View Full Version : Do you use software to track your instrument builds?

Gary Gill
08-22-2014, 10:58 AM
At only twenty builds under my belt, I can't remember what wood I used on which ukulele. I would like to find a relational database that I could create a form to record various information and maybe a couple of photos of the ukuleles. Any suggestions? Thanks

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
08-22-2014, 11:56 AM
i use facebook :)

08-22-2014, 12:05 PM
What about making a Blog for your Uke building

08-22-2014, 12:30 PM
Just make a text file for each one. Track as much info as you can for future reference. Woods used, soundboard thickness, soundboard mass (before and after bracing), bridge mass, etc. Probably would be smart to do deflection tests as well, though I just use my fingers so that information is stored in a different way :)

Could make a folder for each one if you have very many pictures (that's what I do). If only a couple pictures, then put the serial number at the start of all the filenames so they'll sort together with the text files. No need for anything fancy.

Skinny Money McGee
08-22-2014, 12:30 PM
you could use a simple spreadsheet

Graham McDonald
08-22-2014, 12:36 PM
I just use a notebook, a school exercise book and use one page per instrument. ;)

Gary Gill
08-22-2014, 01:17 PM
I have been using Excel.

08-22-2014, 09:55 PM
I use my memory....I'ts not a good method...as i try and forget most builds :(...Co's up to now I've only had one that I was happy with...That one! I made a note of who got it ;)

08-23-2014, 06:19 AM
For the "Rolls Royce" version of Uke info and customer tracking using a relational database check out Gordon's complete build overview of a Myamoe at his YouTube channel.

08-23-2014, 06:34 AM
I use a beat up note book and only keep track of the number, date completed and the basic woods used. After 500 instruments, I found I don't refer to the notes much.

08-23-2014, 11:45 AM
I'm with Duane on this one (like a lot of times). I tried to keep a notebook for each kind of instrument, with good notes on each piece, but it didn't take long not to bother. I wish I had good pix of every instrument but many of them got away unphotographed, especially if I finished them in winter and didn't want to expose them to the outdoors where I usually posed them. Film cameras were a drag, too. With digital we can take 20 pix and keep the best five. Film was too expensive for that. But all that lost history doesn't matter much. I'm much more interested in the work I'm going to do.

Gary Gill
08-23-2014, 11:54 PM
Maybe I am over thinking the idea.

Jim Hanks
08-24-2014, 01:48 AM
Perhaps. If you plan on continuing to build and sell, I like the idea of a blog, website, or even Facebook page where you can post pictures and details. All the cool kids are doing that. :-) Seriously, almost every custom builder I would consider using has something like that - Griffin, Ono, Iriiguchi, Covered Bridge, Hinkle, Mya Moe, Hannam, Baron River, and I'm sure I'm leaving some out. Being able to see past work for looks and features, style and philosophy even, is important to be able to evaluate if a luthier will be a good match.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
08-24-2014, 06:05 AM
Maybe I am over thinking the idea.

I think most of us have done what what you are thinking about. I kept a scrapbook with photos and a full description of each uke. Once I had a few dozen entries in it I never looked at it again.

08-24-2014, 06:08 AM
I keep a build list and for a time posted every instrument with a description and photos on my website as an archive but it became too much work to keep it up to date. I do have a word document with every instrument and the original owner. I quit taking technical notes on them after about six builds.

08-24-2014, 06:47 AM
I have most of my instruments on my blog, at least at some stage they all make it to a photo. And I use the blog for reference when I forget how I made certain things.

But no detailed sheet of each uke. I thought about that but couldn't be arsed.

08-24-2014, 10:09 AM
I only cover some of the more interesting instruments on my website blog. It takes a fair bit of time to keep things up to date, and if it's just a generic instrument, I don't bother.

I have tried (unsuccessfully) to keep track of every instrument I build in a notebook. Much like the New Years Resolution about loosing weight etc. Starts out with great intentions and then when I miss an instrument or two it's totally forgotten.

Gary Gill
08-24-2014, 11:02 AM
I added a FaceBook page today just for my ukes. I will focus on improving my building skills let the tracking slide.

Pete Howlett
08-24-2014, 11:20 AM
I have a hand written log book: Serial #, Date, Model Type, Value. Since most of us are building at a conservative rate and are usually intimately involved in each build, we often have a memory of each build and no need for 'tracking' - something large scale manufacturers must have.

Sidebar: I have to say I practically know every stick of wood in my workshop and remember nearly all of my builds... as a man with a flawed memory I find this a most curious aspect of my existence. :)

08-24-2014, 11:52 AM
Believe it or not some time in the future some avid collector or mildly curious tinkerer 100 years from now is going to be looking at one of your ukuleles and wondering what the back story is. Who made it, when, from what, and how much is it worth and is it worth fixing?

Of course you are not responsible for that person but to give you an example of how that sort of thing can happen I bought an old reed organ. On the outside it has the manufacturing company's name. On the inside it has a serial number. By putting those together and going to the right websites and writing to the right historical society I find my organ was made in 1875 by a company that later made pianos, switched solely to pianos, and got swallowed by a bigger company later. It also gave me pictures of a sales catalog from the 1880s showing the models they were selling then and care instructions. All this was fun for me but probably of no benefit to the people who made it.

In the words of Nelson (Willie, not the admiral) "Ain't it funny how time slips away".

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
08-24-2014, 03:30 PM
My personal list is a word document with columns for Instrument number, Instrument body, customer name, materials, Anything unusual or custom, date finished.
A usual entry would be:

#87, Tenor uke, Niq Qiunt, Tassy blackwood, Engelmann top, Cocobolo bindings, Hog neck, Ebony FB, Unicorn inlay at 12th fret, 29/ Feb/2014