Here are some helps and hints to make your own Backpacker Guitar. This project takes some knowledge and skill, so I wouldn’t recommend it as a first instrument building project.
Parts and supplies:
- 6 tuners
- Compass inlay
- 2 inches of bass fretwire (for the zero nut)
- Enough guitar fretwire for 15 frets
- 2 strap buttons
- Angled aluminum and aluminum tube for the bridge
- Material for the string turnaround
- Metal rivets (to make string ferrules for the ball ends)
- A set of “extra light” acoustic guitar strings
- Solid hardwood at least 24 inches long, 3.5 inches wide, and 1 inch thick.
- Wood at least 9.5 inches long, 3.5 inches wide, and 1/8 inch thick (for the back)
The rectangular body section is 9.75 by 3.5 inches. After the 9.75 inches, it curves in towards the neck.
Making the turnaround is very important. I modified the turnaround so that each of the strings turn independently on its own roller. That is not shown in the video. The string spacing (from string 1 to string 6) at the bridge and turnaround is 52 mm. The string spacing at the zero fret is 36 mm.
I recommend that you print out the fret template, and combine it with the dimensions of the body. The tines of the of the body are around .5 inch wide.
Download and print the fretboard below:
People from all over the world have utilized my free plans to make a travel ukulele (or it’s backpacker brother).
Here’s a ukulele made by Mark in Oregon.
The plans are for a concert version of the travel ukulele.
I’ve also made tenor and sopranino versions of that design.
Here are the downloadable and printable templates for the fret placement. They can be used in conjunction with the templates and hints.
Tenor fretboard template (17.5 inch scale length)
Sopranino fretboard template (11 inch scale length)
Michael from Ludwigsburg, Germany emailed some awesome files this week. We added upon the work that Craig from Seattle did.
He tweaked a few things according to his own taste.
He told me:
- I wasn’t very keen on the nut (0-fret) made of a bass fret, so I came up with the idea of modeling it from a piece of walnut.
- The turnaround will be made of a lathe-turned piece of walnut with a glued in 7mm dia. aluminium core with inner M4 thread (lathe + thread tap).
- The turnaround will be held in place by countersunk M4 x 25 screws (internal hex socket, cap-head).
- The position markers and strings will be black.
- The bridge is a thin aluminium pipe held in place by clamps similar to those you used in your early Travel Uke design.
- I skipped the electrical wiring and internal wire channels.
- I initially wanted to use black string pegs instead of simple holes but after a while I realized it would ruin the simplicity of the design.
Here are some great digital renders of the travel ukulele.
There are lots of thing that can be done to the original design.
Great job Michael! I can’t wait to see the final product.
Download file here: Travel Ukulele File
Luis Hernández from Spain emailed today and gave me Altoids Ukulele plans that he translated into Spanish. It was an awesome surprize.
Thanks Luis! I’m sure your translation will help many people.
Altoids Ukulele Plans (SPANISH)
My YouTube channel hit 500,000 views today! To celebrate, I’m giving away my Woodi ukulele.
Go to the video on YouTube and leave a comment to guess.
My YouTube channel recently hit 2000 subscribers.
To celebrate, I’m giving away my Deluxe Altoids Ukulele.
To be entered into the drawing, be a subscriber to my channel, and make a YouTube comment about how you found my channel.
My Altoids Ukulele has been a favorite on this blog and on my YouTube Channel. Someone at work gave me a large sized Alotids tin, so I decided to make a “Deluxe” Altoids Ukulele.
I used a normal sized rosewood ukulele bridge to go along with the rosewood fretboard.
Unlike my other Altoids ukulele, I put a slight taper on the neck to make it more like a normal neck. The neck is made of oak.
I wired a basic piezo disk to the 1/4 inch mono jack.
See it in action!