View Full Version : Bazzuka #1

01-13-2012, 12:22 AM
Here's my recent attempt to convert a uke to a bass uke .. I'm calling them "BAZZUKA" ...
This video shows the first prototype

Since then Ive fitted a violin type of sound post bracing inside the body to brace the soundboard to the backboard, theory is that with a violin it increases the sound 'voulme' bay inducing the backboard to also resonate...( it was mentioned by the guy on TV program aboutnmaking a scrapyard orchestra on uk tv just before xmas) And it seems to work fairly well on an instrument where the back is braced against the players body and dampened..

In any case it wil stop the board warping under the strain of the through-the -body stringing...

Then the action was very slight adjusted at the nut and the intonation benefited from tweaking - but with this bridge arrangement that was easy enough.

I have some Pahoehoe and will be trying them on my next project, but they are way too fat for the heads/ nut & bridge ...more work than I needed on BAZZUKA #1
Please let me know what you think?

01-13-2012, 02:40 AM
I love it! Can you describe a few details about what you did, what pieces you used, strings, tuning, etc.?

01-20-2012, 08:58 AM
I love it! Can you describe a few details about what you did, what pieces you used, strings, tuning, etc.?

Thanks for that, here's a list of what items I purchased:
Budget store saprano ukulele
eBay purchases: ( eBay seller Bezdez from Canada .. Great supplier)
little giant mandolin preamp,eq & pickup( piezo) none solder kit inc jack socket! (easy option)
Ukulele/ cigar box bridge
Through body bass ferrules
Hartke medium guage bass guitar strings ( I had these in the house- but wouldn't use them again as they feel terrible)

Additional items:
Hardwood off-cut. (who needs a foot long hardwood chopping board?- apparently we do whoops oh well too late!)
Unibond 'power putty' easy to use hard setting putty

Tools used : Dremell multi-tool with various bits/grindstones/sanders/side cutters/ polishing bits; cordless drill various bits, screwdrivers, long handled pliers

Here's what I did, then modified.. And other things I'm still planning to do.

1, remove the strings, plastic finishing rings from the tuners (set aside), measure nut to 12th fret ( and make note) carefully remove bridge. ( pop out the screw covers and unscrew- extra care not to damage the paintwork)
2, at the tuners drill/ grind/polish with Dremell multi-tool string holes big enough for the 2 fattest strings ( if you are careful to not try and do too much at once the tuners won't overheat and damage the headstock paint)
3, open up the string grooves in the nut with the Dremell
4, carefully clean off all swarth etc
5, examine your new bridge adjust saddles to mid point and look where the string saddles are and where the string will sit on it.
6, duplicate the nut to 12 fret measurement this time 12 fret to saddle place saddle ensure it is centralised and square to the neck. Thankfully the base-plate covers the screw holes from the old bridge!
7, fix the new bridge base- plate, then remove the saddles, screws, springs.
8, use the middle holes and drill though into the cavity for through stringing, using Dremell to smooth out any splinters.
9. Place a sheet of paper over the ukulele, trace the edge of the body furthest from the neck then mark where the holes you just drilled are.
10, turn ukulele over.. Cleaning thoroughly as you go.
11, use the paper guide to see where the thu-body string ferrules should be, but remember to ' offer-up' the ferrules as they have flanges that may mean they need spacing a little further apart so they don't touch each other, then mark and use Dremmell to drill/smooth out. Making the ferrules a tight fit, but not glueing them in helps later!
12, decide where control EQ panel, Battery box and jack socket will fit (limited options on a saprano due to size) and check how they plug together etc and mark out in pencil. Make sure the battery box cut out is not too far from jack socket cut out.
13, Dremell to drill/ side cut/ smooth out the above.. ... Very very thin sidewalks so take it dead slowl...( next model I'm thinking of fitting an end-pin jack/strap knob... But the wood where the end pin fits is much much thicker)
14, clean off all swarth, sawdust etc
15, stick the piezo inside the ukulele directly under the saddle using ' power putty' ensuring you don't fowl where the strings run, also place the self-adhesive cable guide somewhere inside the uke where you can run the cables out of sight.
16, you've done enough till tomorrow .. Let the glue do its job.. I know it says it's hard in minutes but you've got cleaning to do!
16-A.... ( modified after initial build)
Create a 'sound post'...Measure the distance internally between the soundboard & rear deck and cut a piece of hardwood to suit. Slip that inside and carefully move into place near as you can to where you fitted the peizo .. Again using ' power putty'... Next time I will pre-fit the piezo directly into the head of this sound post and fit them as 1 unit!!

17,fit end jack ( it's easier if the battery box cut out is in finger tip reach) threading it's mini plug though to plug into pre-amp.
18,fit battery box and thread cable through and plug in to pre-amp,
19, plug the piezo into the pre-amp
20,fit pre-amp, carefully tucking all the cables inside
21,refit saddle fittings
22,remove ferrules and then thread them onto the strings, then thread the strings through the body and out through the saddles... It's a bit fiddley but tis almost impossible if the ferrules were fixed in place! ( I did tell you)
23, re-fit the plastic rings to the tuners, then thread the strings, taking care ferrules fit in place on the rear of the ukulele without scratching it.
24, slowly bring strings to tension.. A little at a time on each string.. Then a little more each string...

Don't go all out and try and tune it high first time you pick it up... Take your time,
25, adjust the saddles for action ( string height) and intonation ( length)

26, plug it in!
Oh should have said fit the battery!

Tuning is EADG same register as a standard bass guitar.. Which is strange on such a short neck I know...

Oh and my next project with Pahoehoe strings is almost complete! ( I'm waiting delivery of pre-amp to install)

While waiting I've fitted some 'weed-whacker' (strimmer line here in UK) type strings to another uke - this involved widening up the whole on 2 tuners again, and opening up the slots a little where the strings tie into the bridge. I saw the idea on Cigarbox nation forum... Aparently sometime theybuse them on double basses?
And whilst out shopping in a hardware shop I spotted a range of strimmer line in four gauges (& different colours) they cost £1.50/20m of each so I thought I'd try it.... The thing about them is that the thickest string is much harder and stiffer than then next and actually tunes higher... So it's ended up as re-entrant tuned in A.

When I get the electrics installed I will post some videos of all 3 complete BAZZUKA so you can see the differences for yourselves and let me know what you think.

02-01-2012, 06:26 AM
Here's my latest projects:
Please let me know what you think?