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ukuDaily
01-17-2011, 04:44 PM
So, I have been playing around with the idea of designing a ultra-portable ukulele, not that ukes aren't already portable. It is more of a design exercise for me I guess. I am wondering how the people here would prioritize the following...

Overall length
Overall width
Thickness
Volume
Tone
Weight
Electronics
Interesting design
Durability
Scale length

I have a concept in mind that I think would be pretty interesting, but would like to hear what people think.

haolejohn
01-17-2011, 05:40 PM
I think that the fact that the uke can be sturdy, playable, and cost effective. I just got a Kala travel sopraano and it would be hard to top it. There are sopraninos/bambinos/pocket ukes already so it'd be hard to improve what is already out there but it is possible. SOme would say make an electric type but then You would need an amp to make it enjoyable or hearable.

itsme
01-17-2011, 05:52 PM
I just got a Kala travel sopraano and it would be hard to top it.
I have a Kala thinline travel tenor and while it's thinner and lighter weight, it really isn't any smaller on the other dimensions.

Mike, have you seen the SoloEtte (http://soloette.com/) travel guitar? There's some real design innovation. Like how they put the tuning machines at the other end to save on the length.

70sSanO
01-17-2011, 06:12 PM
Well if you want something pretty off the wall, here goes...

To make a ukulele ultra portable, you have to fold the fretboard back over the body and shorten the headstock.

You will have to have a precision hinge and be able to accurately pin it back into place, maybe even allow for neck angle adjustment. I'm thinking titanium.

I have a fluke style ukulele that is only 2-1/4 inches thick with a side port. This gives the soundboard more useable area to help increase volume and also directs the sound up toward the musician.

The only issue would be loosening the strings enough to fold the ukulele open, and having to deal with re-stretching the strings.

But if you want ultra portable it has to be a lot shorter than a regular "one-piece" travel ukulele.

John

Ron
01-17-2011, 06:13 PM
Small. Make it small. And light. Make it light. Oh, and strong. It'll need to be strong.
Oh - and please leave the head stock on. I find it really dsconcerting when there isn't a "top" to my guitar or uke.

ukuDaily
01-17-2011, 06:13 PM
I have a kala concert travel. It is pretty nice, other than a few intonation issues and thin sound (loud, but thin). The three things I long for are wider string spacing like on my Pono and Kanilea, fuller sound and more compact design for actual traveling.

I definitely appreciate the efforts of the SoloEtte people. I am a new ideas kind of guy. I wouldn't want to give up the acoustic side of the instrument though. After I get a few more comments I will upload a sketch of my idea.

Ron
01-17-2011, 06:15 PM
Well if you want something pretty off the wall, here goes...

To make a ukulele ultra portable, you have to fold the fretboard back over the body and shorten the headstock.

You will have to have a precision hinge and be able to accurately pin it back into place, maybe even allow for neck angle adjustment. I'm thinking titanium.

I have a fluke style ukulele that is only 2-1/4 inches thick with a side port. This gives the soundboard more useable area to help increase volume and also directs the sound up toward the musician.

The only issue would be loosening the strings enough to fold the ukulele open, and having to deal with re-stretching the strings.

But if you want ultra portable it has to be a lot shorter than a regular "one-piece" travel ukulele.

John

I have seen a guitar with the folding idea.......haven't I? ...or was that some strange dream?

70sSanO
01-17-2011, 06:18 PM
I have seen a guitar with the folding idea.......haven't I? ...or was that some strange dream?


Years ago, I remember a folding golf club. I don't know how well it worked, but it could be folded and put in a suitcase. I can guarantee you that the force used to hit a golf ball has to be more than stumming 4 nylon strings.

John

ksiegel
01-18-2011, 06:03 AM
Why not a folding ukulele? It works for guitars.

http://www.voyageairguitar.com/site/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=320&Itemid=347

-Kurt

Uncle Rod Higuchi
01-18-2011, 06:47 AM
If I were able to add an audio component to a Risa Soprano Solid...

To me, the concept of a travel uke means a portable and esp playable
small, sturdy ukulele.

I love my Kala Soprano Travel Uke since it's a full-scale soprano ukulele.'
I've tried the sopraninos but didn't care for having to tune it to "D" for a
better sound and less slack strings.

The features that concern me when 'traveling' with a uke are size, fragility,
and sound quality.

I agree that an all electric (like the Risa Solids) require some audio accessories
to make it practical. (both external extras or built-in) I like the size and
sturdiness of the Risa Soprano Solid. However, I find that to make it practical
as a player/performer, I need amplification for self and others. So that, while
the uke itself is very sturdy and small, amplification extras make it 'bigger' so to
speak.

The Kala Soprano Travel Uke is what it is. Perhaps a stiffer, more protective
gig bag/case would add to the 'sturdiness' feature I want. I suppose what I
want in a travel uke is a 'beater' that won't get too beat up even when I'm a
bit careless in handling it. Part of 'travel' is not having to worry about it too
much - you know, toss and go vs 'pack' and go.

I'm curious to see your radical design.

Thanks for asking us for input. Interesting thread.

Keep uke'in',

dnewton2
01-18-2011, 06:48 AM
Foldable uke huh???

Check it out. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3HIZE7x76g) Not me I just remember seeing this a while back.

haolejohn
01-18-2011, 07:03 AM
I have a kala concert travel. It is pretty nice, other than a few intonation issues and thin sound (loud, but thin). The three things I long for are wider string spacing like on my Pono and Kanilea, fuller sound and more compact design for actual traveling.

I definitely appreciate the efforts of the SoloEtte people. I am a new ideas kind of guy. I wouldn't want to give up the acoustic side of the instrument though. After I get a few more comments I will upload a sketch of my idea.

I'm curious what y9ou come up with. I thought about getting a sopranino but they are too small. I do like my kala travel but it is pretty much the sam size as a regular soprano. And you are thinking correct with the string spacing. What ever you make, I am sure it'll be great b/c you have the passion for ukes:)

ckellogg
04-19-2011, 04:04 PM
I'm very new to ukes. I wanted a travel uke to take to Galveston last week. My carry on suitcase limits the length of a uke to 20" or less, and this is shorter than the cheapos I found online (I was looking to spend less than $40, yeah, el cheapo). Unfortunately the one I was given (a Bushman concert) is too long. I bought a plastic cheapo Sponge Bob uke at Toys R Us. It's a piece of junk BUT I took it to the beach and practiced. It did not break in my case and handled the sun/sand fine. I'd take it on a trip again, but only because it fits in my carry on. I would love a foldable small one that sounds decent! Here's a thread link to someone who made one, I like how it fits in the bag -http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?26994-Foldable-Ukulele

Christine
Northern Virginia

mr moonlight
04-19-2011, 06:28 PM
And I just picked up a concert sized uke for traveling and I thought that was pretty small! For me I'd be happier with a smaller case instead.

Lori
04-19-2011, 09:25 PM
I would say a concert neck, with a soprano body, perhaps in carbon fiber for strength, with a Mi-Si pick up option. I think you should be able to enjoy it unplugged. If you have to bring an amp, that is extra stuff and not travel friendly. You probably will need a strap (or Uke Leash) as well, since many of these travel ukes have thin bodies that are harder to hold.

–Lori