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View Full Version : Here's my new MP Lap Steel Squareneck custom uke!!!



fumanshu
08-14-2010, 12:48 AM
Hi guys!!! Some of you might already know that I'm a big fan of MP ukes....since I alreday owned 4 customs from Mike!

But one of these days, I decided that I wanted something different than regular uke and decided that I would like to have a lap steel uke!!! I know that I can play lap steel slide with my regular ukes...but it's a little bit ackward and I wanted a uke dedicated to do that only...

I knew that Mya-Moe is doing a reso-lap....And I knew that it's not something very common found in the uke industry and that it will be hard for me to find someone who will build it for me...


But since I've been dealing and working with Mike for so long now, I knew that I can see with him if it's something he can built for me.

Mike did built electric guitar lap steel slide...but never try an uke lap like I want...

So after discussions with him and we conclude that he will build an acoustic lap steel uke for me!!!

So it will have a squareneck with steel strings and since I wanted to be able to play amplified, I'll have a K&K pick up inside.

Also, it will be a bridge pin.

As for the wood combo, Mike told me that he has a very nice set of Peruvian Walnut that is waiting to for a nice project like that.....so I decided to get that nice piece of wood for my uke!!

So...here's the first pics of this special project!!!


http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c212/bao1975/lap-joint-1.jpg

http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c212/bao1975/lap-fretboard-1.jpg

http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c212/bao1975/soundboard-1.jpg

Thanks

harpdog
08-14-2010, 12:59 AM
I played squareneck guitar for a while - wish I hadn't given up. You'll have fun and challenge with this axe!

fumanshu
08-14-2010, 01:57 AM
harpdog wrote:
I played squareneck guitar for a while - wish I hadn't given up. You'll have fun and challenge with this axe!

Thanks harpdog...I'm sure I'll really enjoy playing with this uke...I already have fun doing slide on a regular uke....now thta I will have one dedicated only to do that, I'll be in heaven!!!

Nuprin
08-14-2010, 02:29 AM
The secrets out of the bag! Very cool Fu! That is also a gorgeous piece of walnut! Mike is shipping my tenor on Monday...I am absolutely giddy with anticipation.

RyRod
08-14-2010, 05:07 AM
that Peruvian walnut is amazing.

jehicks87
08-14-2010, 05:28 AM
beautiful wood, fu! And a really neat idea... I've never played lap slide anything (I'm just not that good, really) but I'd love to see a vid or two of you playing around on this little thing. Keep up the updates!

Jake

fumanshu
08-14-2010, 08:30 AM
Nuprin wrote:
The secrets out of the bag! Very cool Fu! That is also a gorgeous piece of walnut! Mike is shipping my tenor on Monday...I am absolutely giddy with anticipation.

Hahaah!!! Well, I think it's something different that I don't have yet...so I just want to extend my collection of ukes with that too....and I really like slide playing style too!! Even Mike has some fun building it!!

jehicks wrote:
beautiful wood, fu! And a really neat idea... I've never played lap slide anything (I'm just not that good, really) but I'd love to see a vid or two of you playing around on this little thing. Keep up the updates!

Yeah...that Peruvian Walnut piece is beautiful!!!! Mike told me that piece is a very nice one and will be a nice choice for what I want to do...so I just can't hesitate to try it out even if I'm not familiar with Walnut tonewoods...

pulelehua
08-14-2010, 08:48 AM
Following in James Hill's footsteps. Always brave. Always a good idea. Good luck! Can't wait to see the progress.

fumanshu
08-14-2010, 12:15 PM
pulelehua wrote:
Following in James Hill's footsteps. Always brave. Always a good idea. Good luck! Can't wait to see the progress.

James Hill is very inspiring for his work, but I have to admit that Tomotaka Matsui of the Sweet Hollywaiians as well as Aaron Keim are doing some amazing stuff with their lap uke too. I think there's some cool stuff to be done and noodling with my future uke!

Oh I forgot, there's also Kaki King's work that is very inspiring for her work with her lap steel...very cool stuff and what an amazing guitarist too!!

Thanks

ukestah
08-15-2010, 07:02 AM
Wow Bao, that was an awesome idea you had and its great that Mike can do it for ya. The wood looks great! Thanks for sharing this with us and keep us updated!

fumanshu
08-16-2010, 12:40 AM
ukestah wrote:
Wow Bao, that was an awesome idea you had and its great that Mike can do it for ya. The wood looks great! Thanks for sharing this with us and keep us updated!

Hey!! I'm very happy with the idea and suggest it to Mike.. And the cool thing is that Mike took the challenge right away when I discuss the idea with him. Also, I've been talking with him regularly and he's enjoying a lot building my squareneck lap steel uke...it's new so the challenge is there for him and he has some fun building it!!!

thanks

fumanshu
08-22-2010, 08:44 AM
Hi guys!!! So here's a few new pics that Mike send to me. My custom goes much faster that I thought it would be but Mike already has his idea on how to make the things in his head so, it goes quite well...

hope you enjoy!!

thanks

http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c212/bao1975/lap-body-only.jpg


http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c212/bao1975/lap-body-cote.jpg


http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c212/bao1975/lap-body-back.jpg


http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c212/bao1975/lap-neck-1.jpg

shrink9
08-22-2010, 09:03 AM
OMG! That wood is beautiful! Congratulations!

Nuprin
08-22-2010, 12:04 PM
Looking amazing Bao!

Lexxy
08-22-2010, 12:14 PM
Wow. The neck and body looks tantalizing :D

fumanshu
08-22-2010, 02:18 PM
Nuprin wrote:
Looking amazing Bao!

Hey Nu!! Wait until you see all the pieces glued together....it's quite cool!!! By the way, did you get your uke yet?? I think Mike put T2 strings on it. I don't know if you like T2 strings but I think they sound good on most of the ukes that I've tried. My MP Rosewood and Sitka-koa are on T2 so you can hear how they sound like with these strings on it... For sure you have to like ''zing'' that these strings produce...

Lexxy wrote:
Wow. The neck and body looks tantalizing

Thanks Lexxy! I really like the squareneck look....it's very different from the normal uke neck for sure because it's purpose is to be played lap style!

Nuprin
08-22-2010, 02:47 PM
Nuprin wrote:

Hey Nu!! Wait until you see all the pieces glued together....it's quite cool!!! By the way, did you get your uke yet?? I think Mike put T2 strings on it. I don't know if you like T2 strings but I think they sound good on most of the ukes that I've tried. My MP Rosewood and Sitka-koa are on T2 so you can hear how they sound like with these strings on it... For sure you have to like ''zing'' that these strings produce...



I haven't received it yet. :( Mike shipped it this past Monday (8/16) and the post office told him 7-14 days. He said in his experience it's usually closer to 7. I PM'd mailman (another user on UU) as he works for the post office. Given that Shandon, CA (the origin) and Burlington, VT (the destination) are not big metropolitan areas and as it was shipped parcel post, he's thinking it probably won't be here until the end of this week.

I've never tried the T2 strings...very excited to give them a go! I've tried Aquilas (which I don't love...too much finger noise), Pro Artes (which I like a lot on some of my ukes) and Worths (which I like on some of my other ukes). My one problem thus far with the Worths is that, with a Fishman passive undersaddle ukulele pickup, the strings give off a lot of finger noise when plugged in. I don't get that with the Pro Artes.

iDavid
08-23-2010, 12:57 AM
where do you get T2 strings?

fumanshu
08-23-2010, 01:06 AM
iDavid wrote:
where do you get T2 strings?

HI david! I often buy them from stringsbymail...You can buy single strings with them too...so it's perfect for ukes since you don't have to buy whole set of classical strings...

And you can mix different tension too which is really nice!!

iDavid
08-23-2010, 01:34 AM
iDavid wrote:

HI david! I often buy them from stringsbymail...You can buy single strings with them too...so it's perfect for ukes since you don't have to buy whole set of classical strings...

And you can mix different tension too which is really nice!!

kind of confusing. I wouldn't know what gauges to get!

fumanshu
08-23-2010, 03:53 PM
Hey David!!! It's not hard...just take what you used to use and just buy another 1st single string for re-entrant tuning...then you might get it the same gauges or harder tension...

Ok...what I usually do it, just buy a set of treble of normal tension T2 and then buy a 1st single string of T2 but in hard tension for the G on my uke in re-entrant because I want ti to have some kind of same tension of my A...

For low G tuning, I simple buy a hard tension 4th string from whatever a brand that I like...for me, I like best basses from Augustin Blue.

Simple no??!!! :)

Nuprin
08-23-2010, 04:14 PM
Ok...what I usually do it, just buy a set of treble of normal tension T2 and then buy a 1st single string of T2 but in hard tension for the G on my uke in re-entrant because I want ti to have some kind of same tension of my A...

Mike said that's what he used for my uke! T2 normal trebles, T2 hard for the G.

jehicks87
08-24-2010, 04:40 AM
Fu, I am really anxious to see more pictures of your uke!!! I didn't know watching other folk's ukes come together would be as exciting as watching my own, but you and nuprin have shown me otherwise.

I also have to comment on the T2 strings... mine came strung with them as well, and I wasn't a huge fan. Just not the sound I was looking for. Perhaps with yalls spruce tops it's better, but I didn't find it to compliment the redwood/koa combo. Kind of deadened it, to my ears. The sound samples I've heard of Fu's ukes (all strung with T2's) sounded very nice, though.

Stoked to hear more about this Uke.

Jake

Nuprin
08-24-2010, 02:09 PM
Fu, I am really anxious to see more pictures of your uke!!! I didn't know watching other folk's ukes come together would be as exciting as watching my own, but you and nuprin have shown me otherwise.

I also have to comment on the T2 strings... mine came strung with them as well, and I wasn't a huge fan. Just not the sound I was looking for. Perhaps with yalls spruce tops it's better, but I didn't find it to compliment the redwood/koa combo. Kind of deadened it, to my ears. The sound samples I've heard of Fu's ukes (all strung with T2's) sounded very nice, though.

Stoked to hear more about this Uke.

Jake

You got a redwood top for yours right Jake? Isn't redwood a bit of a soft wood? In Mike's words, "I think they work well with the spruce top, not so much with the softer tops."

fumanshu
08-26-2010, 01:34 AM
Hi guys!! So here's a few new pics of my lap steel...It's now all glued together and personnaly, I really like how it does look like!!

Oh I don't know if I said it or not but this will be a tenor joined at the 12th fret...Making it benefit of a bigger body tenor size too and bigger sound problably.

You will also notice that it will be bridged pin since it's builded to handle steel guitar stings.

Finally, it's fretless since we don't need frets to play lap steel....What you see are only marks of where the frets should be but there's not fret on this uke.

Hope you enjoy the pics...

Thanks

http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c212/bao1975/lap-glue-body-close-up-1.jpg


http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c212/bao1975/lap-glue-back-close-up-1.jpg


http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c212/bao1975/lap-glue-couche-avant-1.jpg


http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c212/bao1975/lap-glue-couche-1.jpg

wromble
08-26-2010, 05:16 AM
You'll about to get a very nice piece, Bao!

Congratulations!

Antoine

fumanshu
08-29-2010, 02:27 PM
Here we go with the very first coat of finish on my squareneck lap steel...I really like how the Peruvian Walnut comes out!!!

Hope you enjoy the pics!

http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c212/bao1975/lap-finish1.jpg

http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c212/bao1975/lapfinish2.jpg

fumanshu
11-03-2010, 12:35 PM
Hi guys!! It's been a while tha I didn't post an update of my squareneck lap steel even if it was finished for a while!!!

So here's the all done pictures of the uke!!

http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c212/bao1975/DSCN0675.jpg

http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c212/bao1975/DSCN0677.jpg


Notice the tuning peg upward position just like some traditional lap steel...

http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c212/bao1975/DSCN0685.jpg


And just to give you an idea how this instrument sounds like, here's a little clip that I did this morning.

It's troy's version of Amazing Grace on the dobro that I adapted for the uke...


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KoP8AHzqeM8

RyRod
11-03-2010, 01:18 PM
That's pretty sweet. i like the tuners up like that. it makes more sense.

retrozombi
11-03-2010, 01:24 PM
That looks and sounds beautiful! Very cool.

Lori
11-03-2010, 01:25 PM
Congrats on the really nice new ukulele. Very distinctive sound with the lap steel format.

–Lori

fumanshu
11-03-2010, 01:52 PM
RyRod wrote:
That's pretty sweet. i like the tuners up like that. it makes more sense.

I really like the tuners up like that, it simply makes things much easier when you have the uke on the lap and you tune it.... It's much more intuitive too...

Lori wrote:
Congrats on the really nice new ukulele. Very distinctive sound with the lap steel format.

Thanks Lori! I really like the tone of the uke!!! I have to admit that I've got to try a lot of strings gauges to fine tune it so I can take the most of the instrument...

The fact tha I'm playing with fingerpicks help a lot too to get that distinctive tone...Again I've tried a lot of fingerpicks to find the right tone and of course playability too..

SuzukHammer
11-03-2010, 01:59 PM
I enjoyed that video. I want to learn to play in that style.

fumanshu
11-03-2010, 02:12 PM
SuzukHammer wrote:
I enjoyed that video. I want to learn to play in that style.

Thanks Suzuk! Playing lap steel is veryyyyy cool!!! I didn't touch my traditional ukes since the day I received my lap uke!! I really like how intuitive it is and quite expressive...

If you would like to learn to play in lap, I would suggest more to start on a Weissenborn style guitar..Because of it longer scale, it's much easier to get the right pitch and more sustain... On an uke, it's a little bit harder to get the right pitch because the scale is much shorter and it's really easier to be off tune....

Hope that helps and make you want to try it out!

mm stan
11-03-2010, 02:44 PM
Congrats on the new lap steel....looks and sounds awesome, thanks for sharing....MM Stan..

TCK
11-03-2010, 03:00 PM
Absolutely amazing. I am building a lap steel cigar box right now and I was asking Dad, hey, what if we shortened the scale to 19" and made it only a four string? He has played for 50 years and I have played...well, never, so he convinced me to make it 22.5" in the scale, but I am totally not talked out of the four string set up (although it would make it hard to play his sixes when i am at his house).
In any event, I sent the video off to him to take a look- he is typically no fan of the Ukulele. I think I may have a convert soon

fumanshu
11-03-2010, 03:16 PM
TCK wrote:
Absolutely amazing. I am building a lap steel cigar box right now and I was asking Dad, hey, what if we shortened the scale to 19" and made it only a four string? He has played for 50 years and I have played...well, never, so he convinced me to make it 22.5" in the scale, but I am totally not talked out of the four string set up (although it would make it hard to play his sixes when i am at his house).
In any event, I sent the video off to him to take a look- he is typically no fan of the Ukulele. I think I may have a convert soon

Hi TCK! Thanks man for your kind words! It's nice tp hear that you're building a lp cigar box right now!!! You should def try to make a 4 strings!!! Seriuosly, you can almost do anything on a 4 strings vs 6 strings.... Actually, what I'm playing in the clip, I'm playing it the same way when I'm a 6 strings.....just a little more bass to it...

As for the scale, you should definitely go for a 22.5'' scale. My electric lap steel is 22.5', and even it's only a few inches more than 19'', it's way easier to play!!!! You will notice it right away if you have them side by side and play back to back. It's easier to be in tune with longer scale...you just have more room to find the right pitch on each notes you're playing and that's damn important on a fretless instrument!!

Anyway, so....hey let me know how your CB lap will turn out!!!

Thanks!

Jerlial Prophet
11-03-2010, 03:50 PM
I think the action looks WAY too high. Ha Ha. Just kidding. I'm hilarious.

Anyway, thanks for the video. Very cool.

fumanshu
11-03-2010, 04:59 PM
Jerlial Prophet wrote:
I think the action looks WAY too high. Ha Ha. Just kidding. I'm hilarious.

Anyway, thanks for the video. Very cool.

Hahaha!!! Seriously, I think it's the first time that I want a higher and higher action on my ukes!!!! Even on this uke, I would like to have it a little bit higher because I'm using a quite heavy bar so, it bends sometimes the strings...

Thansk!

pulelehua
11-04-2010, 08:39 AM
Really nice tone. Much richer than I had expected.

southcoastukes
11-04-2010, 09:58 AM
I was very interested to see the "Peruvian Walnut". This must be the same thing that also grows in Central America. We call it Nogal, or in English it can be referred to as "Tropical Walnut". The appearance is identical and I know the native range extends down to South America, so I'll assume it's the same.

If that's the case, it's not actually in the walnut family. As usually happens with many woods from Latin America, when they get an English name, for commercial purposes the name references the appearance of a North American wood, not the actual genus or family.

We tried this wood out awhile back. We loved the color and grain - as you can see from the photos, it can be gorgeous. My compliments to your builder. When he said he was waiting for the right project, he knew exactly what he was doing.

We had rejected any further use of the wood, because the tone was too soft and muddy. Never thought of it for use with steel strings because at least for now, we don't build anything that way. Thinking back on that trial uke, however, I see how the Nogal would be a great choice for your instrument! A lot of woods that serve for standard classical strung instruments might well have sounded too harsh.

Very, very nice!

fumanshu
11-04-2010, 10:46 AM
pulelehua wrote:
Really nice tone. Much richer than I had expected.

I'm very surprise too that it sounds that rich and with such projection. But I have to admit that when I receive it, it didn't sound like it sounds now. First reason been that since Mike didn't know how I will tune it, he put some very light gauges on it... And after a lot of trial and error, I think have now the right strings gauges for the tuning I'm using.

Also, FINGERPICKS!!!!! If you really want this thing to sing, fingerpicks are a must!!!!!

But, I'm very very very happy with the results and sounds...

Thanks

d1stewart
11-24-2010, 12:29 PM
Wow, that is one sweet instrument in every way. It is beautiful to look at, and so well done. (Now I am thinking, "Oh, I need one of those!") And nice playing on "Amazing Grace."

A couple questions:
==What tuning are you using? Is it standard GCEA, or have you done either an open tuning or some more variant lap steel-type tuning?
==Is that a Tribotone tone bar you're using, or some other?
==Do you have an idea how tolerant of different gauges the neck will be?
==What are the nut and bridge made of?

fumanshu
11-24-2010, 03:03 PM
d1stewart wrote:
Wow, that is one sweet instrument in every way. It is beautiful to look at, and so well done. (Now I am thinking, "Oh, I need one of those!") And nice playing on "Amazing Grace."

A couple questions:
==What tuning are you using? Is it standard GCEA, or have you done either an open tuning or some more variant lap steel-type tuning?
==Is that a Tribotone tone bar you're using, or some other?
==Do you have an idea how tolerant of different gauges the neck will be?
==What are the nut and bridge made of?

Hi! Thanks a lot for your kind words, it's really appreciated! I definitely love my instrument, actually, I didn't touch my ''normal' uke back since I received this little baby!!! It's just way too cool to play with!!!

If you think considering buying one, don't hesitate to contact Mike of MP ukulele, he will sure know now how to build one since he knows that mine was a success!!!

For your questions: In Amazing Grace, I'm using an open E tuning to take advantage that this tenor body is wider and bigger than his standard tenor body size. But you can almost tune it in any open you want....you just have to be careful with the strings gauges... By default, it's an open C tuning.

As for the bar, you're right, it's the infamous Tribotone bar!!!! As you probably know, it's an amazing bar....but soooo expensive! Other than that, I also love the new Diamond Bottlenecks bar.....the new El Minute is amazing too!!!

As for the neck, Mike did it very thick but I think you should not go with higher tension than ''medium'' gauges....In open C, D, G or C6, you should stay with smaller gauges strings...

Anyway....thanks once again!