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ryo808
07-26-2010, 09:21 PM
So, in a bout with my lazy side, my creative side implanted a nice idea in my head to make my own ukulele. I just think the sheer satisfaction of building my own ukulele and knowing that the money was spent on something I created.

Since I'm not going all out, I was thinking of going with a cigar box ukulele. The creative part in all this? Building the cigar box from scratch! (which has probably been done). I'm also planning to make this a 6-string tenor ukulele.

I've scoured as much Google I could do in a day and came up with some stuff I can start with, but I was hoping to get some feedback from the seasoned builders. Here's some things racking my brain:

- Optimal neck length for a tenor
- Recommended thickness of wood for the body
- Planning on hopefully finding Koa, but might end up using Mahogany for the body. Any other (possibly cheaper) recommendations for tonewoods?
- Recommended size and/or internal volume for a tenor (making the box from scratch)

I'll keep trekking Google. Thanks for any feedback.

Dusepo
07-26-2010, 09:56 PM
I did a similar thing out of scraps of wood when I build a Kabosy, which is a square guitar-like instrument from Madagascar.

There are quite a few things on google about building those.

dave g
07-27-2010, 04:01 AM
I did a similar thing out of scraps of wood when I build a Kabosy, which is a square guitar-like instrument from Madagascar.

There are quite a few things on google about building those.

I did a kabosy for someone last year:

http://www.wsukes.com/temp/kabosy.jpg

Lots of work in that partially-fretted fingerboard!

erich@muttcrew.net
07-27-2010, 07:45 AM
Optimal neck length? That depends. Do you want to join at the 12th or 14th fret? Of course the 12th is half the scale length, so for a standard tenor (420 mm scale length) that would be 210. If you ever need to do a quick guestimate for a 14 fret neck you can add 11% to the half scale (i.e. half the scale length, which is the 12th fret measurement), so that would be 210 + 23 = 233 mm.

EDIT: Please note the lengths stated above refer to the nut to joint length. To get the neck length you need to add the headstock, which might be something like 120-130 mm for a tenor uke. The calculation below adds this headstock piece as well as the piece for the heel block to get the stock length.

If you want to know how much wood you need, it really depends on how you make your necks. We always build with a scarf joint and heel block, generally starting with stock that is about 50 x 20 mm (just a little less than 1 x 2 inches, but 1x2 will do fine as well). Based on a scarfed neck and standard heel block our rule of thumb for neck stock length is scale length + 15%. So for a tenor we would need a piece of 50 x 20 (or 1 x 2) stock that is 420 + 63 = 483 mm long, for a concert 380 + 57 = 437 mm, and so on.

Hope this helps.