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View Full Version : Hondo Guitar/Uke Conversion



dave alexander
03-29-2009, 04:07 PM
OK, please give me your best opinion on this project.

I have a Hondo Guitar (Chinese made...probably 10 years old.) It was pulled from the garbage years ago, and given to me today. So, nobody has any money or sentimental value invested in it.

A few weeks ago I took a child's size First Act guitar and recut the nut to accommodate 4 strings more or less equally spaced. It made a really nice baritone uke. I teach 4th grade and loan ukuleles out to kids who want to play. They take them home, and I get to spread the gospel of the uke.

The Hondo actually looks too good to loan, and is NOT child's sized, so it really won't make a good loaner. I'd love to play it as is, but it has two extra strings, and the strings are way too close together. This is my major complaint with all guitars.

I'm toying around with having someone cut a nut to make it a 4 string guitar. (Or a uke that used to be a guitar...or a tenor which I'll tune like a baritone....or...)

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk155/traderdave_photos/100_6900.jpg

So what do you think?

a) dumb idea, buy another bari uke if you want one
b) the Hondo's too good for this
c) sure, it's a cheap guitar anyway
d) hey, just learn to play guitar and stop whining
e) that's an easy mod. Do it yourself.

Thanks in advance.

ukeatan
03-29-2009, 04:17 PM
It's tempting to just go with d), but my final vote is e). I mean, hey why not? Sounds like you're handy and would be into rockin' a massive uke :D

Kekani
03-29-2009, 07:05 PM
I'm thinking Eddie Kamae - scroll down for the pic
http://www.ukulele.org/?Inductees:2000-2001:Eddie_Kamae

grappler
03-29-2009, 07:15 PM
mate, i think you should go for it

koalohapaul
03-29-2009, 10:21 PM
Aren't tenor guitars exactly that? A four stringed smaller scale guitar, tuned to DGBE.

I say go for it and you will have yourself one mega baritone. You already said that there isn't any financial or emotional investment in the instrument, so you don't have much to lose, other than some space in your living room.

My only concern would be how well it's going to resonate with four strings. Even if you don't play all the strings on an instrument, the others add load or tension to the sound board. This helps the instrument resonate more. Since it was originally braced as a guitar, four strings might not be enough tension to move the face. I would suggest going with high tension classical strings and lower the action slightly, if it's too hard to play.

dave alexander
03-30-2009, 08:28 AM
Thanks. Now I have my weekend project.

ukeatan
03-30-2009, 09:05 AM
My only concern would be how well it's going to resonate with four strings. Even if you don't play all the strings on an instrument, the others add load or tension to the sound board. This helps the instrument resonate more. Since it was originally braced as a guitar, four strings might not be enough tension to move the face. I would suggest going with high tension classical strings and lower the action slightly, if it's too hard to play.

That's a great point, that never would've occurred to me - plus, as an inexpensive instrument, it's probably not very delicately braced to begin with, even for six strings.


Thanks. Now I have my weekend project.

Good luck! Don't forget to hang some worthy bling off those two extra tuning mechanisms :D

dave alexander
03-30-2009, 02:30 PM
Yes, they are in sets of three, so I can't remove the two unused ones.

If I understand the bracing issue, since it might be heavily braced...taking two strings off might actually make the overall sound poor. Since I can't really make music with it the way it is, I'll give it a try.

Thanks.:)