Loog’s new 3 String Electric Guitar

So we just heard of this company, Loog, that make kits for Electric 3 string guitars. If you have never built an instrument, or played one for that matter, these kits are a great way to start.

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Driven by a passion for music and design, Rafael Atijas created the Loog Guitar for his NYU Master’s thesis. Rafael then turned to Kickstarter to raise $15,000 for the project but was surprised with a whopping $65,618 in funding from people all over the world who believed in the concept of an elegant, top-quality, real instrument made from sustainable wood that makes it fun and easy for kids –and kids at heart- to play music.

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The Loog ships unassembled so that parents and kids can bond over (and with) the instrument before playing. Building it only takes 15 minutes and a Phillips screwdriver, and because this is a real guitar, kids and parents can play real chords and learn real songs.

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The Electric Loog
The electric Loog is a solid-body, 3-string guitar kit that comes in different colors and has a rocking Danelectro pickup. As with the original Loog, we are starting a Kickstarter campaign to enter production and hopefully make it a reality.

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If you want one, there’s more info on the Kickstarter project page. If you like it, please help us spread the word. Thanks so much for your support!

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Wave Electric Ukulele

I’ve built a bunch of electric ukulele, but all of them have been modeled after full size electric guitars.  For this project I set out to design my own electric ukulele.  I think it turned out great.

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My other electric ukuleles have been modeled after guitars from Fender and Gibson.  Can you name all of these models??

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Here are some sketches that I drew as I designed this instrument.  You can see how how the designed changed and progressed.

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I probably shouldn’t admit this, but part of the headstock design was influenced by the fact that I had quite a few left hand tuners in my possession.  I purchased sets of 3-on-a-side tuners to use for my Fender style builds, but only needed the right hand ones.

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After all of the parts were fitted, I leveled the body with some putty.  It is important to have the body as smooth as possible before the prime, and color coats.

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The body was primed, given a nitrocellulose color coat and then a nitrocellulose clear coat.

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I wanted to try having the volume knob on the side of the body instead of the top.  Doing this also allowed for a bigger cavity to house a push/pull switch to split the hot rail humbucker.  To keep the back and top as minimalist as possible, I drilled long holes from the pickup cavity to the combination strap peg/jack.

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I’ve named this the “Wave Ukulele” because the body made me think about waves crashing against the shore.  Once I gave this a name, I tied other design element to this theme.  The body is Sea Foam Green, and the fret markers, side markers and even the cap on the volume knob are abalone.

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This build was my first foray into the world of fanned frets.  The bottom string has a scale length of 17 inches and the top is 18 inches.   It’s a little different to play, but it’s very easy to get used to.  Make your own fanned fretboard with this tutorial. 

See it in action!

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NEW:- Kala U-Bass kits

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Ever wanted to build your own U-Bass but don’t know where to start? Well Kala now sell 4 and 5 string U-BASS Kits that include all the parts need to build your own custom U-BASS. You can even choose between fretted or fretless versions.

Add your own unique finish, and assemble. This is a very cost effective way to build a custom, one of a kind instrument with your own hands.

Includes Deluxe U-BASS Gig Bag. Custom Hipshot Tuners, Maple neck with rosewood fretboard and Swamp Ash Body

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ROCKSMITH 2014

ROCKSMITH 2014

If you only play ukulele (and never play guitar) you might not have heard of ubisoft’s guitar game ‘rocksmith’. Apparently it is a bit like ‘guitar hero’ or ‘rock band’ but instead of spending nearly £100 on a fake plastic instrument, you play along with an actual guitar and it helps you learn to play properly.

I guess you think that’s no use for us electric ukulele folks though, right? Wrong.

Rocksmiths 2014 edition has a new feature called Session Mode which turns your gaming console or computer into a virtual jam band that listens to and adapts to how you play. And the big news for us? Session Mode can work with electric stringed instruments other than a guitar, even if it wasn’t intentionally designed to. The interface on the screen would still reflect the frets and strings of a guitar (which are very different from a ukulele’s), but the virtual band will still listen to your notes and play along appropriately. Of course, you can’t play the main game with instruments other than a guitar, but being able to jam with a virtual band still rocks!

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The Ukulele Festival of Great Britain 2013

It’s official! I don’t get out much!

I’m back from my visit down to the Ukulele Festival of Great Britain in Cheltenham and I have a heap of photos and recollections to share with you below. Forgive me if I jump about a bit, but this weekend has been a bit of a blur. View this as an alternative review of the festival… You read this blog for a reason right? Welcome to my world…

“Who’s Kev?”I can’t say that I was very impressed with the hotel we stayed in at Cheltenham. What a dump! There was a sign on the wall in reception that read along the lines of: “Please don’t abuse the staff… They’re here to help you.” The hotel was one and three-quarters of a mile from the centre of Cheltenham. It was a walk I was to do many times.

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Review :- RISA Uke Electric Tenor Sunburst Kidney Bean

We first met Strange Ukulele recently on google+. We quickly found his amazing musical work on Soundcloud page and spawned some conversation with him. It turned out that he had one of the Risa Electric Uke’s we have been lusting after for a very long time. We asked him to tell us some more about it, and he did :-

I bought my kidney bean in London about 4 years ago. I was mooching around Petticoat and Brick Lane retracing my steps when I used to work there many years ago and I came across this lovely ukulele shop The Duke of Uke

I had never picked up a ukulele let alone played one but when I saw the Risa I had to give it a go. Underneath it’s good looks is a mighty fine instrument with a unique tone which is enhanced by the sound chamber, and those lipstick pick-ups gives it a lovely chime. I think these ukes are made in the Czech Republic but don’t let that put you off because these kidney beans are well made from quality woods and components and finished beautifully.The kidney bean’s shape is a clever design and sits on the lap very comfortably.

I have played this uke with some seasoned bad boy rockers, I was expecting sniggers and little willy jokes but they were all over it like a rash, when I plugged it in and cranked up the gain their jaws hit the floor, Played along with guitars and synths the kidney bean finds it’s own space in the mix with it’s own unique tone and bite.

Where to buy :-
The Duke of Uke – Risa Steel Strung Electric Tenor Ukulele Sunburst/a>
www.ukulele.de – RISA Uke-Electric-Tenor Sunburst/a>

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Sharkfin Uke Build – On Fire!

WARNING! I THINK I MIGHT BE LOSING MY MIND!

I got left on my own this weekend; The wife and kids went away and left me all alone! As much as I love them dearly, I’ll admit that I’ve really enjoyed a little bit of me-time! Ha ha. I haven’t left the house once! No, I tell a lie, I went to the shop on Saturday… when I ran out of beer! 😀

Actually, I think I might be suffering from a little bit of Cabin Fever… I can’t seem to keep my mind on anything at the moment…

Let’s hope that this little guy made it back to his family…

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Here’s 3 chords…now form a band

(photo curtesy of  Diana More)

(photo curtesy of Diana More)

Our good friends and London’s most amazing punk ukulele band The pUKEs have received Arts Council England funding to deliver a series of punk rock uke workshops for beginners at festivals and community events this summer.

The fun and friendly workshops, based on the theme Here’s 3 Chords…now form a band, are guaranteed to get complete beginners strumming along to a classic punk song in less than an hour.
Festivals confirmed so far include Brighton’s Paddle Round the Pier, Rebellion in Blackpool, Deer Shed in Yorkshire and the aptly named 3 Chords in Cornwall. The band are producing a cut’n’paste style fanzine to hand out at workshops which will include chord charts, song sheets and playing tips.

Clara Wiseman from the pUKEs said: ”Playing punk rock on the ukulele is a lot of fun and we’re stupidly excited about this project. It’s a relatively simple instrument to learn, so we’re going to have people of all ages strumming along to punk classics in no time. We believe in the DIY punk ethos that making music is for anyone who wants to have a go ­ and that’s what this project is all about.”

The 21­strong group, who are mainly women, play quirky covers of well known and more obscure punk songs. Around half the band were ‘non musicians’ before they learned the uke two years ago, the others have been in bands such as UK Subs, Extreme Noise Terror and Lost Cherrees. Their massive stage presence and raucous live show has landed them support slots with many of the bands who inspired them, including Sham 69, Bad Manners, Peter & the Test Tube Babies, Menace and Subhumans. Their debut EP is set for release on Damaged Goods records in May.

The original ‘3 chords’ illustration featuring drawings of three guitar chord shapes, captioned, ‘this is a chord, this is another, this is a third. Now form a band’ is often incorrectly credited to Mark Perry’s fanzine ‘Sniffin’ Glue’, but it first appeared in another fanzine ‘Sideburns’ in January 1977 and was later reproduced in The Stranglers’ fanzine ‘Strangled’.

The project is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

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To find out more, register your interest in a workshop, or book The pUKEs for your event:
thepukes77@gmail.com
www.thepukes.co.uk
www.facebook.com/thepukes

July 7 Paddle Round the Pier ­ Brighton
July 13 Music in the Park ­ Wanstead, London
July 21&22 Deer Shed ­ North Yorkshire
August 10&11 Rebellion ­ Blackpool
August 24 3 Chords ­ Cornwall
October 12 Sound & Vision ­ Norwich
More tbc

Cthukulele – Fretless, electric bass ukulele

We have been talking to David Iriguchi at iriguchiukuleles.com and he has kindly allowed us to tell you some more about this amazing bass ukulele, the Cthukulele… The words and pictures that follow are his, but we are sure you will agree, this is an amazing looking instrument. The Chtukulele will make her public debut at the 2013 Reno Ukulele Festival in Sparks Nevada, April 11-14, 2013.

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When we decided to make a bass ukulele we decided to go all in and make a true freak.  We wanted a creature not of this world. This is that creature. The Chtukulele…

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Hewn from a single split piece of spalted maple the Chtukulele’s body is an ergonomic masterpiece (how’s that for some nice hyperbole!). The semi-hollow body is extremely rigid and gives the Padauk soundboard a solid foundation to vibrate off of.
 
The Cthukulele gets her name from H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulu, another creature not of this Earth.
 
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From the top you can see that the body is just two inches deep and it is nothing but smooth curves. The top edge where your right arm rests is part of the body and not part of the soundboard so your arm does not rest on the soundboard.

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Whether you are sitting or standing the Chtukulele is very comfortable to hold. It sits very close to your body and all the contact points are smooth and rounded.

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This end view shows the Cthukulele’s unusual profile. The angled side (to the right in this image) rests flat on your thigh when sitting and playing. Extraordinary comfort.

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The spalted Maple has a wonderful ‘dirty’ patina. The small port in the lower bout is to insert the strings. The strings pass through the soundboard and easily fit through this port.
 
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The Chtukulele uses dual “Jet Intake” soundholes. These ports are carved into the upper bout. With this design we don’t have to cut a hole in the soundboard. Because of this, the soundboard is suported all the way around which allows us to lighten up the bracing. Plus it looks wicked cool, right? It is this view that gives the Chtukulele it’s name.

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The ports are quite deep and there is also a channel below the end of the fretboard. We are currently designing an acoustic semi-hollow ukulele with these Jet Ports.
 
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There is a cutout in the body to give access to the highest frets. The Maple neck is inset into the body about 9mm.

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The adjustable bridge is our own design. It allows 12mm of compensation adjustment, from -3mm to +9mm. The compensation is very easily adjusted using a 2.5mm allen wrench.

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As with our other ukuleles we used a zero fret on the Chtukulele. This allows us to make a much lower profile nut.
 
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The Chtukulele is fretless and has white styrene fret markers. There are also side markers at 3, 5, 7, 9, and 12.

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The Maple neck uses our ‘comfort’ profile. It is bladed so that it is slightly thicker at the G-string edge and tapers smoothly to the E-string edge.

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The bridge has a very flat appearance and there is a K&K Sound Big Twin pickup installed.

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In this view you can see that the arm rest is part of the body and not the soundboard. The bridge adjusters attach to the edge of the bridge and can slide horizontally.
 
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We use standard Hipshot Ultralight tuners instead of the spooled style. A ziptie is used to secure the string in the tuner because those polyurethane strings are slippery little buggers. The zipties work just great though and we like the standard tuners a lot better than the spool style.

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So there she is, the evil-looking Cthukulele! A strange creature not of this world.

Specifications:
Type: Semi-hollow, electric bass

Size: Tenor

Body: Hand-carved, Spalted Maple

Soundboard: Padauk

Neck: Maple – medium “comfort” profile

Scale length: 20″

Total # fret markers: 16

Fret markers to the body: 12

Special Features:
Semi-hollow back and sides are hand-carved from a single block of Spalted Maple

Includes K&K Sound Big Twin internal pickup

Dual “Jet Intake” soundholes

Custom adjustable bridge

Hipshot Ultralight tuners

Pahoehoe polyurethane strings
 
Smile when you play that!™