View Full Version : FirstAct tamborine banjo-uke

02-05-2009, 05:22 AM
So Toys R Us had these things for $3.98. I picked one up and got confused stares from the checker when I asked her if they would be giving me a discount, since the neck was missing...

I am going to build a neck for it, and since its smallish it will be a uke, instead of my normal banjo build. Just got two quick questions, because I don't have one to take measurements off of...

1) what is the scale on a concert soprano, nut to bridge?
2) what are the average gauges for the strings. (I have just about every size monofilament known to man from other banjo and lyre building projects) Well, I suppose I could just look up a set of strings online and get that myself...

So, pretty much all I need is the scale.

02-05-2009, 05:46 AM
Duh. Ok. I can look up some sopranos too. So, something in the 15 inch range.

02-05-2009, 07:47 AM
Lots of information Here (http://www.stewmac.com/FretCalculator)

02-05-2009, 07:56 AM
please post pics!

02-12-2009, 04:04 AM
Thanks Slick. I need to find the fret calc program I used last time and post a link. I think it let you do fanned frets. It also prints out a template that I stick to the finger board with double sided tape. No muss, no fuss.

UkEdman, once I get going I will post my progress.

02-23-2009, 01:13 PM
Ok. Here is day one of the tamborine banjo ukulele project. The video is, to me, a bit, um... unexciting, but on the bright side, there are power tools.

Ukurine, day 1 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZMjDrvU7gs)


02-23-2009, 02:28 PM
Nice! I've been wanting to do this. Maybe we can meet up one day so I can see it in person.

02-23-2009, 04:32 PM
That looks really cool. I can't wait to see the finished product. Good luck. :D

02-23-2009, 05:27 PM
Ooooo! Can't wait to see it in action! :) Cool idea!

02-23-2009, 06:57 PM
Here's day two of the project. I drilled the heel to take the dowel rod - that went smoother than I was afraid it might - and shaped the heel so that it fits the curve of the tamborine.

Here is the day two video. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Pt2pHy9G-k)


02-25-2009, 04:10 AM
Yep. Like a recurring nightmare, its day 3. Drilling for tuning pins, attaching and trimming the fingerboard, shaping the neck and rounding the heel.

DAY THREE: UKURINE (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oCNEHRTZwpA)

Speaking of nightmares, Last night I dreamed I was in a video game like tony hawks downhill challenge except we were on racing bikes. I was doing pretty well until I missed a turn. I saw the other bikes cross up ahead and decided to take a short cut through a small driveway. That worked so well, I figured I would just stay off road, so instead of turning onto the street I went straight across towards what I thought was a medium grade hill. Much to my surprise, the ground dropped away and I found myself flying out over the trees and my future impact zone far, far below. Last thought through my head: "Thank goodness for reset!" Then I woke up and ate a bowl of frosted mini-wheats. None of that has anything to do with building the ukurine, but I think if you sit through those videos, you really should get something more entertaining for your investment.

02-25-2009, 01:44 PM
What Scale length did you go with?

02-25-2009, 03:29 PM
What Scale length did you go with?
I went with 14". I want to do a concert scale, but as small as that tamborine is, it would have looked a little goofy with a longer neck.

I was going to post this with day 4, but since I am here, this is a download link to the fret calculator I use. Its dead simple - enter scale length and number of frets - and it prints out a template which will be in the day 4 vid.

Fret calculator (http://tinyurl.com/adcdmm)

02-26-2009, 03:27 AM
Last night I installed frets, but was too sleepy to edit the video down. Its getting close now. One more good day could finish it up.

02-26-2009, 04:28 AM
Where do you buy your fret wire from? Is it local? I'm in Conway and the one store I could possably buy fret wire from went out of business.

02-26-2009, 05:06 AM
Where do you buy your fret wire from? Is it local? I'm in Conway and the one store I could possably buy fret wire from went out of business.
I ordered mine online. Its been a few years, but it was probably from StewardMacdonald (http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Fretting_supplies/Fretwire/3/Stewart-MacDonald_Fretwire.html). I am using the low/narrow (I think). After this project, I will have to order me some more.

Last year I went to a few of the porch pickin jam sessions at whatever that store is at pickles gap.

02-26-2009, 05:45 AM
Sadly, thats the one that went out of business.

02-26-2009, 05:57 AM
I can't wait to hear how this turns out!

Would you consider making another?

02-26-2009, 08:39 PM
Sadly, thats the one that went out of business.
I hate to hear that. *sigh*

The moment we have all been waiting for *drumroll*

The Ukurine is done (mostly). Yesterday I did the frets. Tonight I made a bridge and arranged for handling the string at the tail piece and tuning head ends.

I will yak about it in the video. There are a few other details in the video description. It was fun. Its been to long since I did a build and I have a bunch of other things on my to-build list.

I hope this was a little interesting/helpful for y'all. The one thing I noticed is that since I knew the camera was on, I tended to have each step thought through better before I started hacking on wood.

I have a cigar box that needs a neck, as well as a lovely heart shaped candy tin from V-day that will probably become a ukulele. So, my question is this: Anyone want me to vid-doc those builds like this one, or do you think once was enough?

I am also open to suggestions on how to make the videos less eye-gougingly boring.

Thanks for taking this little trip with me. You are free to ask questions or talk amonst yourselves now.

Oh, yeah.... Here is the video for day 5 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZ1uE5w85vk)

02-27-2009, 05:54 AM
Yes, post your future projects. Your ukurine is very interesting and has a great banjolele like sound. Fishing line strings? Very innovative. (Hey Eldrine, he stole your idea!)

02-27-2009, 06:02 AM
I have been stringing banjo's with fishing line for years. Its cheap and always on hand. Normally a set of strings will cost me more than I have invested in the project, so I like to make sure its playable before I make the investment *grin*

02-27-2009, 08:31 AM
nice job on the build Yopps! very well documented and it looks like it turned out great. looking forward to your next project.

03-02-2009, 04:57 AM
This thread revived my cookie tin banjo project. A buddy and I are making a pair. We're going the lo-fi route though. Red Oak 2x1's, Zebco fishing line in 20, 30, and 50lb test($2.36 each for 250 and 150 yard lengths!), clothes pin bridges and wood screws for tuners.

Thanks for giving me the motivation to finish a side project aside from my guitar making.

03-02-2009, 05:14 AM
I am glad to crack the whip! Finish them up and share! I have a couple of banjo projects in the wings.