Electric Uke Project – part 1

A few months ago I decided to build an electric ukulele. I have built a couple passable electric guitars in the past and thought that it would be fun to have another go, this time with something much smaller.

While ukuleles traditionally have hollow bodies, glued-on necks,  and nylon or gut strings, the one I am building will have  a solid body, bolt-on neck,  and steel strings, essentially built like a tiny electric guitar. I will use modified electric guitar parts for some of the hardware.

I decided take a look around the internet to see what was around for inspiration. I found several places with electric ukuleles similar to what I had in mind to build.  Elderly Instruments carries the Blue Star Konablaster with a bolt on neck, flashy iridescent finish, and a bridge made from an empty rifle shell.  Specimen Guitars make an absolutely beautiful custom solid body electric uke with a classic uke shape. The ukuleles from Jupiter Creek Music in Australia were the closest to what I wanted to build.

Next time – The Design!

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Best New Hobby of 2008 – Ukulele

A little over a month ago I took some of my yearly bonus and bought a Lanikai LU-21 ukulele.  I had became a secret Tiny Tim fan after buying the CD he did with Brave Combo, Girl,  from the cut-out bin as a joke.  It is mostly covers and it turned out to be funny and fantastic.  His “psychedelic” album from 1968,  God Bless Tiny Tim is great, too. I had toyed with the idea of getting one for years, even going so far at to buy a build your own uke kit that was never completed.  The thing that finally convinced me to take the plunge was seeing a video on YouTube of Julia Nunes playing “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys on the uke.

Ukes are cheap, relatively easy to play, and quite portable.  I am having a lot of fun with mine.  The band I play with has even worked up a few songs featuring the ukulele. (We are called Boy/Girl Party. No, you’ve never heard of us.  We have only ever played in the guitarist’s dinning room with my son, her roommate, and her cat as an audience. It is a blast!)

Thinking about getting one?  Here is a guide from Ukulele Hunt. (By the way, it is abbreviated in their logo as “Uke Hunt”  Say that out loud, but make sure there are no children in the room. *snicker!*)

Gotten one and don’t know what to do next? Ukulele Hunt offers a downloadable beginner’s guide in exchange for signing up for their How to Play Ukulele mailing list.

Want to learn some songs? Ukulele Hunt, Ukulelesongs.com and Ukulele Boogaloo! offer nice selections, much of which is in easy-to-read PDF format.