Distractions #2

Back in March, I wrote about making Ukuleles (see “Distractions”)The first three Ukuleles mentioned in that post, have actually been complete for a while. In fact, one has gone to Africa and back, and another to Nicaragua and back, which may be insightful of how much SOLO staff travel and less to do with the ukuleles. The tenor ukulele that I built has traveled the least but has at least been to the boat a number of times.

The tenor Ukulele, built from plans bought from Stewart MacDonald Music, is the one destined to live on the boat. It turned out well and has a nice tone. I would note that if you work from these plans, double check the measurements everywhere. In particular, if you are new to this kind of project, take the measurements for the fret placement off the tables provided on the sheet of drawings and do not measure from from the drawing itself. This is a 17” Ukulele, which means that the string length from bridge to nut is 17”.

The model that I made has mahogany sides, a back made of rock maple, the neck is a combination of cherry and maple with an ebony inlay, and the face is made from Douglas fir.  Much of the wood used in this instrument came from pieces left over from the restoration of our Friendship Sloop, so it is fitting that it will live mostly on the boat. The nut and bridge on this instrument are made of bone and the sound quality is pretty good.

the tenor ukulele

the tenor ukulele

The soprano shown below was built directly from a kit bought through Lark in the Morning. The main problem after completing the kit “as is” is that the action is so very high that it is impossible to play. We tinkered with it though and got it to sound acceptable.

kit ukulele

kit ukulele

another shot of the kit ukulele

another shot of the kit ukulele

The next soprano used the neck and fret board that came from the Lark in The Morning kit, but had a custom body. The body has sides and back made of Rock Maple and a face made of Douglas fir. The sound hole is unusual and does not seem to affect the sound one way or the other. We had the same difficulty with the action on this one that we had on the other kit. In both cases the bridge had to be lowered and the nut filed down in order to make playing the instrument possible.

custom soprano ukulele

custom soprano ukulele

In summary; we bought the kits for the two sopranos because we wanted to save the hassle and time of making up fret boards and the matching nut, saddle, and bridge. I think in the end, we spent just as much time fussing with the kit version of these as we would have had we made them from scratch.

The next two Ukuleles will be concert sized and built from plans from Hana Lima Ia.

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One Response to “Distractions #2”

  1. ROXY MARJ Says:

    love your blog! just found it through my google search on tree houses!! 🙂

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