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Thread: A concert uke: not the usual Indian unboxing story

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Cumbria, NW England
    Posts
    518

    Default A concert uke: not the usual Indian unboxing story

    I get the impression that the USA is awash with old cedar cigar boxes and that many would be music makers have used them to knock up some kind of instrument. Here in the UK we have neither the supply of boxes nor the tradition of such instruments.

    With this in mind, I set to with an old Indian jewellery box to make a concert scale uke. The box 10”x 6” approx. was heavy with 10mm sides and top in a rosewood type wood. The solution was to split the box, only the decorated lid being used as the back for this instrument. It was not square and was warped so needed truing up.

    New butt and neck ends were made in 10mm walnut with sides 3.5mm attached with corner lap joints. This true and square assembly was glued to the lid.

    A top was made in mahogany 1.6mm thick with a simple rosette made of 2 strips of walnut veneer. Homemade strips of maple/walnut/maple were used to decorate the top.

    A modified Chinese neck was tenoned to the box and a Chinese fretboard was used.

    I have made this over the last 5 days spending about 25 hrs in total.

    One of the photos show how the jewellery box uke compares with a concert scale soprano bodied uke. The jewellery box uke sounds less like a soprano than this instrument, it's less bright and a little warmer. Its loud with good sustain so I’m happy with the result. The other half of the box will get similar treatment.

    In the UK 26th Dec. is known as "Boxing Day". It seemed like an appropriate day to post this build!

    box1.jpgbox2.jpgbox3.jpgbox5.jpgbox4.jpg

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    Location
    Brenchley, Kent, England
    Posts
    53

    Default

    Neat! Lovely piece of upcycling. Any sound files?
    Pete Howlett 'Deacon' - low G (That One With The Amazing Back)
    Gold Tone small bodied Tenor resonator - high g
    Kala Tenor resonator - low G

    Also Mark Savoy G melodeon, Andy Norman DG Anglo, Alba & MK whistles, Dave Copley flutes and Jon Swayne bagpipes. Well, keeps me busy.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Posts
    8,390

    Default

    Very cool, I love the carving.
    There was a "Build your own cigar box uke" workshop here lately. 4 of my friends are sporting their own now.
    "Those who bring sunshine and laughter to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves".

    Music washes from the soul, the dust of everyday living.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Greenville, VA.
    Posts
    794

    Default

    One of the nicest box ukuleles I'm seen.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    326

    Default

    Truely a beautiful and unique ukulele.
    LACole
    Laurie Ann Cole

    Northern UK20 Concert Mahogany GCEA Aquila Lava
    2018
    Beaver Creek BCUKEFM-T Tenor Maple Flame gCEA D’addario Pro Arte
    Eddy Finn EF-Moon Concert Mahogany gCEA Aquila SuperNylgut
    Beaver Creek BCUKE-S Soprano Mahogany gCEA D’addario Black Nylon
    2019
    Ohana PKC-25G Concert Mahogany Pineapple gCEA Aquila
    Donner DUC-3 Concert Spruce/Mahogany gCEA Donner

    CPM CT-Q2 chromatic clip on tuner
    Snark SN-4 tuner
    Donner tuner

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Cumbria, NW England
    Posts
    518

    Default

    Thanks for the positive comments.

    My last 3 ukes have been non standard ukes made by recycling objects. I like the challenge of making something a little different and deciding how to achieve my goals. It has become addictive and I see potential sound boxes everywhere: there are currently 2 more projects on the go. I hope by posting these builds others might be encouraged to take the plunge. As a hobby, making a uke doesn't have to require expensive materials (I don't need to tell jcalkin) or lots of specialist tools!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    London, UK
    Posts
    294

    Default

    Looks great! Would love to hear it.

    This reminds me, one day I want to build a kabosy! It's a traditional box-shaped instrument from Madagascar. Ever tried one of those?

    I am a luthier specialising in historical and world stringed instruments. You can see more info at my website.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Australia.
    Posts
    187

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dusepo View Post
    Looks great! Would love to hear it.

    This reminds me, one day I want to build a kabosy!
    A little known fact about the kabosy, is that the fret wire is made from Unobtainium, or sometimes the even rarer Madagascan Eludium.
    This means that there is never enough fret wire available at any given time to do a complete fret job.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    London, UK
    Posts
    294

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bazuku View Post
    A little known fact about the kabosy, is that the fret wire is made from Unobtainium, or sometimes the even rarer Madagascan Eludium.
    This means that there is never enough fret wire available at any given time to do a complete fret job.
    Lol, it's for playing in certain keys like a dulcimer. Partial frets like this were also used on some renaissance citterns.
    Anyway, enough threadjacking great work anyway!
    I am a luthier specialising in historical and world stringed instruments. You can see more info at my website.

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