Electric Harp Ukulele

Difficulty: Advanced+

Cost: $$$

Here’e something a little different.  It’s a ukulele with three extra harp strings.  I want to eventually build an acoustic harp ukulele too someday, but I thought I’d tackle this first.

Here’s a early plan of what I thought the electric harp ukulele would look like.  I originally wanted to have individual pickups for each set of strings, two volume controls, and a selector switch.  I also planned on using a curved control plate.  After laying out the parts, I realized that the body would be too crowded if I didn’t modify the design a bit.

The body is a solid slab of alder.  I carved out an arm bevel on the upper left corner of the body.

I also put a “tummy cut” on the back.

After the body and neck were roughed out, I couldn’t help but put some yarn on the uke to mock up where the strings would go.

Here’s what the body looked like after the first coat of green wood stain.

IMG_0968

Here’s the body after a few more coats of wood stain, and some Tru-Oil.

The neck is maple and the fretboard is rosewood.  Instead of a chrome control plate, I made a custom maple one.

I bought the 7 string pickup and bridge from eBay because they are fairly uncommon items.  The control plate has a master volume and the output jack.

Many people have asked about how the harp strings are tuned.  They are tuned to whichever notes are needed for the song you are playing.  I mainly tuned them to the root notes of the chords I am playing in the song.

I really pleased with the body color and and finish. I used Briwax Wood Dye and Tru-Oil.

This project turned out great.  I’m pumped to make an acoustic harp ukulele now.

 

See it in action:

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28 thoughts on “Electric Harp Ukulele

  1. Pingback: Utah Uke Fest – 2015 | Circuits and Strings

  2. Oscar Stern

    The electric harp guitar would sound better if it was semi hollow body. If i built one, could I reuse the pickup & bridge from an old 7 string electric guitar that broke down years ago?

    Reply
  3. Oscar Stern

    That’s a 7 string single coil pickup. Would I make one by reusing a 7 string pickup from an old electric guitar?

    Reply
  4. Oscar Stern

    Is it possible to make a version with a headphone jack? Those are electric guitar strings. I’d restring it with daddario NYXL strings because they’ll last for a really long time.

    Reply
  5. Oscar Stern

    A 7 string single coil pickup for both sets of strings saves a lot of time. Isn’t the 7 string single coil pickup similar to that on a 7 string electric guitar?

    Reply
  6. Oscar Stern

    A harp guitalele would be tuned a 4’th higher. Besides that song you were strumming on it was a piece that I learned on harp.

    Reply
  7. Oscar Stern

    I’d like you to make me a new instrument. The electric harp sitar-kulele. It’s an electric harp ukulele with a buzz bridge to give it a buzzing sound.

    Reply
  8. Oscar Stern

    Good ’cause they’re available for electric guitar & bass, as well as nickel bronze strings for acoustic guitar & mandolin, & they last longer & will never go out of tune.

    Reply
  9. Oscar Stern

    I just contacted D’Addario to make ball end nickel bronze mandolin strings. Isn’t that song you played on the harp ukulele a song I learned on the harp?

    Reply
  10. Oscar Stern

    That’s because they last longer as well as the nickel bronze strings which I guess D’addario is working on them for the 14 string Filipino bandurria.

    Reply
  11. Oscar Stern

    Do you know a Russian folk song to play on the electric balalaika? I just found tablature for the balalaika.

    Reply
  12. Oscar Stern

    Why can’t you use balalaika strings on an electric balalaika even though they’re steel strings.

    Reply
  13. Oscar Stern

    That’s because they’re really expensive to buy & you should play out in the streets to buy more balalaika strings.

    Reply

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