Page 1 of 6 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 53

Thread: StewMac Concert Uke Kit Bracing Issue

  1. #1

    Default StewMac Concert Uke Kit Bracing Issue

    My granddaughter asked me to build her a ukulele. I know nothing about them, so I bought a Stewmac kit. I've built a couple of mandolins and a half dozen guitars so I'm not new to building instruments, but I need a little advice about the top bracing.

    The kit is a concert size with the plywood back/sides and solid mahogany top.

    I laid out the braces on the plan and it appears the bridge plate is too short.

    Brace1.jpg

    I pushed it where it fit between the braces and got this:

    Brace2.jpg

    Then I laid the bridge where it will attach according to the dimensions given in the instructions and have this:

    Brace3.jpg

    My thoughts are that the front of the bridge will be supported by the x-braces and the bridge plate extending aft of the bridge will provide support to spread the twisting force of the bridge to a larger area of the top.

    So, will it be okay to build it like that? I measured the bridge location several times and I'm reasonably confident that is where it will go.

    Advice? I also have plenty of bracewood so I could just toss these braces in the trash and build a better pattern from scratch.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Little River, California
    Posts
    2,621

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by klr View Post
    So, will it be okay to build it like that? I measured the bridge location several times and I'm reasonably confident that is where it will go. Thanks.
    No. Not okay. The bridge plate needs to go completely under the bridge at the required scale length position. This plate was cut wrong or was meant for a soprano. Call Stew Mac or email them with the above picture. I'm sure they will replace it with the properly sized bridge plate. Their customer service is excellent. Even though it is easy to make your own spruce patch, just let them replace it for you. Do not glue it out of position.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    Location
    Southern Ohio
    Posts
    91

    Default

    Do you have any wood that you could make a new one? I built the same kit and it was the same way, they need to look into this and make a correction on that piece.

  4. #4

    Default

    I think I see what is going on. I was measuring based on the fretboard meeting the body at the 14th fret.

    I placed the nut on the neck per the instructions, then the fretboard, and then measured. This moved the bridge back enough so that I can bring the x-brace/bridge plate forward about 1/16" and have the bridge plate right under the bridge and fit tightly to the x-braces.

    So, do ukuleles not always have the neck meet the body at a fret like a guitar? The pics of the StewMac kit do not.

    If that is the case, the plans need revised to show the proper placement of the baces and bridge plate.

    Or I still haven't figured out what I'm doing wrong.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Australia.
    Posts
    240

    Default

    I was gifted a Stewmac tenor kit to assemble for a family member. It had the same 'X' bracing pattern as your concert size. It also had the same anomaly with the bridge plate, so I cut a slightly longer replacement. After the bracing was glued and sculptured, I performed my usual flex testing and found that it was way too stiff for my liking, so continued paring down the braces with only a slightly noticeable improvement . Reading that the older Stewmacs had good results with fan bracing, it was out with the chisels, scraper and paper and back to my standard two fan braces with a central finger brace and an elliptical bridge plate. This is a bit on the light side for some builders, but typically gives a nice full bodied sound with minimal bellying.
    I'll see if I can find and post 'before' and 'after' pics of the actual soundboard.

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bazuku View Post
    I was gifted a Stewmac tenor kit to assemble for a family member. It had the same 'X' bracing pattern as your concert size. It also had the same anomaly with the bridge plate, so I cut a slightly longer replacement. After the bracing was glued and sculptured, I performed my usual flex testing and found that it was way too stiff for my liking, so continued paring down the braces with only a slightly noticeable improvement . Reading that the older Stewmacs had good results with fan bracing, it was out with the chisels, scraper and paper and back to my standard two fan braces with a central finger brace and an elliptical bridge plate. This is a bit on the light side for some builders, but typically gives a nice full bodied sound with minimal bellying.
    I'll see if I can find and post 'before' and 'after' pics of the actual soundboard.
    That sounds like a good plan. I'd like to see your bracing. Thanks.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Little River, California
    Posts
    2,621

    Default

    Below is a picture of Stew Mac plan for their concert kit:

    concert plan.jpg

    Below is a picture of the completed concert ukulele

    StewMac_Ukulele_Kits.jpg

    Below is a picture of the bracing in the concert

    concert 2.jpg

    Note that the picture #2 clearly shows the neck as meeting at the body at the 14th fret. The scale length is reported to be 14 29/32 inches. The distance from the nut to the 12th fret would be half that distance and the distance from the 12th fret to the saddle would be half that distance again. Question: On the plan, does that half measurement come out the same to the center of the bridge plate? It should. If it doesn't there is something wrong with the plan. This predisposes that the fret intervals have been correctly cut to correspond to a 14 29/32 scale length which is kind of odd, but no matter.

    My feeling is that using X-bracing on a concert ukulele is not the best solution. Again, the designer is probably coming from a guitar builders point of view which they adapted to an ukulele. Way overkill as a structural solution in my opinion. I have no idea what these things sound like, but I suspect they sound a little dead.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Australia.
    Posts
    240

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by klr View Post
    I'd like to see your bracing.
    I will post it asap. Unfortunately it resides in an album of many thousands of images with, (as cruelly described by others) a chaotic, bizarre and even 'non-existent' filing system. I may take a little time.

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bazuku View Post
    I will post it asap. Unfortunately it resides in an album of many thousands of images with, (as cruelly described by others) a chaotic, bizarre and even 'non-existent' filing system. I may take a little time.
    Lol. I know the feeling. I used to keep them safe on photobucket, but we know how that turned out.

    Anyway, I re-measured, re-checked, and re-dry fitted the parts together.

    Stewmac lists the scale length as 14-13/16" (376mm). The instructions state to place the center of the saddle at 14-29/32 from the nut.

    I measured from the front of the fb to the 12th fret and came up with 7.390". Double that is 14.78" which is 14-25/32 and short of Stewmac's specs.

    I used the metric side of my fret ruler and came up with 187.5mm. Double that is 375mm. Again, short of Stewmac's specs.

    So how much compensation is required on a uke? Placing the saddle at stewmac's specs will give about 1/8".

    Now here is how my nut, neck, fb go together.

    FB location:
    20191208_151633-1.jpg

    Add nut:
    20191208_151627-1.jpg

    Neck will join body midway between the 13th and 14th fret:
    20191208_151643-1.jpg

    I think I'm going to email Stewmac a few pics.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Little River, California
    Posts
    2,621

    Default

    Something goofy is going on here... The 14th fret should align with the top of the body and still give you ledge enough to allow the nut to lay flat on the peghead.

    Yes, the stated scale length is 14 13/16. The instructions say to place the saddle (which should be centered over the bridge plate) at 14 29/32 which would mean they are building in 3/32 compensation. This is the standard "rule of thumb" compensation for a tenor scale length (17 inch). I would think that the "rule of thumb" compensation on a concert would be less and more like about 1/16 inch. Regardless, 3/32 is close. But 1/8th would be way too much in my opinion.

    I'm wondering whether you got the wrong fretboard in this kit. Anyway, take this up with Stew Mac. I've found that their technical help is, for the most part, excellent.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •