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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2020 12:29 pm 
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Joined: Sun Sep 08, 2013 11:39 pm
Posts: 264
In a recent thread here I described how I was making bridge blanks for three tenor ukes (my first) following the design sold by StewMac. I have three finished, but I realize that the outer strings are very close to the ends of the tie block and the saddle, using SM's measurements - about 3-4 mm (there is some variation). Is that likely to be a problem, and should I fill those holes and redrill them at narrower spacing? SM says tenor spacing should be 45 mm (1.77"), but their tieblock and saddle are only 53.09 mm (2.09") on their bridges. So the strings are 15 mm apart. This is close to the two sets of plans I have, which seem to show string spacing at 9/16", or about 14.5 mm, but they show pin or slot bridges. I have read elsewhere that other builders sometimes use 13 or 14 mm spacing on a tenor, and that would help on these bridges. I guess I can also put these aside for future smaller uke builds and make new ones. What do the experienced builders say?


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2020 11:47 pm 
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Joined: Sun Sep 08, 2013 11:39 pm
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Replying to my own query here: It seems I was led astray in following the StewMac dimensions, which seems to have spacing at the saddle very wide. I have been round and round and am back pretty close to the two sets of plans I have, a little narrower spacing at the saddle. I went to my nearest music store and looked at ukes there; the string spacing ranged from 38.5 mm (a Kala uke) to one over 42, so quite a range. I also found specs on Peter Howlett's web site which were very helpful: http://www.petehowlettukulele.com/index.php?id=5 I am going to plug my 1/16" string holes (I have a jeweller's draw plate on order from Micro-Mark which apparently will handle wood to make the dowels from the woods used in the bridges. I decided in the end on spacing of 13 mm at the saddle (total of about 39 mm) which keeps my strings a more comfortable distance from the ends of the tie block and saddle. Although some builders seem to think string spacing is pretty uniform, there is lots of variation. As an aside, I was surprised at how easy it is to find information on nut widths, and how difficult to find information on string spacing at the nut. This was also not shown on either of my plans. Looking forward to moving on from this confusing distraction!


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2020 2:24 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 03, 2015 2:45 pm
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I did not see this post, so here's a late reply. Kamaka ukes have a range of spacing, most being a little tight. I've made a bunch of ukes spaced 45mm outside to outside and 15mm center to center at the bridge. It's a comfortable spacing. Good luck with your projects.--Bob


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2020 1:49 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 08, 2013 11:39 pm
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Bob, I'm glad to have the benefit of your experience on this. I have now plugged the holes I drilled in my three bridges (using dowels made with the jeweller's drawplate/ dowel plate from MicroMark). They won't be invisible, but acceptable for these first-builds. I'm now about ready to determine the bridge locations, and lay out string spacing. I'm okay if I can stay within the range I've seen up to now. Martin seems a little narrow, Kamaka even more so (as you point out), and from there up to 45 or so. I'll need to keep to about 40 mm (so at neither the widest or narrowest extreme) at the saddle I think, but will squeak it a bit wider if they're not too close to the ends, and that works with the fretboard. In future if I make bridges like these I will make sure the saddles and tie bars are wider to accommodate slightly wider spacing. I like the proportions of a saddle like this I saw on your web site. Thanks for your input. Bruce W.


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