View Full Version : First Ukulele Build

05-18-2009, 02:39 PM
I just finished making my first instrument! Albeit this was just made from a grizzly kit, I'm super proud of it.

I took a lot of video/pics during the building which I'm going to post in a video for two reasons. One, I'd like to share how the project went, and two, to ask for advice from experienced builders on anything obvious you might see I could improve for the next time.

While I wait to piece the video together, here's a couple pictures of the finished product


Thanks for looking!

05-18-2009, 03:34 PM
Congratulations, Sweet cigar box uke...how does it play? :music:

05-18-2009, 03:51 PM

Thanks for looking!

those are frickin awesome...can i order a neck from u with that sweet headstock?

05-18-2009, 06:08 PM
Wow, super job! :) Looks like you had fun. :D
Thanks for sharing,

05-19-2009, 02:48 AM
Just when I thought nothing could be cooler than a slotted headstock. Awesome job! I ordered one of the kits over the weekend to play with. Now you've given me a whole new bag of inspiration!

05-19-2009, 03:57 AM
Thanks for all the kind words guys! It sounds great. To be honest, it's a lot better sounding than I expected out of a cigar box. It's plenty loud, and pretty bright sounding.

Here's how I did the headstock.

1. Trace the headstock shape onto a piece of paper for an outline shape
2. doodle on it until you come up with a design you like (I liked a smoking tiki :D)
3. Tape a piece of carbon paper on top of the headstock, then tape your drawing on top of that.
4. Trace over the original drawing.
5. Take off the tape and papers. The carbon paper will have transfered the design onto the headstock.
6. Plug in a woodburning pen and trace/shade over the carbon copy, and it's now burned into the wood :shaka:

I'm thinking I'm going to make the smoking tiki like my "logo" and make a couple more cigar box ukes with that same design headstock, but with different boxes/sound hole patterns.

The only problems I came across with the grizzly kit are:

The bottom of the neck comes rounded to fit the uke body and cigar boxes are flat. It was hard for me to shape it back to flat without proper tools.

The dot inlays were way too big for the pre-drilled holes in the fretboard so I couldn't use them. Plus I was afraid to drill into the fingerboard to make the holes bigger. I tried using beads and some other junk as inlays, but nothing worked. Right now the holes are just filled with wood glue and you can barely see them.

05-19-2009, 04:00 AM
REAL NICE! The smoking tiki god is awesome. How did you do that? You gave me further inspiration to build a uke someday. :D OOPS. See you explained it above.

05-23-2009, 10:04 AM
Here's a quick video of it being played:


05-23-2009, 10:18 AM
now that's a cool looking cigar box uke!!! you did such great job on it.

yeah, the inlay things that came with all 3 grizzly kits i had were also too big for the holes in the fretboard so i just left them empty.

by the way, where did you get the tuners from?

05-23-2009, 11:26 AM
Thanks Russ! The tuners are the Grover ones ordered from Stewart Mac: http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tuners/Ukulele/Grover_Ukulele_Tuning_Machines.html

It's good to know that's how all the kits came with the inlays-- I'll definitely try to find an alternative for the next ones I do. The wood glue filling didn't work out very well at all.

05-23-2009, 12:02 PM
nice ukulele!

05-23-2009, 03:35 PM
That came out really great! The smokin' tiki is cool and it sounds pretty sweet. Nice job. Very impressive!

05-23-2009, 05:17 PM
Nice job gives me inspiration to try building one myself. I really like the headstock work. :cool:

05-24-2009, 11:07 AM
That's some great work there :)

Hope to make one too someday.