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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Double Neck Mandolin/Ukulele

I’ve been planning on building a double neck mando/uke for a couple of years.  I like the aesthetic of the Gibson Double Neck EDS-1275, especially the top neck having double the strings of the bottom one.  Different things delayed me starting this project, and I’m glad they did because I was able to refine my techniques and gain the proper tools to do the job right. This was my most involved and labor intensive project yet.

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I wanted to have Tune-o-matic style bridges for this instrument, but I couldn’t find any ones with four strings.  After seeing a thread on the Mandolin Cafe Forums,   I contacted Pete Mallinson of Almuse Mandolins to ask him some questions about some custom bridges he had made.   He gave me the confidence to mill my own with a drill press and some needle files.  The above picture was a test run that I did.   I refined the process for the two bridges I used for the Mandolin/Ukulele.  I purchased some blank saddles for the 8 string mandolin side and cut string slots with some speciality files.

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I did my normal layout and size check before I started to cut things.  Both of the necks have 17 inch scale lengths.  I tuned the mandolin neck an octave lower than a regular mando, so it can be considered an “octave mandolin”.

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I cut the body out of solid mahogany and beveled some of the edges.

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The fretboards are made of bubinga and were bound with plastic binding.  Even though the mandolin has more strings, the fretboard is narrower to keep the feel of a mandolin.

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i’ve made a bunch of electric ukuleles, but I have never put a truss rod in them.  With a short scale and quality wood,  I didn’t see the need.  I did put a non-adjustable truss rod in the mandolin neck to combat the added tension of the 8 strings.  I put a matching one in the ukulele neck for balance. I routed out the pockets and epoxied the rods.

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After the body was routed, a made some wooden pickguards and dry fitted everything.  I then carefully disassembled everything and put the hardware aside.

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The body and necks were  tinted with a transparent red nitrocellulose stain and then clear coated with glossy nitrocellulose.  The headstock faces were sprayed with opaque black.

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“After the paintin’ comes the waitin’.”   I stowed the body and necks in a closet for a 2 weeks to let the lacquer cure.

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This thing is a real beauty.  I really like the look and texture of the black, wooden pickguards. The pickups look like humbuckers, but are really single coil.  The three-way switch by the tailpieces is able to select either or both necks.

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Under the cavity cover,  a couple of 500K potentiometers and a .022uF Orange Drop capacitor to provide a master volume and tone control.  I used 4 neck mounting ferrules to attach the necks.  They might become my new standard for mounting necks.  They look and work very nice.

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Talking about the double neck.

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Demo time!

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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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Are you going too the Ukulele festival of Great Britain 2013?

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This weekend, myself (julesd) and the one and only King Uke are set to sound clash with Ukes for the first time at the THE UKULELE FESTIVAL OF GREAT BRITAIN 2013!

We have never met before, and so it will truly be a first. Both of us with be tooled up, but the weapons of choice remain secret for now. All we really know is, we will sound better than this guy does :-

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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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