Alain Bieber very first ukulele

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Alain Bieber
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Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 1:28 pm

Alain Bieber very first ukulele

Post by Alain Bieber »

UKULE 1 jp.jpg
My son asked for a ukulele. After a visit to our instrument dealers, and realising they were made in Asia for very few (really very few) Euros, I hesitated but... a son is a son...
My woods were chosen without any originality for a classical guitar guy. WRC top, EIR back and sides and Spanish cedar neck. CSAR (as they say now) fingerboard and headplate
I used a Stauffer neck for adjustability, this is I suppose an original option for such a small instrument but.. I am used to that .
Tenor size. Powerful and rather short sounds. I presume this is a result you have with that sort of instrument.
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UKULE 2 jp.jpg

Simon Magennis
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Location: Menorca. Spain.

Re: Alain Bieber very first ukulele

Post by Simon Magennis »

Very nice. Are you using a "standard design" apart form the adjustable neck or is it your own design? How much work did it take compared to a guitar?

Jason Rodgers
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Location: Portland, OR

Re: Alain Bieber very first ukulele

Post by Jason Rodgers »

And there it is! Good one, Alain! Now, where are the rest of the pictures (bracing, neck joint, etc....)?
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.

Ron Daves
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Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 7:39 pm
Location: Southern California Desert

Re: Alain Bieber very first ukulele

Post by Ron Daves »

Alan: Nice job. Did you put on a spray finish, or some other type? I put a brush finish on my Uke. Pretty tricky to avoid runs. But you use what you've got.
Frustrated luthier wanna-be

Alain Bieber
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Re: Alain Bieber very first ukulele

Post by Alain Bieber »

Thanks Gentlemen. I built it with the idea that 44 cm was a good basis for string length. I repaired a couple of years ago a cavaquinho (steel stringed) and its features were still present in my mind. The body is a bit larger than the standard and thicker too. Three struts fan, 2mm thick top. Sides 1.5 mm thick, back around 2.3 mm thick. The little reddish stripe of the back is koa.
The finish is a super lazy version of French polish. This EIR was looking almost poreless (it is looking almost like an Ebony) but I should have been more cautious pore filling. The pores became visible again after a few coats of FP.
I kept a guitar treatment for the purfling and binding of the top side. Also for the head for which I wanted a guitar look. I have a reserve of Grover tuners that I wanted to use too.
I suppose the answer of the time question is not easy. My feeling is that I spent two thirds of the 150 hours I usually spend for my classical guitars, about 100 hours would be my answer. Definitely uncompetitive since prices of ukes I saw in the stores started around 65 Euros, 85 $.... but mine looks a little better... I hope.
I played two days with that one using a soprano uke tuning in A. I followed stupidly what was in the small method I bought. I know absolutely nothing about ukes. Now, it is back in G and the sound is better. I used the D'addarios "titanium" (!?) strings the dealer had in stock. Advices for better string choices are welcome.

Ron Daves
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Location: Southern California Desert

Re: Alain Bieber very first ukulele

Post by Ron Daves »

Thanks for that info. I did a French Polish on my #2 guitar and, although I wasn't lazy, the final result looks like I was. I had a professional auto painter spray my #1 guitar. He wasn't familiar with spraying water based laquer and there are runs here and there, so that looks lazy also. The uke I finished with a brush also looks lazy. It's a learning process and I've got a way to go.
Frustrated luthier wanna-be

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Jon Whitney
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Re: Alain Bieber very first ukulele

Post by Jon Whitney »

Ron - you might want to try an easy wipe-on finish like Tru-Oil or wipe-on polyurethane. You probably can't get high gloss out of either of them, but for satin finishes, they're great and take no special equipment, and produce no hazardous fumes (unlike spraying), and they are easier than FP.

Chuck Tweedy
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Location: San Diego, CA

Re: Alain Bieber very first ukulele

Post by Chuck Tweedy »

Nice little Uke Alain. An instant classic :-)

What is CSAR? Maybe a generic name for rosewood-like wood?
Likes to drink Rosewood Juice

Clay Schaeffer
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Re: Alain Bieber very first ukulele

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

Commonly sold as rosewood?

Matthew Lau
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Re: Alain Bieber very first ukulele

Post by Matthew Lau »

Nice!

Gilbert Fredrickson
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Re: Alain Bieber very first ukulele

Post by Gilbert Fredrickson »

Mahalo! Was it George Harrison or Keith Richards who always toured with a pair of ukes? Well, swaying palm trees and grass skirts aside, for travelling, the ukulele is the thing. That's a handsome instrument!

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Neal Carey
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Re: Alain Bieber very first ukulele

Post by Neal Carey »

It was George Harrison. He was, in fact, a ukulele fanatic and had a rather large collection!
"Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted." - John Lennon

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