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Jim Hanks
05-24-2014, 05:34 PM
Here's my new electric ukulele from Bruce Herron at Blue Star Guitar:
67095

It is billed as a tenor but at 19-1/8" scale, I'm calling it a short scale baritone. Blue Star sells a stock baritone at 22" scale, which iamesper has wrote about in these pages, but that seems closer to tenor guitar territory to me, so I wrote Bruce to see if could build me something a little smaller. Here are the specs:

19" scale
DGBE tuning with " light" gauge steel strings - .011 .014 .022W .030W
Red "psycho" top with black carpet back
"Standard" shape body (custom - stock is the teardrop/"canned ham" shape)
Humbucker pickup
Tone knob (custom)
Volume knob with coil split pull pot (custom)
String-through-body bridge with adjustable intonation
Dual strap buttons (2nd is custom)
Geared tuners

I ordered a few extras like the tone knob and coil splitter which cuts out half the humbucker to make it a single coil sound. I told Bruce I had to have a few knobs to twiddle - been missing that on my acoustic ukes. :-) We talked about even more options like dual pickups, upgrade pickups, wood finishes, etc. but I'm glad we kept it simpler. I actually love how it looks, the pickup sounds great and the knobs give enough tonal options without having to turn to the amp or app for everything. I'll work up some sound samples later but I think this is going to prove quite versatile.

The feel is really good - action is quite low, neck is not too thick or thin, and the fretboard is nice and smooth. (I forgot to ask if it is radiused but I don't think so.) The strings chosen by Bruce seem right on too. He gave me a choice of extra light, light, or medium. I picked light so we'd have some wiggle room later to go a little harder or softer but these seem good already. We can also go GCEA with different strings if desired, or reentrant even, but I'm thinking I'll stick with DGBE.

Bruce was great to work with. Very accommodating with the changes I wanted to make and a quite reasonable charge for the upgrades. I won't say exactly how much, but Elderly Music sells the stock bari for $335 (http://elderly.com/new_instruments/items/BSBK-REDB-RSWD.htm) shipped and I still got out for under 4 bills shipped for a hand-built-in-the-USA-one-of-a-kind instrument. And this was a fast project. I caught him just after finishing a big order for Elderly so he was open. It was under three weeks from "go" to UPS at my door. You can't beat that.

I would encourage anyone looking for a steel string uke to check out Blue Star Guitar (http://bluestarguitarcompany.com).

Jim

Jim Hanks
05-24-2014, 05:50 PM
A few pics:

JonThysell
05-24-2014, 07:12 PM
Finally got your custom 19" bari - congrats!

iamesperambient
05-24-2014, 08:06 PM
A few pics:

it's beautiful makes me jealous of the shape
I like my "canned ham" body but the figure 8
style looks even nicer. one day I'm going to
have him build me a custom congrats also
must be nice to have 2 pegs on the standard positions
I have one on the bottom and the other the shop
at elderly installed it on the heel it's fine
but not as comfortable and study as it on the top. looking
forward to hearing some samples are you going
to keep it in g tuning ?

iamesperambient
05-24-2014, 08:11 PM
A few pics:

btw welcome to the konablaster team
blue star needs more attention here
and I'm excited someone else joined the team!

RAB11
05-24-2014, 08:24 PM
That looks great. Love the paint job on the top too.

Jim Hanks
05-25-2014, 02:45 AM
Finally got your custom 19" bari - congrats!
:cool: yeah, the Bruko is also 19" but totally different purpose obviously.


That looks great. Love the paint job on the top too.
It's not paint but I don't know what it is. He calls it a "phenolic" finish which is apparently some kind of synthetic plastic or something. I don't know, but I think it looks cool and should be pretty durable.


nice to have 2 pegs on the standard positions.... looking forward to hearing some samples are you going to keep it in g tuning ?
Yeah, Bruce offered to do this shape just because it was easier to do the 2nd peg with it. I was going to take the ham , but I do like this better. I will keep it in G for awhile at least - until I find a reason to do otherwise. One reason might be the change to a 4ths tuning for power chord madness :rock: Samples coming before too long.

iamesperambient
05-25-2014, 06:26 AM
That looks great. Love the paint job on the top too.

its not really paint. Its wood and than the front is covered with a plastic shiney material
and the back with carpet.

iamesperambient
05-25-2014, 06:29 AM
:cool: yeah, the Bruko is also 19" but totally different purpose obviously.


It's not paint but I don't know what it is. He calls it a "phenolic" finish which is apparently some kind of synthetic plastic or something. I don't know, but I think it looks cool and should be pretty durable.


Yeah, Bruce offered to do this shape just because it was easier to do the 2nd peg with it. I was going to take the ham , but I do like this better. I will keep it in G for awhile at least - until I find a reason to do otherwise. One reason might be the change to a 4ths tuning for power chord madness :rock: Samples coming before too long.

nice! Its hard for me cos the 2nd peg is behind the heel and i always feel like the strap will just fall off.
I almost want to ask him if i can send him back mine and have him mod a few things?
im just wondering how much that would cost me for him to add a top peg, clean up
the bridge with a new shiney one and maybe another pick up. Im more concerned with
how much it would cost to mail it and it getting damaged getting there.

Barbablanca
05-25-2014, 09:54 AM
That's a cool looking instrument, Jim! Felicitats as we'd say here to congratulate you.

Jim Hanks
05-25-2014, 10:32 AM
Moltes grącies !

Nickie
05-25-2014, 03:12 PM
OOOOHHHH cool! Pretty too!

Doc_J
06-09-2014, 02:09 PM
I was traveling and missed this post. Jim, your custom 19" scale Konablaster is way cool! Congrats!

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=67095&d=1400989599

Jim Hanks
06-09-2014, 02:55 PM
Thanks Hodge. Let me know I'd you want to try DGBE on your Monkey Wrench and I'll dig up the string gauges. Oh wait, they're right up in the first post.

Doc_J
06-09-2014, 04:18 PM
Thanks Hodge. Let me know I'd you want to try DGBE on your Monkey Wrench and I'll dig up the string gauges. Oh wait, they're right up in the first post.

I'm definitely going to try that next string change.
Thanks, got the string sizes from your post: .011 .014 .022W .030W for DGBE (looks like Ernie Ball Extra Slinky will do).

Here's the 19" tenor string sizes (linear GCEA) : .010 .013 .017 .026W (Ernie Ball Regular Slinky will work.)

Jim Hanks
06-09-2014, 04:44 PM
Cool. I'm gonna keep mine DGBE for now but that's good info for later. Looks like MW strings a little higher tension than mine, but mine were "light", with "extra light" and "medium" on either side of it, so maybe your set is closer to "medium". There is room for experimentation. I can also ask Bruce at Blue Star his recommended formula for GCEA.

igorthebarbarian
06-09-2014, 07:44 PM
Stunning! Congratulations Jim!

13down
06-12-2014, 02:50 AM
Awesome! Had no idea Blue Star does custom instruments! It looks awesome. Good call on getting the tone knob. Looking forward to hearing the clips.

iamesperambient
06-12-2014, 06:59 AM
Awesome! Had no idea Blue Star does custom instruments! It looks awesome. Good call on getting the tone knob. Looking forward to hearing the clips.

yep he will make you pretty much anything you want i think you can probably even talk him into making an acoustic if you really wanted him too.