Tenor Ukulele No. 1 Building Notes

completed June 2005

Tenor Uke FrontWood and hardware is a Ukulele Supply of Hawaii tenor ukulele kit. It includes:

Top, Back, Sides, and Neck: Mahogany
Nut and saddle: Corian or some similar material
Tuners: Gotoh SGM mini
Fretboard and Bridge: bubinga

I also got a nut slotting file from them.

The binding and rosette are from some walnut I had lying around.

Inlay and position dots: Pearloid (Mother of Toilet Seat) from Constantine's Wood Center

Finish: Birchwood Casey Tru-Oil

Strings: Aquila Nylgut high G tenor all nylgut (no wound third.)

The neck is a Bolt-on using two 8-32 hex head cap screws and brass threaded inserts from the local big box hardware store.

All glue is Franklin Titebond, except the label was glued in using unflavored gelatin.

Information resources include (but aren't limited to) Denis Gilbert's The Ukulele, Cumpiano and Natelson's Guitarmaking: Tradition and Technology, the very informative Ukuleles by Kawika site, and the Musical Instrument Maker's Forum.

Tenor Uke Back
You can't see it here, but one of the tuners is a little out of position. I had to plug and redrill the hole. Fortunately, the bushing covers it up.

BridgeNot seen in this photo is the fact that the back end of this bridge is lifting. Has been ever since I strung it up. I didn't get all the finish off the top before gluing, but it's stable, so I'm not messing with it until it comes off.

Interior Shot of Top BracingTop bracing, for those that are interested.

This instrument was definitely what they call a learning experience. Now I know a bunch of ways not to do things. Here are some examples:

I don't mean to discourage anyone from building an instrument. So here are some things that I like about how this turned out:

But hey, how does it sound? First, here's an mp3 clip of a tenor Fluke for reference. And here's an mp3 clip of the one I built. Both were recorded with the same microphone, preamp, strings, and musical selection. File size is about 165K each, in glorious mono.

For the true diehards, I've made my building log available here.

Last updated 24 February 2006