I built my newest ukulele

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  • #40256
    gstriph
    Participant

    Part time for the past few months, I’ve been building a tenor ukulele from scratch. I found a luthier about an hour from me that taught me while I used his tools (most of my woodworking experience has been with furniture although I did build a dulcimer from a kit). Some things that I thought would be hard like wood bending, inlaying, and shaping the neck weren’t too bad. The hard part really were the tolerances of a lot of the measurements to get a good tone. You don’t need a micrometer to build furniture! And the benefit of it is I can really set up a uke now! The soundboard is made from American Fir that was reclaimed from an old Ford factory. The sides and back are Bubinga. The neck is mahoghany with a black walnut stripe. The rosette and purfing is abalone as is the palmtree headstock inlay. The headstock veneer and fretboard is ebony. It’s finished with nitrocellulose spray lacquer thats buffed to a shine. I’ve attached some photos of my new baby and I’ll record something with it soon.

    Jerry

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    #40264
    lisadmh
    Participant

    Wow, Jerry. It is stunning. What a cool project. It does not look like a do-it-yourself product, but a very professional one indeed. Congrats on building a beautiful uke. How does it sound? I can’t wait to hear it.

    #40268
    robinboyd
    Participant

    That looks amazing Jerry. Well done!

    #40275
    lissid
    Participant

    Wow Jerry that’s incredible! I am an illustrator and am always amazed by the creative ability in woodworking. I love seeing the progress pictures and the finished ukulele is beautiful. I’m excited to hear it!

    #40276
    Andrew
    Keymaster

    Wow, that’s amazing Jerry! And the palmtree looks soooo cool! Can’t wait to hear it 🙂

    #40277
    smokealot
    Participant

    Very impressive! It must be so much more rewarding to play on an instrument you build yourself. Looking forward to hearing it.

    #40352
    gstriph
    Participant

    Here’s what it sounds like. I’m playing Yia Yia’s Lullaby from Daniel Ward’s Melodic Meditation book. This was one take – I *never* do that for RC101…

    I had 2 tenor ukes before building this one. One is a Ko’Aloha Opio made out of acacia and strung low G (Freemont soloist wound 4th and Worth clear strings). The other is an all mahoghany Pono strung high G with Martin strings. My new uke is strung like the Opio.

    The new one is much louder than the Pono and a little louder than the Opio. The Opio has a much more mellow sound (my new one has essentially a spruce soundboard so I assume that’s a lot of the difference). I was surprised by the volume difference between my new one and the Pono — I don’t know if it is the wood type or something to do with the construction (different thickness of the wood). The bracings look about the same. The bracing is much different in the Opio – they’re known for their “unibody” brace. Anyway, here’s a short video to hear the difference if you’re curious. I tried to make strumming and picking as similar as I could. It’s done with my webcam mic so they should be equally affected by mic quality…

    I decided to build mine a little different so I made it 12 frets to the soundboard… I found I missed the longer length. OTOH, the tapped harmonics are louder and easier…

    Jerry

    #40363
    robinboyd
    Participant

    You’ve got a great contrast between the mellow Opio and the brash spruce-top. It’s nice to have a bit of variety.

    #40366
    lisadmh
    Participant

    I like your hand made one the best. It sounds fabulous. Congrats on your building success!

    #40377
    gstriph
    Participant

    Thanks everyone!

    #40412
    gmflin8
    Participant

    wow! Thanks for sharing. This is such an amazing pastime project!

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