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hemjr
06-22-2014, 11:43 AM
I had posted the following on the beginners forum and was advised to post it heer.

I am a newbie to Ukulele building. I have built 7 over the past two years. I have searched and read about bracing the inside of Ukuleles. The opinions have been varied. I am interested in best material, thickness, etc. I know it depends somewhat on the soundboard material, but still would like to explore here. Thanks.

BlackBearUkes
06-22-2014, 04:31 PM
Hello, the subject of bracing varies so much that it might be best if you share what you have done in the past, so folks here have an idea how to help you. Photos of your work and bracing patterns would be a good place to start.

Red Cliff
06-22-2014, 08:16 PM
Hi hemjr

Probably a good idea to say what size of uke you are building/most interested in as bracing varies widely between soprano (no bracing for some) through baritone (full fan or kasha).

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
06-23-2014, 09:42 AM
5mm wide x 6mm (1/4") high is a decent place to start for brace stock for the larger ukes.

hemjr
06-26-2014, 02:09 PM
Thanks for the replies. I have made a baritone using a set of plans and Kasha bracing. My last several ukes have been made with arched backs using a homemade radius dish with a 36" radius. I have made one tenor, one concert and several sopranos. I used fan bracing on the top plate of the tenor and concert and one of the sopranos.
I have used a little wider braces on the backs with the arch in them, thinking maybe the arched back needed stronger bracing.

To clarify my question, I was wandering about brace widths, heights and best material.
Thanks

hemjr
06-28-2014, 03:12 AM
Thanks "Beau Hannam Ukuleles" Do you think I can get by with narrower braces(or should I) than 5mm for a Soprano with 3' radiused back?
Thanks

Timbuck
06-28-2014, 03:28 AM
3 foot radius ???....and I thought my 5 foot was extreme :) most builders are in the teens or twenties with back rads...unless its a lute.

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
06-28-2014, 08:23 AM
Thanks "Beau Hannam Ukuleles" Do you think I can get by with narrower braces(or should I) than 5mm for a Soprano with 3' radiused back?
Thanks

Sopranos never have bracing..at least no make I have heard of uses bracing on a soprano. A bridge patch it good idea though- i use veneer for concert and tenor uke bridge patches (sometimes Carbon fiber). I glue the patch on first, then brace them, then ca glue the veneer bridge patch which makes it really stiff.
Braces are usually either (in most instruments suh as steel string and classical guitars, ukes):
Narrow and high
or
Fat and low

Fat and high is too stiff.

The narrower the brace the more chance of the brace 'telegraphing' through the top, ie being visible.

Narrow braces (1/8" and thinner) are usually associated with thin tops and lattice design as a thin top .040"-.060" (im talking classical guitars here, ie Smallman) requires more structure for stability. It all works (less fat braces, or more thin braces but you just gotta know about it all- it is too complicated to go into the details here- id recommend apprenticing for 5-10 years to learn.....)

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
06-28-2014, 08:36 AM
interesting video for all makers

These guitars cost about $30000, most tops about .040" thick. Braces i think are either balsa or sitka with carbon fiber top and bottom and horizontal at the lower bout edges for strength (visible at 36 seconds). He uses a tone well (itself covered in CF!!! )which is a solid bit of ply wood the shape of the guitar- it makes the whole body incredibly stiff so no vibration is lost (if you have non stiff sides, the top energy/vibration is wobbled down those sides thus decreasing the possible top energy/pump

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

Timbuck
06-28-2014, 08:42 AM
Beau..All the Martin Sopranos have 4 bracing strips and bridge patch..and most of the old vintage Island sopranos, Nunes, Mossman etc: have 3 braces.

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
06-28-2014, 09:01 AM
Beau..All the Martin Sopranos have 4 bracing strips and bridge patch..and most of the old vintage Island sopranos, Nunes, Mossman etc: have 3 braces.

REALLY???- I wasn't including the transverse braces above and below the soundhole btw

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
06-28-2014, 09:16 AM
skip to about 3mins in, or from the beginning if you are interested in the Australian bush.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2Dq2x8CeS4

BlackBearUkes
06-28-2014, 09:36 AM
Talking about bracing is a never ending story. The Smallman guitars are interesting and powerful guitars, but to my ear there is a cost to be paid with that kind of construction. Those guitars tend to have a metallic edge to the sound. The soundboards being so thin and on the verge of colapse, the lattcie bracing has to be very strong but extremely light in weight for this sytem to work, and it does work, but not all player like that sound. I personally have come to appreciate the woody, more Spanish guitar sound like the Rodriguez, to each their own.

As far as sopranos never having bracing other then the transverse braces, not true. It is uncommon for the vintage Hawaiian makers to have any fan bracing, but rarely it does happen. I have always added at least 2 fan braces to every soprano uke I have made because I've repaired so many vintage ukes and I see what happens to them with age. A couple of small, strong and light weight braces could have prevented some of the damage to these vintage tops, and these small braces do not inhibit the top from moving as it should. Most builders today also build with some kind of domed top or side to side dome which would also improve the tops longevity.

I does take years of work, repairing and building to get a handle on what works and what doesn't and why. Simply building with a certain bracing pattern because it's in some book or set of plans or you like the looks of it is not good lutherie. Things need to make sense and they need to work.