Saturday, December 24, 2016
My Granddaughter Maggie has been pestering me for a long time to make her a ukulele, and I have been avoiding the project, but she got the best of me about a month ago.
I don't have a body mold or any of the necessary jigs to accommodate building a traditional uke, but I did manage to wrap my head around the project and I came up with what I think is a reasonable facsimile.
A 9-inch diameter black walnut nut bowl was gathering dust in my shop, so it became the body for the new venture. A through-body walnut neck with Indian rosewood headstock overlay and leopardwood fingerboard was adapted to the bowl. With the neck in place, the curly maple top was added to finish off the design.
I cut specially designed soundholes in the top to allow sound to escape the sound chamber (the bowl). But, to add a little oomph, two piezo transducer pickups were glued under the bridge and connected to an output jack, so Mag can play he 'uke' through an amp.
Open-gear tuning machines draw the strings from the exposed tailpiece over a custom made Corian saddle and nut.