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hoosierhiver
12-16-2008, 11:19 AM
I'm interested in building a uke from a kit as the first step in making one from scratch.I'd like to buy a kit that isn't real expensive,but is capable of producing a decent sounding uke.Any suggestions?

Pete Howlett
12-16-2008, 11:52 AM
The grizzly is most peoples' first try but it has no challenge to it. The Stewmac at $99 is probably the best decent buy. You need to do a few modifications on it to raise the bar - reshape the neck and heel, alter the peghead and get rid of that ugly bridge. After that you have a great looking uke. One of my videos shows a friends finished Stewmac - he did some work in my shop...Many people have had great success with this kit which comes with an excellent build manual. One modification I would do is make a solera as a base for building the instrument... If you use my videos on my kit you get an idea of how to put one together. One last shot - why not build yourself a cigar-box uke...

All the best!

hoosierhiver
12-17-2008, 08:35 AM
Thanks for the expert advice Pete.I actually have some cool cigar boxes and was considering that,is there somewhere you can buy just necks?

Ukuleleblues
12-18-2008, 07:19 PM
Give making the neck and fretboard a whirl. It's not that hard, it just takes some patience. Working the wood is zen like.

Pete Howlett
12-19-2008, 01:29 AM
I think it is an easier start to buy the fretboard - this is a highly engineered part of a ukulele that takes a lot of skill to produce. Until recently, I bought my fingerboards in bulk from Allen Guitars - like many other luthiers. Also, the much respected KoAloha brand has their necks made for them as do other other manufatcurers. Without being grumpy, I think if you are looking for Zen moments - carving a neck or making a fretboard is not going to provide them.

Anyway - see my neck carving video (http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=LVvVqRHsjHc) to assess how 'difficult' this is for you. Other videos I have posted on neck building show you how I get to the profile using machines - I would never do this by hand.

Although it all looks easy in my construction videos everyone who has come to work with me has realised that years of doing this makes it look simple when in reality, and being as modest as I can, it is clearly not!:rock:

Ukuleleblues
12-19-2008, 03:05 AM
The first neck I made had a unrepairable flaw in the wood. A twisted grain that made it unusable. I got it to the point I was doing the rough shaping and there it was, bam all that time wasted. Still enjoyed working the wood, was more careful on the second go around selecting the wood. Pre-cut fretboards would definately make the entire build easier. In this day and age there is no better feeling than playing something you made with your own hands. Sure wish I could build like you Pete!

Pete Howlett
12-19-2008, 03:31 AM
I wish I could build better than I do!

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
12-19-2008, 04:26 PM
My vote is for the Hana Lima kit.
http://www.hanalima.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=HL&Category_Code=P[/url]
Ukuleles is all these folks do! You also have the option to upgrade some of the parts. Go for it, don't be intimidated. My only suggestion is to also get the pre-slotted fret board. Now days with the Internet, anyone can learn to build a ukulele. There is no short cut to building a good one however, that still takes practice.
Aloha, Chuck
Moore Bettah Ukuleles
http://www.moorebettahukes.com

GrumpyOldMan
12-20-2008, 01:44 AM
Aloha, Chuck
Moore Bettah Ukuleles
http://www.moorebettahukes.com
Had a look at your website, WOW!! I read your My Life page and I've decided I hate you!! LOL. Only kidding, I just wish I'd made some different decisions earlier in my life so I too could have a lifestyle like that!
Cheers and MELE KALIKIMAKA to you,
Ian.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
12-20-2008, 05:44 AM
Well that's kind of you to say Ian, but I'm sure there are aspects of your life that I would envy as well. We have the potential to be happy anywhere but we tend to carry our hell with us. As they say, It's not where you're at but where you're "at".
Mele Kalikimaka to you too e Hau'oli Makahiki Hou !
Chuck Moore
Moore Bettah Ukuleles
http://www.moorebettahukes.com

Island_Uke
08-24-2009, 07:52 PM
Hana lima 'ia

UkuEroll
08-25-2009, 03:44 AM
I wish I could build better than I do!

Your Ukes look really nice, I was going to suggest one of your kits.

cornfedgroove
08-25-2009, 06:19 AM
I'm a the same place as you...thinking about a kit, but cant spend the dinero right now. I am interested in developing new, more polished skills. Its not that I dont like what I'm doing...but I think I got this about down, and want to expand. I'm in a guitar building class soon so that will open my eyes to alot. hoping to make a form there, but regardless...I dont have the tools or money to be fancy.

My advice for the cbu is to not buy the necks...just make em bro.

nobody says that its gotta look just like a manufactured uke...
it aint gotta have a tapered neck
it aint gotta have a radiused fingerboard
it dont have to have a fancy looking bridge

For as much time as people spend making fancy necks, they might as well get a form and put a real body together. Some guys even take the body apart and sand down the soundboard...geesh, just make a standard uke already. I know that would cost more money...to each his own.

dude, its homemade out of a cigar box, make it your own asthetic. You'll learn and grow and dig it every step of the way, but remember that it dont have to be pretty to sound good.

UkuleleHill
08-25-2009, 06:47 AM
If you are thinking about CBUs and want a neck that won't cost you much, I bought a ukulele from Universal Worldwide Trading (http://www.hawaiiuwt.biz/store/showcategory.aspx?categoryid=10) and took it appart to use the neck. The frets are setup right and all they need is a new bridge, I used a square wood dowel. You can do whatever you want with them and they look great. But thats just what I have done.

DaveVisi
08-25-2009, 07:33 AM
How hard was it to take apart?

luvzmocha
08-25-2009, 08:25 AM
I'm in a guitar building class soon so that will open my eyes to alot.

Where did you find a luthier school in Northwest Indiana?

UkuleleHill
08-25-2009, 08:53 AM
How hard was it to take apart?

They didn't seem too tough to me...

cornfedgroove
08-25-2009, 09:11 AM
Where did you find a luthier school in Northwest Indiana?

Milan Opacich teaches a luthier class through the steel mill (arcelor)...he builds guitars and tamburitzas.

http://www.indiana.edu/~tradarts/programs/masterartist_opacich.html

He's old school...81 years old and still working 10 hour days