View Full Version : Need Help Determining VSL -- Schoenhut 5400 Overhaul

05-08-2014, 06:48 AM

I purchased one of the maligned Schoenhut 5400's from Amazon, the flag motif version. The tuners, strings, and top were crap, so I removed them all. What was left is really all that is good with the model, the polycarb body, decent neck, and accurate pre-fabbed frets.

I have some Grover tuners I've put on and some new strings ready to go, and I've fashioned an unadorned, better braced, and slightly thinner top to glue back onto it.

I plan on re-using the plastic bridge that came with the unit for convenience's sake. (I don't want to put a bunch of dough into this overhaul.) The bridge is serviceable, but was extremely loose on the original model. Obviously, I had to remove it when renovating the top.

1. How do I measure/determine where to put the bridge on the new
top? I know I measure from the nut to the 12th fret, and that should equal the distance from the 12th fret to the bridge, hence answering my own question. But I'm a bit confused if I measure from middle or inside/outside of frets/nut/bridge when calculating this...

2. Also, the bridge was originally screwed into the top and a small rectangle of balsa underneath the top. One of the screws was loose, so the bridge was crooked. There was no way to fix this without removing the top! At any rate, should I screw the thing into a similar small square of my own thin wood on the underside of the top for my overhaul, or would it be better to glue it to the top? Or both screw and glue?


05-08-2014, 11:15 AM
Hello derschel,
You are correct with your 12th fret and double it to get the approximate position of the bridge. I fixed a tenor uke during the winter with a similar faulty bridge. I compensated the 2nd and 3rd strings approximately 1/64" back from the evenly aligned bridge. (The bridge is evenly aligned with the nut which is your datum or constant on any stringed instrument whether it is guitar or ukulele or bass). I measure from the inside of the nut to exactly the inside of the bridge bone. On a tenor this would be 16 plus 63/64th inches or 43.1 cm's. Now for the compensated 2nd and 3rd string measurements. They will be 17 plus 1/64th inches or 43.3 cm's. Regarding the wooden bridge refastening, it doesn't really matter if it is rosewood or ebony or mahagony or hard maple. (I have seen the bridges fashioned out of many different species. I would glue and screw it to the bridge plate which you have already made. You can get very small pearl dots approximately 3/16 inch from StewMac to gently push into the countersunk screw heads. A couple of 1/2 inch #4 flat head screws. Predrill the screw holes with a 1/16th bit. Don't use any power screw drivers as you are gingerly going to screw and glue.
PS: Welcome to the UU.
PPS: Assemble everything dry on the sound board and tape it down whilst you drill your 1/16th holes through the plastic bridge and the top and your new bridge plate underneath. Then gently screw it down and recheck, then undo and apply your glue and screw. Some times A and B epoxy will work well with the plastic bridges. Every job will be a little different depending on the bridge material. Good luck.