PDA

View Full Version : Luthiers, please help -- is it possible to do this?



Hochapeafarm
08-06-2016, 04:46 PM
Hello, folks!

I've never posted in this area of the forum, so please forgive me if I'm overlooking any etiquette or protocol. I'm truly hoping you all will be able to give me much needed advice and guidance regarding a question I have. That question concerns this:

Is it possible to safely remove the fretboard/neck from a ukulele and reattach it to another ukulele body (oh, and the fretboard/neck of this 'other ukulele body' would also need to be removed)? So, basically, I mean swapping out the fretboards/necks of these two ukuleles.

Here is the scenario:

I need a radius fretboard. My current ukulele does have a radius fretboard, but the body is mahogany, and I'd like a mango body. As crazy as it sounds (and maybe it is?), I have been thinking about buying a ukulele with the mango body that I love, and then replacing its fretboard/neck with the radius fretboard/neck from my mahogany ukulele. (Both ukuleles would be from the same manufacturer and the same size.)

Is this even doable? I would be so appreciative of both your feedback and advice.

Please forgive me if this is a silly question to ask — I really just have no idea if this could be done.

Thank you for your time and help!
~ chelle :-)

Futurethink
08-06-2016, 05:17 PM
Why not just purchase a mango bodied 'ukulele with a radiused fretboard?

Then you have the radiused fretboard you like, you have the mango wood you like, and you have not ruined your other 'ukulele.

If you can only keep one of these, play them both for awhile, then sell the one you don't play as often.

The danger in what you propose is that you might not like the sound of mango as much as you like its appearance. You won't know that before the work is done, and then you may be unhappy that you started the process.

On the other hand, you might discover you like both mahogany and mango for different reasons, and you'll be glad you have a radiused fretboard on both of them.

Sven
08-06-2016, 08:49 PM
If the fretboard is thick enough you could pull the frets, plane or sand a radius to the fretboard and install new frets. Or just pop the fretboard off and replace it with a new one. I wouldn't sacrifice one uke to mod another, rather go for a new fretboard.

Of course, before you pull anything out or off, you should study some vids or articles about the task. Depending on the wood it can be tricky.

Hochapeafarm
08-06-2016, 09:30 PM
Thanks, Futurethink, for your thoughts -- I am grateful! The mango ukulele currently isn't available in a radius fretboard in the baritone size by this particular manufacturer, although, I've heard that this could possibly change in the future. I have owned a mango baritone that this manufacturer makes without the radius fretboard, which I absolutely loved, but I had, very sadly, to re-home this incredible ukulele as my wrist tendonitis flared up enough that I realized I had to go back to having a radius fretboard (I used to play a tenor with a radius fretboard). That said, I sold the mango baritone and purchased a mahogany baritone model (by this same manufacturer) with a radius fretboard. Whilst I can play the ukulele without pain in my wrists (I love the radius fretboard it has so much!), I admit that I have missed the sound of the mango. I've changed strings to experiment with sound of the mahogany, however, I cannot capture 'that sound' that really speaks to me. Hence, why I have been trying to come up with a way in which to acquire my 'dream ukulele' -- a mango baritone with a radius fretboard. Of course, I am just really brainstorming with this idea of 'swapping fretboards/necks' -- and I know absolutely nothing about building, so my thoughts were to throw this crazy idea out to the folks, here, to see what thoughts would be generated. Again, thanks so much for your contribution and giving me advice -- I am, again, so grateful! Happy strummings! :-)


Why not just purchase a mango bodied 'ukulele with a radiused fretboard?

Then you have the radiused fretboard you like, you have the mango wood you like, and you have not ruined your other 'ukulele.

If you can only keep one of these, play them both for awhile, then sell the one you don't play as often.

The danger in what you propose is that you might not like the sound of mango as much as you like its appearance. You won't know that before the work is done, and then you may be unhappy that you started the process.

On the other hand, you might discover you like both mahogany and mango for different reasons, and you'll be glad you have a radiused fretboard on both of them.

Hochapeafarm
08-06-2016, 09:32 PM
Thank you, Sven! I'll take my ukulele into my local guitar guy to see if he could do something like this for me -- maybe he could make it happen for me! Thanks, again! Happy strummings! :-)


If the fretboard is thick enough you could pull the frets, plane or sand a radius to the fretboard and install new frets. Or just pop the fretboard off and replace it with a new one. I wouldn't sacrifice one uke to mod another, rather go for a new fretboard.

Of course, before you pull anything out or off, you should study some vids or articles about the task. Depending on the wood it can be tricky.

Booli
08-06-2016, 10:03 PM
Hi Chelle!

If you are gonna pay someone to mod your existing uke anyway, maybe the path of least resistance is to call or email the company and see what they can do for you by asking if they would replace the fretboard at whatever cost, or alternately take one of the stock mango bari's off the line and put a radiused fretboard on it for you as a semi-custom.

If this company/luthier is the maker Im thinking of based upon the instruments in your YT videos, then based upon the millions of comments of praise for customer service here on UU, I would be surprised if the company/luthier could not find some path to a solution for you.

At least, contacting them, they could say yes or no, but unless you do, you have no idea...

and even a local guitar tech person is now a 3rd-party to the situation...I see problems here...

if it were me, I'd at least pursue the luthier in question....

Otherwise if you want to do this yourself, be prepared to invest $ in the proper tools and setting up a shop space in your garage or basement, invest the time to watch a ton of YT videos on luthery and read a whole lot of books and accept the possibility that you could end up with a pile of mahogany bits that used to be a nice baritone uke if you mess up too badly...and for the first time doing this, you WILL mess up something, everyone does. :)

best of luck whatever you do...:)

Timbuck
08-07-2016, 12:47 AM
Or sell both of them and buy one that you really love :)

DownUpDave
08-07-2016, 02:23 AM
I have followed some of your posts so I think you are talking about Pono products. Contact Kilin Reece, he is in Hawaii, is a member here and is an authorized Pono dealer. He also worked with Pono and Ko'olau in their shop for years and now has his own business. He specializes in rebuilding vintage ukes and doing complete builds or rebuilds.

I have talked to him about doing a radius fret board on a Kamaka. He pulls the existing fretboard and makes a new one. I bought a Pono spruce mahogany baritone with Misi pick up from him and he was excellent to deal with. Seems to me the easy way to achieve what you want is to buy the Pono mango from him and have him remove the existing fret board and make you a new radiused one. He might even take you mahogany one in on a trade plus cash. He has done that before.

Feel free to PM me if you would like his email address

Jardin
08-07-2016, 03:26 AM
I would also add that you need to remember that if that perfect sound is what your after, there is no guarantee that the new mango bari from the same manufacturer / luthier is going to sound like the one you had. I would suggest that you play / hear it first if possible.

The fact is that no two builds are the same as wood is just that way......

Kekani
08-07-2016, 11:34 AM
If Dave is correct about Pono, and you know what you want, which in your case it seems you do, I wouldn't suggest doing your original intent. The cost of removing a neck/fb, then removing another neck/fb, then installing and refinishing is something to look into first. Can it be done? Sure. Should it be done? Maybe, if you're absolutely attached to the Mango Baritone, which, you don't have, yet.

That said, and given all the variables (specifically, you don't have the Mango body, yet) as an easier path is probably better to contact Ko'olau have them make you what you want, since it seems you know what you want, but aren't happy with the offerings. This is why players get Customs built to spec. To change up a production line instrument is not always realistic.

However, I agree that Kilin can do what Dave said as well. His suggestion is a good one and is easier than pulling the neck, much less pulling two necks and salvaging one of them.

From a builder's perspective, I've never seen a Mango that I really like (especially sets), but Hog is actually one of my favorites. It's just, well, soft. . . Let's not even talk about spalted mango. . .

Edited: at first I thought I disagreed with Dave's suggestion about being easier to redo the fretboard, but I misunderstood the "easy" context - suffice that I agree.

hawaii 50
08-07-2016, 11:51 AM
If Dave is correct about Pono, and you know what you want, which in your case it seems you do, I wouldn't suggest doing your original intent. The cost of removing a neck/fb, then removing another neck/fb, then installing and refinishing is something to look into first. Can it be done? Sure. Should it be done? Maybe, if you're absolutely attached to the Mango Baritone, which, you don't have, yet.

That said, I gotta disagree with Dave a bit given all the variables (specifically, you don't have the Mango body, yet) as an easier path is probably better to contact Ko'olau have them make you what you want, since it seems you know what you want, but aren't happy with the offerings. This is why players get Customs built to spec. To change up a production line instrument is not always realistic.

However, I agree that Kilin can do what Dave said as well. His suggestion is a good one and is easier than pulling the neck, much less pulling two necks and salvaging one of them.

From a builder's perspective, I've never seen a Mango that I really like (especially sets), but Hog is actually one of my favorites. It's just, well, soft. . . Let's not even talk about spalted mango. . .

i agree what Aaron said above...seems like to much to trouble to do what you want IMO

why don't you contact David at Ono Ukulele he is close to in Oregon i think...have him build you exactly what you looking for...

Hochapeafarm
08-07-2016, 12:31 PM
Hey, folks!

Thank you so very much to you all for responding with your awesome ideas and feedback! You've given me a ton of great advice and I feel like I have a really good idea of what steps I can take to move forward with things!

Oh, and re: David at Ono Ukulele -- I thought that I had heard he wasn't building anymore?

Thanks so much, again, everyone!

Peace and Happy strummings! :-)
~ chelle