Double Neck Mandolin/Ukulele

Difficulty: Advanced+

Cost: $$$

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.

DSCN7821

tune-o-matic

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.

double proto

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”.

double body

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

double fretboards

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.

necks

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.

double

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

double laquer

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.

double drying

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

DSCN7808

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.

DSCN7815

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.

DSCN7810

Talking about the double neck.

Demo time!

Advertisements

26 thoughts on “Double Neck Mandolin/Ukulele

  1. Amos Jacob

    I loved that how many cool ukulele I want try play hand Jag-Stang Electric Ukulele this is right hand or left hand

    Reply
  2. J o n bowser

    How to make the body how did you make the body what are the dimensions what did you use up for the pickups anything will help I teach a woodworking class and that’s something I think would be neat to have the students be involved in so if you can get back to me if you very appreciated I love that guitar you did an awesome job thanks and have a great day please

    Reply
  3. Oscar Stern

    If your using nylon strings rather than steel strings when you go to build an acoustic electric version I’d recommend piezo pickups. Magnetic pickups pickup the vibrations from strings made out of metal & piezo pickups pick up the vibrations of the strings made out of any material from the bridge.

    Reply
  4. Oscar Stern

    Interesting a double neck 12 over 6 electric guitalele is perfect. RIP jimmy page. Every stain available in different colors can be used when I go to make projects.

    Reply
  5. Oscar Stern

    When you made a guitalele, you said that it’s tuned like a guitar with the capo on fret 5. So on the double neck 12 over 6 guitalele, the 12 string neck would be like a 12 string version of a 6 string guitalele.

    Reply
  6. Oscar Stern

    Those are the same strings that you use on your electric guitar. Make sure to restring with D’Addario NYXL strings.

    Reply
  7. Oscar Stern

    Would it be interesting to see a double neck guitalele made out of parts from instruments that broke down?

    Reply
  8. Oscar Stern

    Does the 8 string electric uke use the top four pairs of strings from a 12 string electric guitar string set?

    Reply
  9. Oscar Stern

    Does an 8 string electric ukulele use the top four pairs of strings from a 12 string electric guitar string set?

    Reply
  10. Oscar Stern

    Why can’t you just make the top neck an 8 string ukulele just with the top four pairs of strings from a 12 string electric guitar set?

    Reply
  11. Oscar Stern

    What happens if the mandolin neck is strung with the top four pairs of strings from a 12 string electric guitar strings set?

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s