View Full Version : Top Hatlele

11-20-2013, 08:54 PM
I'm an amateur when it comes to instrument construction but I thought this would obviously be the best place to ask a question amongst people who actually have experience.

To put a long story short I have two questions:

1: What's the best way to remove a ukulele neck from a uke? I've heard using steam works but I've also heard that can warp the wood?

2: I'm mounting the neck into the side of a fairly sturdy top hat and cutting the sound hole into the very top of the hat itself. What would be the best way to keep the neck in place in the side of the hat?

Obviously I will provide pictures of the finished product

Thanks guys

11-20-2013, 11:12 PM
It will depend on the joint of the neck I suppose. It might be a bolt on, use a mirror and a torch to have a peek in the sound hole. It might just be glued on, cheap ones sometimes are in which case steam and a hot knife in the joint can do the job. A mortised joint might be a little more tricky, but steam again.

As to anchoring the neck, I think you are going to need to treat the thing like a banjolele and have a rod run from the neck all the way to the other side of the hat. This could also have the benefit of providing a fixing point for the strings. I fit a captive nut in the base of the neck and use threaded rod.



11-21-2013, 12:42 AM
I'll give the hot knife a go that sounds promising.

As I said I'm fairly new to this, I'm guessing I could just get the materials from a hardware shop? I'm friends with Pete Howlett who makes ukes for living. Maybe I'll give him a ring

11-21-2013, 01:47 AM
Yes, most of the stuff I used on that build came from B&Q, but the captive nut I ordered online somewhere. Mr Howlett should be able to help with advice, he hangs out here sometimes too!

11-21-2013, 04:46 AM
You might have an easier time just buying a ukulele neck.


11-21-2013, 05:01 AM
That works too, thanks! I'm guessing I'll still need the strengthening rod to mount it?

11-21-2013, 05:29 AM
1. Is the top of your hat large enough to accomodate a bridge in the right position?
2. If so, consider making a multi-ply rim that fits snugly into the hat and connect the neck to that.
3. Fixed or floating bridge?
4. Can the hat withstand pull or pressure? (See 3.)
5. Won't it look really really silly?

11-21-2013, 07:54 AM
Bangor?? Guess you guys took that name from my home town in Maine :rolleyes:

I'd build it like a gourd banjo ( http://www.hutten.org/rob/gourdbanjo/ ) That way the neck carries all the string tension and the hat would just be the air chamber.

11-21-2013, 11:15 AM
Like the post below, the hat was simply going to hold the hat and be the sound chamber. And it's a ukulele hat, looking silly is a requirement.