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Thread: A pearfectly cheeky tenor

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Cumbria, NW England

    Default A pearfectly cheeky tenor

    Recently I bought a pear-shaped fruit bowl in a charity shop (£10). It is made from a wood similar to acacia and shouted, ‘Soundbox’ as soon as I saw it.

    It was a little on the large size for a tenor box, too deep, too thick-walled and heavy. So, I reduced the box depth and spent a few sessions trying to make the shape more symmetrical and lighter. The wall thickness varied between 8 and 15mm. I worked on the outside only and when my patience ran out, it was down to about 7 mm. It’s still heavy for a uke but OK.

    Making the WR cedar soundboard was the easy part. I only used linings adjacent to the soundhole to support the tranverse braces (overkill): the sides were thick enough for the top.
    The neck is cut down from a Chinese neck. Because of the extra length of the body it’s joined at the 12th fret. The fretboard and bridge are also Chinese made.

    ABS plastic is used around the soundhole and for the binding. I expected the binding to be a pain in the butt but I was relieved to find all went well. Shellac/Tru oil is used except for the soundboard where polyurethane over shellac is used for protection.

    I probably spent about 20-25 hours on this project. As a hobby maker, it’s doing something a little different that gets me into the workshop. I know its only a novelty item but for some it may be a way into instrument making.

    It sounds great with lots of volume and sustain and a deep rich tone: I think it sounds as good as any conventional tenor that I’ve made. The last photo shows its size compared to a conventional tenor.

    For those of you thinking about making a banjo uke, check out the acacia fruit bowls to be found in some Asda and other stores in the UK.


  2. #2


    That's a great project.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    West Midlands GB


    That's a beautiful instrument - and it's got a lovely bum!

    John Colter

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Hudson, MA


    Nice idea. Most of my projects go all pear-shaped but you really did it

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    New Zealand


    Great job. I love it.
    Kind Regards
    Southern Cross Banjo Ukes & Ukuleles
    Proudly Hand Crafted in
    New Zealand.

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