Monthly Archives: October 2014

Violin Bass Ukulele

Difficulty: Advanced

Cost: $$$

I’ve made a few bass ukuleles.  For this one I wanted to try a slotted headstock and a multiple piece neck.  I also wanted to make one that only has 3 strings.  It is still tuned like the bottom 3 strings of a normal bass guitar (E, A, D).


Here it is before I added the finish.


The neck was made with 5 pieces of wood; 3 maple and 2 padauk.  The body is alder wood.


I gave the body a dark brown finish.


Just making sure that everything fits together nicely.  I gave the body a dark brown finish.  The fretboard is bubinga.


Now the instrument is complete.  I used Aquila Thundergut strings.


The under saddle piezo pickup has a volume control and an endpin jack.  The saddle is made with purpleheart wood.



The laminated wood neck looks nice and snazzy.


This project turned out really nice.  Even though it’s really small, it packs a punch.

See it in action!


The Haunted Ukulele by M. Ryan Taylor Songbook Review



M. Ryan Taylor of has released another delightful ukulele book.  It is a collection of spooky 59 songs.  [It has a extra long subtitle, but I’ll omit that here for sake of brevity.  🙂  ]

All of the songs include a chord chart at the top of the page.  A lot of the songs use chords that a beginner would know, while some of them use chords that will stretch the player a little.  I love it when the chords are included on each page.  I am alway switching back and forth between different instruments so I enjoy the reminder.

Many of my favorite music books have an accompanying music CD, or music files.  For me, it’s a great way to familiarize myself with some of the songs that I don’t know yet. For this book, Ryan is releasing YouTube videos for each of his song throughout the month of October.  I’m having a lot of fun playing along with the videos with the book in my lap.  Don’t be surprised if you find yourself wondering where the time went after a “Haunted Ukulele” play-along session.

The printed version is available on Amazon,  or the eBook is on Sellfy.

Pick up a copy today.  With it, you are sure to be a hit at any party, or around any campfire when the fire begins to die.



Plans in Action: Altoids Ukulele

I love it when I hear from people that have successfully used my plans.

Owen from Liverpool England made a great Altoids Ukulele.  He followed my plans and even made a video demo of it.

Here are some pictures that he said I could use.





DSC_0047 DSC_0048




Great job Owen!  What will you build next??


After you check out his video,  go to his YouTube Channel and subscribe.

Souvenir Ukulele Repair

As my wife and I were traveling home from the Philippines this last summer, I had a a few Filipino pisos in my pocket that I wanted to spend before we left. I found a cheap souvenir ukulele in one of the airport gift shops. I was unplayable, but I got it to see if I could make into into a playable instrument.

Here are the “before” and “after” pictures.





The fretboard wasn’t even close to being right.  I’ve made a 7 fret ukulele, but not an 8 fret uke with the frets placed randomly.



The tuners were made from scraps of wood.  Not great for holding a tune.


The string action was very high.



The bridge was a simple triangular wedge.


It had a paper rosette.  That was the first thing to go.





New fretboard (12 frets, 9.25 inch scale length).  New bridge, nut, and strings.  No new rosette.



New friction tuners.


I’m glad that I was able to resurrect this little uke.  It will never be a great instrument, but at least now it is playable.

See it in action!

Builder Highlight – Claude from California

I’m starting a new feature on this site.  There are a lot of really neat people building instruments and sharing them on the internet.  I watch a lot of YouTube videos and run across some great instruments.  I intend to post a few of my favorite videos from them and give links to their YouTube channels.

I want to highlight Claude from California.  He has a lot of knowledge about stringed instruments from all over the world, and has built many different kinds.  He also sources his wood from some unconventional places like pallets and and scrap wood piles.

Quasi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar




Baroque Ukulele


What are you waiting for?  Go subscribe to his channel.

Who is your favorite builder?  Let me know, and I could highlight them.