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View Full Version : I created a brand new style of Ukulele.



acabooe
09-29-2008, 05:02 PM
Dear Friends.

I have just completed creating and building a brand new type of Ukulele.
Let me tell a few things about it.
This Ukulele is modeled after the traditional Japanese Shamisen, so it is fitting that I call it the "Shamisen Style Ukulele".

It is Tenor scale legnth ( 17 3/32" )
It uses the modified Kasha/ Schnieder/ Chock bracing system.
The neck doesn't taper.

Here are the specifications.
Materials:
Honduran Mahogany= Neck, tail block
Spanish cedar= Tentalones ( kerf liners )
Curly Maple= Soundboard, backboard, bindings, bridge patch,
Spruce= Bracings
Curly Koa= Sides
Ebony= Fretboard, and bridge
Pine= Tuning pegs
White Corian= Nut and saddle

The finishing process consisted of 6 coats of Tru Oil over 3 days, lightly sanding with 500 grit paper, and then 3 more coats over 2 days.
Finally I sprayed it down and wiped it with car wax.
It is still a porus finish, but I believe that wood should look like wood.

It took me about 3 months to plan and build this prototype, and while i am very satisfied with how it turned out, there is much room for improvement.

Here are some pictures. I hope you like it, and I am awaiting your critiques.

Aloha
Bob Bourque

http://i296.photobucket.com/albums/mm170/Bourque_photo/DSC09284.jpg
http://i296.photobucket.com/albums/mm170/Bourque_photo/DSC09280.jpg
http://i296.photobucket.com/albums/mm170/Bourque_photo/DSC09287.jpg
http://i296.photobucket.com/albums/mm170/Bourque_photo/DSC09277.jpg

acabooe
09-29-2008, 05:03 PM
Here are some more pics.
http://i296.photobucket.com/albums/mm170/Bourque_photo/DSC09281.jpg
http://i296.photobucket.com/albums/mm170/Bourque_photo/DSC09279.jpg
http://i296.photobucket.com/albums/mm170/Bourque_photo/DSC09283.jpg
http://i296.photobucket.com/albums/mm170/Bourque_photo/DSC09286.jpg

acabooe
09-29-2008, 05:04 PM
And the last two pics.

http://i296.photobucket.com/albums/mm170/Bourque_photo/DSC09285.jpg
http://i296.photobucket.com/albums/mm170/Bourque_photo/DSC09288.jpg

Aloha
Bob Bourque
Acabo'oe Ukuleles

cashew
09-29-2008, 05:06 PM
That is rather cool looking! How does it sound?

Would you hold it like a shamisen, or like a regular uke?

experimentjon
09-29-2008, 05:26 PM
Oh, I want to hear a video of how it sounds next to say a G string tenor.

Edit: and I almost forgot to mention...very very nice job.

Dominator
09-29-2008, 05:34 PM
Way to go Bob. Yes, let's hear that puppy sing.

tripl3thr33
09-29-2008, 05:41 PM
haha thats cool. very interesting

ukeninam
09-29-2008, 06:21 PM
Wow an absolute work of ART!!! its beautiful I'd love to hear it too! :)

Tim
09-29-2008, 06:24 PM
Very nice!

UkuLeLesReggAe
09-29-2008, 06:36 PM
thats made... like a pipa ^^

but an ukulele :O

want it.

Dino
09-29-2008, 08:40 PM
Wow Bob. When you first said you were going to make a uke at the G-string shop where you work, I figured you were going to make a traditional uke, but omg. This is unique. Very nice work. Like everyone else said, I would like to hear what that puppy sounds like. What your boss say about it? Maybe thats the next in the G-string line? :D

grappler
09-29-2008, 09:36 PM
OMG!! that looks BEAUTIFUL!!!!
i feel so happy in my pants!

acabooe
09-29-2008, 09:39 PM
To Cashew,
Thanks for your kind words. Currently it would be played with a person sitting down on the ground or a chair. The body is rather small, so there isn't really much for your fore arm to hold onto, so that means that it would need to rest against a persons leg. I have plans for the future models to have strap ability, so that a person could play it standing. One thing that I think that is pretty cool about my Shamisen Style Ukulele is that it can stand up on its own without falling over. Thanks again

To Dino,
Thanks also for the kind words.
As for the G String thing, I no longer work there. For over a month actually.
This Ukulele was 100% planned and built by me at my home in Nanakuli.
As to what my former boss might think about it, I have no idea. I expect that people will have varying opinions towards it, and that is fine. Everyone should buy the type of Ukulele that they like. Thanks again too.

To everyone else,
Thank you all as well for your kind words.
I still have some final tweaking to do on the action at the nut, so as soon as I get that ironed out, I will put up a vid of me playing it.
Mahalo Nui Loa.
Bob

david98116
09-29-2008, 09:40 PM
OMG!! that looks BEAUTIFUL!!!!
i feel so happy in my pants!

uhhoh....happy in the pants huh? I'm gonna cover my eyes now.....

deach
09-30-2008, 01:06 AM
Wow! That looks really cool. How loud is it?

Poi Dog
09-30-2008, 01:38 AM
That looks beautiful Bob! Excellent job! :rock:

cMejilla
09-30-2008, 04:04 AM
that is an amazing prototype. if it sounds as fantastic as it looks, i would jump at the chance to get one in a heartbeat. the body style must really make for an interesting tone.

great work

UkuleleApe
09-30-2008, 05:42 AM
good job acabooe! really looks extraordinary! :D

Misguided Musician
09-30-2008, 06:13 AM
Mann it looks so awesome!!! I can't wait to hear it. Would you consider making some to sell? and if you did, how much would u sell them for? It may take a while, but I would do my best to save up for one.

h-drix
09-30-2008, 06:49 AM
amazing job, i love the head.

sukie
09-30-2008, 07:53 AM
That ukulele is fabulous! It is a true work of art. It makes me have UAS. I want one.

russ_buss
09-30-2008, 08:18 AM
very cool looking instrument. great job, i look forward to hearing it!

seeso
09-30-2008, 03:03 PM
Wow, that thing is really cool. Amazing work, Bob!

davoomac
09-30-2008, 04:03 PM
Bob, that ukulele looks fantastic! amazing work!

Ukesista
09-30-2008, 04:14 PM
A fine piece of craftmanship, looks amazing, look forward to the video.

haole
09-30-2008, 05:41 PM
It looks almost art-deco. I love it! :D

RON<>VA
09-30-2008, 06:09 PM
Beautiful . . .

uluapoundr
09-30-2008, 06:15 PM
Cool uke. My grandmother use to play the shamisen. It would be cool hearing a song like "Sukiyaki" played on it. Youtube it please!

rayan
09-30-2008, 06:50 PM
Bob you've made incredible progress in your skills as a luthier! I'm excited to see your future projects.

acabooe
10-01-2008, 11:21 PM
First, Let me say again how very thankful I am for all of the wonderful compliments you have given the SSU ( Shamisen Style Ukulele ).
I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Deach.
As to the volume, it isn't overly loud. Enough to hear across a house, but the sound would probably get lost if played outside without a pickup and amp.
That tells me that next time, I need to make the braces more thin, and possibly less of them. That should help improve the sound. Also I am going to experiment with sound hole sizes, because that effects the sound too.


Misguided Musician
Yes, I am certainly planning on making these to sell. I want to have production models ready to sell probably by December. The first thing I need to do is iron out every last detail of the construction, and get a cemented design that I can use each time that works. So, once I have gotten the design where I want it, I will have some for sale.
As to the price, I really don't know yet. I hadn't really been thinking about how much I would sell it for, I was just trying to get this idea in my head turned into a tangible instrument.

I am making a website, and once it is up, more info can be gotten from there.
When the site is ready, I'll put the address in my signature box.

Thanks again everyone for your compliments.

Aloha
Bob

ill-attack
10-02-2008, 11:03 PM
what beautiful work! bravo! :love:

herbsandspices
10-10-2008, 06:16 AM
Really, really cool. Thanks for sharing!
john

Pete Howlett
10-10-2008, 07:48 AM
Interesting work - not something I'd do but I admire the style - very Far Eastern and in line with much elegance there. All the best in your endeavours. Don't forget to charge the right price for them and that sound/volume thing? Don't worry about it too much. Over time, you learn to build close to the edge of destruction and that's where you get the volume. That Kasha system is meant for spruce fronts and with the low position of the bridge you are definitely going to have issues with volume. In fact, the bridge is the only anomoly on this uke - it would probably look and work better if you reduced its mass and made it simpler IMHO. Vitaukes have a low position bridge and they sound brilliant - why? No bracing to speak of and spruce fronts.

I love new kids on the luthery block :rock:

mentalfloss
10-10-2008, 10:09 AM
All kinds of awesome....!:bowdown:

Punday
10-10-2008, 11:41 AM
Where did you learn to build and design the instrument? I would be interested in learning to make an Ukulele of my own.
Punday

acabooe
10-10-2008, 12:42 PM
The design is my own that I created. It is based on the Japanese Shamisen ( hence the name Shamisen Style Ukulele ).
I learned to build by going to school here in Hawai'i.
The name of the school is called Hana Lima Ia School for Ukulele Making.
If you are interested, you can check out their web site at
www.hanalima.com

Mahalo for the compliments and support everyone.
Bob

ChamorroDT
10-10-2008, 02:14 PM
Wow...I wish I could create something like that...I just write songs lol

nice work

deach
10-10-2008, 03:53 PM
Wow...I wish I could create something like that...I just write songs lol...

I wish I could write songs.

h-drix
10-10-2008, 04:21 PM
I wish I could write songs.

i wish i could play :p

again, i looked at it and was awestruck. bob, if your building ukes when i get out of college (6 years) ima going to hit you up for a nice little graduation present for my self =)

deach
10-10-2008, 04:25 PM
i wish i could play :p

...

Me too !

TokyoUketarist
10-10-2008, 08:27 PM
Very cool! Does it have a banjo like sound or more of a shamisen tone? I can't wait to here it. Truly unique.:worship:

Howlin Hobbit
10-11-2008, 07:58 PM
Wow...I wish I could create something like that...I just write songs lol


I wish I could write songs.


i wish i could play

I wish I could shimmy like my sister Kate.

acabooe
10-13-2008, 12:49 PM
Very cool! Does it have a banjo like sound or more of a shamisen tone? I can't wait to here it. Truly unique.:worship:

It sounds just like an Ukulele ( a little quieter than i would like, but not bad for a prototype ). I'm still trying to iron out things so I can put up a vid.
Aloha
Bob

NukeDOC
10-13-2008, 01:14 PM
I wish I could create something like that...I just write songs


i wish i could play :p
[quote]

[quote=deach;67285]I wish I could write songs.


I wish I could shimmy like my sister Kate.

i have a friend who is about 4000000 lbs. yeah even bigger than deach (this is going to make into the lyrics of "up yours").

he wishes he could jump.

deach
10-13-2008, 01:38 PM
...
i have a friend who is about 4000000 lbs. yeah even bigger than deach (this is going to make into the lyrics of "up yours").

he wishes he could jump.

Not much bigger. Jumping is over-rated. Skipping is nice though.

zigy11
10-19-2008, 05:49 AM
Very nice!!! I like the accessabilty to the entire neck, how do you intend for it to be held? With the sound holes facing the neck and head, how is the projection??? Very sweet regardless, I would like to hear it in action!!!

Fred Miu
10-19-2008, 06:56 AM
Bob. i would love to test this out for you :P haha

keep up the good work, looks beautiful

acabooe
10-19-2008, 08:22 AM
HAHA, thanks Fred,
lemme know when ur gonna come back to da islands and you can test it.


As far as how it should be held, I imagine that one would hold it sitting down and have it resting against their leg or something like that.
Since the body is small there isn't much room to hold it with your forearm.
I also plan on incorporating a strap later on for those that want to play it standing up.
As far a projection goes, it is a little quiet, but looking back on the build I realize that I braced it too heavily, thus killing the sound. So now I know for the next one.


Aloha
Bob

nikolo727
11-07-2008, 07:26 PM
Not much bigger. Jumping is over-rated. Skipping is nice though.

just curious. how big are you deach?

i mean im a pretty hefty guy. 300 pounder in fact. and 6"3.


just wondering. you dont have to answer if you dont want too. lol

random

deach
11-07-2008, 11:22 PM
just curious. how big are you deach?

i mean im a pretty hefty guy. 300 pounder in fact. and 6"3.


just wondering. you dont have to answer if you dont want too. lol

random

dunno. 5'11, 300+ish.

nikolo727
11-08-2008, 01:50 PM
ah i see. and I do agree with you deach. jumping is a no no. skipping is the best. but. I roll to get to the places I need to be. :D



A.D.D


any way. bob, i am really looking forward to hearing this new ukulele. from what ive seen...who knows i might just preorder a uke right now!

nik

acabooe
11-08-2008, 01:57 PM
ah i see. and I do agree with you deach. jumping is a no no. skipping is the best. but. I roll to get to the places I need to be. :D



A.D.D


any way. bob, i am really looking forward to hearing this new ukulele. from what ive seen...who knows i might just preorder a uke right now!

nik

Thanks man,
I've been really busy getting ready for the UGH exhibition show at the end of the month in which I'll b showing some of my Ukes, so i haven't had time to work on the SS yet, but once I have a sellable model ready, I'll let everyone know.
Aloha
Bob

nikolo727
11-08-2008, 02:12 PM
nice man. lookin forward to that!

happy strumming/building awesomeness.

:D

nik

koalohapaul
12-04-2008, 08:21 PM
Nice job, Bob. You know what would be really cool? The pick for the shamisen is called a bachi. They usually use turtle shell, laid over ivory for the traditional ones, but you could make one out of something like maple and fake torsoise shell. It would be a fitting bonus to sell with the ukulele, considering the shamisen style.

thejumpingflea
12-11-2008, 04:22 PM
Sound sample? :D

AnthonyUkulele
12-16-2008, 06:44 AM
looks very nice...it has a feel of an asian traditional look but with a little twist. I LIKE IT