Another batch of pear shaped tenor ukes

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Paul Henneberry
Posts: 27
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2016 5:30 pm

Another batch of pear shaped tenor ukes

Post by Paul Henneberry » Sat Dec 01, 2018 5:21 pm

That’s another batch of pear shaped tenors completed. Three of them are cocobolo and mahogany and one is cooba and mahogany. Also, two of them are floating bridge and 2 of them are fixed bridge. The differences between this batch and the first batch of pear shaped tenors include: solid linings, 13 frets to the body and different bracing systems on the floating bridge ones.

Results for the fixed bridge ones - a bit louder than the first batch with the cocobolo bodied one being a little brighter than the cooba one. Both have a carbon fibre bridge patches and fan bracing and are strung with low G Worth brown strings. Maybe not quite as mellow as I was hoping from the mahogany sound boards but very pleasant to play and listen to. I fitted a K&K pure mini pick up system to the cocobolo bodied one which sounds very nice although the low G string is a bit dominant. I’m currently just plugging it straight into a Vox amp but will get a preamplifier which will hopefully level it out.

Results for the floating bridge ones – firstly I should explain that I asked for some suggestion about bracing systems to tryout on this batch in a post I made about the first batch. I was looking for some ideas about alternative bracing system that might be worth exploring. Jim replied and suggested an X brace system and Mark McLean suggested a falcate system. As you can see in the pictures, I ended up doing a double X brace and a normal falcate design. All braces were made with my favoured spruce carbon fibre laminate. The X braced soundboard was significantly stiffer than the falcate when the boxes were closed up. The sound boards on this pair are both radiused to 15’ and maybe because of this the outline of the falcate braces showed through the soundboard when it was polished. They are less visible now that the bridge is compressing the soundboard. Despite the difference in the stiffness of the bracing systems both finished ukes sound quite similar. Like the first batch, they are a bit bright and banjo sounding which I had hoped to address by using mahogany soundboards. I guess the sound is driven by the soundboard radius and the very high bridge. There is plenty of volume and down force on the bridge so if I make any more I will cut down on the neck angle and aim for a lower bridge height.
To get full value out of the big box full of templates I’m planning one more batch of these pear shaped tenors. At this stage I’m thinking of all fixed bridges and all made from mahogany. Maybe two with double X bracing and two with fan bracing. Part of this project was to be able to directly compare different brands of strings and by locking down some of the design variables it should make for a more valid comparison.
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