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Thread: 'Sows Ear' into a 'Silk Purse'? Mahalo Makeover Thread

  1. #1
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    Cool 'Sows Ear' into a 'Silk Purse'? Mahalo Makeover Thread

    OK - so my first Uke was a lovely Christmas gift from my wife - but with a couple more now in the house to play, I now get the chance to indulge in my love of 'tinkering'!

    I hope the real luthiers will forgive me - but I thought I'd share my attempts with you all.

    Silk Purse out of a Sow's Ear? Or just a slightly more shiny Sow's Ear? Who knows - but here goes!

    How the uke looked 'out of the box'

    IMG_0163.jpg

    And here's what we have today!

    P1040098.jpg

    P1040099.jpg
    Keith

    Mahalo 2020 Soprano - or at least it used to be! http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/fo...akeover-Thread
    Aria ACU-250 Concert
    Clearwater UCW7T Tenor
    Epiphone Les Paul Concert
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  2. #2
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    Headstock label removed

    P1040095.jpg

    Holes left after cheap and nasty electronics removed!

    P1040097.jpg

    P1040096.jpg

    Cheap saddle and nut to be replaced by cheap bone nut and saddle sourced from China! (Don't worry - I now know that nut slots should be cut with 'slightly' more precision than those you see on the left of this piccy! )

    P1040094.jpg
    Keith

    Mahalo 2020 Soprano - or at least it used to be! http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/fo...akeover-Thread
    Aria ACU-250 Concert
    Clearwater UCW7T Tenor
    Epiphone Les Paul Concert
    Fender 52 Telecaster Concert

  3. #3
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    What fun. What type of pickup are you installing?

    Good luck and don't forget the whammy bar!

  4. #4
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    Just to give an example of my 'tinkering' - here's something completely different!

    From this :

    exterior1.JPG rear110.JPG

    To this :

    ext21.JPG final13.JPG

    Keith

    Mahalo 2020 Soprano - or at least it used to be! http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/fo...akeover-Thread
    Aria ACU-250 Concert
    Clearwater UCW7T Tenor
    Epiphone Les Paul Concert
    Fender 52 Telecaster Concert

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by vanflynn View Post
    What fun. What type of pickup are you installing?

    Good luck and don't forget the whammy bar!
    I toyed with the idea of fitting another pickup, but now I have my electro/acoustic tenor, I'll probably not bother......if I do, it'll be a double piezo mounted under the bridge, rather than the braid type under the saddle.

    But no whammy bar....
    Keith

    Mahalo 2020 Soprano - or at least it used to be! http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/fo...akeover-Thread
    Aria ACU-250 Concert
    Clearwater UCW7T Tenor
    Epiphone Les Paul Concert
    Fender 52 Telecaster Concert

  6. #6
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    Looks like you're having fun... cool. Is there a "before" sound sample we might be able to hear alongside an "after" sample when it's all said and done?
    Tobin Crooks

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by tobinsuke View Post
    Looks like you're having fun... cool. Is there a "before" sound sample we might be able to hear alongside an "after" sample when it's all said and done?
    Sorry - no sound samples. I will only be adding a bit of veneer to the sides which shouldn't change the sound much. It's a laminate Mahalo after all - and whilst its a nice little Uke as a starter, I don't think anything will make it sound 'better'.

    But it will hopefully look nicer!
    Keith

    Mahalo 2020 Soprano - or at least it used to be! http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/fo...akeover-Thread
    Aria ACU-250 Concert
    Clearwater UCW7T Tenor
    Epiphone Les Paul Concert
    Fender 52 Telecaster Concert

  8. #8
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    Fair enough. I was more thinking about the pickup. I started on a Mahalo as well. Didn't have the heart to tinker with it, though. I think we all like to believe we got the magical "1 out of 5".... Until you play another one, that is. Ha ha. Have fun.
    Tobin Crooks

  9. #9
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    OK, so I've now sourced the veneer - it's a nicely figured piece of 0.6mm Sycamore which will certainly be enough for the sides and then some! I plan on re-facing the front of the headstock too, and the chap I've bought it from is including a piece of Walnut for me to make a headstock inlay out of.

    There should also be enough left over to think about making a matched covering for the back of the uke, although I'm a little worried that increasing the thickness of the back too much might negatively affect the sound?

    What I plan to do is reduce the thickness of the back by at least one layer of veneer (it's obviously a laminate), so that should negate that a fair bit - although I'd be very grateful for some expert input on that front.

    I've also been looking at replacing the bridge and saddle whilst I'm at it.....

    I'm going to go for the 'Leader' gold friction pegs with amber buttons in keeping with the 'gold and brown' overall colour theme.

    Anyway - pics to follow once all the stuff arrives......
    Keith

    Mahalo 2020 Soprano - or at least it used to be! http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/fo...akeover-Thread
    Aria ACU-250 Concert
    Clearwater UCW7T Tenor
    Epiphone Les Paul Concert
    Fender 52 Telecaster Concert

  10. #10
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    In between night shifts, I've managed to do a bit of rough prep :

    P1040103.jpg

    P1040101.jpg

    P1040102.jpg

    There's some rub through on the back, but the sides and back are going to be refaced anyway, so I'll probably take the back down even thinner (through the top layer of veneer) so I don't add too much to the overall thickness.

    I think I'll also remove the bridge and replace it with something a little nicer.
    Keith

    Mahalo 2020 Soprano - or at least it used to be! http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/fo...akeover-Thread
    Aria ACU-250 Concert
    Clearwater UCW7T Tenor
    Epiphone Les Paul Concert
    Fender 52 Telecaster Concert

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