NUD: License Plate Uke

Jerryc41

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I got it finished last night while watching TV, but there is still a lot of adjusting to do. The string tension has pulled up the edges of the license plate, and it vibrates, so I'll have to do something about that.

The action is way too high, but I just stuck the saddle into the slot, so both nut and saddle will need work. I used two dowels and a screw to attach the neck. The body is heavy, so I wanted a strong connection.

I used license plate bolts I had in the garage. When I opened the package, I saw a special Allen wrench. That's the only thing that will turn those bolts. Ridiculous. I'll be replacing them.

I'm surprised at the deep, loud sound it produces, and it will sound better when I get the license plate secured and adjust then action. There are no sound holes, but I do have a pickup I might install later.

1A.jpg2.jpg
 
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Bill Sheehan

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Very cool, Jerry! I think it's safe to say that you're handier than I am!
 

KohanMike

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I like that Jerry, very clever.


This is Michael Kohan in Los Angeles, Beverly Grove near the Beverly Center
9 tenor cutaway ukes, 4 acoustic bass ukes, 12 solid body bass ukes, 14 mini electric bass guitars (Total: 39)

Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children in hospital music therapy programs. www.theukc.org
Member The CC Strummers: www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/video, www.facebook.com/TheCCStrummers
 

Dohle

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I'm pretty sure that's the quirkiest uke I've ever seen. Very nice. :D
 

Jerryc41

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I like that Jerry, very clever.


This is Michael Kohan in Los Angeles, Beverly Grove near the Beverly Center
9 tenor cutaway ukes, 4 acoustic bass ukes, 12 solid body bass ukes, 14 mini electric bass guitars (Total: 39)

Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children in hospital music therapy programs. www.theukc.org
Member The CC Strummers: www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/video, www.facebook.com/TheCCStrummers

Thanks. It was a learning experience.
 

Bluesy

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Pure whimsy and super fun. Will make anyone who sees it smile.

Bluesy.
 

Arcy

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Nice! I’m surprised it’s loud without sound holes.

The Hawaii plate’s great for a uke! How similar is it to a real plate size- and material-wise?
 

Jerryc41

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Nice! I’m surprised it’s loud without sound holes.

The Hawaii plate’s great for a uke! How similar is it to a real plate size- and material-wise?

The appearance and measurements are identical, but it seems to be lighter weight. 6" X 12"

Now that it's finished, I don't feel the pressure to go back to it and make the adjustments, but I will - eventually.
 

Jerryc41

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Nice! Need to hear a sound sample.

I have a lot of adjusting before that happens. It has a surprisingly deep tone - almost like low-G.

When I said it was loud, above, maybe I was just expecting it to be less loud - without any sound holes. I spent so much time working on this this that I've let everything else go, so now I have to catch up with the rest of the house.
 

Jerryc41

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So how'd ya make it? Internal bracing etc.
Looks cool.

It was unusual that I didn't take pictures as I went along, but it was a fairly simple build, once I figured out what to do.

Following other builds online, the box is made from 1" pine. Thick and heavy, so no bracing is required. I added four small blocks for the license plate screws. The neck is attached with two dowels, a #6 1 1/2" screw, and Titebond III. The online builds used pickups, so they usually cut an opening in the plate for that. I have a pickup which I'll install under the bridge eventually. I knew that no glue would hold the bridge onto the plate, so I used four small stainless nuts and bolts. Unfortunately, the string tension is lifting the plate around the edges, resulting in some odd sounds. I'll have to find a way to get good contact between the plate and the box, but I want to be able to remove the plate for the pickup and any other possible reason.

I have to get caught up on work I've been neglecting around the house, so I don't think I'll do much with it today.

Thanks for commenting.
 

KohanMike

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...I knew that no glue would hold the bridge onto the plate, so I used four small stainless nuts and bolts. Unfortunately, the string tension is lifting the plate around the edges, resulting in some odd sounds. I'll have to find a way to get good contact between the plate and the box...

Jerry, what if you did string through by attaching a wood strip behind the H?

Jerry license plate uke.jpg
 
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Jerryc41

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Jerry, what if you did string through by attaching a wood strip behind the H?

Jerry license plate uke.jpg

I thought about doing string-through, but I'd have to remove the license plate every time I changed strings. I could push the strings through, but I wouldn't be able to tie a knot or add a bead at the end of the string. Three more screws might make the plate secure enough. You did a nice job of modifying the picture. (Thumbs-up!)
 

Arcy

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How about stringing to a tail piece? Or will that change the break angle enough that you’d need other alterations for it to work (probably)?
 

Jerryc41

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How about stringing to a tail piece? Or will that change the break angle enough that you’d need other alterations for it to work (probably)?

Yes, that was another idea I had, but I went with a regular bridge.
 

KohanMike

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I thought about doing string-through, but I'd have to remove the license plate every time I changed strings. I could push the strings through, but I wouldn't be able to tie a knot or add a bead at the end of the string. Three more screws might make the plate secure enough. You did a nice job of modifying the picture. (Thumbs-up!)

What if you put an access panel on the back like the ones on bass ukes? I've done graphic design since the 1970s and use a very good app, Canvas Draw on my Mac, which in my experience is more efficient than the suite of Adobe apps. I'm sure you'e seen my mockups of the bass ukes I have modified.

Rondo rear access panel.png
 

Jerryc41

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What if you put an access panel on the back like the ones on bass ukes? I've done graphic design since the 1970s and use a very good app, Canvas Draw on my Mac, which in my experience is more efficient than the suite of Adobe apps. I'm sure you'e seen my mockups of the bass ukes I have modified.

Rondo rear access panel.png

Yes, and I could put an actuator in there and use a remote control to open it. ;)

Graphic design has changed a lot since the 1970s. Who would have thought 3D printers would be readily available now?

Actually, that idea did occur to me, but that would just add complication - and work.
 

dwizum

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I'd go with a tailpiece - keeps the tension off the top. Look at how banjos are built. You basically have the same thing - a "wimpy" top. If you need the strings to terminate closer to the bridge versus back at the tail, you could just extend the tailpiece over the top. You might even be able to use a tailpiece from another instrument to keep it simple.

Another idea - what about fashioning a frame to go around the plate and hold it tight to the sides? That could keep it from buzzing at least, but might not be enough to keep the plate from warping around the bridge. Then again a deformed plate might not be a serious condition on something like this.

If or when you add soundholes I'd probably put them in the side, versus the top, I'd guess that cutting a hole in the plate would make it less stable.

Cool project!