5/08/2018

Workshop: Biscuit Uke Resonator Cone as Spider Cone Replacement




After sprucing-up a '30s Dobro uke that has an almost mint-condition original cone installed, the mostly-destroyed cone (and volume... and tone...) in my personal raggedy '30s Dobro uke felt wanting. I ordered an NRP biscuit-bridge uke cone from Elderly (perhaps the last one in stock as I'm not seeing them there anymore) and decided that if I couldn't use it as-is in some capacity, I'd rip out the soundwell and make a new one to suit a biscuit-style setup.

Before doing that, however, I figured I'd see if it'd work plopped-in upside-down. I've had some success in that mounting style in the past, but you never can tell. To do that, I only needed to widen the lip of the soundwell opening by about 1mm all around its edge -- quick work with a Dremel grinding wheel and a steady hand. I re-gasketed the edge with duct tape, reset the height of the original spider-bridge saddles, and tensioned the spider up to the cone. In a twist of luck, the "feet" of the spider bridge sit exactly in the perfect spot for them to sit -- on the crimped inner-edge of the cone in much the same place they'd sit on the original Dobro cone's layout.

I don't really have to write anything more except to say that it worked fabulously. This uke is now a little louder and punchier than the mint-condition cone in the other Dobro uke, but it does have less sweetness overall and, as you'd expect with a National-style cone, less sustain. Tone-wise I'd say it sits halfway between the "Dobro uke" sound in my head and the "National uke" sound that's far more common.

The wife and kids spared me for half an hour of play on my off-day to let me get this cone installed. I guess they saw the wicked gleam in my eye when the parts-box showed-up on the porch!

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