Skateboard Ukulele

I’ve made instruments out of all sorts of stuff.  When I saw an old skateboard deck at a garage sale, I had to have it.  I thought it would make the perfect body for an electric ukulele.

DSCN7769

Because both ends curve back, I didn’t have to do anything to angle the headstock.  Using a scroll saw, I cut out the space for the neck, headstock, pickup, and Stratocaster-style jack plate. I kept the wood above and below the neck to give the instrument more stability and to the keep overall shape of the skateboard.  A fretboard with a 17 inch scale was epoxied to the neck.

DSCN7771

Most of the grip tape was left on the board.  I stripped the grip tape from the bak of the neck.  I was going to add about 1/4 inch of wood to the back of the neck, but that would have made it too thick.  Instead, I just carved the neck a little bit and stained it black.  A board with rounded over edges was attached to the back to cover the wiring and components.

DSCN7773

I made a pickup ring for the single coil pickup with some black pickguard material.  The pickup is connected to a volume potentiometer.

Out of all the electric ukuleles that I’ve made,  this was the fastest to make.  Not having to rout out the body, carve and shape the neck, and apply a glossy finish really cut down on the build time.

See it in action!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7tysKFG3d0?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

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.

lottery_png_black1-300x80

Pukes-_3-_Chords_poster-207x300

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.

03202013_48-640x300
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…

03202013_51
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.
 
03202013_45
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.

03202013_46
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.

03202013_38
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.

03202013_27 
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.
 
03202013_30
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.

03202013_32 
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.
 
03202013_34
There is a cutout in the body to give access to the highest frets. The Maple neck is inset into the body about 9mm.

03202013_26
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.

03202013_35
As with our other ukuleles we used a zero fret on the Chtukulele. This allows us to make a much lower profile nut.
 
03202013_44
The Chtukulele is fretless and has white styrene fret markers. There are also side markers at 3, 5, 7, 9, and 12.

03202013_40
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.

03202013_37 
The bridge has a very flat appearance and there is a K&K Sound Big Twin pickup installed.

03202013_39
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.
 
03202013_53
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.

03202013_52 
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!™

Sharkfin Uke Build – Beach Closed

I’d been hoping that I could get my Sharkfin Ukulele finished before Christmas, but it ain’t gonna happen! Construction has officially stopped. I’ve tidied up my tools and packed them away. I’ve also tried to vac up all the sawdust… hope Mrs Uke doesn’t look too closely at the carpet… :-s

Everybody out of the water!!!

Continue reading

misterg’s spice rack uke build : Part 10 – Photo gallery

I have to say that the way this came out is beyond my wildest hopes. I’m REALLY pleased with it.

It is surprisingly resonant, and seems to play nicely in tune. I haven’t found any dead or ‘off’ notes yet. It sounds just like an acoustic ukulele when it’s plugged into a clean amp, but of course you can crank the gain up and play the top 3 strings like a guitar – that high pitched 4th string catches me out though.

I will see if I can record some sound clips :)

Thanks and congratulations to anyone who has made it this far through my ramblings.

Andy

Photofest:

(Note to self: Must clean the paint off the end of that binding…)

Even my glue and sawdust filler came out OK. I think I got off lightly for my inattention!

FIN

Sharkfin Uke Build – Building Bridges

Hot on the heels of yesterday’s update, I’ve been inspired to do a little more on my Sharkfin ukulele build. In case you’re wondering about my bad back… it’s feeling a bit better… it’ll probably be fine by the time I have to return to work tomorrow :-(

 

Brown-trouser Time!

Continue reading

Sharkfin Uke Build – Fitting the Frets (Take 2)

Time for another update on my Sharkfin Ukulele build. In my last post I was quite literally fretting over frets. I was tired and had foolishly rushed ahead with gay abandon. My head told me to take things slowly and make sure that I was getting things right. My heart told me to bang ’em in and thunder on. Unfortunately, my heart won out and things didn’t go according to plan. I’m sure there is a lesson to be learnt here somewhere.

When you know it’s wrong, but you do it anyway…
Photo courtesy of aintitcool

Continue reading