StewMac Concert Ukulele Kit

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Hey, all!

About to start assembling a Stewmac concert ukulele kit (first-time builder and uke owner); I have some questions I'm hoping to get answered before I get going.

1) The bridge plate I received is too small.
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I contacted StewMac and asked for some blank bridge plate material. I didn't realize the original's thickness is roughly 1/16" and the blank's thickness is 1/8". Will using the blank w/o planing it down negatively alter the sound?

2) The sound hole braces on the StewMac bracing plan don't extend to the top braces, yet they appear to in the actual build pics; should I use some of the extra bridge plate blank material to cut new ones? If so, should they be planed to 1/16"
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Thanks!
 

sequoia

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1.) Probably will not make a whole lot of difference, but I would plane the blank down to the thickness that the kit uses.

2.) I would not extend the sound hole braces to contact the top brace. You want that part of the sound board to move. Follow the plan.
 

Kelali Kev

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I would reduce both thicknesses to maintain the flex of the soundboard. Both are more reinforcements than tonal in purpose, so thinner accomplishes that without deadening the board. Their plan shows the X brace floating so the sound hole reinforcements would also be floating. However you would want the bridge patch to touch the X brace, so you were correct on wanting a replacement that would fall under the bridge in the right spot.
 

sequoia

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However you would want the bridge patch to touch the X brace, so you were correct on wanting a replacement that would fall under the bridge in the right spot.
Correct. The bridge patch should tie off to the bracing. That was a goof on SMD's part. Hello QC/QA. Come on, if things are not hard enough for the beginner already, at least send them correct sized parts.

I've always found it interesting that the SMD concert kit uses X bracing while the tenor kir uses traditional fan bracing. Why? I dunno.
 

Graham Greenbag

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IIRC there was a thread about errors on the SMD concert build. It would be worth while the OP doing a good search to find that thread.
 

hoji

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I would not extend the sound hole braces to contact the top brace. You want that part of the sound board to move.
Interesting! I had not thought about that, but it makes sense I suppose. Sort of pumping the air out, maybe? Or what's the thought here?

Sorry if is this derailing the OP... But seems like a hidden gem of advice.
 

sequoia

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Interesting! I had not thought about that, but it makes sense I suppose. Sort of pumping the air out, maybe? Or what's the thought here?

Sorry if is this derailing the OP... But seems like a hidden gem of advice.

There are many schools of thought on this and many, many UU threads. I'm of the school that wants to keep the top vibrating freely by not tieing off bracing to sides, or to top braces. The risk is that the top is not as structurally sound when braces are not tied off but... On my tenors, the central fan brace actually doesn't touch the bridge plate but bridges over it and is not tied off to the upper bout cross brace. The bridge plate does get glued to the two outer fans though because my theory is that transmits the vibration out into the top. But all this might be hooey and what do I know. It is just a thing we play with.