Building a Travel Ukulele

Difficulty: Advanced

Cost: $$

A lot of people seem to like my travel ukulele.  I’ve been asked a lot of questions about how to build one over the years.  I’m not going to write step by step plans on how to build it, but I will give give some hints and helps.  This project doesn’t lend itself to straightforward plans.  If this is your first time building an instrument, go over to the FREE PLANS tab and try a few of those projects.

Print out the body template below.  Make sure to print out the pages on 8.5″ X 11″ paper and print at 100% size.  Check to make sure that scaling isn’t wrong by matching up a ruler to the one on the page.  (NOTE:  The ruler is on the pages for size checking only, not for lining up the pages.  Line up the pages by matching the two template pieces.)

Concert Travel Ukulele Template

UPDATE:  Christopher Allan emailed me a cleaned up template that also has the backpacker travel ukulele.  Get it here —–>  Concert Travel Ukulele Template  

(And make sure to check out his cartoons and illustrations at his website cjksallan.com)

Print out the fret template below.  Make sure to print out the pages on 8.5″ X 11″ paper and print at 100% size.  The distance from the “zero fret” to the 12th fret should be just under 7.5″.

Travel Uke (15 in) Fretboard

Check out the video of my travel ukulele being assembled.

 

Here’s how another one like it sounds:

 

133 thoughts on “Building a Travel Ukulele

  1. Łukasz Mordal

    Hi, your project looks amazing!

    I have a few questions:
    How did you installed strings over the end?
    Also I can’t find same tattoo grip that you used. Do you have link to proper one?
    Last thing, did you use glue to bridge and tube? Because I can’t figure out how it is installed.

    Reply
    1. danielhulbert Post author

      Hello.

      The string are fed through holes at the headstock and then knots are tied at the end of the string.
      I can only find the tattoo grips on AliExpress.

      US $0.90 46% Off | Aluminum Alloy Tattoo Machine Supply Handle Grips Tube With Back Stem Gun Tubes Hnadle Body Art For Tattoo Random Color

      https://a.aliexpress.com/_mM4Xv6Z

      I just use a tube and the little clips for the bridge. The tube is held in place by the pressure of the screws.

      Reply
  2. Sarah N

    Thanks so much for sharing your content and your passion! You have inspired me 🙂

    I want to try the travel uke and perhaps the backpacker uke if all goes well, and I will send you pics.

    Have you ever tried using a hardwood dowel for the turn around? Any reason not to try it, from your experience?

    Reply
  3. wicked aubergine

    Thanks so much for sharing your content and your passion! You have inspired me 🙂

    I want to try the travel uke and perhaps the backpacker uke if all goes well, and I will send you pics.

    Have you ever tried using a hardwood dowel for the turn around? Any reason not to try it, from your experience?

    Reply
    1. danielhulbert Post author

      I am happy that you found this blog. Please send pictures of what you make.

      I have experimented with wooden turnarounds, but I ran into a problem. Even with solid hardwood, the strings still dig into the wood. The strings need to be able to slide around the turn around. You could use a dowel, as long as it has a metal or plastic tube on the outside to cut down on friction.

      Reply
  4. David

    Hi,
    I was wondering why you chose to use the tattoo handle rather than a smooth metal cylinder (as used by Risa in their travel ukuleles. I can easily get a metal tube, and I’ve found the handles on ailexpress, but the handles have a delivery time of 50+ days, so if a smooth tube would work, that’d be really handy!

    PS if this is a duplicate comment, sorry!

    Reply

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