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Thread: My eternal search for the steel string electric ukulele: Modifying a Gitarlele?

  1. #1
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    Cool My eternal search for the steel string electric ukulele: Modifying a Gitarlele?

    I've been trying to get my hands on a nice electric ukulele for over 3 years.

    Extra cash has always been an issue, so saving up for the $600+ Risas or Kamoas have been difficult. I was very interested in the Jupiter creek due to the price, and came close to making an order before he passed away.

    Its been many months and Im back to searching the web for more possibilities, and I stumbled upon this thing

    Its an electric, steel string, solid body mini guitar. the accustic Guitarlele's have seemed to be popping up more recently. Even my wife got one for travel.

    Since its $135, I could easily grab one of these guys eventually and test the waters, Im wondering if you musical geniuses can confirm weather or not 2 strings could be removed, and the remainder be tuned into GCEA?

  2. #2
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    I've got something similar made by Grafter, with a 20" scale length, so more of a baritone than a tenor in ukulele sizes. I've got that strung GDAE, like a mandolin or fiddle, but an octave down, like an "Irish" tenor banjo. As for string tuning, it's all down to choosing an appropriate gauge for the scale length at a "sensible" tension ... there are on-line string tension calculators that work well.

    As for the actual removal of two strings ... to my mind, it's not an optimal solution. The neck "feels wrong" to me if using the original string spacing, either the four top strings or the four middle strings. Originally, re-slotting the nut wasn't an option as my instrument had "Stratocaster-style" 6-pole pickups so the relative string positions were fixed. I've subsequently "upgraded" to a bar-type humbucker but there's still the issue of needing a suitable 4-string bridge ... all in all, I wouldn't bother again

    If I was to buy a "Vorson T Style Guitarlele" I'd buy it as an electric Guitarlele and learn to play six strings ... YMMV
    There are those who will wax lyrical about the ability to play a double shuffle with a split fan and a tight G-string ...
    it just makes me walk funny!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by kypfer View Post
    I've got something similar made by Grafter, with a 20" scale length, so more of a baritone than a tenor in ukulele sizes. I've got that strung GDAE, like a mandolin or fiddle, but an octave down, like an "Irish" tenor banjo. As for string tuning, it's all down to choosing an appropriate gauge for the scale length at a "sensible" tension ... there are on-line string tension calculators that work well.

    As for the actual removal of two strings ... to my mind, it's not an optimal solution. The neck "feels wrong" to me if using the original string spacing, either the four top strings or the four middle strings. Originally, re-slotting the nut wasn't an option as my instrument had "Stratocaster-style" 6-pole pickups so the relative string positions were fixed. I've subsequently "upgraded" to a bar-type humbucker but there's still the issue of needing a suitable 4-string bridge ... all in all, I wouldn't bother again

    If I was to buy a "Vorson T Style Guitarlele" I'd buy it as an electric Guitarlele and learn to play six strings ... YMMV
    Well I JUST discovered they have a line of ukuleles...
    They seem great quality for the insanely low price... do you have any clue if they make their Vorson ukuleles any bigger than soprano? like tenor or concert?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by masterolive View Post
    Well I JUST discovered they have a line of ukuleles...
    They seem great quality for the insanely low price... do you have any clue if they make their Vorson ukuleles any bigger than soprano? like tenor or concert?
    http://www.americanmusical.com/Item--i-VOR-FLPUK2-LIST

    Search for threads about these on this forum too.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by kypfer View Post
    I've got something similar made by Grafter, with a 20" scale length, so more of a baritone than a tenor in ukulele sizes. I've got that strung GDAE, like a mandolin or fiddle, but an octave down, like an "Irish" tenor banjo. As for string tuning, it's all down to choosing an appropriate gauge for the scale length at a "sensible" tension ... there are on-line string tension calculators that work well.
    I'm trying to search for this without much luck. Is it Grafter or Crafter? Do they make a 20" scale 1/2 size bass? Do you have a link?

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Futurethink View Post
    http://www.americanmusical.com/Item--i-VOR-FLPUK2-LIST

    Search for threads about these on this forum too.
    came here to say this ^

    They have Strat and Tele styles too, all on this page:

    http://www.americanmusical.com/Specialty-Ukuleles

    AMS ^ seems to be the main reseller of these ukes in the USA, and they seem to ship from Oakland NJ. I got my Vorson LP style in 2 days, since I too am in NJ.

    Not up to the build quality of a RISA LP or RISA Bean, nor the Kamoa E3E, this is the shortest path and cheapest path to a playable, tenor scale, steel string uke with decent pickups.

    You owe it to yourself to check the somewhat lengthy threads here on the forum that review dealing with the small quirks of this brand and model, otherwise disappointment due to broken expectations will be in your future. You need to adjust your expectations accordingly.

    IMHO, The only other viable option (for less $$$ then a RISA or Kamoa) would be a Konablaster, which you can see on Elderly here:

    http://www.elderly.com/catalogsearch...&q=konablaster

    Typically available in soprano or baritone scale, but it has been reported that the maker, Bruce Herron from Blue Star Guitar can do other sizes and customs:

    http://bluestarguitarcompany.com/ukuleles/1811901
    Guinea proverb: "A cow that has no tail should not try to chase away flies."

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Futurethink View Post
    I'm trying to search for this without much luck. Is it Grafter or Crafter? Do they make a 20" scale 1/2 size bass? Do you have a link?
    Sorry, mine's a little care-worn, the decal has chipped slightly, it could be Grafter or Crafter. It was cheap in a charity shop so I bought it to play with, I'm afraid I knew nothing else about it.

    I've done a quick search ... it's a Crafter Cruiser ... looks like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gUSCl9M7TY

    Hope this helps
    There are those who will wax lyrical about the ability to play a double shuffle with a split fan and a tight G-string ...
    it just makes me walk funny!

  8. #8

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    The Vorson steel string electrics are "OK" quality.

    I have owned my fair share of steel string electric ukuleles across the years...

    ALL the Risa steel string electrics (Risa Bean Soprano & Tenor, Risa LP Soprano & Tenor)
    Jupiter Creek
    Vorson
    Epiphone Mandobird IV (not recommended, the neck is narrow like a mandolin)
    Eastwood 4-string Tenor electric guitar (definitely worth checking out if you want to tune like a baritone ukulele)
    No-name 8-string electric ukulele from China.

    I may have forgotten one as I have gone through so many...

    The Vorson is great value for money, however their build quality is equivalent to that of an entry-level inexpensive Made in China electric guitar.
    They will definitely benefit from a setup when brand new and a change of strings. My preferred strings on Soprano and Tenor scale steel-string electric ukuleles are the DGBE strings tuned up to GCEA from a .009 or .010 electric guitar set. Easy.

    The headstock needed to be dremelled a bit on mine to make the truss rod accessible, as shown here:
    http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/...-Problem-FIXED

    After a setup, mine sounded very good. The pickups were actually decent quality with a crisp, single-coil tone with no hum.
    Of course it didn't have the luxury of the German-made Risa electrics, but for fraction of the price, it did OK.



    If you're looking for a cheap steel-string electric, Mahalo do one too:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/MAHALO-SOLID...UAAOSw-7RVCGp0

    I have only tried their nylon string model (which was so-so), so I don't exactly know how their steel string model is.
    LOL Maybe I'll eventually buy one to see what it's like (UAS strikes again!).


    I had a lengthy and costly affair with steel-string electric ukes.
    However, I found myself playing them less lately and have sold all of them over the years. I am having an affair with Pono acoustic ukuleles... an equally expensive venture.
    Last edited by kissing; 05-03-2016 at 01:39 AM.

  9. #9
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    Blue Star Konablaster have steel strings, are USA made, are very good and cost $300-$325. Recommended.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by kypfer View Post
    Sorry, mine's a little care-worn, the decal has chipped slightly, it could be Grafter or Crafter. It was cheap in a charity shop so I bought it to play with, I'm afraid I knew nothing else about it.

    I've done a quick search ... it's a Crafter Cruiser ... looks like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gUSCl9M7TY

    Hope this helps
    A half-size electric guitar. They're fairly common - Fender Squier, Samick/Greg Bennett and Epiphone all have interesting half-size electric guitars - basically they're electric guitaleles.

    But then now we're entering the realm of guitars and the argument becomes - if you're willing to play a 6-stringed instrument, you're no longer looking for an ukulele... you might as well just get a full sized electric guitar... ??

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