Telecaster uke build : part 03 – Cutting the neck

This neck started out as a .75 X 3 inch maple board.  I traced out the headstock and figured out how long the rest of the neck needed to be.  The overall scale length will be 15 inches.

Once again, a scroll saw was used to cut the wood.

I marked the nut and fret positions and then used the “waste” piece to keep the neck square as I cut the slots with a thin bladed saw and a miter box.  Once I get a drill press, I’ll  drill the tuning machine holes.  I will use black dots as the fret markers.  These will contrast nicely with the maple wood.

I used a roundover bit on my router to rough out the profile of the neck.

A spoke shave is an awesome tool for carving necks.  With it, I was able to transform the bulky, squarish board into a smooth and comfortable neck in a relatively short time.  Some 100 and 220 grit sandpaper also helped to get rid of the rough edges.

Once I drill the holes, set the frets, and inlay the dots, the neck will be ready for a clear coat laquer.

Telecaster uke build : part 02 – Cutting the body

I started this project by printing out a body and a headtstock on some paper.  This is done to make sure that all of the parts will fit, and so that I can see if everything is proportional.  These papers will be used to mark the lines on the wood to be cut.

The body is made of 1.5 inch thick alder.  I cut out the body with a scroll saw.  A scroll saw is a great tool for this type of job.

The body is now cut out.  Next will come sanding, routing, drilling, and more sanding.  When all of that is accomplished, then I can start preparing it for painting.

Telecaster uke build : part 01 – Idea

Ahh…the Telecaster.  The iconic guitar that launched 10,000 licks.  Elegant in it’s beauty and playability.   Everyman in it’s straightforward design and construction.

Okay.  Enough pontification.

The very first electric ukulele that I built was styled after a Telecaster.  I used a neck from a kit because I didn’t have the resources or skills to make my own. All of the main parts were the same ones that would be used on a full-sized Tele.  I liked the functionally of the two pickups and the selector switch, but the small body left very little surface area for all of the parts.

I am going to revisit my first build and make another Telecaster ukulele.  The desire is to make an instrument that plays beautifully and resembles a Standard Telecaster.  Here are some things that I want to incorporate into this ukulele:

  • 15 inch scale.  Most of my other builds have been soprano scale, but I want this to be a little longer.
  • One piece maple neck and fretboard.  This will add a degree of difficulty to the build.  If I mess up the fretboard, the whole neck is trash.
  • One pickup with tone and volume controls.
  • String-thru-body bridge.
  • Fiesta Red nitrocellulose lacquer finish.  Thankfully, I have some of this paint leftover from my Jag-Stang ukulele build.

That should wrap up the preliminary stuff.  I’m excited to get working on this thing!