View Full Version : Grellier Soprano plans converted to Concert??

Piedmont Uke
06-15-2010, 03:22 AM
Just wanted to run this concept by you fellas to see if it will work.
I would like to build a concert uke along the same aesthetics as a vintage Martin Concert uke.
I have downloaded Grellier's Soprano plans and had it printed to full size at a Staples Store (an office supply store here in the US).
Here's my question(s). I see that if I had the plans enlarged 15%(115%) that it is the approximate dimensions of a concert. Can I just use the same bracing plan or does that change with the size of the plates?
I realize that I'd have to change the scale length to an exact dimension but just wondering about the bracing.
The reason I ask this is that most concert bracing patterns I've seen on this forum and elsewhere use a more complex (additional tone bars) plan.
I'm wondering if anyone out there has actually seen a vintage Martin Concert to tell me how they braced them. Can't afford to buy a vintage one to find out. Any help or advise?

06-15-2010, 10:15 AM
Can't help with the vintage bracing question, but I do have a mate that used a similar concept to make a set of instruments from Soprano to Baritone with the same shape and proportions. He used a simple bridge patch on the Soprano, 2 tone bars on the Concert, 3 on the Tenor and Baritone. All made from the same wood. They look and sound great.

Pete Howlett
06-15-2010, 12:09 PM
Martin used 2 fan braces in concerts...

Piedmont Uke
06-15-2010, 02:06 PM
Thanks Allen & Pete for your input.
I thought that maybe a couple of fan braces would be called for but had wondered if Martin had used them early on.Thanks for answering that Pete.
I think I'll enlarge the Grellier plans just to see how the shape looks at 115%.

When you fellas started making ukes did you just wing it or did you find a design that you liked and try to copy it ?
It always seems logical to me to copy something that you know worked and then maybe tweak it a little as you go. But I know my limitations and I'm surely not an inventor.
Just really love working with wood and turning it into something that you can play a melody on.

06-15-2010, 05:35 PM
As a beginner you will be much better off finding a good design and trying to follow it as closely as you can. Trust me, you will be challenged to do so. When you have built a number of the same model and can no longer improve the appearance or sound, then it is time to start experimenting. You will progress much faster this way, than by constantly trying to reinvent the wheel.


Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-15-2010, 05:49 PM
When you can no longer improve the appearance or sound, then it is time to start experimenting.

Brad, when does this happen? :)

Pete Howlett
06-15-2010, 07:56 PM
The Martin concert shape is not appealing to my eyes. I use the Harmony shape. And I'm with Chuck - I don't think I'll ever be happy with the sound. Getting the appearance right is tough enough!

06-15-2010, 10:22 PM
I started out with a Marin soprano plan and built a couple. Too small for my rather large frame and hands, so I went on to concerts and tenors. I found a shape that I like, and from there I've tweaked various aspects of them. I now build with a Spanish Heel on a board, so variations in the body shape are easy to do. unlike building in a solid mould.

And like the others, I will never be satisfied with the sound. Nor the wood work for that matter. It can always be just a bit better can't it? That's the problem with this craft. It drives you to do something better every time you pick up a raw piece of wood that you want to turn into an instrument.

Piedmont Uke
06-16-2010, 03:03 AM
I noticed that your concert model has a flat neck fit. I assume that was copied from the original Harmony design. That seems like a great Idea for me. I had quite a time getting the neck fit right on my banjo build. I've seen lots of ideas out there for jigs to make a heal cut but as yet have not attempted such.
Your Concert kit is quite tempting. I'll be keeping that in the back of my mind as I'm planning this build. My first dulcimer was kit build and I learned a lot from that. Something to be said for "training wheels".

06-16-2010, 07:44 AM
Elderly Instruments sells a Martin style concert plan
I've used this on my walnut concert and am very happy with it