Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 32

Thread: Ukulele Bridge Placement

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Lansing, Michigan
    Posts
    1,572

    Default Ukulele Bridge Placement

    At the risk of exciting Chuck into posting another "It's Not Rocket Science Thread", I've decided to go ahead and ask this simple question about bridge placement before I glue mine on this weekend anyway. I've heard several times the distance from the nut to the twelfth fret should be the same as the distance of the bridge to the twelfth fret. I am assuming that people actually mean the word "saddle" where they say "bridge". In other words, I'm assuming the distance from the twelfth fret to the saddle needs to equal that of the twelfth to the nut. Is that correct?

    Does this rule of thumb work for any sized uke? Soprano, Concert, Tenor--all the same?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Burlington, WI
    Posts
    317

    Default

    I remember reading on here that some luthiers also add a very small amount of distance (not sure the figure but possibly an 1/8") extra to compensate for string tension. Someone knowledgeable please correct me here.

    Haha, found it (a thread u started btw)
    Quote Originally Posted by thistle3585 View Post
    I don't need to think about it. There are lots of examples of compensated nuts with plenty of data to support it. There are also a fair amount of patents related to different processes in achieving compensating the nut. Generally, you wont notice it as much on shorter scale instruments as you will on longer.

    Think about it this way, the middle of the scale is at the 12th fret. If you intonate your instrument using the 12th fret harmonic, not fretting at the twelfth then the open string will be "in tune." When you fret it at the 12th fret the distance the string travels to touch the fret makes it sharp. Once you start up the neck or down the neck then it begins to get sharper. By the time you get to the first or 24th fret, you are probaly a couple cents of in tuning. So, if you compensate both the nut and saddle to allow for the changes then it will ideally fret perfectly as well as be perfect when plucked unfretted. So, lets say that you need to compensate 1/8" to get the intonation right. If the bridge and frets are set properly is set in the correct spot then you can compensate the bridge and nut 1/16" and it will play in perfect tune. Make sense?
    Last edited by vahn; 10-15-2009 at 04:18 AM.
    Kala Tenor Solid Lacewood and Sprucetop cutaway
    Tenor Rosewood Eleuke
    Bushman Jenny Pineapple

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Lansing, Michigan
    Posts
    1,572

    Default

    Thanks Vahn, but it doesn't answer the essence of my question, which is: am I measuring from the twelfth fret to the front of the bridge or to the saddle itself?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Varies
    Posts
    419

    Default

    Measure to the front of the saddle.

    And adding some compensation is good. I add 3/32 to my tenors, but that is just me.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Clarion, PA
    Posts
    78

    Default

    There are jigs available - or you could easily build one - that sit on the 12 the fret and can be adjusted to just touch the nut. If you then turn the jig around it will mark the location where the saddle should ultimately sit - any desired compensation should be added to this location. This saves measuring and trying to read a ruler to the nearest 1/64th of an inch. Those of us with presbyopia like such tactile assistance.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    West Midlands GB
    Posts
    1,837

    Default

    We are talking about string length. The bridge is just a base to locate the saddle, and it can vary in size and shape. Place the bridge where it puts the saddle in the position it needs to be.

    Ukantor.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Lansing, Michigan
    Posts
    1,572

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ukantor View Post
    We are talking about string length. The bridge is just a base to locate the saddle, and it can vary in size and shape. Place the bridge where it puts the saddle in the position it needs to be.

    Ukantor.
    So, one could say, the length of the strings should be divided evenly between nut and saddle by the twelfth fret. Unless you want to compensate.
    Thanks, I'll stick with that.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Columbus, IN
    Posts
    821

    Default

    One of the "gadgets" I've been wanting to build but haven't had time is a removable tailpiece that would hold the strings while they are brought up to tune then you could slide the bridge around to find the best location prior to gluing it down. Kind of like a floating bridge system on archtops. I was thinking of using a violin chinrest bracket as the temporary tailpiece.

    On sopranos, I have been using and 1/8" saddle and locate the saddle 1/16" longer than the scale and then intonate the saddle as necessary. I tend to use lower action than what i see on most ukes but may need to reexamine that due to string buzz. One of these days I need to start a thread to ask about setup including action and neck relief. Look up the "saddlematic" at StewMac to help you with determining the location.
    Last edited by thistle3585; 10-15-2009 at 06:45 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Portsmouth, Ohio
    Posts
    1,700

    Default

    I wish you the best regarding the placement of your bridge/saddle. I build cigar box ukuleles and use a floating bridge/saddle arrangement similar to that used on archtop guitars. The bridge isn't glued down which allows for precise locating of the saddle after stringing the instrument. I guess that there is some loss in volume by using this type of bridge but that isn't as important to me as having excellent intonation. I've been obsessive compulsive about maximizing the string angle over the saddle in the past but on my last CBU, I used the floating bridge setup and am very pleasantly surprised at how much sound it has with a relatively slight string angle over the saddle...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Big Island, Hawaii
    Posts
    5,192

    Default

    Matt, I only started that "Rocket Science" thread because some people here have lost sight of what we are doing here, building musical instruments, and tend to get caught up in having the biggest, best and most expensive tools, gadgets and gizmos to do the job. While I believe there is no one best way to do something and no real rules concerning the actual construction of a ukulele there are a couple of hard and fast rules that are indeed written in stone. These have to do with mathematics and physics and are indisputable. One of them is scale length and I think you got the answer you are looking for in the previous posts.
    BTW, when considering intonation you also have to take action (string height) into account. Once you build a ukulele that intonates to your satisfaction make a jig for future bridge placements and take the guess work out of it.
    Chuck Moore
    Moore Bettah Ukuleles
    http://www.moorebettahukes.com

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
  •