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nickman2
12-29-2010, 06:22 PM
Hello,
My name is Nick and I have been playing the ukulele for almost a year now. I have been looking at a bunch of ukes online and in all of the twin cities area music stores. I am looking for a really special ukulele but all of my adventures have shown me a bunch of ukes that either are poor quality or cost way more than they are worth. So now I am looking to build my very own ukulele. It is a task I would love to take on but have absolutely no Idea how to go about starting this. Naturally I turned to the Ukulele Underground. I am asking for help from anyone who has ever built a Uke in their time. How do I get plans? what do I need? any advice? anything will help. PM me or respond to the thread. thank you everyone

Michael Smith
12-29-2010, 07:06 PM
There are some really good videos on utube on ukulele building. Also watch all the videos on guitar building as many of the skills and materials are the same.

Kekani
12-29-2010, 09:50 PM
I am looking for a really special ukulele but all of my adventures have shown me a bunch of ukes that either are poor quality or cost way more than they are worth. So now I am looking to build my very own ukulele.

Your adventures must be very limited. There are a number of builders here who's instruments are worth more than they cost. Besides that, have you given a thought to some midrange factory instruments? You can get some nice Tenors in the $800-$900 range. I think Rick Turner has some cheaper models than that (he used to, anyway). You'll end up spending this anyway trying to tool up, and you probably won't end up with anything near what you can currently get off the rack.

As for your expectation of you building a really good, special `ukulele that is not poor quality and is worth more than it costs, first time out with no experience, is beyond unrealistic. Your first `ukulele should be just that, your first. Seems you're looking for your "best `ukulele", which may come eventually. If you answer the question "what is your best `ukulele" with "the last one I made", then you'll understand.

Advice: If you really can't search for a good `ukulele, call MGM, he'll hook you up.

More advice: If you really want to build one, start with a kit. Know that you'll end up with a POS, but at least it'll be your POS, and nobody can take that away (unless you get something like a Hana Lima kit, then you're more than a few notches up from a Grizzly or StewMac). If I have to explain this, then you haven't built one yet.

-Aaron

mm stan
12-29-2010, 10:57 PM
Aloha Nick,
Too bad you don't live in Hawaii, You could take classes and build your own tenor for less than $450.00...have you checked in your area...for ukulele building classes?? Good Luck!! Happy Strummigs and a
Happy New Year!! MM Stan...

Doug W
12-29-2010, 11:36 PM
More advice: If you really want to build one, start with a kit. Know that you'll end up with a POS, but at least it'll be your POS, and nobody can take that away (unless you get something like a Hana Lima kit, then you're more than a few notches up from a Grizzly or StewMac). If I have to explain this, then you haven't built one yet.
The thing about a Grizzly kit, is that it costs $25 U.S.D. + shipping. A lot of the work is done, you glue the body to the neck and the fretboard to the neck and the bridge to the body and then put some finish on the body.

The Grizzly kit won't get you the instrument you are looking for but you will get a feel of the work involved and the tools that you don't have and skills you need to develop. After you finish one you will either say: Now I really need to BUILD my own uke or BUY a really good one or take up the tuba.

JamieFromOntario
12-30-2010, 01:30 AM
Hey Nick,

I agree with Doug W. Try a grizzly kit. I've just finished one - it was pretty easy but I still learned a fair bit. Plus, they are super cheap.

However, getting one of these likely won't achieve the quality of build and instrument that you're looking for. Maybe go for one of the stewmac kits; these go for something like $100-200 and require a lot more work than the grizzly kits from what I can see. Even with one of these, it is doubtful that you will get quite what you want, particularly if this is a first try.

I say this frequently, but I think that BlueGrassUkes makes great instruments, if you like the cigar-box style, for cheap. $300 for a hand made ukulele.
http://www.bluegrassukes.com/UkulelesForSale.html

Ken W
12-30-2010, 03:24 AM
Hey Nick - do it, not because you might build the ultimate uke first time out, but because you want to do it. Start with a kit or from scratch, but just do it. Watch Dave G's videos on YouTube. He makes some great instruments and his methods are straight forward and down-to-earth. Watch Pete's video's. He is building some of the finest instruments out there and is extremely generous with his knowledge. Read Vic D's posts. He is persistent with his pursuit of knowledge and each instrument he builds is better than the last. I've visited him, seen his techniques, and heard his ukes. There are a lot of skilled and generous builders who participate in this forum who have posted a wealth of information and ideas on all aspects of building. Check out this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3t1ph6h_Tyg). This guy is about your age and built a fine guitar with minimal tools and a lot of enthusiasm.

So do it, have fun, learn from the posts on this site...that is how most of us got started. I watched a couple of your YouTube videos. It looks like you've got the right enthusiasm and attitude to have fun with a build. DO IT!

cowfodder
12-30-2010, 11:40 AM
From recent experience, starting with a cigar box might not be a bad idea. You get a good idea of some of the principles involved, without having to spend too much on materials.

Bosconian91
12-30-2010, 12:13 PM
Hello,
My name is Nick and I have been playing the ukulele for almost a year now. I have been looking at a bunch of ukes online and in all of the twin cities area music stores. I am looking for a really special ukulele but all of my adventures have shown me a bunch of ukes that either are poor quality or cost way more than they are worth. So now I am looking to build my very own ukulele. It is a task I would love to take on but have absolutely no Idea how to go about starting this. Naturally I turned to the Ukulele Underground. I am asking for help from anyone who has ever built a Uke in their time. How do I get plans? what do I need? any advice? anything will help. PM me or respond to the thread. thank you everyone

What is the price point of the ukulele that you have looked at? What are the prices of the "poor quality" vs. "cost way more than they are worth" ones?

IMHO, there's really no reason to build one unless you really want to. You may just need to save up for a better quality uke if all you want is a quality instrument.

Building your first uke in hopes of getting good quality AND better pricing is unrealistic. It may take you several builds (and many months, if not years) before you can build an instrument that compares to a quality ukulele.

Allen
12-31-2010, 09:43 AM
The others before me have summed it up pretty well as to price and quality. There is no reason not to expect your first uke to sound good, but without good tooling, hand skills and experience the quality may be a target that is just too much to expect.

You'll also be stunned at how much it can cost to get set up to build an instrument from scratch. I teach classes out of my shed to students who keep coming back because it's cheaper to pay for a class and use my equipment than to go out and set up on their own.

For a set of free plans then Christophe Greiller has sopranos on his web site (http://www.grellier.fr/plans.php?lang=en).