Monthly Archives: September 2015

Crutch Guitar

Difficulty: Intermediate

Cost: $$

Sometimes it is really fun to gather up some wood and miscellaneous parts and throw a silly instrument together.  That’s what I did with this build.  I found a thrift store crutch and slapped a fretboard, bridge, a pickup on it.

Here’s the completed guitar.

I used a Stratocopy bridge, pickup, and volume knob.

The headstock was made some classical guitar tuners, some 1/2″ oak and some nylon spacers.

I didn’t even bother to cover up the underside.  I grounded the bridge by running a wire from a bridge screw to the back of the potentiometer.

 

See this beast in action!  And see me [fake] breaking my leg.

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Kamaka Style Cigar Box Ukulele

Difficulty: Intermediate

Cost: $$

I decided to make a ukulele modeled after the Cigar Box ukuleles made by Kamaka. I like the way the headstock is made.  It’s an interesting way to make strings angle down without having an angled headstock.

 

The neck is made with 3 pieces of 1/2″ mahogany and 2 pieces of 1/4″ poplar.  Not only does the wood contrast nicely, I like the idea of the foreign and domestic lumber working together.  (If I don’t watch out, I might get philosophical)

I used a bunch of clamps and glue to laminate the neck together.

After the glued dried, the tapered and carved the neck.  I also drilled the holes for the tuners.

I added a little cleat to the heel to help with the tension put on the neck.  The cleat went into the box and was glued to the bottom of the box.

The wood always come to life with a little Tru-Oil.

I glued the neck and glued the Ashton box closed.  Sometimes I make it so the box can still be opened, but for this I want to not have a “through neck” and the side of this style of Ashton box bulges out. The bulge would be hard to fit a neck to.

Ready for strings!  The fretboard is walnut and the bridge is rosewood.
Now, sit back and enjoy the glamour shots of this ukulele.

  

I built this ukulele for my friend Andrew James.  He’s a fingerstyle guitar player and enthusiast.  He’s also a ukulele builder.  I met him through YouTube and Facebook.

Check out the links below to find out more about Andrew James:
http://andrewjamesguitar.com
https://www.youtube.com/user/drewdjt74

Video time!

Namuai Spruce Ukulele Review

Today I’m looking at a great ukulele from Namuai Ukulele.  It’s the NUC-800A model.  It has a lot a great features that make it stand out.  Be sure to check the video review at the end of the article.

One of the features that catches the eye is the unique headstock. I really the way it swoops up.  This uke has a concert scale and has a built-in pickup and tuner.

The back, sides and neck are mahogany.  It also has strap pegs on the heel and end.

The top is solid spruce and the fretboard is rosewood.  The sound hole has laser engravings around it.

There is binding around the top and back.  The pickup make it great for performances or leading a ukulele group.

The Namuai ukulele name is new to America, but because of the great design and sound, you will be hearing a lot more from this company.

Check out the video demo and review:

Handmade Travel Guitar

Difficulty: Advanced

Cost: $$$

This is not an easy project, but it is simpler than doing a full size normally shaped guitar.  This is a short scale guitar with a body that doesn’t need any bending.  The neck was made with a .75 inch thick board that was stacked at the headstock and cut to make the angle.  While this isn’t a great first project, I have included a fret template and dimensions of the body.  With a little instrument building experience, this is a very doable project.

Screen Shot 2015-09-13 at 8.31.35 PM

If you don’t have a cutaway, the body is an isosceles trapezoid.  The dimensions are in the picture above in inches.

Download the fret template here:

Travel Guitar Fretboard 23.25 inch scale length

(Note: The template has 19 frets, while my instrument has 18 frets.  I normally make my templates with one extra fret and then use the last fret as the end of the fretboard)

 

If you want to get more complicated, make a cutaway on the guitar.  Even if you don’t, you’ll still need a neck block.  I made my neck block 62 mm thick.  The neck block needs to be thick enough that the fretboard is over the top piece of wood.

Here’s some pictures of the neck block and cutaway, and some other pictures of the project in progress.

The bracing for the top and back is just simple ladder bracing.

 

 

 

The body and neck are finished with Tru-Oil.  The fretboard has fretboard oil.

The overall length of this instrument is 30.5 inches.

I used regular guitar neck ferrules, and some 3 inch screws.  The screws and ferrules are countersunk into the back and neck block.

The top is spruce.  The back, sides and neck are cherry.  The fretboard is walnut.  The side pieces are 3 inches thick.

Just a simple squarish headstock.
  

I really like the rosewood eagle bridge.  I got it from eBay.  I strung it with “extra light” acoustic guitar strings.

 

Here’s a video with more info: