View Full Version : Concert Ukulele #1 & #2

11-10-2016, 04:56 AM
While completing an update on my Sonex last winter, I wondered what I should build next. It required learning new skills and precision. I decided to build a ukulele. This required hours of research, including the Luthier's Lounge.

I decided on a Concert size ukulele. Based on my research, I decided on the parameters on my build and drew up plans.

The first build (called my practice build) was made of cherry and cedar, using parts sourced from Ebay. I bent the sides on a hot pipe. The fretboard is made of cocobolo and the binding is mansonia. I learned a lot during this build. After it was completed, I began to learn to play, using tutorials on YouTube. It sounds nice, with clear voice and long sustain. It was finished with many coats of TruOil.

I decided on a spruce and walnut Ukulele for my second build. I wanted to refine some aspects of my build on the second one, including smaller frets, smaller dots, larger headstock, purfling, and quality components. I used the side bender to make this one. I decided on a Spanish Cedar neck, and decided to reinforce it with a short piece of carbon fibre arrow shaft, which was epoxied into a slot. Finished yesterday, it is still too new to evaluate the tone.

My son also expressed interest in building a Ukulele, so we spent many evenings and Saturdays working on them. He chose a mahogany soundboard with sapelle sides, back, and neck. He bent the sides on the hot pipe. His turned out very nicely.

Along the way, I made specialized tools and jigs to provide accuracy in the build. This included a pipe bender, form, thickness sander, binding router jig, side bender, fret sawing jig, radius sander, and saddle and nut sanding jig. I also sourced some bone from a local butcher and prepared it for saddles and nuts.

Thanks to the many contributors to this forum. I learned so much reading through current and past posts.

Next is a walnut and spruce (or cedar) concert with a longer 14 fret reinforced cedar neck.


Mervin Friesen

11-10-2016, 05:33 AM
Welcome to the forum.

It's clear you have a uke building future. The jigs look very impressive, all that work for your first couple of builds. As for the 2 ukes you have made, they look great: you appear to have studied well and have the skills for instrument making. With your son already converted to the cause, it looks like there'll be many happy hours of music making ahead.

11-10-2016, 10:24 AM
Both look fantastic, with interesting wood combinations. Well done and keep going!

11-10-2016, 05:18 PM
Great looking and it's fun too! (Most of the time except when it is not because things went south when you meant north).

11-10-2016, 05:34 PM
Very nice job. I am impressed.

Vespa Bob
11-11-2016, 04:26 AM
Wow, excellent work! It's obvious that you know what you're doing. Great job on those jigs, too.


Bill Rayner
02-23-2017, 04:22 AM
Very nice looking instruments, Merv!

02-23-2017, 05:34 AM
Very nice job. You have a good eye for the wood combinations and have produced some really nice clean, classic and elegant looking instruments. I hope that you can put up some sound samples at some point. I look forward to seeing your upcoming builds.

02-23-2017, 06:53 AM
Very impressive first builds

chuck in ny
02-23-2017, 01:48 PM
you have got impeccable in your blood, lad. keep it up. you could be world class in no time at all.