This year’s Utah Ukulele Festival was held on June 23, 2018 in Highland, Utah.
I attended with my two oldest children. We had a great time attending the classes, meeting old and new friends, and playing and hearing ukulele music.
I held a workshop where we assembled canjo kits. All 8 of the kits that I brought were used. Check out the video to see the fun.
There were so many great classes. I wish that we would have been able to attend them all
I had a chance to play two songs at the closing Saturday evening concert. Videos to both of the songs are below.
The 2018 Utah Uke Fest was great. Check out the Utah Uke Fest website to find out when the 2019 festival will take place.
I had a chance to check out the Ava Travel Ukulele and make a video about it. It’s a cool design that is very portable AND has a built-in amp.
The Kickstarter funding campaign is underway. Check out its perk and updates.
Ava Ukulele Kickstarter
UTAH UKE FEST WEBSITE
The 2018 Utah Uke Fest is fast approaching. It will take place on June 23, 2018. This will be the 7th annual event. I’ve attended the festival every year, and taught classes at all of them except for the very first year. There will be around 14 unique classes and workshops, along with 2 separate ukulele open mics, impromptu jams, and a capstone evening concert. I’ll be playing a couple of songs at the evening concert [look for the guy playing the Lafayette Lilt].
I will be leading a canjo building workshop at this year’s festival. We will have a great time assembling canjo kits made by C.B. Gitty.
Here is a video that I made about the kits.
The festival is held in Highland Utah. Highland is a 30 minute drive from Salt Lake City, or 25 minutes north of Provo.
This a delightful free event for people of all ages. (The only part with a cost is my workshop to pay for the canjo kits.) The Original Utah Uke Fest is the oldest, most well-rounded, and best ukulele festival in Utah.
Check the schedule and get more info here:
I love travel style ukuleles of all sorts. Finding ways to make instruments ultra portable is fascinating to me.
I’ve built a many different kinds of travel ukuleles. I even made a ukulele with a retractable neck.
If a neck folds for storage, the strings need to be managed. The new folding ukulele made by Astro Ukulele has a moving bridge that prevents the string from getting too floppy when it is folded for travel. When unfolded, it is a soprano ukulele. It even has two “wings” that pop out to make it easier to hold.
The Astro Ukulele comes in two different models, A and E. The A is acoustic, and the E is electric.
The Kickstarter campaign for the Astro Ukulele just launched. Check out the ukulele models and other perks of the project.
ASTRO UKULELE KICKSTARTER
JUNE 2018 UPDATE:
Unfortunately this project failed to reach its goal on Kickstarter. Hopefully they will find another way to produce this design.
It’s no secret that I love multi-tools. I have them on my wrist, on my belt buckle, and a few in my pocket.
I have now designed my own guitar shaped multi-tool that includes 3 wrenches sized for luthier jobs like adjusting tuning machine bushings, output jacks, and potentiometer nuts.
Head over to the FOR SALE tab to find out how to get one.
(I also just added Circuits and Strings guitar/ukulele straps to that page)
Shane Speal (cigar box guitar player/builder/guru) checking out my tool.
Here are some helps and hints to make your own Backpacker Guitar. This project takes some knowledge and skill, so I wouldn’t recommend it as a first instrument building project.
Parts and supplies:
- 6 tuners
- Compass inlay
- 2 inches of bass fretwire (for the zero nut)
- Enough guitar fretwire for 15 frets
- 2 strap buttons
- Angled aluminum and aluminum tube for the bridge
- Material for the string turnaround
- Metal rivets (to make string ferrules for the ball ends)
- A set of “extra light” acoustic guitar strings
- Solid hardwood at least 24 inches long, 3.5 inches wide, and 1 inch thick.
- Wood at least 9.5 inches long, 3.5 inches wide, and 1/8 inch thick (for the back)
The rectangular body section is 9.75 by 3.5 inches. After the 9.75 inches, it curves in towards the neck.
Making the turnaround is very important. I modified the turnaround so that each of the strings turn independently on its own roller. That is not shown in the video. The string spacing (from string 1 to string 6) at the bridge and turnaround is 52 mm. The string spacing at the zero fret is 36 mm.
I recommend that you print out the fret template, and combine it with the dimensions of the body. The tines of the of the body are around .5 inch wide.
Download and print the fretboard below:
This is a walking stick for bassists that have a need to ramble.
Watch the video below to watch the major parts of the building process.
If you have some experience with woodwork and instrument building, here are some helps for making your own.
List of materials:
- Sturdy hardwood at least 1″ by 1.5″ by 44″ (I used cherry wood)
- Bass tuning machine
- Rubber tip
- Cane handle
- “D” or “G” bass string
- Medium sized eye screw
- Short piece of bass fretwire (for the zero fret nut)
- Few feet of guitar fretwire (for the rest of the frets)
- Angled aluminum
- Plastic tube
- Piezo rod
- Strat-style jack plate
- 1/4″ mono jack
- Miscellaneous screws
Below is the printable template for the fretboard. The scale length is 31 inches. The outside edge of the template can be used for shaping the main shape of the shaft. Then, it is up the builder to long how long the top and bottom need to be extended for the tuner, tip, output jack, and handle.
Walking Stick One String Bass Fretboard (31 inch scale length)
If all of this hasn’t scared you off yet, then good luck with your project. This isn’t a great “first instrument” project, but there are a few of those in my “Free Plans” section.