get the bridge set, I like to use a pencil and mark where the bridge is placed.
I have it set in case I need to lay the bridge down or if it moves during a string change,

fernandogardinali
05-16-2013, 08:27 AM
After I get the bridge set, I like to use a pencil and mark where the bridge is placed.
I have it set in case I need to lay the bridge down or if it moves during a string change,

This is a great idea!

CaleKnight
05-16-2013, 09:15 AM
The instrument is already strung - I just kind of wedge the bridge up under the strings?

gitarzan
05-16-2013, 09:20 AM
Correct, initially at the same distance from the 12th fret as the nut is from the 12th fret. Intonate as needed by moving it slighty towards or from the 12th fret (should only need a few millimeters to be spot on.)

Search herein for details on how to intonate.

anthonyg
05-16-2013, 12:31 PM
It's pretty standard to ship a banjolele with the bridge laying down to avoid damage in shipment. All you need to do is measure from the nut (at the headstock end) to the 12th fret. This distance is one half the scale length of the instrument. Set your saddle up that same distance from the 12th fret on the head of the banjolele. If you have a tuner, you can fine tune the bridge location for the best intonation from there but it should be very close. If it has been setup, the bridge height should already be okay.


I agree with this except to say that the saddle position at 2 times nut to centre of 12th fret is the theoretical position. In practice you would expect to need the saddle to be set a mm or 2 longer (further away from the nut) and this is called saddle compensation. Yes you use a tuner to fine tune the position anyway but I would start with the saddle set 2 mm longer from the beginning.

Anthony

DaveVisi
05-16-2013, 12:56 PM
Nobody has yet said how to use a tuner for intonation. You can do it by ear just about as well. You want the harmonic at the 12th fret to match the fretted note at the 12th fret. Ignore the actual pitch, it's going to change as you move the bridge anyway. If the fretted note is flat, then the bridge is too far toward the tailpiece. If the fretted note is a bit sharp, it's because it's too close to the neck side of things. Adjust until both fretted and harmonic are the same. Now you can use the tuner to check your work, and make tiny adjustments as needed.

BigMamaJ40
05-16-2013, 03:46 PM
You may not be able to get all four strings intonated exactly because the bridge is straight: you'll get one string right on, then move to the next string, get it right on, but find you've thrown the previous string out of whack in the process.

I try to get the C and A strings right first as DavidVisi described, then I make micro adjustments to bridge placement to get the intonation "about right" among all 4 strings.

CaleKnight
05-16-2013, 04:22 PM
Am I supposed to tune the open strings before I try adjusting the bridge or after?

TheCraftedCow
05-16-2013, 08:41 PM
Is it not kosher to slant the bridge a bit to compensate? If it works on regular ukuleles why not on a banjouke?

anthonyg
05-16-2013, 09:48 PM
Am I supposed to tune the open strings before I try adjusting the bridge or after?

Put the bridge in place the best you can by measurement first (2 x saddle to middle 12th fret + 1 mm for compensation), then get the open strings in tune, let the strings settle so that they stay reasonably in tune for more than a day and then start adjusting intonation. See if the pitch at the 12th fret is exactly an octave higher than the open string. If its sharp move the saddle in tiny increments away from the nut. If its flat move the saddle in tiny increments towards the nut.

I like to check intonation all over then neck and not just at the 12th fret. Its not going to be totally consistent. There will be compromises to make.

Anthony

ukeeku
05-17-2013, 01:50 AM
Is it not kosher to slant the bridge a bit to compensate? If it works on regular ukuleles why not on a banjouke?

I have had very few that I didn't have a slight slant. usually the G is farther back than the A
Also remember there is a right way and a wrong way to put a bridge on.
it should be leaning back towords the butt of the uke, just slightly

CaleKnight
05-17-2013, 02:29 AM
Thanks for all the help, guys! The darn thing wouldn't stay in tune last night, but I'm sure the strings will settle out. One thing I noticed was that my Snark has trouble picking out the note that's being played - I think the resonator is screwing with it.

anthonyg
05-17-2013, 03:46 AM
Thanks for all the help, guys! The darn thing wouldn't stay in tune last night, but I'm sure the strings will settle out. One thing I noticed was that my Snark has trouble picking out the note that's being played - I think the resonator is screwing with it.

My tuner has trouble with my banjo ukulele too. I don't think you can blame the resonator. Its just the nature of a banjo with its fast attack and no sustain that I think troubles tuners.

Anthony

Cornfield
05-17-2013, 03:50 AM
My tuner has trouble with my banjo ukulele too. I don't think you can blame the resonator. Its just the nature of a banjo with its fast attack and no sustain that I think troubles tuners.

Anthony

I deaden the other strings so that the Snark doesn't pick up overtones.