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Thread: Tiple Trouble...

  1. #1
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    Default Tiple Trouble...

    More Tiple Problems. Thanks Guys, just figured out what I had was a Tiple a couple of weeks ago, so I got it all back together after cleaning, put new strings on it (It sounded great!) and given it’s age I tuned it to a Uke. Well something must have gone pop in the past couple of days, so I'm off to take it apart again.



    The question I have is which way to go. Behind door #1 is a wood shop. I'm sure I could come up with a piece of rock maple or walnut and make a new bridge and tail piece. But behind door #2 is a machine shop and I’m sure I could make a brass or aluminum one too. Which way to go? Any ideas? Thanks, Wayne

    Oh help me out on the location of the bridge, what’s the magic fret? 12th fret?

  2. #2
    Registered User Randi Gormley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tiple Trouble...

    Can't help you with your questions, but I just wanted to tender my sympathies for the break. ouch.
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  3. #3
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tiple Trouble...

    Wood, for sure. Why would you ever put a metal bridge on it? The original had a wood one, just make a decent repro of that one. I would go for ebony or rosewood.

    I also think that a metal bridge would add too many harmonics to the sound and sound, well, tinny and metallic.
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    Jim

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    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Tiple Trouble...

    wlpier, please do not take this to a ' wood shop ' or a metal shop. It deserves to have the job done right by some one who knows about vintage instruments and cares about them. You might contact Mr. Jake

    http://antebelluminstruments.blogspot.com/
    Charley

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tiple Trouble...

    It appears that someone already attempted a repair on that bridge. Have a luthier recreate that bridge and replace it. It isn't rocket science but the person doing it should be able to make it look right as well as make it work.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tiple Trouble...

    I believe that wlpier asaid in his prior thread that he is a machinist by trade -- hence the allusion to metal shop. I have a feeling that he wants to restore it himself. I think that that bridge may have been an accident waiting to happen. It would really have to be replaced and definitely not by metal, IMHO.
    Last edited by Jim Garber; Oct-29-2010 at 11:12pm.
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    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Tiple Trouble...

    The L&H Tiple that I have had a similar break only much worse, it took a section of the top with it. Ten strings is alot of tension on a bridge like this. But again, have it done right, there are not alot of these out there.
    Charley

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tiple Trouble...

    You can probably acquire a replacement tiple bridge from C F Martin Co. I re-bridged a Regal tiple with a Martin bridge, and my Regal taropatch (8-string ukulele) has a Martin tiple bridge -- no doubt a replacement -- as well. The taropatch was re-bridged before I bought it.

    Odd anecdote about the Regal tiple: the instrument had the standard tiple 2-3-3-2 string spacing at the nut, but originally had a pin bridge with five bridge pins, each of which was supposed to anchor two strings. So the string spacing was 2-3-3-2 at one end of the fingerboard, but 2-2-2-2-2 at the other end. Recipe for chaos. I tried for about a month to play it with that configuration, then gave up and had the Martin bridge, with 2-3-3-2 spacing, installed instead.

    Concur with Charley's opinion: ten steel strings produce a lot of tension. I'd get the job done professionally. You have a unique instrument there.
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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tiple Trouble...

    Wasn't the Martin a pin bridge? That creates a whole new word here. I would make the new bridge slightly over-sized and it will cover any trace of this ever being repaired. Done right it would still look almost original.

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    Default Re: Tiple Trouble...

    Okay... Thanks for the replies.... the consensus seems to be make it wood and let someone else do it. I'm not adverse to that, but the question I have taking it to Pro does not come cheap. Strictly economics, I mean it's a nice instrument and all but I only paid about $40 for it and taking it to a luther is going to be what? $100+..... Is the instrument worth it?? What's your ideas on that?

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    Registered User Mark Gibbs's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tiple Trouble...

    On a differant note, i see a copy of QST in the background. There is another good hobby, amateur radio.
    Mark
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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tiple Trouble...

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    Wasn't the Martin a pin bridge?
    The Martin tiple bridge is a "tie" bridge, like a classical guitar or ukulele. The balls at the end of the tiple strings rest in a groove at the back of the bridge; here are close-up pics of a T-18 that show the bridge, though I think the more modern Martin bridges are more rounded in shape.

    IHMO the tiple in question is certainly worth the cost of a professional bridge replacement. If it was bought for $40, that's a huge bargain for an instrument that's pretty rare and unusual. The Lyon & Healy Washburn "bell" instruments are interesting and collectible; here's an article on the "bell" guitars.
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  13. #13
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Tiple Trouble...

    Wayne, if indeed you are a skilled woodworker-machinist and have all the tools you could fabricate a new bridge. But as is often the case it looks like you have to deal with a previous 'repair' job that failed. I don't think those pins going into the top are original and obviously did not work. So now you have holes to deal with. It would probably be a good idea to at least take it to a reputable luthier to have a hands on assesment on what it would take to fix it. The other challenge will be to get the intonation correct, like you said it involves the 12th fret but it is alot more complicated then that.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  14. #14
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tiple Trouble...

    The bridges for these are two kinds: the rectangular shaped ones that anchor as shown in my post #3 above and the later "smile birdges" which I don;t have a picture for and which are pin style bridges. One is pictured in the Washburn Prewar Instrument Styles book. I think the one you have would use the rectangular style.
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    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tiple Trouble...

    The Martin bridge Allen linked to, above, is not original:



    It gets an "OK" similarity rating. But note one thoughtful thing the person did when they made that bridge—they installed a metal strip to support the string balls:



    Martin did not do this. They also never used maple for bridges.

    One important point with tiple bridges, whether they're on Martins or Regal or L&H instruments, is that the parallel fret means they will never play in tune. Most people play them as a novelty item, not as a musical instrument, and it therefore won't matter. Whacking chords in first position, yes; above the third fret: ouch.

    But presented with the opportunity to replace a broken bridge, you have the chance to put in a saddle that will a) sound good, and b) be positioned to play in tune.

    Here's a stock Martin tiple bridge (they used ebony for Style 28 and above, rosewood for lower styles):



    Here's someone's attempt to correct intonation by simply moving the fret back:



    I'm sure this helped at least get the first course in tune. Note that they are using an octave pair on the lowest course, which was not how Martin designed this instrument. It was just supposed to be a clangy version of a ukulele.

    Here's my solution for saddle position for the conventional "my dog has fleas" tuning:



    You can do this with fretwire saddles if you like, but I use bone, because it sounds better. I set the compensation to accommodate the wound strings in the center of the two middle courses. Trying to compensate for the outer octave strings becomes rather absurd.
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    Work in Progress Ed Goist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tiple Trouble...

    Man, you can tell basketball season has started...When I first saw the title of this thread I thought it read Triple Double!
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    ISO TEKNO delsbrother's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tiple Trouble...

    If it were in good condition this item would be quite valuable. Marc Silber has one with a crack repair and a replacement bridge for sale for over $2000 here. You might be better off selling it to someone who knew what it was.

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    Registered User SincereCorgi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tiple Trouble...

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Hostetter View Post
    Here's my solution for saddle position for the conventional "my dog has fleas" tuning...
    That's very elegant- did you build that whole tiple or just do a refurbishment?

  19. #19
    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tiple Trouble...

    It's a Martin T-28.
    .
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  20. #20
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Tiple Trouble...

    Paul, great stuff, as usual.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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