Monthly Archives: November 2013

Turnover Mandolin Ukulele

Difficulty: Advanced

Cost: $$$

Some time ago, I came across an article about the Turturro Turnover Mandolin Ukulele.  I was fascinated by it and initially wanted to make a fully electric version with magnetic pickups.  I ran into a problem of routing out cavities for pickups on each side, while still keeping the body as thin as possible.  Instead I elected to use piezo rods as pickups.

I showed some early pictures of my build to King Uke of The Ukulele Blog.  He immediately dubbed it the “Hulberto Turnover”.   🙂


Here is a scan of the original patent drawing.  The rest of the patent can be found on Google Patents.


I used the patent drawing as a guide to cut out the body. The wood is cherry.


Both instruments have 13.875 inch scale lengths.  I could not find a tailpiece that looked like the original scallop-shell shaped one, so I fabricated one out of aluminum sheet metal.


I gave the body a red mahogany nitrocellulose lacquer finish.  The fretboards are rosewood.


The headstock is very crowded with all of those tuners.  The ukulele tuners are friction tuners.


A string retainer on each side keeps the strings on the nut.


I could turn this thing over all day long.

See it in action!

David’s Travel Ukulele

One of the funs things about writing a blog about making ukes and other instruments is when other builders get in touch with me.  David from Northamptonshire, UK emailed me and showed me his awesome travel ukulele.


One of my favorite parts is how David extended the banjo style geared tuners.  He extended the tuning pegs by with a short piece of tube pinned to a solid rod.  This is then slipped over the peg and held in place with a split pin.  (Great idea David!)



The pickup is a piezo rod connected to the output jack.



He used a zero fret as the nut. Dsc03528a


David also built a portable amp that can be attached to the back of the uke.  This can turn a quiet ukulele into a room filling instrument.

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Excellent ukulele David!  We would love to see any other projects you do.

“Christmas on 34th Street” Ukulele Song Book


Just in time for the holiday season, M. Ryan Taylor of has released a great book of Christmas songs arraigned for the ukulele.

I took the book to a ukulele group and it was nice to have the baritone chords, and also that some of the songs are arraigned in multiple keys to allow for more familiar chords and different vocal ranges.  It has a lot of my favorite songs and also some that are sure to become staples around my household.

Check out this sample of Jingle Bells to get a taste of the book.

Buy it today and be ready for Christmas!


Hard copy: or on Amazon.