Backpacker Travel Ukulele

Difficulty:  Advanced

Cost:  $$

If you follow this website, you know that my Travel Ukulele plans are popular.  This ukulele is a variation of that design.

 

I took my travel ukulele design and cut off the back portion. I also omitted the pickup and jack. Requiring an amp definitely make a ukulele less portable. Not having the pickup also meant that I could start out with a piece of wood only .75″ instead of the normal 1″.  This uke has a concert scale length (15″) but the overall length is just 17.5″.

Because I took out the pickup, I decided to add a thin piece of wood to the back to help out with the resonance.

I stamped my last name into the back.

The main wood is maple and the back piece is basswood.

Even after applying a few coats of Tru-Oil and adding strings, this ukulele weighs just 11 ounces.

This uke even has a working compass inlayed into the neck.

This ukulele would be great to throw in a backpack, keep in a car, or stow in some luggage.

If you want to use a strap, there are strap pegs at the back and where the headstock would normally be.

This ukulele is heading on an epic trek.  Check out Her Odyssey to follow along with the journey.

Video demo time!

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15 thoughts on “Backpacker Travel Ukulele

  1. Pingback: Building a Travel Ukulele | Circuits and Strings

  2. John Bushko

    noticed that the PDF is set to one page print…can you upload a full-size two page printable to use as a template?

    Reply
  3. Pingback: Travel Ukulele (3D Model Files) | Circuits and Strings

  4. David Weller

    Where can I get a turnaround like this one? Di I have to manufacture the bridge? How with basic tools? Any for sale?

    Reply
  5. Kelly Witzl

    Hello, this ukulele looks perfect for the trip I am embarking on in April. I am hiking 2,660 miles from Mexico to Canada via the Pacific Crest Trail and am in search of an ultra light instrument. If you are selling these I would love to purchase one for my trip. Thank you!

    Reply
  6. Wyatt

    Hi there,
    I am thinking of making one of these… I am wondering what your thoughts would be on using a top soundboard in addition to the back one, and having the bridge mount to it rather than across and attached to the thicker sides? (I.e. having a more conventional acoustic design.) I would assume that this approach would give a bit more volume… I suppose the tuners would have to be adjusted to fit properly in that case; is that why you went with this design?

    Reply
    1. danielhulbert Post author

      Hey Wyatt,

      Your idea should work just fine. I’ve thought about adding some kind of soundboard too. Just make sure that you either build an access door, or make the back removable. If not, changing strings will be a nightmare. That’s why I’ve ultimately opted to just have the back piece. It’s loud enough for practice, but most people are going to have their “normal uke” at home.

      Good luck with your project. I want to see it when you are done.

      -Daniel

      Reply
      1. Wyatt

        Thanks, Daniel. Good point on the string changes… I’ll have to make sure I think that through.

        I do have a home ukulele, but I want one for camping / backpacking, and something like your design looks like it would fit the bill very well. The reason I am thinking of the sound board is to give enough volume for the campfire songs.

        I’ll be sure to keep you updated with what I end up doing.

        Cheers

    1. danielhulbert Post author

      Awesome work Wyatt.

      I’m glad that I was able to provide the spark of inspiration. You did a great job with the rest.

      Do you have any other instrument projects planned?

      Reply
      1. Wyatt

        Thanks!

        I always am working on some project or another… whether it is a musical instrument or something else depends on my current mood. I am currently contemplating doing another ukulele, applying the things that I have learned in this one, although this time it would be a larger one (probably baritone) with a more traditional design… although I recently heard about tenor guitars (4 string guitar around the same size as a baritone uke, with steel strings) and am wondering how much more difficult that would be (the steel strings would obviously apply more tension, requiring a stronger design). I dunno… so many projects, so little time… 🙂

        Cheers

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