Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 22

Thread: 4 to 8 string conversion?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    FL, USA
    Posts
    793

    Default 4 to 8 string conversion?

    Just tossing this out there, to see if anyone has tried doing this? Yes, I saw the YT videos of the guy doing this to cheap plastic ukes, but I'm talking about a serious instrument. I can see reasons it wouldn't be advisable, namely doubling the string tension, but are there ways to strengthen an instrument to accommodate that? I ask because there are so few 8-string instruments of any quality, reflected in their high-ish prices and difficult availability in the used market, while there are a whole lot of decent 4-stringers out there.

    I once converted a guitar from 6 to 8 strings - of course I did it the easy way, and attached a tailpiece for support. Can't really imagine doing that on a uke, though. But having played mandola, I am jonesing for an 8-string....

    bratsche
    A bunch of stringed instruments tuned in fifths. And a bunch of cats!


    "There are two refuges from the miseries of life: music and cats." - Albert Schweitzer

    GearGems - Gifts & apparel for musicians and more!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Sweet Home Osaka Japan
    Posts
    652

    Default

    Hi, bratsche (viola)!

    Late Wataru Takada is legendary folk song singer in Japan. He tried to make a 8 string instrument, because he thought ukulele is too quiet about 50 years a go.

    思ったような大きな音がでないので
    『僕は自分でウクレレのネックの一部を切り落とし、中継ぎをしてビスで止め、
    弦を4本プラスして8本にした。改造は成功したかのように見えた。だが、
    弦を張ったとたん、その張力で弦の元にある枕(ブリッジ)が飛んでしまった。
    大枚をはたいて買ったウクレレは、一瞬にして見るも無惨な姿に変わり果てた。』
    (バーボンストリートブルースより引用)

    It doesn't sound enough
    " I cut off a part of the neck, connect them with a sprint by screws.
    I added 4 strings and made a 8 string instrument. It looked ok, but.
    As soon as I strung, the bridge brake.
    Very expensive ukulele has turned to be rubbish at once.
    (from Bourbon Street Blues by Wataru Takada)



    Lately this Kamaka is repaired by a claft man and now it is playable.
    Last edited by zztush; 11-13-2017 at 03:36 PM. Reason: typo
    Kamaka HF-1 100

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Upper Hale, Surrey/Hants border, UK.
    Posts
    5,062

    Default

    I don't think I'd try it, even on a laminate, the string tension is very likely to do damage, as a uke is lightly made.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Queanbeyan, NSW Australia.
    Posts
    1,660

    Default

    I have 3 8 stringers and to be honest the tops aren't built stronger than the 4 stringers that I can see. If anything most ukuleles are so overbuilt that it takes 8 strings to drive the tops properly anyway.

    The problems that you will face is, a, somewhere for the extra tuners as 8 string instruments have longer headstocks and ,b, 8 string necks are usually a fraction wider than 4 string necks.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Perth, Western Australia
    Posts
    1,206

    Default

    I don’t have a photo of the bracing of a 4 string but here is a build photo of my Barron River 8:

    61670E0A-6DC1-4627-9C6E-B16F6CEC5969.jpg

    4 string Ukes have less bracing. Headstock has to be much longer, even if you use the Gotoh stealth tuners which are quite small.
    "All worthwhile things in life should be easy to learn but hard to master"

    Current Instruments:
    Boat Paddle ML tenor - Red Spruce over Cocobolo
    Barron River 8 string tenor - All Honduran Quilted/Waterfall Figured Mahogany
    Collings UC2 Concert - All Mahogany
    Hoffmann Lutherie - Baritone - Master Grade Ebony and AAA Red Spruce
    Beau Hannam Custom Tenor - Vintage Hand Rubbed Sun Burst all Tasmanian Blackwood

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    FL, USA
    Posts
    793

    Default

    Appreciate the input. I'm not at all convinced I will take on this project, due to the time consuming factor and the uncertainty of outcome. At this stage of life, I'll probably just buy an 8-stringer eventually, if I keep on wanting one. But I find it interesting that some people find ukuleles to be lightly built, while others say they're overbuilt. I only have two ukes (both Pono) and they feel light to me, but I have never held another beside them to know how they compare. They are certainly a lot lighter than my steel stringed (mandolin family) instruments! Best to just get something made with 8 tuning machines and a comfortable neck width, I guess. Also, of course, there is the matter of the internal bracing to consider.

    bratsche
    A bunch of stringed instruments tuned in fifths. And a bunch of cats!


    "There are two refuges from the miseries of life: music and cats." - Albert Schweitzer

    GearGems - Gifts & apparel for musicians and more!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Oop North in England
    Posts
    5,399

    Default

    I think the question of lightly built depends on the quality of your instruments. Cheaper instruments are more likely to be overbuilt. I have a 6 and an 8 string both Baton Rouge instruments. I'm very happy with them. They are modestly priced but came with good set up and I like their tone. The have fairly large body which gives them a full and quite rich tone. They are not very expensive and could well be a bit overbuilt. They are all laminate but the top isn't too thick. Baton Rouge is a German company but they have their ukes built in China but ensure the quality control is good and that shows in the quality of finish.

    I'm pleased with them and they sound good to me and others seem to agree.
    Geoff Walker

    I have several ukuleles in various sizes and am not planning on getting any more...

    at least, not yet.

    I also play some blowy things and a squeezy thing

    Internet:
    You Tube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/TootlinGeoff
    Soundcloud: http://soundcloud.com/tootlingeoff

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Posts
    5

    Default

    Just saw this thread, wanted to add that I just did it to a tenor uke and it worked quite well.

    The Worth C8 strings are excellent, by the way.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Twin Cities Area, Minnesota
    Posts
    1,688

    Default

    Since the thread is re-opened; 8 strings seem to be more common in 2018 than they were when this thread was written.

    Kala introduced a Baritone 8 string rather recently...and there is a Makala 8 string tenor on the way...along with 8 string offerings in tenor scale by Kala, Ohana, Oscar Schmidt (really affordable—have no idea about how it plays), Baton Rouge (which I own, thanks to the review by gotaukulele.com), Pono (I think Uke Republic Still has them), and even Kamaka. And that only includes the tenor offerings, and not the Taropatch models (concert sized eight strings). I’m pretty sure that Bonanza can even make you an eight string tenor if you ask for one.

    That’s a pretty large range of options for a 8 string tenors, at price points that would make most people just choose to buy a second instrument as an eight string versus converting a four string tenor to an eight string. I can see buying a very cheap ukulele just to prove the point and to be able to do it...but otherwise, I’d buy one just off the shelf.

    Incidentally, I use my eight string when I am wanting more volume or at a jam that involves plain strumming.

    I’m finding that I really enjoy concert size the best, so I am starting a search of Taropatch models. If anyone has a recent Ohana Taropatch they would consider selling—don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’ve procrastinated on the last few that Mim had in stock, although I’m sure she’ll get them in again.
    Playing ukulele since January 2016.

    Have you participated in the thread, "How the Ukulele Found You?" If not, please consider adding your story--they are just fun to read.

    http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/...lele-found-you

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Posts
    5

    Default

    There's no such thing as a cheap 8 string uke in Brazil. 8 string ones are very rare here, you will never see one being sold in music stores.

    You could ask for a luthier to build one, which will be expensive. The other option is to order online, which will also be expensive to be delivered here.

    I managed to buy a regular solid spruce top with zebra wood sides/back specifically to add the 4 new strings.

    I know it's a bold move. I added 8 holes to the bridge changing it from "tie-bridge" to "string-through bridge", so that there's no bridge detatching issues.

    Of course, one built specifically to become a 8 string uke will give you no worries.

    I still have some doubts about the neck bending/detatching, and I'm willing to take the risk.

    So far, so good. Everything is working perfectly with it.
    Last edited by Marcio; 07-03-2018 at 05:50 PM.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •