Electric Uke!

March 25, 2007

While we’re still working on the pilot episode for our new TV talk show, we thought we would share this video of our friend Ed and his electric ukulele.

Making A Ukulele – Part 6

February 7, 2007

Oh my God!!!! We’re finally finished making our ukulele.

What a long strange trip it’s been… we started this way back in July 2006, and because of general laziness and being busy with other things it’s taken us eight months to do something that could have been done in a week or two.

As you know from our last ukulele post, we finished and strung our uke, but then realized that the nut grooves needed to be filed so that the strings would be 1/64 of an inch from the first fret. We ordered a nut file and spacers from Stewart-McDonald to get this done.

We filed down the grooves in the nut this weekend, and restrung the uke with new strings. This time we used concert strings rather then soprano strings because the soprano strings weren’t long enough. Then, we let the strings stretch for a few days, tuning them a couple of times a day.

  

Then, we were finished! We posed for a picture with Jimy’s evil twin brother Timy who just recently resurfaced (more about him in future posts).

Finally, to end this thread, Jimy has recorded a song with our new ukulele; “I’m a Believer” by the Monkees. He wants to dedicate this song to Grandma, who’s always believed in us, and Janice, who never lost faith that we would finish this project. Because of all the extra money we had to invest beyond the kit, I think this summer we’re going to make a dulcimer! Stay tuned!

Listen to: I’m a Believer

Making A Ukulele – Part 5

November 4, 2006

Well, we decided on using Tru-Oil for the finish of our ukulele. First we put a small amount on part of Grandma’s paint job to make sure it wouldn’t mess up that, then we put a thin cloat on with our paws.

Following the instructions, we hung the ukulele from a peg in the workbench and let it dry overnight.

After the ukulele was dry, we lightly sanded the finish with #000 steel wool and wiped it off with a soft cloth. We repeated this six times, although three or four iterations probably would have been good enough.

Next we attached the pegs, making sure we didn’t tighten them to much.

Finally, it was time to string the ukulele and give it a test play! We didn’t like the cheap strings that came with the kit, so we invested another $2.67 and bought some Martin strings. We printed instructions we found on the internet, and attached string 1.

We measured the string heights from the 1st and 12th frets, and discovered we had a problem; the string was too high over both frets. Oh well…we weren’t able to string and play the uke after all. Now we have to file down the nut grooves and maybe sand the bridge riser for each string. We don’t have a fret file, so we are going to gently try folded sand paper first.

To be continued…

Making a Ukulele – Part 4

September 25, 2006

We got the call from Grandma last week that the paint job was finished. We drove over on Sunday to pick it up; it’s awesome! It turned out even better then we had hoped. Just looking at it makes Jimy and I want to drink a fruity beverage out of a coconut shell with a little umbrella sticking out of it.

  

The next step is to glue on the nut and bridge, then apply the finish to the wood. We still haven’t decided if we’re going to use a lacquer or something like Tru-Oil yet. We’re leaning towards the Tru-Oil, but that would mean we have to put about 10 to 15 coats on. We also have to check to make sure it won’t mess up Grandma’s paint job.

  

We’ll post again when we start applying the finish.

Well, it took us a while, but we’ve finally gotten back to working on our ukulele kit. As you may recall, the next step was to sand the neck even with the fingerboard, and to mark off the bridge placement.

Sanding the neck was the easy part. The only issue was that after sanding the neck even it left flat spots on the sides of the neck. No big deal, we just had to round off the flat spots with sandpaper, although this did take us awhile.

Marking off the bridge placement was more difficult. Following the instructions in the kit, and taking the advice of the forum folks at ezfolk.com, we measured and marked where the bridge will be glued to the body. According to what we read on the forum, the directions with the kit are incorrect. You can go here to get the correct measurements, at least we hope they’re correct!

Next, we taped thread into the 1st and 4th string positions on the bridge and the nut, and lined the threads evenly across the sound hole. A word of caution on this step, don’t drink “special wine” before trying to line up the threads. 😉

The final step was marking around the bridge with a pencil, and then covering that area with a piece of tape. This was done so that Grandma wouldn’t accidentally paint where we need to glue the bridge to the ukulele body.

We took it over to Grandma’s on Sunday, and she said she’d have it back to us in a couple of weeks!

Now that we have the neck glued on to our ukulele, it’s time to get serious. Next up, glue the position dots in the fingerboard and glue the fingerboard to the neck. As we started this, we realized that the pre-drilled holes were way to small for the position dots to fit in, so we would have to borrow Ed’s cordless drill and enlarge the holes. This also required us to also borrow Ed’s micrometer, which he agreed to lend us after we assured him we wouldn’t break it like some of the other stuff we’ve borrowed from him.

After we enlarged the pre-drilled holes, and glued in the position dots, we dilegently sanded down the position dots to be flush to the fingerboard as the instructions said. However, this also sanded off the finish that was on the fingerboard, so I guess we’ll have to evenly sand the finish off of all the frets.

Here’s a photo of Jimy posing like Vanna White next to the finished fingerboard!

The next step was to apply the wood glue and secure the fingerboard to the ukulele’s neck. The instructions showed using pieces of wood and rubberbands to do this, but we decided to use c-clamps. After it was clamped, we just needed to wait for it to dry overnight. Jimy was so excited that I knew he would have a hard time getting to sleep.

Well…its the next morning, and Jimy and I removed the clamps and tape to check out how the glueing went. It looks pretty good, just a little off center! Hope that doesn’t mess it up to much. We can always sand the top of the finger board even before we glue the nut on though.

The next thing to do is sand the neck even with the fingerboard and mark out where the bridge will be glued, then its off to Grandma’s to get the “custom” paint job!

Oh…and Ed, the micrometer lock wheel was already broken before we used it.

Zelda came down with a sore throat, so we haven’t been able to lay down the vocal tracks to our rendition of Afternoon Delight yet, so we decided to take advantage of the time and do something we’ve always wanted to do — build our own ukulele!!!

We broke open our piggy bank and sent $22.95 to Grizzly.com for an awesome build-it-yourself ukulele kit.
Grizzly ukulele kit
After a trip to the store for some glue and stuff, we got started right away on building it. So far we’ve got it sanded and the neck glued on. It already looks great!

Grandma doesn’t know it yet, but we’re going to have her paint a cool hula dancer and palm tree on it before we put the finish on.

We’ll update here as we continue building our dream uke!