Crazy Idea for a Custom Uke Designed Particularly For Piedmont Blues Style

hollisdwyer

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I used to be a guitar player and my favourite style was alternating base finger picking best exemplified by Mississippi John Hurt. I guess that the acquisition of my John Morton Reso and starting to perform blues more often has made me want just one more string so I could play like I did when I had my guitar tuned in open D.
So if I ever win the lottery and could commission a new custom build, what do you think about a 5 string (with evenly distributed spacing) tenor or baritone, that would allow for the 3rd and 5th strings to be tuned an octave apart?
I would want another Reso build to allow it to be kept in an open tuning all the time ( this is a dream build after all so why not be indulgent).
Thoughts?
 
A uke like that and the drop tuning sounds a match made in Chicago.

To test the concept, you could import a used/inexpensive tiple de menorca or guitarro and install a pickup. Alternatively, could also mount only 5 strings on a low-end 3/4-size guitar.
 
I'm with yea! If you can play it I'm willing to give you a listen. I'd go reso with wood body, but that's just me.
A wood bodied Reso would be a good counterpoint to my nickel bodied one. I used to own a National Resophonic Radiotone single cone resonator. It had an interesting mix of the metallic Reso sound combined with the warmth of a wood body.
 
A uke like that and the drop tuning sounds a match made in Chicago.

To test the concept, you could import a used/inexpensive tiple de menorca or guitarro and install a pickup. Alternatively, could also mount only 5 strings on a low-end 3/4-size guitar.
That’s a great idea David. What sparked my idea was seeing Keith Richards play a custom built 5 string guitar. I thought if a guitar can be built like that why couldn’t a Uke?
 
That’s a great idea David. What sparked my idea was seeing Keith Richards play a custom built 5 string guitar. I thought if a guitar can be built like that why couldn’t a Uke?
I'm getting a 5 course instrument built - I hesitate to call it an ukulele because it'll be in 5ths tuning, but it's a teardrop shaped, and I think between soprano and concert scale (if I remember correctly). So yeah! Do it!!
 
I guess that the acquisition of my John Morton Reso and starting to perform blues more often has made me want just one more string so I could play like I did when I had my guitar tuned in open D
I would want another Reso build to allow it to be kept in an open tuning all the time

Alternating bass finger picking is a favourite style. I get close on four strings by mapping the guitar bass strings to the baritone D and G, and the guitar trebles to the baritone G, B, E strings.



A non custom approach would begin with the shortest scale resonators available (likely 22”) which gets close to 20” baritone scale), and install 5 strings or 6 strings.

Perhaps ask on the Steel String Guitar forum about the shortest scale and smallest resonators available. And post a “wanted” message in the marketplace sub forum.

Cheers
 
Alternating bass finger picking is a favourite style. I get close on four strings by mapping the guitar bass strings to the baritone D and G, and the guitar trebles to the baritone G, B, E strings.



A non custom approach would begin with the shortest scale resonators available (likely 22”) which gets close to 20” baritone scale), and install 5 strings or 6 strings.

Perhaps ask on the Steel String Guitar forum about the shortest scale and smallest resonators available. And post a “wanted” message in the marketplace sub forum.

Cheers
Thanks for the suggestion but the reason I stopped playing a longer scale length instrument like a guitar was because, with age, my wrists were wearing out (even playing a parlour guitar). A tenor ukulele is comfortable for me and I could probably handle a short scale baritone but nothing longer. That’s why my scenario was based on a custom build. When playing in open D or other open tunings I would use my thumb picking a pattern like this: 6,4,6,5,6,4 etc and use my index finger for melody mostly on the first and second strings. Although I can get close using 4 strings on a Uke, I’d like a more textured bass line. Here’s an example of the style I’d like to get back to:
 
@hollisdwyer, may I suggest getting in touch with Bruce Wei in Vietnam, bruceweiguitar@yahoo.com.tw, he's my go-to luthier since 2014, does excellent work and at a very reasonable cost, tell him I sent you. I recently had him make me an all solid spalted maple tenor cutaway thinline uke (configured exactly like the Kala Travel uke) for $875 including express shipping to Los Angeles. He makes all kinds of instruments and will do anything the client asks. He's making me an all solid mahogany thinline right now, takes him about 2 months.
 
@hollisdwyer, may I suggest getting in touch with Bruce Wei in Vietnam, bruceweiguitar@yahoo.com.tw, he's my go-to luthier since 2014, does excellent work and at a very reasonable cost, tell him I sent you. I recently had him make me an all solid spalted maple tenor cutaway thinline uke (configured exactly like the Kala Travel uke) for $875 including express shipping to Los Angeles. He makes all kinds of instruments and will do anything the client asks. He's making me an all solid mahogany thinline right now, takes him about 2 months.
Thanks for your recommendation but I know that if I want a Reso tenor or baritone with a spun aluminium cone that is substantially larger than the 6” ones that are manufactured in china (which are used in all the factory produced reso’s), I’m going to have to find a luthier that spins their own like I did with the John Morton Reso tenor that I recently acquired. That has a cone that is just shy of 8 inches. That extra diameter really makes a difference. I also recently learned how few luthiers are currently doing work like this. There are some and the quality they produce is outstanding but the cost, albeit justified, is eye watering. That’s why my post is at the level of fantasy and dreams.
 
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