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Thread: My whole bridge setup FELL OFF!

  1. #1

    Default My whole bridge setup FELL OFF!

    I was sitting on the sofa the other day when I heard a strange popping noise immediately followed by something falling on the floor. Being engrossed in life at that moment, I didn’t investigate right then but noticed a piece of what I thought was plastic on the floor of my bedroom a little later. The piece was small but looked immediately familiar and had really easily seen numbers embossed on it. I kept running the numbers through my head trying to remember where I knew them from when it hit me, this looked like the graphite bridge piece from my ukulele. When I looked up at my four month old uke hanging next to my bed, with horror I couldn’t understand what I was seeing. All the strings were hanging down attached to another piece of wood or graphite. As this was finally coming into focus (for those few seconds that felt like an age, I simply couldn’t believe what I was seeing!), I realized that the entire bridge setup had completely popped off - and this was what I had heard from the other room. Now, I’ve not played this new uke very much (not that that should matter, a four month old uke shouldn’t just fall apart) and it’s been in hanging in my apartment the entire time at 68-74 degrees, never lower and I’ve never taken it anywhere. This despite the fact that it actually is sold as being a take anywhere, strong, stable, temperature impervious, rugged uke.

    Now, I’m not trying to bash any manufacturer. I get it, stuff happens. But I’m a new uke player. While technically I’ve been playing about 9 or 10 months, because of health issues and 9 surgeries between my spouse and I in the last year, my actual “play time” is quite a bit less than that and I’m no luthier. When looking at the build, I could see two small holes in the body of the uke that went just partway through the body (not all the way through) but I could see nothing that actually went into those holes from the bridge or other pieces that make it up. Meaning, it appears that it was only glue that held it in place, which kind of surprised me. I even wondered if I could have been wrong and the two little nubs that might have existed to hold into those shallow holes could have sheared off when the bridge fell off but I looked all over the bedroom floor and saw no signs that they ever even existed. I’m mentioning this because this even has me scared. A lot. It happened now at 4 months old with very little play. What happens if it does it at 1 year or 2? Or 4 or 5...when it will be much harder if not impossible to get the manufacturer to stand behind it. This uke was a gift and by the time all the little add-ons that were additional charges added up, it was a pricey uke (for me). Quite a bit more than I had originally intended. I don’t have unlimited funds and invested in this (birthday gift) because it was supposed to last forever and be impervious to travel, weather, etc - a rugged option I’d never have to worry about in our climate that’s hard on traditional wooden instruments.

    So, I need your advice and expertise. What do I do? Obviously, I need to reach out to the manufacturer to ask them to make this right. But what exactly is that at this point? Is this a design defect? Again, I’m NO luthier and have precisely 0 experience with ukulele design but I would think that anything with as much tension as the bridge setup has on it, couldn’t hold well with only glue and would be questionable with the shallow holes/nubs and glue (if it indeed actually used those). Not that it should matter as no warning was given on which type of strings to use or not to use, but I did not use high tension strings on it (in fact, wanted to avoid high tension so went for the lower tension I could find to try to make it easier to play because I was surprised that I had some difficulty playing it just because of the higher action than my other uke and the higher tension strings). My worry is the underlying cause. Was this just an very unlucky incident? A poorly made uke (that just somehow made it through quality checks)? Or is it a design defect or at least poor design choice? Should I accept that they just repair my broken uke or would you be asking for an entirely new one at just four month old? Or, would you trust any uke that broke this quickly? I’m not trying to be overly dramatic with this statement but when one pays extra to buy a uke that’s durable and rugged so they don’t have to worry about something like this, it kind of shakes you about the whole thing.

    Anyway, I’m obviously down about the whole thing and being a newbie to such things, I really wanted to try to learn fron this amazing community and ask for your advice and expertise as to what to expect, what you would do, and how you’d go about sorting this out (before I just start in on my own). Any help would be hugely appreciated. Thanks so much in advance!

    PS Below are some attached photos for a quick look but I couldn’t get them to show up in a high enough resolution to show detail. So, here is also a link to the photos below (and some more) so you can see them more clearly, if that’s helpful (no signup or sign-in required to view):
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/FZQQFiUsobCtHYeu7

    EDIT: I’ve added some additional information in post #7 below: https://forum.ukuleleunderground.com...13#post2127613

    7785BD2E-9D55-4771-9BC9-449986DFDF9B.jpg2ACA2AA4-4C26-4439-8204-E3B2B68AE16A.jpgD3AFF5A7-78C6-4388-8E51-1A197538D37F.jpg349A9B3D-A163-44D3-91B8-258C1F0F84D6.jpg7DDC2B36-83F3-4ED8-B2D3-209A8B08F747.jpg
    Last edited by lifereinspired; 02-01-2019 at 10:44 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    NorCal
    Posts
    349

    Default

    Contact the manufacturer. They bill the product (which is new this year) with "It will last a lifetime". (So don't die yet.)

    They should want to inspect the uke to see if they need a design change. I would ask for a replacement ukulele, not a repair. It should not matter that it was gifted to you. And I would expect them to pay shipping costs both ways.
    Last edited by rainbow21; 02-01-2019 at 09:58 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    417

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    That's really not supposed to happen.

    You might want to contact the maker of the uke, and/or the vendor you bought it from and tell them your story, or share the link to this thread.

    On wooden ukes sometimes the bridge is simply glued on to the top, and other times it might be reinforced with 2 screws through the bridge and into the bridge plate (underneath the inside of the soundboard), 1 each between the G and C strings, and the E and A strings respectively.

    "Normal" string tension usually does not pull the bridge off unless there is either a manufacturing defect, or rapid and extreme changes in temp and humidity. Extreme heat, like if the uke is left in the car, can soften the glue and cause it to fail.

    Having said the above, this is a pretty simple repair, and not the end of the world, and can be remedied pretty quickly by replacing the bridge with a new one, and using the proper glue. Since your uke looks to be carbon fiber, Titebond or Hide Glue, which is used on wood will likely not work, and maybe some variant of CA glue aka super-glue or crazy-glue would be more appropriate.

    If it was me, I'd let the manufacturer repair it, and let them know that the UU forum community has been informed of this problem, which might entice them to prevent a PR disaster.

    Good luck!
    -Joe......Have uke, will travel...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    West Los Angeles, California
    Posts
    390

    Default

    First thing to do id immediately call KLOS and send them your pictures. Tell them how very disappointed you are. Ask them what they are going to do about it. In a nice way, of course. Don't try to glue it yourself as it is carbon fibre and may require a particular glue.
    * * * * * * * * *
    Solid Mahogany Tiny Tenor from Pepe Romero/Daniel Ho. Low-G. I named it "Lumière"
    Kala Soprano KA-ASOV-S Spruce and Ovangkol. High-G I named "Blood, Sweat, & Tears"
    KLOS Carbon Fiber Tenor Deluxe Acoustic/Electric Ukulele wound Low-G
    Cynthia Lin Performance uke. Concert scale with a cutaway Low-G
    Kala Soprano KA-KCT-S Ziricote fitted with Ernie Ball clear High-G
    Just ordered a tenor sized custom electric uke from Brian Fanner . . . wonder how long ETA. . .

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    West Los Angeles, California
    Posts
    390

    Default

    Also, mention that you are a member of the Ukulele Underground Forums and you posted your situation on the forums asking for help. They know this forum has a lot of members. They should make this right, they have to. Call them today before the weekend.
    * * * * * * * * *
    Solid Mahogany Tiny Tenor from Pepe Romero/Daniel Ho. Low-G. I named it "Lumière"
    Kala Soprano KA-ASOV-S Spruce and Ovangkol. High-G I named "Blood, Sweat, & Tears"
    KLOS Carbon Fiber Tenor Deluxe Acoustic/Electric Ukulele wound Low-G
    Cynthia Lin Performance uke. Concert scale with a cutaway Low-G
    Kala Soprano KA-KCT-S Ziricote fitted with Ernie Ball clear High-G
    Just ordered a tenor sized custom electric uke from Brian Fanner . . . wonder how long ETA. . .

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe King View Post
    That's really not supposed to happen.

    You might want to contact the maker of the uke, and/or the vendor you bought it from and tell them your story, or share the link to this thread.

    On wooden ukes sometimes the bridge is simply glued on to the top, and other times it might be reinforced with 2 screws through the bridge and into the bridge plate (underneath the inside of the soundboard), 1 each between the G and C strings, and the E and A strings respectively.

    "Normal" string tension usually does not pull the bridge off unless there is either a manufacturing defect, or rapid and extreme changes in temp and humidity. Extreme heat, like if the uke is left in the car, can soften the glue and cause it to fail.

    Having said the above, this is a pretty simple repair, and not the end of the world, and can be remedied pretty quickly by replacing the bridge with a new one, and using the proper glue. Since your uke looks to be carbon fiber, Titebond or Hide Glue, which is used on wood will likely not work, and maybe some variant of CA glue aka super-glue or crazy-glue would be more appropriate.

    If it was me, I'd let the manufacturer repair it, and let them know that the UU forum community has been informed of this problem, which might entice them to prevent a PR disaster.

    Good luck!
    This is what I would have expected - that the bridge was secured from underneath, inside the uke body. However, I have small hands and was able to reach inside to see if there was any securing hardware there. Nothing. I was completely smooth. That’s why I included the link to the high-res photos to show the photos of the little nub holes. They are VERY shallow and don’t go all the way through the body. In fact, you can see the wood easily at the base of the holes showing in another manner that it doesn’t go all the way through to secure. I still can’t see what actually holds the bridge in place. While I could see that (maybe) on some wooden instruments, a glue could potentially hold well, given wood’s somewhat porous grain structure giving some “tooth” for the glue to hold to, I believe that carbon fiber is fairly (if not completely) non-porous, making it more challenging for glue to hold it as securely, since it has nothing to sort of “grab” into on the CF. I’m no engineer, but it’s just what makes sense to my brain, thinking it out. And, I wanted to make sure that I included the info that this has NO hardware that secures the bridge through the body at all since it has a completely smooth interior/inner body.

  7. #7

    Default

    Thanks everyone for sharing so much advice and info. I really, truly appreciate it.

    I just want to add a couple of quick things.

    First, the uke was a gift from my spouse and therefore, it was still purchased by me. So, no issues with lack of proof of purchase, etc.

    Secondly, I hope it’s clear that I haven’t tried in any way to bash the manufacturer. While I am disappointed and concerned now about longevity after this event, I’m equally not trying to be a jerk or trying to hurt them in any way. I hope that’s clear from the fact that I specifically chose not to mention their name in the post (though it’s true, that it’s somewhat visible in some of the photos and of course their uke is rather distinctive looking). I genuinely wanted to get your expertise on how best to handle the situation and what I should be looking for in a resolution (repair, new uke, or ???).

    I didn’t receive this till the very end of September or early October, way beyond our warm days up in Northern New England. So, this has NEVER been in hot temperatures or any temperatures beyond the ones in my home which is always between 68-74 degrees (F) since I’ve never taken it out (yet). Having said all that, they sell this uke specifically on its ability to withstand such temperature extremes (as being left in the car in summer and winter) and being taken anywhere, anytime. So, I am really quite worried that it failed having played it VERY little and was just hanging idle and unused when it broke (ie I wasn’t strumming away madly when the bridge setup fell off).

    FWIW, I did go for the upgraded bridge material (TUSQ, I believe it’s called). The uke info makes it sound like the TUSQ material is stronger and more durable than the regular white polymer bridge. It also mentions “bridge pins” made out of either the while polymer or in my case, the higher strength TUSQ material so it appears that there should be something that goes down into those (very) shallow holes. I’m just concerned that the amount of string tension is simply too much for such short little pins to reliably hold (clearly something like this is possible since my pins failed and the bridge setup fell off).

    Lastly, there’s no way I’d try to fix this myself! No way, no how. Just, no. It’s too expensive and too much could go wrong with the possibility of getting hurt should it happen again while playing it or potentially altering the sound/tuning should I not get it exactly back in the same spot, perfectly square, etc. That’s why I said I’m no luthier (and currently, have no ambitions to be one ). With the addition of carbon fiber in the mix, that just complicates things further and I would never risk this.

    Thanks again for sharing all your expertise!

    One further thing. I also understood that the uke is sold as “Lifetime”. However, when going into the “fine print” and looking in the FAQs, once you purchase the uke, there is NOTHING that says lifetime warranty or anything remotely like that. In fact, it just has a very nebulous statement on the FAQs about assessing each issue on an individual basis. (See here and scroll down to the 10th FAQ: https://klosguitars.com/pages/faq). This really kind of worries me. I thought from the way they sold it, and everything that was said about it that it came with a lifetime warranty (not that I thought I’d EVER need it!). But, with that statement on the FAQs, they have a mile of wiggle room to get out of anything they don’t want to deal with. Now, given this community and as someone else mentioned, the issue of a potential PR problem, I honestly don’t anticipate them giving me a lot of hassle on this issue right now. But I’m back to, is this a design defect? What if it happens again? What if I do take it places? Will it really hold up?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Twin Cities, Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    417

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    Bummer - but not the first time that has happened to a Klos, as another member here mentioned that he had the same experience. I believe his was fixed at no cost to him, so I wouldn't worry - I have no doubt that you will get satisfaction from the builder. As for not being fastened from underneath, that isn't uncommon for a uke bridge to simply be glued on, and it should have been adequate. Those holes you see are likely to be simply the position markers that are used to correctly position the bridge when it is glued in place.

    The finish of the Klos is simply the resin as it emerges from the mold. In this type of process the mold is first treated with a mold release agent to help remove the finished part cleanly, sort of like spraying Pam onto a baking pan. But, if you want to then glue anything onto that surface you need to clean it really well to remove all of the residual mold release agent, or the glue won't hold. It sure looks as if they dropped the ball on that step, at least a couple of times now.
    Blackbird Farallon Ekoa Tenor
    Beltona Songster Resonator Tenor
    Klos Carbon Fiber Tenor
    Magic Fluke Tenor Firefly Banjolele

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Mission Viejo, CA
    Posts
    1,727

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    I’m the other UU member with this issue. The bridge on my KLOS popped off. I sent them pictures. They sent me a shipping label and I sent it back to them. It was before Christmas and I figured they would be pretty busy so I told them to work on it after the holidays. They shipped it back to me at no cost for shipping or repairs. At the time mine was the only one with a bridge issue.

    When it came back they had converted it to a string through from the slotted. Also the soundboard areas around the bridge had a little bit of sheen, probably from cleaning off the old glue, so I hand rubbed out the rest of the soundboard to match it up with a bit of gloss.

    I have mixed feelings on the string through. I think it is an improved method to attach the strings but I’m not sure if the soundboard will be adversely affected. So far so good.

    John
    Last edited by 70sSanO; 02-01-2019 at 06:01 PM.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
    I’m the other UU member with this issue. The bridge on my KLOS popped off. I sent them pictures. They sent me a shipping label and I sent it back to them. It was before Christmas and I figured they would be pretty busy so I told them to work on it after the holidays. They shipped it back to me at no cost for shipping or repairs. At the time mine was the only one with a bridge issue.

    When it came back they had converted it to a string through from the slotted. Also the soundboard areas around the bridge had a little bit of sheen, probably from cleaning off the old glue, so I hand rubbed out the rest of the soundboard to match it up with a bit of gloss.

    I have mixed feelings on the string through. I think it is an improved method to attach the strings but I’m not sure if the soundboard will be adversely affected. So far so good.

    John
    Thanks for sharing this. I really appreciate hearing your experience (though, of course, I’m so sorry to hear you had the same problem). At least I have more idea of what to expect. I’m pretty down about it. I’m not at all wild about the idea of them converting it to a string through. I really like the slotted style and was part of my decision of going with this uke. Just makes things easier (string changes) for someone who has pretty serious issues with their hands working correctly. I’m also rather surprised that they didn’t simply replace it. For a uke that you only had such a short time, it seems like little to do (unless, of course, it was your choice and you wanted to keep your original instrument).

    I wonder if they changed to the string through because they felt it would put less upward/backward pressure on the bridge to try to avoid this in the future. Have they switched all the newer ones to string through? Just sort of thinking outloud on this. I have very little uke experience but trying to think about basic physical properties.

    I guess the question is, is this now less of an isolated issue?

    Oh, just out of curiosity did you have the original bridge material or the TUSQ? I’m just curious if the same material was involved both times.

    Thanks again,
    Rae

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