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View Full Version : Bruko Fixed! New Bone Nut and Saddle



Vagrant
05-28-2014, 10:14 AM
Last week I posted that I'd busted a piece out of my Bruko's rosewood nut. Carefully following everyone's advice I was able to remove the old nut (which was glued across its entire length) without damaging the surrounding headstock.

This evening I shaped a new bone nut and saddle for it - I used mid-19th Century ox bone from some old teaspoon handles I've been saving. I made the nut slightly lower than the original Bruko one, as the strings were seated very deep in their slots, and I wanted these ones a bit nearer the top surface. I also made the saddle a tiny bit lower too.
Both the nut and saddle are a tight friction fit (I got them evenly to size by rubbing them on sandpaper mounted on a glass block - a trick I picked up from making bone bookbinding tools years ago), but I did put a central dab of superglue on the front face of the nut.

Tomorrow I'll be fitting new strings, and adjusting the slots/saddle height. Thanks to everyone who chipped in on the original thread, it all was a great help. I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself tonight, although I do now know more about adjusting intonation/action/nuts/saddles than I do about actually playing my ukulele!
Bone doesn't photograph too well, but here are some pics anyway:
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coolkayaker1
05-28-2014, 10:44 AM
Oh, my goodness, that's well done. Huge improvement over the stock Bruko, plus you lowered the action. You could run a side business, Vagrant, just enhancing the tens of thousands of stock Brukos out there.

Vagrant
05-28-2014, 11:00 PM
Oh, my goodness, that's well done. Huge improvement over the stock Bruko, plus you lowered the action. You could run a side business, Vagrant, just enhancing the tens of thousands of stock Brukos out there.

Now there's an idea! Although I would need some sort of extractor, the dust from the bone was evil evil evil. And tools, proper tools, rather than a sheet of cheap sandpaper, half a hacksaw blade and a nail file. The only reason I haven't fitted the strings yet is because I'm waiting on some welding iron tip cleaning files for doing the slots, my one concession to doing it properly!

Vagrant
05-30-2014, 12:19 AM
So my files arrived and last night I fitted the strings and adjusted the action - I can now get back to learning!

I took the action down from 4mm (well, nearly 4.5mm) at the 12th fret to 3mm, and the height at the 1st fret is about the thickness of a credit card - I did it so that when I fretted at the third there was just a teensy gap at the 1st between the fret and the string (I'm only mentioning this in case I've made some howling error - feel free to point it out if I have!).

It definitely sounds different with the bone nut and saddle - less plonky, more ringy... and the notes sustain for longer. Their used to be a bit of 'fuzz' when I played the open C string, but now it rings clear as a bell (I think that fuzziness is called a wolf note, if resonant echoes and such are the same for ukuleles as they are for speaker cabinets... maybe?).

Although it was a... erm... ******* to get the broken nut off without damaging the uke, I'd do this again, as I feel I've now somehow made the uke mine!

For a first attempt I'm pretty pleased. Now I've got to learn to play it.