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View Full Version : First Time Build - Tenor Ukulele Kit



dkame
06-01-2014, 01:42 PM
I just completed my first ukulele build - a mahogany StewMac tenor ukulele kit. I used a Tru-Oil finish. The information I found on this forum helped a ton. I especially want to acknowledge Michael Zuch (of the Zukulele) for his patient assistance! He gave me lots of helpful advice and recommendations.

Overall, the project was a great learning experience and I think the ukulele turned out much better than I though possible for me. I'd be happy to pass along my lessons learned to anyone interested in building this kit.

I'm looking forward to starting my next build!

mzuch
06-01-2014, 03:37 PM
Looks great, Derek! Certainly cleaner than my first kit. And I was happy to help. Looking forward to more from you.

Best,
Michael

Doug
06-02-2014, 04:52 AM
That turned out very nice Derek. Good luck with future builds.

sonomajazz
06-02-2014, 05:14 AM
Hey dk...Looks really sweet...how does it sound?

Will your next build be a kit also?

After visiting a couple of local amateur builders (Dominator...amateur vs pro builders like Mike DaSilva or Peter Hurney)and seeing their shops, and
all that's involved, and the investment it tools, it's clear to me I may never build a uke from any other than a "kit"!

Great job!

dkame
06-02-2014, 07:57 AM
Hey dk...Looks really sweet...how does it sound?

Will your next build be a kit also?

After visiting a couple of local amateur builders (Dominator...amateur vs pro builders like Mike DaSilva or Peter Hurney)and seeing their shops, and
all that's involved, and the investment it tools, it's clear to me I may never build a uke from any other than a "kit"!

Great job!

Thanks much for the nice comments! About the sound...

Despite my best efforts, I have to say honestly that I wasn't able to quite duplicate the sound of a koa Kamaka or Kanile'a. :D But I would definitely say that it sounds as good as or better than the mahogany Lanikai and Kala ukes that I have tried and it has really good intonation up the fret board. Right now I have it strung with Fremont Blacklines so it is a bit on the bright side. I will probably try some other string sets on it at some point. Of course you always "think" something you made yourself sounds better.

What I really liked about building is the ability to make things the way you want them to be. Couple of examples: rounding off the spots on the nut corners that bug my fingers on other ukes; rounding the edges of the fret board - lets me play barred chords with a bit more comfort; and cutting back the fret board because I wanted to show off the rosette where I thought I did a pretty good job joining the edges of the purfling.

I also now know the things I didn't do but should have - like rounding over the edge of the top more. But I'll remember that on the next one. Michael Z. suggested a Hana Lima 'Ia kit for my next project. I'd have to bend the sides myself and do all the neck layup and shaping. I'm not sure I'm ready to take this on yet. In any case, they are out of stock at the moment.

The right tools definitely would help, in terms of build speed, quality, and consistency. But I'm not in a rush so I can make do with what I have and borrow where really needed.

icuker
06-06-2014, 11:55 AM
I'd have to say I'd be proud to have that as my first attempt. Great job.