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View Full Version : N0 5 Walnut and lutz spruce tenor



Yankulele
07-18-2016, 04:06 AM
Here is my fifth ukulele:

Walnut back and sides
Lutz spruce top
Spanish cedar neck with carbon fiber reinforcement
Pau rosa fingerboard, bridge, headstock veneer
Curly maple binding, bwb purfling
Abalone rosette and fret markers
Gotoh UPT tuners
Worth brown strings
Finish is Cardinal Nitrocellulose Lacquer

I tried CA for pore filling and Nitro for the finish for the first time on this one, with much assistance from Chuck Moore via the inter web--Thanks Chuck. The sunburst came after a nasty tape-induced spruce fiber tearout on the top as I was masking the fingerboard area for spraying. I sprayed a garnet shellac sunburst to try to camouflage the tear out after filling with CA. I think I was only partially successful there.

Observations, suggestions, comments, critiques are welcome.


Thanks, Nelson

Vespa Bob
07-18-2016, 05:00 AM
As a novice builder myself, no critiques from me, but it's obvious to see the amount of work you've put into this beautiful instrument, particularly the binding. I can only imagine how you felt when you saw the tear out!

Bob

greenscoe
07-18-2016, 06:18 AM
Looks great to me: if it's only no 5 then you clearly have what it takes to make many more beauties.

You have some nice finishing touches on this instrument: the maple binding/purfling goes really well with the walnut. Do you know how many hours you spent making it?

Are you happy with the way it sounds, that's what it's really all about?

Edit Just checked out your previous posts: many were impressed with your previous builds including me. I commented on no 3-now that I see the short journey to this point, there's no doubt about your ability.

Keep them coming.

cml
07-18-2016, 06:57 AM
Absolutely stunning Yankele :)! I feel for you with the tear out, because the uke looks nigh on perfect. The sunburst is awesome, so just say that was a design choice from the start ;).
You should be really proud of yourself nontheless.

How about a sound sample?

ksquine
07-18-2016, 07:56 AM
Nice. I like the subtle sunburst. Sweet job on the binding too

Michael Smith
07-18-2016, 11:40 AM
Pretty darn good for #5. You even put in the micro line.

printer2
07-18-2016, 01:27 PM
I saved the pictures for inspiration on a later date. After years of collecting pics from some of the best builders in the world (mostly guitars), I find I don't save all that many anymore.

sequoia
07-18-2016, 07:19 PM
Very nice. I see you did two things I haven't really figured out how to pull off: the continuous round the heal graft perfling thing and the rounded fretboard/soundhole thing. That ain't easy to do. Or at least do well.... As far as the tape tearout problem: that is easy to avoid - shellac your spruce before you get near it with tape. Seal that top and no tearout worries.

lauburu
07-19-2016, 11:19 AM
You've sure managed to cram a lot of tricky detail into #5. Good job well done.
Miguel

Pete Howlett
07-19-2016, 11:29 AM
Saddle height? Looks high to me... everything else good - nice mitre :) :)

Rrgramps
07-20-2016, 07:51 AM
Dang nice looking ukulele. Love the sunburst and headstock; rosette is utterly cool, as is everything else.

Yankulele
07-20-2016, 11:09 AM
Thank you all for the kind words.

I don't really know how many hours it took. I keep meaning to learn to keep track of my time, and I keep forgetting. This one went a little quicker than the ones before.

I think the sound is good, but I haven't got a good enough frame of reference. It is resonant and seems to have a nice tone to my ear. It is not LOUD, and I do wonder if the shellac I used for the sunburst is muting the sound a little. I tried to keep the finish thin, but I'm sure I had more build around the edges than would be ideal.

I will try to get my brother-in-law to do a sound sample when I give it to him this weekend. He is a much better player than I.

The tear out was a bad moment, certainly, but I figured I better carry on, and see what could be done to work with what I had. I do know about shellac, and used it throughout construction. This tear out was done masking the top for the pore filling stage, so the top was finish sanded nice and clean. For some reason I thought I would get away with it. In the right light, you can't see it. In the wrong light, you can. In any light, I can.

Pete, thanks for the comment about the saddle height. Am I right that this is a design concern, and not simply a matter of sanding down the saddle to make it lower? In other words, are you speaking about the ratio of saddle height to bridge height?

It seems I could:

1. Sand down the saddle to make it shorter.

2. Have a thinner fretboard with the same bridge height.

3. Have a taller (thicker) bridge with the same saddle height.

4. Adjust the angle that the neck joins the body, so the same finger board and bridge would allow a lower saddle.


Do I have that right? Would anyone offer suggestions as to these choices?

What sort of string height do people typically set above the 12'th fret?

Thanks,

Nelson

Pete Howlett
07-20-2016, 12:02 PM
I personally like a saddle to poke above the top of the bridge no more than .125"... any more then I worry about the actuating of an unnecessary Hawaiian 'belly'.

sequoia
07-20-2016, 08:13 PM
A few thoughts. After all the sawdust settles and the thing is built and looks great, comes the final set-up stage. It almost seems like an after thought but it is so, so important. Gotta get the nut and saddle set just right to bring out the potential. It can be monotonous and boring work taking many hours after all the fun of sawing and gluing is done and you just want the thing to be done. After all, it doesn't matter how pretty the thing looks but how it plays that counts. Frets perfectly flat and dressed (boring), string height just right (boring). Actually the boring parts are sometimes the most important parts. A good set-up can make a mediocre uke sound good and a great uke sound like a masterpiece. These things ain't pretty furniture but musical instruments that should sing when it all comes together. It ain't easy and therein lies the challenge.

greenscoe
07-20-2016, 10:25 PM
"What sort of string height do people typically set above the 12'th fret?"

Measuring from the top of the fret to the bottom of the string at the 12th fret, I reckon the generally accepted distance is 6-8/64 ths or 2.5-3 mm.

Yankulele
07-22-2016, 04:26 AM
Thanks, Greenscoe. I'm about in the ballpark, then.

I know what you are saying about setup Sequoia, and I'm trying to learn about that as well as all the rest of the building process. That's why I keep pestering with questions.

Thanks for the specifics on the saddle, Pete. Your observation is very helpful, as I now see something I hadn't before. I have the same saddle height problem (only worse) on #4, and now I'm looking at that as a possible source for a pesky buzz on my g and a strings. #4's bridge is too low and the slot too shallow, so I don't think I'm getting a solid enough seating of saddle to bridge. I will build my bridges a little taller in the future.

Nelson

cml
07-22-2016, 08:43 AM
Thanks, Greenscoe. I'm about in the ballpark, then.

I know what you are saying about setup Sequoia, and I'm trying to learn about that as well as all the rest of the building process. That's why I keep pestering with questions.

Thanks for the specifics on the saddle, Pete. Your observation is very helpful, as I now see something I hadn't before. I have the same saddle height problem (only worse) on #4, and now I'm looking at that as a possible source for a pesky buzz on my g and a strings. #4's bridge is too low and the slot too shallow, so I don't think I'm getting a solid enough seating of saddle to bridge. I will build my bridges a little taller in the future.

Nelson
Nelson, I know it's probably the first thing that you've tried, but when I had buzz on one of my ukes, I changed the Aquila reds I had fitted to Worth Browns and the buzz disappeared.

Yankulele
07-22-2016, 10:26 AM
Hmm... I already have the Worth Browns on it.

Thanks, I will certainly consider the strings, but I know I want to tweak my bridge. I have a plan...


Nelson