View Full Version : New Uke Day: The Armadillolele has landed!

10-21-2012, 09:53 AM
The only thing I've ever been able to draw is cartoon armadillos, and in past years I used to draw them everywhere. Eventually I started collecting armadillo figurines and whatnot. Around 1990, I found a homemade mandolin made out of an armadillo shell (apparently inspired by a Peruvian charango) and had to have it. I only put on four strings, and tuned it like a uke. A few years later, the soundboard cracked. Last year, I went looking for someone who could repair it and convert it into a ukulele. Here's a before picture, with a Martin soprano for scale:

Neal Carey, a local hobbyist luthier who's made a dozen ukes, agreed to take on the task. I picked it up this afternoon. Neal put on an Italian spruce soundboard, a flamed maple fingerboard, cut down the heavy headboard and neck, installed a fixed bridge, a new nut, put on a Mylar pickguard because I strum heavily, and even put in an inlay of my cartoon armadillo! The armadillo shell, and the pared-down neck and headstock are what remain of the original instrument. The scale is slightly longer than my Martin soprano, but less than my concerts, so I don't know which to call it.


I'll post a sound clip when I can. How soon this will be depends on whether I can keep my daughter from commandeering the computer for marathon sessions of Farmville.

10-21-2012, 09:56 AM
That is a thing of beauty and weirdness. I love it!

10-21-2012, 11:37 AM
Oddly enough I saw this on CL a little while ago: http://nmi.craigslist.org/msg/3305766609.html

10-21-2012, 11:44 AM
That is pretty darned cool...and...now I understand your avatar!


10-21-2012, 12:17 PM
Nice uke and a nice job.

Hippie Dribble
10-21-2012, 12:29 PM
Total awesomeness Jim...love it. What a great job he's done. That headstock inlay is fab. Looking forward to the clip...

10-21-2012, 01:07 PM
That's nifty!

10-21-2012, 06:26 PM

The first half of this sort of recaps what I said in the first post. The second half is a demonstration of the armadillolele.

10-21-2012, 06:29 PM
Ah, that scale length is known as "sopradillo".

What a cool uke for an armadillo-loving man. Sounds great, too. Congrats!

10-21-2012, 06:35 PM
On further inspection, I've decided it's a concert. I compared it again with my Kiwaya K-Wave concert, and it's just about exactly the same. The frets definitely feel farther apart than soprano frets.