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View Full Version : Decorating Your Uke?



rowjimmytour
02-25-2011, 07:02 AM
Has any one ever attached a material to the body of your uke to spruce it up? I am not talking a rine stone cowboy thing but was thinking about abalone shells out lining the figure of the body maybe. If done what did you use and did you have any regrets.

Ken Middleton
02-25-2011, 08:05 AM
Last year I added a strap to my ukulele for the first time. No regrets. In fact it looks rather elegant. Black leather Uke Leash with end-pin attachment.

I can't think of a single reason for adding anything else. Sorry if I seem a bit of a kill-joy, but I always thought of a uke as a musical instrument, not an ornament.

potatowaste
02-25-2011, 08:45 AM
I'm actually thinking of decorating my cheap Mahalo once I get a concert. It's green so I want to turn it into Franken-uke. I'm going to make up some stencils to spraypaint a face on the back of it and get some tuning machines to use as the electrodes which I'll mount on the neck than get some 'fun fur' and use that for hair.
Should be fun.

ukulelecowboy
02-25-2011, 08:47 AM
This is as close as I've come. I did restore a Vintage Tenor Guitar for my wife and put an abalone shell in the headstock...

http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b75/ADDmodeler/Ukes/Headstock.jpg
http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b75/ADDmodeler/Ukes/Neck.jpg
http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b75/ADDmodeler/Ukes/Body.jpg

rowjimmytour
02-25-2011, 10:34 AM
This is as close as I've come. I did restore a Vintage Tenor Guitar for my wife and put an abalone shell in the headstock...

http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b75/ADDmodeler/Ukes/Headstock.jpg
http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b75/ADDmodeler/Ukes/Neck.jpg
http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b75/ADDmodeler/Ukes/Body.jpg

That is beautiful and nice craft work. What did you use to attach the abalone shell?

ukulelecowboy
02-25-2011, 11:26 AM
Looks nice, doesn't it? Wish I could say that I had the same skills as a ukulele builder as I do a player and collector. These are basically fretboard and headstock decals courtesy of:

http://www.inlaysticker.com/

The products are nice but I wouldn't put the fretboard decals on anything that I play too often. This Pono Tenor is more "looker" than "player."

Mike

Plainsong
02-25-2011, 04:20 PM
I've added uke bling to the ukes I'm in love and even in like with. I've got Native American bling on the Mainland and Kanile'a. It has lots of personal meaning to me. I'm Choctaw on Grandma's (mom's mom) side. My mom has been trying with every spare moment she has, ever since I can remember, to get me enrolled in the Choctaw Nation. We've always had the geneology stuff, the Census info, which isn't even correct but it's what you have to use, but now you have to have a tombstone, and that's tough because there's conflicting information on the year great-great grandma died. That's what keeps me from joining the rest of my family on the Choctaw side. My uncle was on the tribal council when I was little for heaven sakes.

Anyway, Grandma passed away when I was 3, so she's at the edge of memory. I remember her being able to reason with me when no one else could. I was at the picky eater stage. She made me some oatmeal that was flavored with apple and cinnamon. I balked. I remember us sitting at the table, and she asked what's the worst thing that could happen if I tried it? I said, with pure 3 year old logic, that it could taste bad and I'd hate it. She said, so what? Then I'd know. That's not the end of the world. It's ok if I don't like it. She was so easy going when everyone else made such a big deal of it, I dug in. I don't remember if I liked it, but I probably just liked how she was so different from everyone else in the family.

She was into turquoise and native bling in general. And somehow it happened that I am too. Mom commented not so long ago that I took after Grandma in that way, and who knows how that happened. But I think it's cool. I don't question it anymore. :)

So, gotta be some meaningful bling for the headstocks! ... except for the Flea, which just has something fun on it. :) The only uke whose body I want to decorate is the Flea. I'd love for a tattoo artist to make a flash sheet of that body.

I'd post pics, but Flickr is down. The link is in my sig, when it comes back online.

dip.mojica
02-27-2011, 08:18 PM
this is a really interesting topic. im thinking about decorating my ukulele so that its unique. i just dont know how to go about doing this. another things is that i'm scared to do anything to my ukulele after spending the amount of money that i did. I'm only a college student, and messing up could have some serious consequences!

dip.mojica
02-27-2011, 08:32 PM
This is as close as I've come. I did restore a Vintage Tenor Guitar for my wife and put an abalone shell in the headstock...

http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b75/ADDmodeler/Ukes/Headstock.jpg
http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b75/ADDmodeler/Ukes/Neck.jpg
http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b75/ADDmodeler/Ukes/Body.jpg

I must say, this is amazing!

seoulsister
02-27-2011, 08:51 PM
I would never bling out an expensive uke but would a very cheap one. Definitely!

Check this out- I so love this.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bt7vj0QV7hQ

And there was a thread about a bling your uke contest or something like that. Maybe you can use the search function.

GX9901
02-28-2011, 08:04 AM
On my Kepasa Gypsy Rose I applied a rose inlay sticker to the headstock since it is otherwise very plain and the sticker works so well for this uke:
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/_hMJKe0Vprf4/SQyOC0tPRtI/AAAAAAAAASo/i4I0fLxscaY/s720/DSC_8055.jpg

I also hang a jade rabbit from the headstock of my William King concert. I don't have a picture of it but it's visible in some of the videos I've posted on Youtube such as this one (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geoU4z8rOYY).

That's about it as far as applying stuff to my ukes.

Nickie
02-28-2011, 08:11 AM
Edible ukulele, what a novel idea!

hoosierhiver
02-28-2011, 09:21 AM
I've used waterseal stickers on ukes, they work pretty well if you get the good quality ones. I'd be hesitant to add anything on the body that might decrease the resonance.

I Ukulista
02-28-2011, 11:11 AM
I've tried dings and scratches on my uke.

seoulsister
02-28-2011, 12:59 PM
Very pretty GX. I might get some inlay stickers. ;)

ksiegel
02-28-2011, 03:02 PM
I've tried dings and scratches on my uke.

Great way to customize, but how do you pick the size and color? Or is it just a Zen/Eightfold Path thing, where you get reincarnated as a luthier when you die, and fix damaged ukes?


(off on a tangent- my mind just slipped into Comic Book Mode, with Ukerman, and his Arch-top nemesis, Lex Luthier!)

Sorry about that - now back to our regularlry scheduled Uke Bling.

-Kurt

(And the abalone inlay on my Kala is more than enough bling for me!)

I Ukulista
03-01-2011, 04:27 AM
I like to think that my uke is every bit as battered by life as I am.
I like Ukerman and Lex Luthier thing. Ideas for stories and a whole new thread??

chiefnoda
03-02-2011, 11:39 AM
I got a Chinese ornamental ribbon/tussle. Actually, a red pepper for my low-G Pono, and a pineapple for my Kamaka. You can get them easily from a Chinese grocery or souvenir shop. $2 - $3.

21171

21172

21173

Cheers
Chief

seoulsister
03-02-2011, 01:36 PM
Wowser- Since I live in Korea I should get a strand of gochu peppers or something Korean. Very cool Chilis!

Teek
03-03-2011, 12:46 AM
I have cheap but glossy tassels from the fabric store on two and a hand carved dragon bead hanging off of my custom. I think the decorations should be soft. I just put gecko decals on my Kanile'a tenor, and a tiny honu on the headstock. My vintage Kamaka soprano pineapples has other tiny honu fret marker inlay decals, as it has no actual inlay.

Ken Middleton
03-03-2011, 12:55 AM
I may be old, sad and grumpy, but I find the idea of decorating a ukulele very, very stange. Does anyone else out there feel the same way? I am just dumfounded. I would no more decorate my ukulele than I would decorate my electric tooth brush or my lawn mower.

Pukulele Pete
03-03-2011, 01:09 AM
2118921190
I'm old , sad , and grumpy but I like the idea. I put stickers on my beater uke but that is the only uke I would do it on. I have some great ukes but play the beater the most because I leave it out on my coffee table.

ukulelecowboy
03-03-2011, 01:17 AM
Uh, Ken...

http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b75/ADDmodeler/44f03764.png

As a way of personal expression, folks will decorate anything.:cool:

BTW, this isn't my lawnmower but I bet it does a heck of a job cutting grass!

Blisters_left
03-03-2011, 04:57 AM
I think that you should do what ever pleases you most.
I never thought of decorating my uke, because I like it, as it is (I've got a Lanikai LU21).
But for valentines day i got a coloured Mahalo with a great sticker on it - and I just love it, because it was a gift given with love, I like the sticker and I like the look of it - and even though my Lanikai sounds a lot better - guess which uke is the one I pick up more often ???
So if you really like something (may it be for the look, for the feel or for the reason why you have got it) you use it a lot more - so if anybody likes to have bling, (or stickers *g*) or anything else on their uke, so why not - but for me: I would only put things on my uke that are removable (e.g. hang something from the headstock) or use a very cheap uke to decorate it...

btw: I want that lawnmower ;-)

B_L

veejayblox
03-03-2011, 02:15 PM
I may be old, sad and grumpy, but I find the idea of decorating a ukulele very, very stange. Does anyone else out there feel the same way? I am just dumfounded. I would no more decorate my ukulele than I would decorate my electric tooth brush or my lawn mower.i don't know... i am of the same mind as Ken here.. but gotta' admit some of those stickers and decals look really cool. to be safe, would never "ornament" my ukulele, would cramp my action a wee bit.

SailQwest
03-03-2011, 02:39 PM
I've decorated all of my ukes with stickers and most with headstock dangles, as well. All of my gig bags have embroidered patches on them (except for the one I made out of a reef scene beach towel) and some have snazzy charms on the zipper pulls. I decorate lots of my stuff. Heck, I've even put stickers on all of my harmonicas, but that's mostly to make it easier to identify.

I can't imagine not decorating my things. Life would be so boring...

I Ukulista
03-04-2011, 03:14 AM
I'm hoping that our ukulele group is going to take to the streets this summer. The more eye catching the better I say.

dbhorner3
03-06-2011, 03:06 PM
i have a cheap mahalo too and im about to upgrade to a tenor. thanks for the tip of stencil painting it! :)

OldePhart
03-06-2011, 03:49 PM
I may be old, sad and grumpy, but I find the idea of decorating a ukulele very, very stange. Does anyone else out there feel the same way? I am just dumfounded. I would no more decorate my ukulele than I would decorate my electric tooth brush or my lawn mower.

Heh, heh. I'm kind of with you on that, Ken. Don't have 'nuttin' 'gainst others who wanna decorate their ukes but I doubt you'll find me sticking anything on mine. In fact, I find the rope binding on my Mainland kind of over the top.

Guess we sad, grumpy, old men have to stick together, eh? :biglaugh:

John

philpot
03-06-2011, 04:48 PM
I have a couple stickers on the back of my Lanikai, an apple sticker and another cool lookin one, but thats as far as I go :P

@OldPhart, yeah, the rope binding on mainlands is kinda keeping me from wanting to get one...

OldePhart
03-06-2011, 05:53 PM
@OldPhart, yeah, the rope binding on mainlands is kinda keeping me from wanting to get one...

It almost killed the deal for me but I'd heard so many good things about them that I decided to buy a tenor anyway. I'm very glad I did. My Mainland mango tenor arrived with an action slightly better than my KoAloha concert and while the latter beats it in tone and volume (as one would expect from something costing almost three times as much) the difference is not as great as you'd think. In fact, I've got no desire to get anything "better" in the tenor department.

If Mike makes a soprano uke with a concert-scale neck I'll be buying another Mainland unless I've given up on waiting and ordered a "k-brand" super soprano by then.


John

Nickie
03-06-2011, 07:54 PM
I've decorated the heck out of my scooter, and the helmet too. Lots of people decorate their cars. I haven't decorated a uke yet, but I'm sure I will if I ever decide to hang one on the wall and stop playing it.

Plainsong
03-08-2011, 01:01 AM
I have this slight problem with the Hibiscus Flea if I ever take it home. This probably won't mean much if you don't live in South Carolina, but I'm from a Clemson family. The Hibiscus Flea looks exactly the opposite of that. The plastic black fretboard doesn't help. I mean it's a pretty color in and of itself, but it has a different meaning to my clan. I gotta cover that up somehow, someday. :)

Maiyah888
03-08-2011, 07:59 AM
I may be old, sad and grumpy, but I find the idea of decorating a ukulele very, very stange. Does anyone else out there feel the same way? I am just dumfounded. I would no more decorate my ukulele than I would decorate my electric tooth brush or my lawn mower.

Ken, "sad and grumpy" are NOT adjectives I associate with you at all. "Mature" and "experienced" rather than "old."

Anyways, everyone's different. I go through phases myself.

I have some things that are highly decorated and eye catching, and some things that aren't.

My uke is a bright and happy Orange Sunburst Makala!

My go-to ocarina is a subtly lovely Clayz Raindrop. But I was seriously thinking of BeDazzling my Black Poly Mountain Oc. I think it would be fun!

And I got a bling-y cover for my current cellphone -- every time I see it, I smile, and so do my friends!

icuker
03-09-2011, 12:00 AM
Most sub $500 ukes have Poly finishes. I have a Gloss Poly finish on my Pono and have put on and taken off all kinds of stickers and it has not hurt it one bit. They come off real easy and cleanly. I also did that with a Lanikai Tenor with a matte finish I owned once, again with no problem.

If you had a real porous finish it might leave a little residue, possibly. When I take it to the Uke club some smile at it, others wrinkle their nose, so, it's each to their own, I guess, but since it's my time to be a kid I do it.

I would personally be more hesitant putting stickers on a Nitro finish (and of course a French polish finish!), as I am not sure if that would create a problem.

veejayblox
03-09-2011, 11:11 AM
put me in the cranky old man department, please. i would *maybe* decorate a throw-away uke in horrible/terrible condition, to add some soul to it.

Jnobianchi
03-09-2011, 11:22 AM
I'm a cranky old man. Proud of it, dad gum it.

No decoration. The only decoration I can see is painting a flapper on one of my banjo uke vellums, but she'd have to be an age-appropriate flapper in her 40s' or 50's. :P

sukie
03-09-2011, 01:41 PM
I may be old, sad and grumpy, but I find the idea of decorating a ukulele very, very stange. Does anyone else out there feel the same way? I am just dumfounded. I would no more decorate my ukulele than I would decorate my electric tooth brush or my lawn mower.

I sort of agree with you, Ken. However, I'm addicted to Moore Bettahs. Does that count? :-)