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Thread: Fixing Up East-Start Archtop

  1. #1

    Default Fixing Up East-Start Archtop

    We've got a couple of threads going about these ukes, but they contain a lot of scattered info. This thread is specifically for issues related to either upgraded or fixing these ukes. For example if you find a part that works or a string that works or have some tips for intonation, please share.

    My plan is to use this tailpiece http://tinyurl.com/l4wj8ex in place of the six string tailpiece mine came with. I'd like to find a bridge to replace the six string bridge with the extra notches.

  2. #2
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    Here's a couple of posts from the other thread:

    That's the tailpiece I found, got it in like two days. Had to use the original hinge part; I removed the entire tailpiece assembly, then pried apart the lip of the hinge that holds the scroll section, then swapped to the 4 string scroll section. The strings seat even though it's for a bass guitar (little awkward holding the end of the string in there while using a drill to tighten the tuner): http://www.amazon.com/Chrome-String-.../dp/B00ALQRLL4

    This place in Arizona has the ebony bridges for $12.99. http://www.themandolinstore.com/scri...idproduct=7534

    This video shows how to install it:
    Last edited by kohanmike; 04-25-2014 at 09:51 PM.

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    More from the other thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by bigphil View Post
    Taking the nut slots down helped the intonation immensely, if you don't have the capability of doing that yourself you will NEED to get someone to do that for you. Mine was unplayable before that. The furnished bridge will work fine it just looks weird. You will need to cut the studs off too or they will poke you when playing after adjusting the bridge lower. When adjusting the bridge height hold those studs so the don't screw down tightly as Mike mentioned otherwise it will mar the top. There are screwdriver slots in the studs for this purpose.

    Quote Originally Posted by anthonyg View Post
    My experience when using guitar strings on my steel string ukulele is that the best ones to pick are the D, G, B, E strings (lightest 4 strings) from a regular 10-46 (standard) set. That's where to start anyway. Using much heavier bass strings, such as using the middle 4 is going to lead to intonation problems because heavier strings need more compensation at the saddle to get them to intonate and as far as I can see there is NO intonation adjustment at the saddle. I recommend keeping the strings light to start with. Anthony
    Quote Originally Posted by bigphil View Post
    Well I've been working on mine a good bit today. Took off the strings and bridge, this is defiantly not just marks filed in the saddle piece, you can see both the 6 & 4 string spacing on the inside of the casting as well, so it was purpose made for both configurations. I polished off all the crappy buff marks with automotive swirl mark remover by just buffing by hand. I then smoothed all the rough fret ends and smoothed the fret surfaces with 320, 400, 600 paper and finished them up with 0000 steel wool. I also used the same paper grits to remove the glue and scratches on the fret board and oiled that. Finally I took the action at the nut DOWN close and the intonation is now pretty good. I haven't checked it against the tuner but I can now get it tuned so all chords sound sweet. I still need to trim the mounting studs for the saddle because they poke me while playing. I'm getting happier all the time. Sounds sweet on the amp too! I'm not real crazy about the strings on it though, they just feel weird. Maybe I've been playing nylon too long and it's just the feel of steel. I'm going to change them tomorrow in any case, stay tuned for updates.

    Quote Originally Posted by Skinny Money McGee View Post
    The intonation on mine is very good too. I marked the studs with a sharpie, took the bridge off, dremeled it & smoothed it. (took all of 5 minutes). Now flush with bridge and smooth. (painters tape over sound holes to keep metal dust out)
    Quote Originally Posted by RichM View Post
    Hmmm... it seems that if you wanted to repurpose a floating mandolin bridge, you could either drill holes in the base to match the resulting screw holes in the top (although the narrower mandolin bridge might not have enough width to do that effectively. Or, you could just plug the holes and let the bridge float. As I think another poster observed, a mandolin bridge is probably going to be much taller than the current bridge, so some sanding will be in order.
    Last edited by kohanmike; 04-25-2014 at 02:18 PM.

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    Good call on the new fix-it thread Katy.

    This is the tailpiece I ordered from Amazon. Same thing except plain. I thought it would be nice to see the wood under the tailpiece. They did use a nice flamed maple on these ukes. I'm keeping the bridge for now, however may make a new one out of a block of ebony and build in some compensation. If I do, I'll post it here.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Skinny Money McGee; 04-25-2014 at 02:29 PM.

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    Phil. The string tension table is great. One thing though. The Risa has adjustable saddle pieces. Ours don't. I think they need them but that's a future job. Right now we want the best available intonation without adjusting the saddle which is a TALL order. I would start with light strings because light strings need less allowance for intonation. Heavier strings need more allowance for intonation. Intonation going sharp means you want more compensation at the saddle. Intonation going flat means you want less compensation at the saddle. Thicker strings don't vibrate as per theory and thick steel strings are worse in this regard than thick nylon strings.

    Somebody please fit the lightest 4 strings from a 10 -46 set and see how it is. This can be a benchmark.

    Anthony

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skinny Money McGee View Post
    This is the tailpiece I ordered from Amazon. Same thing except plain. I thought it would be nice to see the wood under the tailpiece.
    I like that idea Bruce, http://www.amazon.com/Chrome-Guitar-...piece+4+string.
    Last edited by kohanmike; 04-25-2014 at 03:28 PM.

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    In my opinion, getting the action down at the nut and smoothing up the frets are the two biggest issues. I suppose each nut will be uniquely slotted but unless the action is pretty low your intonation, especially for the first 3 or 4 frets will be way sharp. The frets seemed to have been finished with sandpaper running parallel to the strings. This leaves scratches that "grab" the strings when doing bends, feels terrible.

    I also restrung mine with the middle strings from an Ernie Ball Super Slinky guitar set. Strings on mine as furnished were .012 .016 .025 & .032. Starting with the second string in the Slinky set they are .011 .016 .024 & .032. I like the sound of these better but even though Risa apparently considers this a "thin" set, they are still not like the slinky set on a guitar. I think I'm going to try again with the slinky set and start with the first string which will give .009 .011 .016 & .024. Bonus in my opinion is only one wound string then too!
    Big Phil

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    Quote Originally Posted by kohanmike View Post
    I just realized something, using that open tailpiece makes it easier to change strings by being able to hold the stop on the string in the slot under the plate. The scroll piece on the other prevents that. I just put in an order.

    Last edited by kohanmike; 04-25-2014 at 09:43 PM.

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    If you're changing a string on a tailpiece that is slotted, rather then a pass-through hole, a small piece of BluTack will hold the ball-end in place while you use two hands to thread the string at the tuner.

    For anyone who hasn't changed steel strings before, pull the string through the hole in the tuner until tight, grab a point about an inch to an inch and a half past the tuner, depending on string gauge, and pull the string back through to that point before putting a 90 bend in the string. Put one turn on over the hole and the rest under. This will help grip the string.

    Just to help illustrate, here's the headstock on my Ibanez. You'll notice that I haven't followed my own advice on the 90 bend. That's because I have a locking nut, so it isn't necessary.

    head.jpg
    Last edited by The Big Kahuna; 04-25-2014 at 10:12 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Big Kahuna View Post
    If you're changing a string on a tailpiece that is slotted, rather then a pass-through hole, a small piece of BluTack will hold the ball-end in place while you use two hands to thread the string at the tuner.

    For anyone who hasn't changed steel strings before, pull the string through the hole in the tuner until tight, grab a point about an inch to an inch to an and a half past the tuner, depending on string gauge, and pull the string back through to that point before putting a 90 bend in the string. Put one turn on over the hole and the rest under. This will help grip the string.
    That's the ticket, good advice. Still like the idea of no scroll piece in there, now I'll have a choice.

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