Search found 157 matches

by Chris Reed
Sun Mar 16, 2014 1:16 pm
Forum: String Instrument Repair: Practical and Political Issues
Topic: Very Old Ukelele Needs Work
Replies: 9
Views: 5533

Re: Very Old Ukelele Needs Work

What you have there is a Kumalae Style B or C soprano ukulele. Kumalae was the big mass manufacturer on Hawaii in the 1920s and 30s,making several thousand ukes in that time. The factory burned down in the early 1940s and Kumalae ceased operations (the brand has just been introduced for Chinese ukes...
by Chris Reed
Sun Feb 16, 2014 3:19 pm
Forum: Ukuleles
Topic: Ukulele Bracing
Replies: 3
Views: 3919

Re: Ukulele Bracing

Not a dish, just a trough. A piece of 1/4 inch MDF screwed in its middle to a baseboard with battens under either side.

This avoids the complication of a go-bar deck (which I don't possess) and makes clamping easy. No signs of backs sinking, even without any bracing.
by Chris Reed
Sat Feb 15, 2014 2:40 pm
Forum: Ukuleles
Topic: Ukulele Bracing
Replies: 3
Views: 3919

Re: Ukulele Bracing

Hmm, this could be a long post. I have Views on this topic. But you need to know where these views are coming from. I'm a strictly amateur builder, ukes only, currently working on my 25th. All bar the current and one previous are soprano or smaller, and no two are the same. This is the smallest, hal...
by Chris Reed
Thu Feb 13, 2014 7:30 am
Forum: Glues and Finishes
Topic: Most suitable glue for butt-join on uke neck?
Replies: 16
Views: 8872

Re: Most suitable glue for butt-join on uke neck?

Those few uke builder I know of who use a simply glued butt joint all use epoxy. I have no experience with this method, but my guess would be that it is likely to give the strongest hold on the end grain of the neck. You could also consider what I often do - drill a hole in the end of the neck, soak...
by Chris Reed
Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:33 am
Forum: Flat-Top Acoustic Guitars and Bass Guitars
Topic: Ukulele bridge query
Replies: 3
Views: 1881

Re: Ukulele bridge query

If you're using re-entrant tuning then you will want the saddle at 90 degrees to the string direction. This can give you intonation which is exact (or as exact as a uke ever gets) for the high g and A strings, a fraction under-compensated on the E, and noticeably under-compensated on the C. Most uke...
by Chris Reed
Thu Aug 22, 2013 12:44 pm
Forum: Jam Session
Topic: Making money.
Replies: 10
Views: 4852

Re: Making money.

So far this year I have built over 50 CBG's, Stick Dulcimers, and assorted folk instruments. All but about 5 of them have sold on eBay, most on average between $45 - $80 each. My average wage after expenses works out to $ 0.53 an hour. Your first step has to be market research. If you look at the e...
by Chris Reed
Mon Aug 05, 2013 2:05 pm
Forum: Glues and Finishes
Topic: Opinions on Linseed Oil
Replies: 8
Views: 3663

Re: Opinions on Linseed Oil

I used it (boiled linseed oil, not raw) on the first uke I made, about 4 years ago. It had a pleasant satin sheen to start with, though it smelt of the oil for several months. Now, it is very dull-looking, and still fairly soft (a solid surface, but easily marked with a fingernail). But, I had no re...
by Chris Reed
Wed Jul 24, 2013 1:36 pm
Forum: Glues and Finishes
Topic: Clear finish on bass build. Help please!
Replies: 5
Views: 2684

Re: Clear finish on bass build. Help please!

Here's one option for an amateur, which I use on my ukes. It's easy, requires no special kit, but won't be so resistant to dings and scuffs as varnish or lacquer. But if you've just made this bass, surely you will baby it around for months. And then this is easy to repair. If I decide to pore fill I...
by Chris Reed
Tue Jul 23, 2013 1:53 pm
Forum: Other Stringed Instruments
Topic: Instrumental Madness
Replies: 5
Views: 3243

Re: Instrumental Madness

Ah, but will you like how my bass plays? Unmodified sound sample, recorded on my laptop's built-in mic which isn't good on bass frequencies: https://app.box.com/s/7vb0g4vy9l7trwv391gn I added a bass line to a recording of me playing and singing, and boosted the bass slightly so it matched what I'm h...
by Chris Reed
Tue Jul 23, 2013 5:09 am
Forum: Other Stringed Instruments
Topic: Instrumental Madness
Replies: 5
Views: 3243

Re: Instrumental Madness

Hi Chris, hows the tone on that bad boy? re: my piece, as I said, its more of a wall hanging than a real instrument. Just for show. With a resonator on the back it sounds like ... I suppose a very cheap and quiet plywood bass with some banjo twang to it. Surprisingly good sustain though - the throu...
by Chris Reed
Mon Jul 22, 2013 1:45 pm
Forum: Other Stringed Instruments
Topic: Instrumental Madness
Replies: 5
Views: 3243

Re: Instrumental Madness

I like your thinking, but why so many frets? Here's the fretless upright bass I finished yesterday, made from a washing up bowl and some scrap wood I had lying around (I originally typed "crap wood", which is equally true). http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5519/9333652283_151d2f9b46.jpg Bowl bass front...
by Chris Reed
Wed Jun 19, 2013 6:03 pm
Forum: Other Stringed Instruments
Topic: Mandolin scale length: Is 15" pushing it?
Replies: 26
Views: 16785

Re: Mandolin scale length: Is 15" pushing it?

I haven't played mandolin for more than a few minutes but I did learn that mandolin chords are already a stretch at least for my hands. You have to cover 5-7 frets instead of the usual three or four for a guitar or banjo. A longer scale might make this impossible to chord - though I suspect you'd b...
by Chris Reed
Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:17 am
Forum: Other Stringed Instruments
Topic: Mandolin scale length: Is 15" pushing it?
Replies: 26
Views: 16785

Re: Mandolin scale length: Is 15" pushing it?

I've gone the other way, making a couple of shorter than normal scale ukes (11 inch as opposed to my usual 13.5 inch). In theory I could use heavier strings (in your case lighter) to tune them to the normal pitch, but this tends to produce poor sound and intonation problems. So the answer is to tune...
by Chris Reed
Mon May 20, 2013 5:33 am
Forum: Archtop Guitars and Bass Guitars
Topic: Reboot - Steam-bending Tops
Replies: 16
Views: 9254

Re: Reboot - Steam-bending Tops

Thanks guys. I tried the uke out at my local pub, and it's loud enough to fill the room so I'm happy. Now it goes to my niece for her birthday this coming weekend. The sandbag bending was an experiment, but I was surprised how easy it was - clamp back to form, dump sandbags on top. go away and do so...
by Chris Reed
Thu May 16, 2013 1:20 pm
Forum: Archtop Guitars and Bass Guitars
Topic: Reboot - Steam-bending Tops
Replies: 16
Views: 9254

Re: Reboot - Steam-bending Tops

I should have added that this wood was thin enough to be bent on an iron (<2mm) - not sure it would work with thicker wood (actually, pretty sure it wouldn't so you'd need steam there).
by Chris Reed
Thu May 16, 2013 1:16 pm
Forum: Archtop Guitars and Bass Guitars
Topic: Reboot - Steam-bending Tops
Replies: 16
Views: 9254

Re: Reboot - Steam-bending Tops

I've just started bending my ukulele backs, and I worked by clamping the back into a form for the desired shape and then simply piling on sandbags heated in the oven to around 150C. Leave to cool, and you have bent wood. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8407/8701723487_8a76aeb6cf.jpg The string didn't ...
by Chris Reed
Tue May 07, 2013 1:17 pm
Forum: Ukuleles
Topic: Ukulele neck reinforcement query.
Replies: 3
Views: 2614

Re: Ukulele neck reinforcement query.

I think stability is the key - I've seen ukes with warped necks, but never one with a bow from string tension. And the last 6 months in Scotland should have covered off all the weather changes which might lead to warping. But if anyone chimes in with different advice, at least consider it. I've only...
by Chris Reed
Tue May 07, 2013 4:48 am
Forum: Ukuleles
Topic: Ukulele neck reinforcement query.
Replies: 3
Views: 2614

Re: Ukulele neck reinforcement query.

Not needed, unless you suspect you have unusually feeble neck wood or want to make a very low profile neck. Some of the very top end makers use CF reinforcement, but primarily to counter any movement of the wood as humidity changes rather than to resist the string tension, which is low for all ukes....
by Chris Reed
Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:08 pm
Forum: Flat-Top Acoustic Guitars and Bass Guitars
Topic: better strings for shorter scale???
Replies: 6
Views: 1870

Re: better strings for shorter scale???

23 inches is pretty much tenor guitar/banjo size, so you should be able to find a set for Chicago tuning (DGBE). This gives you the dimensions for the top four strings - something like 11/13/18/24. Then you need to extrapolate to find your A and low E dimensions and buy them as single strings.
by Chris Reed
Mon Mar 25, 2013 2:38 pm
Forum: Flat-Top Acoustic Guitars and Bass Guitars
Topic: Pine For Side Bending Practice?
Replies: 13
Views: 3271

Re: Pine For Side Bending Practice?

There should be a model-making shop around Dublin which sells 1/16 inch mahogany panels. These are something like 36x4 inches, and about £5 in the UK. I've made a uke from one of these panels (picking out one which was pretty much on the quarter with straight grain) and it sounded pretty good. Not s...