6 string Ukulele

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Sheri Peterson
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Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 8:18 pm

6 string Ukulele

Post by Sheri Peterson »

Hello, I am in the process of making some 6 string ukuleles and am trying to decide if I should alter the width of the neck to accommodate the extra strings. I've done some searches and can't find any info. I'm also not sure how far apart should I place the double strings. I've got an old mandolin and was thinking I would measure the spacing there to get an idea, but am interested if anyone else has any experience with these.

Chuck Tweedy
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Location: San Diego, CA

Re: 6 string Ukulele

Post by Chuck Tweedy »

Sheri, you are right there is very little out there about nut-width of non-standard Uke's.
I built an 8-string a couple years ago, and I only increased the nut width by 1/16" (IIRC).
For a 6 you don't need to increase it at all - you can use the standard 1 3/8" or a bit wider.
You do need to put some distance between the paired strings - more than a mando has. Like 1.5 to 2 mm. I'd need to look back at my notes to give you a better guess than that.
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Sheri Peterson
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Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 8:18 pm

Re: 6 string Ukulele

Post by Sheri Peterson »

That's a beauty Chuck. Now you've got me thinking about making an 8 string :D .

After looking at your picture, I'm curious about the spacing of your tuners, if you have that in your notes too.

Thanks for the info.

Chris Reed
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Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:26 pm

Re: 6 string Ukulele

Post by Chris Reed »

I made a taropatch (8 string), using the same nut width as normal. Inter-string spacing was 2.5 mm centre to centre. It plays fine, I don't see any need to increase the nut width.

Brian Evans
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Re: 6 string Ukulele

Post by Brian Evans »

For me, one of the defining characteristics of a uke is the string spacing. If you retain the same nut width, the string spacing will be a little less between the courses of doubled strings and the single string. I would open it up slightly so that the spacing between the center of courses/strings is maintained, which will add maybe 1/8th to the overall width.

Chuck Tweedy
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Re: 6 string Ukulele

Post by Chuck Tweedy »

Thanks Sheri - I wish I had better pictures :P
The tuners are THESE from Stew-Mac. The are A-style mando tuners - 4-on-a-plate.
They work pretty good, though are a bit stiff.
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Sheri Peterson
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Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 8:18 pm

Re: 6 string Ukulele

Post by Sheri Peterson »

Thanks all, Good info!!

Michael Lewis
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Re: 6 string Ukulele

Post by Michael Lewis »

Chuck, I loosened up some of those tight StewMac tuners by heating the end of the worm gear so it slightly softened the plastic washer that is squeezed in there. Be careful to avoid overheating or you risk destroying the little washer. A cigarette lighter is barely enough heat, so I ended up using my propane torch . . . . sparingly. Heat and twist the button, heat and twist the button etc. to feel for the change in resistance.

Chuck Tweedy
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Location: San Diego, CA

Re: 6 string Ukulele

Post by Chuck Tweedy »

That's a good idea Michael. I put a tuner turning attachment in my cordless drill and spun each one a million times, but it only helped marginally.
I never figured out what the root cause of the stiffness was. It is a good thing tho that it is the plastic washer - because over the years that will wear in, so it needs to start out on the stiff side.
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