View Full Version : Time to try a pineapple

02-07-2015, 12:42 AM
I was going to have a break from instrument making but as I’ve found, uke making can become something of an addiction. I was in my local DIY store and I saw some plywood offcuts for less than a 1 and they shouted, “Make a pineapple mould from me”, so that’s what I did and then set about making an instrument (it's a tenor).

As a hobby maker I am trying to learn new skills and improve the build quality with each instrument I make. I’ve recently made jigs so that I can cut the tapered dovetail neck joint with a router: this was the first time I’ve used these jigs. I’ve also being experimenting with rosette making and wood dying and here I’ve used these new techniques for the first time. This is also the first instrument where I have used a decorative back strip. It is only my second uke with a slotted head which was made by hand.

The uke is made from recycled Sapele with a Cuban Mahogany soundboard using 5 fan braces. The back is curved and the sides are tapered from the widest point to the heel. I made a slightly thicker (than previously) back with 3 braces and thicker sides to make a stiffer box. The binding and end graft are maple, and the decoration incorporates green dyed London Plane veneer. The headstock veneer is London Plane (it’s similar to lacewood).

The uke is finished in Tru oil and currently has Living Waters strings with high G.

The recent cold weather here meant I struggled to get into the workshop some days but it was still made over a 14 day period and approximately 40 hours. I found it a little easier to make than a standard uke (easier to bend the sides, easier to fit curved back to tapered sides and easier to fit the binding). I achieved the standard of workmanship which I am trying to attain and so am very pleased with my efforts.

I was hoping for a fuller, richer sound from the larger pineapple soundboard. I am not disappointed: the instrument is loud, with good sustain and immediately has a sound similar to my favourite sounding uke to date. It has a punchy bright sound with overtones and is definitely a ukulele sound not a guitar sound.

I note that pineapple ukes, especially tenors, seem to be uncommon. Is there a reason why builders stick to the standard shape as an internet search suggests that some uke players have a pineapple as their favourite instrument?


Jim Hanks
02-07-2015, 02:09 AM
Nice looking uke! Well done! I like pineapples and you can find plenty in the smaller sizes, but you're right that tenor choices are limited even in the "custom" market.

02-07-2015, 06:49 AM
Nice pineapple. That rosette is really classy....subtle but interesting.
I'm not sure why the pineapple shape is so rare in tenor sizes. Maybe people think they look too big or chunky? Once that first famous player shows up with a pineapple they'll get popular.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
02-07-2015, 07:51 AM
Pineapples hold a special place in my heart, probably because of their unique role in the Hawaiian paniolo history. Along with the slotted headstock, that uke is a real winner! Nice job, love it!

Maiden Uke
02-07-2015, 09:48 AM
I like your style!

02-07-2015, 01:33 PM
Wow! Beautiful work there. -Vince

02-08-2015, 09:37 PM
Thanks for the compliments. I am sure I'll be making more pineapple shaped tenors and using similar style rosettes on future ukes.

02-09-2015, 12:21 AM
Congratulations, wonderful combination of pineapple shape, tenor size, and slotted headstock. Looks very nice!

02-09-2015, 11:42 AM
Nice, I love it. Probably has a little deeper voice than standard shape tenors. Where did you find the two-on-a-plate tuners?

02-09-2015, 12:51 PM

Thanks for your comments. The tuners are cheap Chinese tuners I found on Ebay and purchased directly from China. I'd like to find something better at a reasonable price but there doesn't appear to be anything.

For paddle heads I've started using Grover Sta-tites even though they are approx. twice the US price here in the UK.