Time for an update on the Electric Ukulele Build. In my last post I talked about how I started to make the neck. You will remember that I left you on tenterhooks as I revealed that I’d controversially glued the fretboard to the neck prior to fitting the frets. I still haven’t mustered the courage to fit the frets but this doesn’t mean that I haven’t been busy… a lot’s happened since then. In this post I return to the body to apply some much needed finishing touches.
|Pretend you can’t see the cavity for the electrics in the picture above. I
didn’t do that next. What I did next was to attach the neck to the body.
I wanted a square plate, but couldn’t find any made specifically for the
purpose that would fit. Instead I repurposed a flat Les Paul jack plate.
See the hole in the centre for the jack. I milled the screw holes wider and
fitted it with the shortest guitar Strat screws I could find. FYI, other
homeuke-builders like Daniel Hulbert are using oval guitar jack sockets to
fit smaller scale electric uke necks.
|From day one I had always intended to use a forstner drill bit to help with
cutting the cavity for the electrics. My pal Eric Vossbrink at New Wave Ukulele
warned me against cutting corners. I explained that the cavity was going to be
under the pick guard. Who was going to know? Eric’s wise words were: “That
which is hidden will always be made known.” And he’s right, but I still went
ahead and did it. Sorry Eric. I have tried to get the cleanest finish I can, but
you can see here the tell-tale centre-holes left by the bit. I’ve since filled these.
The forstner was used to cut holes at key points and I used a chisel to do
the rest. If you look really closely you can see the hole that leads to the
end pin. Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together!
|You will remember that I was lucky enough to be given a Strat-style
bridge custom made for a ukulele by Julian Davies. In hindsight, this was
probably the best thing that could have happened to me in terms of
getting this build right. I’ve been using it to help me to get my
measurements correct. It’s been a good baseline. One thing that
puzzled me for a long time was how I was meant to fit the strings.
Thankfully Daniel Hulbert came to the rescue! He revealed to me the
existence of ‘ferrules’. Twelve are pictured in the picture – but I’ll only be
using four. They will fit into the back of the body and this is where
the strings will be threaded through from the back up out of the holes
in the bridge and up to the neck. I found getting these holes right
really difficult. I marked the holes on the front and drilled through to the
back. Even though I used my drill stand, they didn’t go through
straight. It’s hard to tell in the photo, but I widened the holes at the back
to allow the ferrules to fit and this allowed me a chance to correct some
of the alignment problems, but you can see that I didn’t get it 100% right.
The holes in the middle of the picture are of the front and the top
right shows the back.
|And here’s where I’m up to at the moment. The neck is screwed in place, along with
the bridge. You see that the pick guard still fits! Yep, that’s me measuring twice again!
I’m almost there now with the body. Next I’ll be painting it, but not before I’ve got the neck sorted. I’ve been busy here also, but I’ll save this for my next post. I still haven’t plucked up the courage to fit the frets… I’m getting closer by the day…