View Full Version : Grizzly Slimline

09-29-2011, 02:44 PM
This is my third grizzly kit build (too nervous and poor for the stew mac). I wanted to do something new with this kit, and I thought what better innovation than sawing the sucker in half?

What I did was cut the uke in half with a hacksaw, then pried off the bits of side that I didn't need from the back. After that I sanded the sides as level as I could make them, then sanded the back plate and glued it onto the front (without new kerfing, cause I live on the edge!).
After all that jazz I sanded the crap out of it (even broke through the veneer on the sides oops) and finished it with about 9 coats of tru-oil.

In attempt to lower the action to a reasonable level. I sanded the bridge as low as I dared (before gluing it), then sanded the saddle (too low) and filed the nut.

I was surprised at how well it sounds considering all the stuff it suffered through. The modification didn't really change the sound much except it is a bit softer than my other grizzly.


09-29-2011, 09:36 PM
Curious to know what the point and or goal of the exercise was? To achieve a different tone? Look? Test out your skills?

And at the end did you learn anything and get the results you where hoping to achieve?

09-29-2011, 10:46 PM
My main goal was basically to see if I could do it; "test my skills" without a large investment in tools or material. The other goals were:
- Make it more comfortable to play (I have a Kala Travel Tenor which I really enjoy playing)
- See if I could dampen the volume a little so I could play at night (This didn't work, it's still about as loud as the other grizzly I have)
- Try the tru-oil finishing process (I really like how it looks)
-Muck around with the inner workings and see what I could learn

In the end I had an absolute blast doing this, and I learned a lot about how ukuleles go together. For example: The kerfing on the inside wasn't correctly glued to the sides, it was loose at the top shoulders. Also, the kerfing is made of the same laminate material that the rest of the body is made of. The bridge plate seems WAY too big, it almost covers the entire lower bout.

I think this experience has made me a lot more comfortable with building, and I look forward to trying my hand at a scratch build.

by the way you have some STUNNING ukuleles I really like the black heart sassafras tenor!

09-29-2011, 11:21 PM
All good things to learn. And something to keep in mind when you progress. If you are to go down a path you haven't before have a clear idea of what it is you are hoping to achieve. Keep notes as it far too easy to forget what worked and what didn't just a year down the track.

I've never seen a Grizzly kit, so have no frame of reference as to the bridge plate. But it's important to keep in mind that there is a whole system of components that work together. Top, bridge, bridge plate and braces. And that is where a lot of the "Art" comes into play. And not one of us would honestly say that we are 100% sure we nailed the combination. Have fun mate.

Pete Howlett
09-30-2011, 12:19 AM
Save your pennies and buy a stewmac kit. As you have invested in 3 grizzly kits it's about the same price as one stewmac isn't it? Sell some stuff on ebay, do what you have to but get to the pleasure of using quality components as quickly as possible.

10-01-2011, 12:14 AM
I think the stew mac is my next stop definitely, but I still think there's something to be said about taking something cheaply made and trying to make it better (or in my case "different"). It would be interesting to see what someone like you or Allen could do with a Grizzly kit (assuming you had time for such silliness). Then we could see how much "quality components" contribute to a great sounding instrument versus "skill".

Pete Howlett
10-01-2011, 12:42 AM
I'd rip that top off and replace it with solid wood. In fact I would buy 3 and make a triple neck soprano :) Chap from Ireland appears at the Cheltenham festical each year with something like this - he is a true 'madcap' inventor and great performer.

10-01-2011, 12:56 AM
A triple neck with 3 different scale lengths soprano concert and tenor! That way people would only ever have to buy ONE ukulele! Honestly though, I think you should challenge one of the other luthiers on here to a grizzly build off, I'm pretty sure you could take Chuck :p ...

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
10-01-2011, 06:35 AM
You're not going to learn anything about instrument construction by tearing apart a Grizzly kit. Unless you want to see how to incorporate staples in your building.

10-01-2011, 09:36 AM
Well I did learn a lot about incorporating staples, in fact I plan on ordering a box of "Ukulele Staples" from StewMac. I was thinking of doing a nice staple binding on my next uke...:)

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
10-01-2011, 10:20 AM
My point being that you are better off starting with something else, almost anything else, as a base upon which to learn.

10-01-2011, 10:31 AM
I understand. I guess this was more about the incredibly satisfying experience of sawing a crummy uke in half more than anything.