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dasuol
11-27-2017, 06:35 PM
About a year ago, I had the idea to try building a solid body Les Paul style ukulele. It turned out pretty good and, well needless to say, I was hooked. After a couple more solid body builds, a couple tahitian style, and a strumstick style acoustic, I finally got up the courage to try a full on acoustic ukulele. Just thought I'd share here.

It's roughly a soprano scale and I decided to go with an oval body shape to ease myself into the bending world and such. I didn't want to spend a lot on "fancy" wood my first time around, so all the wood is from the pound-stock scrap bins at my local hardwood store. Top, back, sides and neck are poplar and I used purpleheart for the fretboard, bridge, binding and tuning peg heads.

Anyway, here are some pictures. Let me know what you think. Any feedback is appreciated.

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sequoia
11-27-2017, 06:59 PM
Looks pretty darn good. I like the purpleheart fretboard. Didn't get that out of dollar surplus bin I'll bet...

dasuol
11-27-2017, 07:22 PM
Thanks, Sequoia. I did, actually. They have a domestic pound stock bin and an exotic bin. I lucked out one visit and got a small end of a purpleheart board and some sticks of wenge. Not big pieces, but big enough to do some small fretboards and some other small stuff.

DPO
11-27-2017, 07:37 PM
Nice job. I think P H is a great timber especially fretboards and bridges etc. I am surprised more people don't use it.

greenscoe
11-27-2017, 10:03 PM
Looks great. I too like the purpleheart trim. You clearly have the skills to make decent looking instruments. I like your approach, there's no point spending lots on timber and equipment until you know what you are doing.

The drawing shows a bridge patch and 5 fans. Many of us start off with soundboards that are too thick and/or over braced. I would suggest that a patch and perhaps 2 thin fans would have been enough.

You don't say whether you like the way the instrument sounds. If you did use 5 fans (and if you left them too thick), the instrument may have lots of treble. Making great sounding instruments is about learning to make light soundboards with just enough bracing.

I hope you are inspired to make more acoustic instruments.

dasuol
11-28-2017, 06:21 AM
Looks great. I too like the purpleheart trim. You clearly have the skills to make decent looking instruments. I like your approach, there's no point spending lots on timber and equipment until you know what you are doing.

The drawing shows a bridge patch and 5 fans. Many of us start off with soundboards that are too thick and/or over braced. I would suggest that a patch and perhaps 2 thin fans would have been enough.

You don't say whether you like the way the instrument sounds. If you did use 5 fans (and if you left them too thick), the instrument may have lots of treble. Making great sounding instruments is about learning to make light soundboards with just enough bracing.

Thank you. I did use 5 fans in the bracing. However, I ended up trimming them down pretty thin. I wasn't really sure the best way to do it. I knew that the bracing should be as light as possible, but I was also a little concerned about making sure the soundboard was sturdy enough since it is made of a panel of multiple narrow pieces instead of the usual two pieces for a top. Looking back, I can see a number of places that I should have done things a bit lighter; thinner neck (front to back, not across the fretboard), thinner headstock, etc.

Overall, I think it ended up sounding quite nice. I think it is a little quiet, but the tone is pretty good (to my relatively inexperienced ears anyway). I'm definitely pleased with how it turned out for a first attempt.


I hope you are inspired to make more acoustic instruments.

Oh, absolutely. I think I'm far from done. I have already started on a concert. This time around, I'm trying the next step and going for the standard figure 8 body shape.

dasuol
11-28-2017, 07:34 AM
Nice job. I think P H is a great timber especially fretboards and bridges etc. I am surprised more people don't use it.

Thank you. Yes, I think purpleheart looks quite nice. I've still got a bit left over that I'm sure I'll find a good use for. Trying to bend the strips for the binding was a bit of a pain though. Probably better suited for, like you said, fretboards, bridges and other parts that don't need to flex.

greenscoe
11-28-2017, 08:13 AM
"I have already started on a concert. This time around, I'm trying the next step and going for the standard figure 8 body shape."

That's good to hear. Aim for less than 2 mm (0.070") on the sides and the soundboard. Thick sides are hard to bend.

On a concert most use 2 or 3 fans with or without a bridge patch. You might want to consider all the variations for these braces. Some use wide and low, some high and narrow: some taper only at the ends whilst others have a high point sometimes under the bridge and sometimes between bridge and soundhole. As a hobby maker I've tried them all!

Good luck.

M3Ukulele
11-28-2017, 05:51 PM
I really like the contrasts in wood. Light body, Purple Heart fretboard , bridge and trim. You definitely are on you way. Wish I had that talent. The poplar looks great against the purple.