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Concert Ukulele (The Acacia model neck is pi$$ed!)

This is where we don't want anything but evidence of your finest wood butchering in all its glorious, and photograph laden glory. Bring your finished products or WIP's, we love them all, so long as there's pictures, and plenty of 'em!

Re: Concert Ukulele (Fitting the Neck and the Bridge)

Postby NickM » 04 Oct 2021, 08:24

The Ukes and Alice both look wonderful!
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Re: Concert Ukulele (Fitting the Strings)

Postby Malc2098 » 04 Oct 2021, 18:16

Getting there, but still some fettling to do.

The saddle is too low. I'll have to make a new one. The string spacing is wrong. I'll have to redrilll the bridge.

But for my first scratch built instrument using a plan, I'm quite pleased I've got this far! And for such a small instrument, it ain't 'alf loud!

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Re: Concert Ukulele (Fitting the Strings)

Postby Andyp » 04 Oct 2021, 19:39

The string spacing Malc. Wrong because they do not appear to be parallel?

Are we going to get a demo?
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Re: Concert Ukulele (Fitting the Strings)

Postby Malc2098 » 04 Oct 2021, 20:15

Andyp wrote:The string spacing Malc. Wrong because they do not appear to be parallel?

Are we going to get a demo?


It doesn't matter if they're not parallel. If you look at other fretted instruments, the bridge saddle is wider than the nut, and the lines of the strings taper.

No, I've followed exactly the plans in making the bridge, but the outer strings are too close to the edge of the fingerboard and fall off when you fret them (press the stings down on to the frets). Don't know how that happened, but next time, I won't drill the string holes in the bridge until I've dry fitted the bridge and run the string lines far enough away from the edge of the fretboard and then mark the string holes for drilling.

Demo? Hmmm. I've never played a ukulele in my life. And the last demo I posted, one member complained about the quality of the recording even after I advised the readers that the quality wasn't going to be the best. So I'm not going to post any recordings unless they're made in a professional studio. And I don't know any. ;)
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Re: Concert Ukulele (Fitting the Strings)

Postby MattS » 04 Oct 2021, 20:21

Looks so good, I like the proportions of it and finish is looking amazing. You say you don’t play ukulele, will you be learning or is this for someone else? Probably says in early posts but that was ages ago!!
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Re: Concert Ukulele (Fitting the Strings)

Postby novocaine » 04 Oct 2021, 20:27

You can notch the bridge to deal with the screw up on the saddle.
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Re: Concert Ukulele (Fitting the Strings)

Postby Malc2098 » 04 Oct 2021, 21:21

Cheers, Gents.

I will probably learn a few chords, and if anyone make me a sensible offer, I'll happily sell them. But, no, this is my hobby.

I will try and notch the next saddle and see if the strings will stay there, but if not, I'll re-drill the bridge.
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Re: Concert Ukulele (Fitting the Strings)

Postby novocaine » 04 Oct 2021, 22:04

Is it obvous i have not slept for a while?

Yes, i mean that way round. Sorry.
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Re: Concert Ukulele (Fitting the Strings)

Postby AJB Temple » 05 Oct 2021, 07:39

Presumably the method is to set the two outer strings at say 4mm or whatever your preference is from the fret edge at the fret nearest the sound hole, and then just subdivide for the other two?
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Re: Concert Ukulele (Fitting the Strings)

Postby novocaine » 05 Oct 2021, 07:58

pretty much, the problem comes with having to do that before the bridge is fitted. you have to do it with a ruler and you make the neck to suit a specfic string spacing.
I've only done it once, as most of my guitars are electric and thus a pre-defined string spacing as you don't tend to make the saddle. So the way I did it, because I don't like relying on measuring when it comes to stuff that moves is it make up the bridge and fit a lowish saddle, but not drill it out, place it on the top around where it should theoretically be. tie a loop in a bit of string (I have a few old nylon guitar strings for this, they've lived in the bottom of the box since I did it) and put it over a dowel, do it again then wind them in to the tuners over the nut (that has been notched with where I want them) the down over the saddle and off the back of the guitar. I can then apply pressure to the dowel to pull the strings taught and move them around to where I want them on the body end of the neck with them running over the saddle. A quick pencil mark and we are done.
the guy who showed me this had made up a jig that held the guitar the the nut and had an adjuster at the tail so you could pull the strings to tune, that meant he could intonate the outer strings and set the bridge in place. felt like overkill so I made a mine version that didn't tension the strings because there's a tuning key at the other end for that. :) I'll see if I have a picture when I get home.
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Re: Concert Ukulele (Fitting the Strings)

Postby Malc2098 » 05 Oct 2021, 09:59

Thanks, Gents. That's given me ideas to proceed in future.

I fabricated the bridges from the plans. My mistake was assuming the string holes would line up with everything exactly as they do on the plan.

I made two bridges to include one for the Acacia uke I'm building alongside this Sapele uke. That one is held up at lacquer cure because I knocked it off it's hook a few weeks back and there's two dents in it that I shall try and get out today with Mission Control's steam iron!

Once that is done, I'll fabricate two bridge blanks and two bone saddle blanks and use your suggestions to find the correct placing of the string holes, and also get the saddle height correct by going down to it rather than trying to raise the saddle.
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Re: Concert Ukulele (Fitting the Strings)

Postby AJB Temple » 05 Oct 2021, 12:19

Another method that people use is to decide on typical string spacing from fingerboard edge on each side (typically 4mm or 3mm on many fretted instruments) and run a steel rule from the nut slot to the bridge and saddle tacked in place. Then the other string spacings are set accordingly. Some people (with guitars anyway) make allowances when doing this for string thickness (ie the spacings are not necessarily equidistant).

Like the idea of the jig to allow intonation to be set as that will allow the perfect compromise for brides placement, though most people will not notice the minute pitch differences that would arise from modifying the string path.

I play guitars not uke's so am used to close string spacing and a long neck, but you appear to have quite a wide neck at the body end there so there is a fair bit of room for manoeuvre.

Nice job bringing these to completion.
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Re: Concert Ukulele (Mending the damage)

Postby Malc2098 » 07 Oct 2021, 15:25

The Acacia model fell (I would always deny that I accidentally knocked it :oops: ) off its hook on the tie beam and bounced off the edges of the PT on to the floor.

It ended up with a couple of sharp dents on opposite sides of the back. I used the domestic iron to swell the dents as much as they would.
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I filled them with CA glue, used a razor blade to scrape them back to almost level with the nitro finish and then rubbed them flat. I airbrushed several coats of nitro over the repairs and rubbed back with micro-mesh all over the back to 1800. The damage is visible but imperceptible to the touch.
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A couple of more dents to the finish that I can brush drop some nitro in to bring them back up to finish level.
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I was dubious at first, but I reckon that Acacia body is going to look stunning under that nitro finish glossed to 12000 and more.
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Re: Concert Ukulele (Mending the damage)

Postby John Brown » 07 Oct 2021, 15:36

I wish my brain would stop seeing "Concrete Ukulele". I like your work, and it's an interesting thread, but I always feel slightly let down when it turns out to be wood, after all.
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Re: Concert Ukulele (Mending the damage)

Postby Malc2098 » 07 Oct 2021, 15:44

John Brown wrote:I wish my brain would stop seeing "Concrete Ukulele". I like your work, and it's an interesting thread, but I always feel slightly let down when it turns out to be wood, after all.



:lol: And I though I was the one that read different words into what's printed!
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Re: Concert Ukulele (Mending the damage)

Postby Malc2098 » 08 Oct 2021, 17:55

That Acacia is beginning to sing under that lacquer, and I'm only up to 3600 grit. Several more to go to 12000.

I'm afraid the photos don't do justice to the grain patterns reflected by the light.

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Re: Concert Ukulele (Mending the damage)

Postby Malc2098 » 09 Oct 2021, 16:58

First dry fitting of the Acacia after body and neck rubbed back to 12000.
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Re: Concert Ukulele (Respacing the strings)

Postby Malc2098 » 17 Oct 2021, 17:15

Back to the Sapele model. I drilled the string holes in the bridge from the plan and somehow they were too wide for the neck.

I found some ebony, made some toothpick sizes from it, and glued them in the original holes with black CA glue and made good.

Having used some string and a yellow pencil, I marked the revised string holes on the bridge. I packed everything to protect the soundboard finish, and drilled the new holes, first by hand and then with a cordless drill.
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I then went through all the micro-mesh grades again to remove the inevitable marks. The filled holes clearly visible on the bridge.
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Time to jack up the saddle with a sliver of wood underneath and fit the outer strings to confirm the spacing and then groove and set the nut height.
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I then fitted the rest of the strings and tried to tune it. The cheap strings keep stretching so I just let it hang to settle. I can't play a note, but it appears to be now playable and sounds quite nice and and loud.
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Time to start on the Acacia model. This time I have to fill the misplaced string holes in the bridge, work out where the holes should really be and drill them before I fit the bridge.
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Re: Concert Ukulele (Fitting the tuners to the Acacia Model)

Postby Malc2098 » 20 Oct 2021, 16:54

While I let the strings settle on the Sapele model, I turned my attention to the Acacia model.

I chose Grover style tuners for this instrument and had to set the 1st and 4th tuners into the the angle of the neck/head scarf joint. Also, you'd be surprised, well maybe you wouldn't, but I was, how much the lacquer reduces the circumference of a hole. I had to carefully scrape the holes to get the tuners to fit. I must find a way of blanking the tuner holes next instrument I spray.
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Time to confirm the bridge location and string spacing before fitting the nut, bridge and saddle.
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Re: Concert Ukulele (The Sapele Model is Finished)

Postby Malc2098 » 24 Oct 2021, 15:40

It's take a while, but there's no need to rush these things. I have a very good friend who helped me build the workshop. He has a very round birthday next week, I think this'll make an appropriate present for him, even though he can't play a note!! :D

This is a concert size ukulele, with a Cedar top, Sapele sides and back and a Sapele neck with Rosewood fretboard. It's quite loud to my ear which has only been used to guitars. But I'm having a devil of a job keeping it in tune. (High g) I think it must be the cheap strings. Better ones are on order.

I hope you've enjoyed the build, even though few members comment on it. I have yet to finish the Acacia model and will continue posting the remainder of that on this WIP.

I am learning all the time. I've never sprayed lacquer before until last year. I've only ever rubbed back paint on an electric guitar I made over 20 years ago. This morning, I used the Micro-Mesh pads to remove working scratches from the instrument top by going back to 6000 and then bringing it back to 12000. It was marvellous to see them disappear.


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Re: Concert Ukulele (The Sapele Model is Finished)

Postby Andyp » 24 Oct 2021, 17:04

Malc,
I have enjoyed this and your other builds. If I don't comment it's cos I am lost for words. From here they look stunning. I only wish we could here them played as well. To self teach yourself such a level of skill takes quite some doing.
Have you found homes for all of them? Or do you have a guitar shop style display on the living room wall?
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Re: Concert Ukulele (The Sapele Model is Finished)

Postby Woodbloke » 24 Oct 2021, 18:18

To coin a phrase....nice - Rob
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Re: Concert Ukulele (The Sapele Model is Finished)

Postby NickM » 24 Oct 2021, 19:26

It looks beautiful. I’ve really enjoyed following this.
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Re: Concert Ukulele (The Sapele Model is Finished)

Postby MattS » 25 Oct 2021, 11:24

That looks incredible, I've really enjoyed following along. Real high level of skill to make an instrument, and I don't think I appreciated that before reading your detailed WIPs.
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Re: Concert Ukulele (The Sapele Model is Finished)

Postby TrimTheKing » 25 Oct 2021, 11:42

Lovely work mate. I don't comment because I don't have any knowledge of instrument making but have thoroughly enjoyed watching these come together and look forward to more. :eusa-clap:
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