PDA

View Full Version : Mini Squire Strat to Uke conversion.



studemobile
07-16-2014, 08:31 AM
Would it be possible to reconfigure a mini Strat to a uke? Thought the E and A could have double strings for a total of 6. Would need a new nut and find the equalvalent tuning for high G tuning. New saddle configuration would also be needed. Crazy idea?

LM in Kentucky
07-16-2014, 08:47 AM
Would it be possible to reconfigure a mini Strat to a uke? Thought the E and A could have double strings for a total of 6. Would need a new nut and find the equalvalent tuning for high G tuning. New saddle configuration would also be needed. Crazy idea?

I did it with a big strat and had lots of issues. The tension and length made it a challenge to find a key that worked correctly. I think a little strat and no wound strings would be the way to go if I was going to do it again :)
Good luck, let us know if you get it to work!

Booli
07-16-2014, 10:01 AM
I did it with a big strat and had lots of issues. The tension and length made it a challenge to find a key that worked correctly. I think a little strat and no wound strings would be the way to go if I was going to do it again :)
Good luck, let us know if you get it to work!

I also tried this. I removed and dissembled the tremolo bridge and made a new 4-string bridge holder for 4 of the existing strat saddles (spaced 15mm apart) using a piece of right-angle extruded aluminum that you can get from Home Depot, and cut a new nut out of rosewood. Cost me less than $5 and about an hour of time. I fixed the new bridge/saddles right onto the top and string it through the body like it was before. Now it has a 'hardtail' bridge, but with 4 strings.

Problem for me so far is that 25.5" scale length makes it difficult to find strings for standard uke tuning in the right octave (kept snapping 0.009's, 0.010's and 0.011's after tuning up to the higher G, and never made it to A4-440), but baritone or 'CHICAGO' tuning is possible with regular guitar strings, and it works as a sort of long-scale baritone (or 4/6 guitar strings).

You might glean some helpful info from two recent threads here, one for 'octave' uke' and the other for 'contra' uke. You can find them from the search box for the forum.

In the end, I decided to use heavier gauge (0.060", 0.050", 0.040", 0.030") EADG strings instead of DGBE strings, and now the converted strat works as a short-scale piccolo bass, i.e., an octave ABOVE standard bass.

Depending upon the scale length and string gauges, you will have to experiment to get it tuned up to the same octave as an ukulele, and might have to tweak the truss rod (if it has one) for proper neck relief, in order to handle the extra tension to be tuned up a 5th from normal tuning.

Fellow UU brother Rick Turner may be able to offer some good advice, as he has lots of experience as a master luthier (e.g., Compass Rose, et al...), and often participates in these conversations here on UU.

-Booli

LM in Kentucky
07-16-2014, 11:58 AM
Wow! Thanks Booli!!!
You were a little more complete than I was. I just used the middle 4 bridge saddles. I maintained uke steps in between the strings/tuning, but I had to tune kind of low to get it to work at all. Then, the wound strings proved to be highly problematic so I used a wound 3rd string, and unwound for the 4th, 2nd and 1st. Still needed more work there. Down low it was too low, it sounded OK with a capo higher up. Maybe Ill take a stab at it again armed with new info!

Regards,
LM in KY


I also tried this. I removed and dissembled the tremolo bridge and made a new 4-string bridge holder for 4 of the existing strat saddles (spaced 15mm apart) using a piece of right-angle extruded aluminum that you can get from Home Depot, and cut a new nut out of rosewood. Cost me less than $5 and about an hour of time. I fixed the new bridge/saddles right onto the top and string it through the body like it was before. Now it has a 'hardtail' bridge, but with 4 strings.

Problem for me so far is that 25.5" scale length makes it difficult to find strings for standard uke tuning in the right octave (kept snapping 0.009's, 0.010's and 0.011's after tuning up to the higher G, and never made it to A4-440), but baritone or 'CHICAGO' tuning is possible with regular guitar strings, and it works as a sort of long-scale baritone (or 4/6 guitar strings).

You might glean some helpful info from two recent threads here, one for 'octave' uke' and the other for 'contra' uke. You can find them from the search box for the forum.

In the end, I decided to use heavier gauge (0.060", 0.050", 0.040", 0.030") EADG strings instead of DGBE strings, and now the converted strat works as a short-scale piccolo bass, i.e., an octave ABOVE standard bass.

Depending upon the scale length and string gauges, you will have to experiment to get it tuned up to the same octave as an ukulele, and might have to tweak the truss rod (if it has one) for proper neck relief, in order to handle the extra tension to be tuned up a 5th from normal tuning.

Fellow UU brother Rick Turner may be able to offer some good advice, as he has lots of experience as a master luthier (e.g., Compass Rose, et al...), and often participates in these conversations here on UU.

-Booli

rudy
07-16-2014, 12:19 PM
You should be able to do a conversion, since the mini-strat has a 22" scale length. I converted one into an octave mandolin with no problem, even down to narrowing the neck. The entire conversion is viewable over on the Emando.com website if you need photos and ideas.

Booli
07-16-2014, 01:20 PM
Wow! Thanks Booli!!!
You were a little more complete than I was. I just used the middle 4 bridge saddles. I maintained uke steps in between the strings/tuning, but I had to tune kind of low to get it to work at all. Then, the wound strings proved to be highly problematic so I used a wound 3rd string, and unwound for the 4th, 2nd and 1st. Still needed more work there. Down low it was too low, it sounded OK with a capo higher up. Maybe Ill take a stab at it again armed with new info!

No problem. The middle 4 saddles will work, but I found that the string spacing of a guitar saddle for a strat to be too narrow (somewhere like 8-10mm betw strings) whereas on most of my ukes it was betw 13-15mm, and I wanted to test some short-scale bass strings (which failed terribly, despite making an using a nut for the width of bass strings).

Once I got the center marked on the aluminum angle piece, I then measured for four #6 holes @ 15mm apart, and then cut the aluminum to fit the top of the guitar (about 6 inches long) and screwed it in such that the back of the 'new' bridge was in the same place as the old bridge, and since it's strung through the body, the aluminum does not have to handle all of the stress of the string tension. I used another piece of 90 degree angle iron inside where the tremolo block used to be as a place to feed, and lock the strings down, and I drilled 4 holes there 15mm apart to match the saddle spacing.

I also have a rod piezo pickup that is currently installed and just squished between the bridge baseplate and the wood that is underneath, and it works ok as a passive pickup but with low output, but if I feed it into my Behringer Mic200 tube preamp I can get up to 80db boost in gain and it sounds very nice, AND buy adding a piezo, I can use classical guitar strings instead of electric strings.

Right now it's back in the closet, but maybe I can take a few pictures for you sometime before the weekend....

With classical style strings, there are lost of choices for gauges and tensions that did not seem to be available in electric strings.

Even before all these strings, after I got the piezo to work, and put bass tuning machines on, (removed the 6 strat tuners and filled the holes with woodfiller and sanded smooth and then drilled four 13/64' holes for the cheapo asian copycat hipshot style tuners.

Then I tried to get the Aquila Thundergut strings to work (and they kept falling apart at the tuning pegs - they end up like shredded swiss cheese), and the 'low E string' seemed to barely have enough tension to make the right pitch, I even tried also with the Aquila Thunder REDS strings and same thing.

So with the regular bass strings not working and Thundergut also not working, I was going to try some Cello strings, since a 4/4 cello has a scale length around 25", but cello strings are about $70 per set all over town...so I could not test them as I dont have that kind of budget for this project.

I was really hoping to make a 25" short scale bass, but the closest I could get was a sort of long-neck baritone uke, an octave below normal baritone 'Chicago' tuning of DGBE... So I could play it as an octave baritone or as a piccolo bass. depending on the strings an tuning.

I have a full scale 34" bass but after gaining agility on tenor, concert and soprano ukulele over the past year, I found the full sized bass near impossible for me to play...

If I had the money, and knowing what I know now, I would just buy either an Aquila Shortbass One, or a Gold Tone Microbass (both are around 22" scale and bigger than the Kala U-Bass) and from what I've seen easier to play....

I'm waiting on a strings delivery from Strings By Mail, with a few things to try further, but after that, the instrument will be on hold for a little while if it does not work out exactly.

I love to experiment with this kind of stuff and I was not playing the strat any more, and wanted to see if I could convert it to something else, that I could play that would give a deeper register for bass-like musical parts to the songs i've written that already have melody and chords, and this hack project I could use the instrument to round out the bass area...

It aint over just yet.... :)

-Booli

Booli
07-16-2014, 01:23 PM
You should be able to do a conversion, since the mini-strat has a 22" scale length. I converted one into an octave mandolin with no problem, even down to narrowing the neck. The entire conversion is viewable over on the Emando.com website if you need photos and ideas.

Sounds like this approach has a better chance of success. There is also a Hofner 'shorty' guitar that has a 24.7" scale length, this may or may not be a worthy victim to use for such a conversion, but for what it cost, you could get a decent baritone and install your pickup of choice...

see the shorty here:
http://www.hofner-guitars.com/electric-guitars/solid-body-guitars/shorty-ct.html?___store=guitar_store_en

and for sale here:
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/hofner-shorty-electric-travel-guitar
http://www.amazon.com/Hofner-Series-Shorty-Mini-Guitar/dp/B003S3RXYW

:)

Jim Hanks
07-16-2014, 01:45 PM
The standard Konablaster baritone is 22" scale
http://elderly.com/new_instruments/items/BSBK.htm

tangimango
07-16-2014, 05:01 PM
http://m.ebay.com/itm/111410747329?nav=SELLING_ACTIVE

Booli
07-17-2014, 01:53 AM
http://m.ebay.com/itm/111410747329?nav=SELLING_ACTIVE

is this the same item you had listed in the UU Marketplace?

The problem for me with these bridges is the string-to-string spacing. This listing in the link does not give this detail (nor any dimensions at all), but others I've seen on ebay and other sites, that seem to all use the exact same pictures, from different ebay vendors like bezdez, have string spacing that matches the guitar (8-10mm), and as such is tighter, closer, and more difficult for finger-picking if your are used to the wider string-to-string bridge spacing for the ukulele 12-15mm).

if you are just strumming or using a flat-pick, likely it will not matter.

These strat-type individual saddles are easily removable from an existing bridge via their intonation screws, and it takes like 10 mins to measure and drill precise holes in the aluminum angle irons to get the perfect spacing that is more comfortable for me, as well as allowing for using THICKER bass strings on the same instrument, without having to make or use a completely different saddle and bridge for bass vs. something else.

Also, should you want to drill new holes in one of these pre-made bridges, (while the existing holes exist), it's not going to be pretty, as these bridges are typically made of brass, and if in fact you can work around the existing holes, it's going to be very messy unless you have the correct drill bits and use a drill press - aluminum is much softer to drill.

If you want to use the existing string spacing in these bridges, then yes, technically and mechanically, they will 'work'.

Yes, you can also get a 4-string BASS bridge, but they typically have string spacing that is about 18-22mm apart.

I was in fact trying to recycle as much of the original parts of the guitar as possible, while not having to buy lots of items that may or may not work for my needs...(as per the string spacing, etc)

-Booli

rudy
07-17-2014, 08:41 AM
Sounds like this approach has a better chance of success. There is also a Hofner 'shorty' guitar that has a 24.7" scale length, this may or may not be a worthy victim to use for such a conversion, but for what it cost, you could get a decent baritone and install your pickup of choice...

see the shorty here:
http://www.hofner-guitars.com/electric-guitars/solid-body-guitars/shorty-ct.html?___store=guitar_store_en

and for sale here:
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/hofner-shorty-electric-travel-guitar
http://www.amazon.com/Hofner-Series-Shorty-Mini-Guitar/dp/B003S3RXYW

:)

Here's the Mini-Strat to electric octave mando construction guide:

http://emando.com/builders_active/misc/Cordle_EOM_instructions.htm

Booli
07-17-2014, 09:03 AM
Here's the Mini-Strat to electric octave mando construction guide:

http://emando.com/builders_active/misc/Cordle_EOM_instructions.htm

Hi Rudy,

Those instructions are AWESOME. Very clear and easy to follow. Should also be easy to adapt for electric ukulele conversion.

Thanks for sharing the link!

-Booli

studemobile
07-28-2014, 12:37 PM
OK, How about this guitar for conversion:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006JFXMQ4/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_S_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=2NCW0UJCKASV2&coliid=I9F9P9WDTPB8X&psc=1
Width of the neck at the nut is 1.625 so I would remove 2 tuners, reconfigure or replace the nut and replace the 6 string bridge with a 4 string.
Possibly the pickup would not work quite right because the strings would not all be in alighment? What am I missing?

bnolsen
07-28-2014, 01:06 PM
seems like a vorson electric would be cheaper and easier.

studemobile
07-29-2014, 08:11 AM
Thanks bnolsen, I was not aware of this product. I am trying to get the width of the neck at the nut for this uke. I assume its 1.375". I am new to the uke coming from guitar and banjo and intentionally purchased a Islander AT1 because of the 1.5" nut.

bnolsen
07-29-2014, 11:34 AM
finding the nut width is pretty important for me as well. I think someone would have to contact them and ask for more specs.

bnolsen
07-29-2014, 11:59 AM
Thanks bnolsen, I was not aware of this product. I am trying to get the width of the neck at the nut for this uke. I assume its 1.375". I am new to the uke coming from guitar and banjo and intentionally purchased a Islander AT1 because of the 1.5" nut.

might be worth emailing zzounds.com to ask. The maple s-type looks very inviting to me, although I'm not sure how to properly handle the finger slicer strings on these. I guess I should check out using a pick since I've been practicing bass anyways and maybe should start practicing pick.

emailed zzounds. they say its 1 3/8" wide at the nut. darn should have asked about radius too.

Ramart
11-19-2014, 10:34 AM
might be worth emailing zzounds.com to ask. The maple s-type looks very inviting to me, although I'm not sure how to properly handle the finger slicer strings on these. I guess I should check out using a pick since I've been practicing bass anyways and maybe should start practicing pick.

emailed zzounds. they say its 1 3/8" wide at the nut. darn should have asked about radius too.

And center-to-center, G-to-A string spacing at the nut is 1 3/32" on my Vorson. No radius.