Some types of kora bridges and dimensions

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  • #518
    Kora Lessons
    Community Manager

    Each kora is different, especially in dimensions… so as the bridges.

    They can have some standard dimension, for example in length, but usually this are variable.

    African varieties of wood are the original and most used types for building kora bridges.

    But you can use also other wood, like fir, walnut or ash…

    Personally, I use and suggest beech wood…

    An important caratteristic of the kora wooden bridge is its strenght and hardness… for me is better an hardness wood than on soft: this help the strings’s vibrations.

    Another good characteristic of the kora bridge, that is recent, is an hole in its middle.

    One or more holes in the bridges reduce the wooden’s surface, so there is major transmission of the vibrations between the strings and the skin of the calabash.

    It’s then important a right distance between each string, so you can play easily the kora, but this depends also on the size of your hands.

    A good distance, for my hands, its around 1cm between each string’s dent (nick, kerf) on the bridge… so my personal bridge it’s around 14/16cm in lenght (with the final wood head).

    How must a kora bridge width be?

    Also this, depends on your hands and on the space you’ve from the hand’s sticks… can be personal and variable.

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  • Author
  • #536


    What do you like for the distance between strings. I took a workshop with the kora workshop in France in May.

    I think their koras had a string distance of 10mm, I now have a loan of a friends kora and the distance is around 7mm.

    So it is a little harder to play and I often hit the wrong string.





    Kora Lessons
    Community Manager

    Hi Paul… sorry for the late of this answer… I’m doing some holidays in this period! 🙂

    I usually had a distance of 1cm (10mm) between each string… And this was for me a very good distance…

    But in the last months I passed to a little more distance just for half of the strings.

    So, now, the first 10 strings have a distance of 10mm, but the other of 0.8mm… and this is for me better.

    As I said, each bridge is different and the right distance depends on the size of your hands… When I started playing Kora, my old bridge has a distance of 0.5mm and it was to small…

    10mm is good also because strings don’t touch between themselves.

    Then is normal that you don’t find the right strings playing another Kora with a different distance, but your hands can get used to this in few days…

    I usually build the bridges by myself, so I build with the right distance for me…

    Have a good day! 🙂

    Kora Lessons to share music and passions

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