SU uke build : part 01 – Plans

Another ukulele build under way. Once again, I feel getting the plans right before embarking on cutting wood is really important. So many charectaristics of the build need to be considered.

Gibsons SG guitar is an iconic guitar played by the likes of AC/DC’s Angus Young and Black Sabbath’s Tonni Iomi. It is a solid guitar (hence SG) made from mahogany, with twin humbuckers. My version is obviously a Solid Ukulele and therefore SU.

I have not seen anything quite like what I was looking for in this SU. There are electric ukes out there that are styled like Gibson Les Paul’s and they look really good too, but they don’t seem to truely embrace the Gibson design totally.

For instance, there is a German company called Risa who make lovely looking Les Paul style ukes. While they do have both neck and bridge humbuckers and 2+2 opposing machine heads, the bridge looks like a Fender bridge. I really want to maintain the Gibson look and feel, so for my build, I am going to have to look for Gibson style bridges.

For the body shape, I took some SG pictures I found on google and traced them (in software), and scaled the outline down to ukulele size. This one is going to be a tenor scale uke, purely because tenors fit my finger size better, and it gives more playable frets. The gaps at the high end of the neck on sopranos and concert style ukes are mostly too small for my fingers and therfore unplayable for me.

At this stage I am not sure about how to tune it though. As I have already decided to go Tenor to give more high end space, it seems logical to use a low ‘G’. Tenors can be either tuned to re-entrant gCEA or have a sequential GCEA tuning. Smaller ukes such as sopranos are typically all gCEA, where the ‘g’ string is one octave higher, or to put it another way, 2 semitones lower than the high ‘A’ string. Having said all that, I have never played a low ‘G’ tuned uke and may change my mind if it does not sit right. I think low ‘G’ will give a more rock sound though.

Pickups are another important thing to consider. On the Tearcaster build, I thought just one single coil pickup is enough. The simplistic build. For this SU build, 2 pairs of humbuckers are the order of the day.

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