Hana Lima 'Ia
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Message started by Dave Higham on Jul 24th, 2009 at 10:01am

Title: Bridge patch questions
Post by Dave Higham on Jul 24th, 2009 at 10:01am
The Hana Lima 'Ia fan-braced tenor plan shows the bridge patch overlapping the two diagonal fan braces. Should the patch be cut to fit between them? What about the centre brace? Should it be made to fit over the bridge patch, i.e. have a rectangular cut out in it, or does the bridge patch have a slot cut into it into which the centre brace will fit?

Does the patch material depend on the type of bridge? i.e. hardwood for a pinned bridge (maple, rosewood, etc.), softwood for a tie-on bridge (spruce, cedar, etc.).

A slightly different question. For a first Tenor ukulele would you make a 12 fret to the body or a 14 fret model? It's for me, and I'm not likely to go up the 'dusty end' much. Are there advantages (other than access) to a 14 fret model? Are there tonal advantages to a 12 fret, etc?

Title: Re: Bridge patch questions
Post by Don_Orgeman on Jul 24th, 2009 at 12:28pm

Lots of good questions.  The Hana Lima plans and manual indicate that the patch is all one piece and the fan braces are cut to go over the patch with a tightly fitted joints that are glued to the patch.  The patch material furnished with the spruce brace set is spruce.

That being said, I chose to substitue hardwood (rosewood) for the bridge patch, and also decided to cut the patch into two small pieces that were glued between the fan braces.  The primary purpose of this patch is to resist the anchoring of the strings on a Hana Lima designed string anchoring system, and therefore hardwood gives a better resistance to damage at the holes.

If you look at the plans, ypou will notice that the 14 fret neck results in the bridge being closer to the soundhole than the 12 fret neck.  I prefer that look instead of having the bridge lower on the body.  BUT... what feels right to you for a neck?  A 14th fret neck extend out more from the body and adds to the weight of the uke and also gives the neck a slightly heavier neck feeling while being played.  If you now play a 14th fret uke or a steel string guitar the 14th fret option may feel more natural to you.  If you now have a 12th fret uke or play a classical guitar you may prefer a 12th fret design.

You are asking all of the right questions as you build the uke in your head before starting on the actual build.   You may want to visit a good uke shop and try out several ukes and decide what you want to do.  I suspect a lot of what you decide will be based purely on the look and feel you desire.

Enjoy the building process.


Title: Re: Bridge patch questions
Post by Dave Higham on Jul 25th, 2009 at 1:15am
Thanks for your reply Don, very helpful. As to finding a good uke shop, I live in S W France and that could be quite a challenge!

The last instrument I built was an acoustic bass guitar (I play bass, although I'm no virtuoso). The Ukulele Orchestra of GB calls it a bass uke, quote: "of course it's a uke, it's only got 4 strings"! ::) After that, 12 or 14 frets... it's still going to feel like a miniature!

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