The banjo uke or banjo ukulele is an instrument that combines the tuning and size of the ukulele with the body of the banjo. Developed in the early part of the 20th century, it allowed performers to retain a traditional Hawaiian uke sound while exploiting the capacity for greater volume of the banjo. Today banjo ukes are enjoying a comeback in alternative music. Although there are some dealers and repairers/restorers of banjo ukes, many owners and players do their own maintenance and repair. Here's how to make a banko uke bridge for your instrument.
Select a bridge template based on how many strings your banjo uke has and what appeals to you visually. Most bridges will have three feet.
Trace the bridge template onto the maple. Clamp the maple firmly and cut out the bridge, following the tracing line very carefully.
Sand the edges of the bridge. To get in between the feet of the bridge or into any cut-outs you selected for your design, you can use a Dremel tool with a sanding attachment.
Use the level to make sure the feet of the bridge are level. If the feet are not level, sand them very lightly until they are level.
With the jeweller's saw, cut grooves into the top of the bridge where the strings will go. Use very fine sandpaper to make sure that the edges are smooth and won't cause a string to catch or break.
Wear safety glasses and gloves when cutting the bridge.
Tips and warnings
- Wear safety glasses and gloves when cutting the bridge.
Things you need
- Bridge template
- Maple piece, 3 and 1/2 inches by 5/8 inch
- Jeweller's saw
- Dremel sander (optional)