Aloha Alberto. Thank you very much for your order. This private page is where I will post updates and photos of the build process.
- Right-handed tenor size electric ukulele with design considerations parallel to that designed for Ukulazy
- AAA grade flamed torrefied maple neck-through with Walnut body wings, a figured Koa top and Macassar ebony fretboard and bridge
- Radiused fretboard
- Bone nut and saddle
- Reconstituted turquoise fret dots and custom V fretboard inlay
- Grover 8N chrome and brass tuners with black buttons
- Hand-polished varnish finish
- Thin-bodied hardcase
- Mi-Si Trio for Ukulele with Bourns Pro Audio potentiometer for volume control
- Wood volume knob to match bridge and fretboard.
Instrument to be completed on or before March 7th and available to ship by March 11th. Fun Ukulele serial #1871
9/23/18 this is the AAA grade flamed torrefied Acer saccharum (Canada) maple board that will become your instrument's neck-through.
(Please disregard the Fender style neck outline from the supplier Hades Roasted Maple)
Diospyros celebica (Indonesia) 'Macassar ebony' for bridge
9/28/18 this is your Macassar ebony fretboard, Bourns Pro Audio pot, and Hymenaea courbaril wood knob.
My schedule for today includes slotting and thickness sanding your fretboard.
9/28/18 fretboard slotted
10/6/18 Neck roughed out. Scarf joint cut, leveled, and flattened.
Pictured below with a wash of 1/4 strength shellac to show figure.
10/31/18 Recon turquoise prepared for inlay. Here is my sketch of a script V -- please let me know what you think of the design.
11/3/18 V design updated
11/4/18 Inlay cut, channel layed out
As you can see, the turquoise has much better color under a coat of lemon oil.
11/15/18 Here are a few dot layout options. My original plan was a 4.6mm dot at the 5th and 7th, but when I started looking over the layout it seemed to me like a 2mm at the 5th, 10th, and 14th with a 4.6mm at the 7th would be more elegant. Let me know what you think.
11/23/18 Fretboard changes confirmed - Radius, 4.6mm dot at 5 and 7, V covering 10, 11, 12.
1/20/19 Although it has been a while since I have provided any updates, please know that the ukulele is on schedule. I hope you had a fantastic holiday season!
2/4/19 I have selected this dramatic koa top for your instrument. It is pictured with a light coat of shellac, but it is rough sawn and not sanded. The figure will show better once it is sanded, polished, and properly finished.
2/3/19 Happy Superb Owl Sunday - I'm working on your fretboard today.
2/7/2019 Here is the top sanded to 120 grit with one coat of shellac, shown under different lighting conditions to best reveal the
chatoyant nature of the curl.
2/8/2019 New inlay cut and installed, pictured below with the CA glue yet to be leveled.
2/9/2019 Here are a series of photos showing the process of carving your bridge. I first routed two channels, one for the saddle and one for the string ramp. The rest of the work I executed with files, rasps, and hand saws, without the use of power tools. Your bridge features a slightly larger footprint than what I use for acoustic instruments, since soundboard weight and freedom to vibrate is not a consideration with an electric instrument. The large footprint allows for maximum energy transfer between the bridge and the body.
2/9/2019 Walnut wings leveled and glued onto the neck. Prepared to carve chambers.
2/10/2019 Frets installed and fret dots located and inlayed.
I prefer to inlay dots after the frets are installed, as this allows faster and more accurate measurements to locate the dots in the precise center of the board. Seen here freshly covered with CA glue which will next be leveled and polished.
2/18/2019 Good news! I was able to order a Ko'olau thin body case from Hawaii Music Supply, the case they send with their Pono electrics. It arrived today in pretty good shape, but it looks like it has sit at their warehouse for a while because there is a bit of rust on the hardware. I reached out to Hawaii Music Supply
• • •
Here are a few pictures of the process since February 18:
Our army of cam clamps hard at work affixing your koa top to the walnut body, with an intermediate layer of Acer sp. maple, reclaimed off-cuts of the skateboard manufacturing industry.
Preparing the control cavities, with the tuned acoustic teardrop chambers visible on the bass side of the instrument. The blonde walnut layer is heat-treated reclaimed Juglans cinerea, chosen for its astounding tonal properties to pair well with the Juglans nigra on the rest of the body.
The body outline is roughed out on the bandsaw after the body was level-sanded through the drum sander. The cavities are taped-over during bandsawing to keep wood chips out of the sinusoidal acoustic chambers.
Another pass through the bandsaw brings us closer to that vintage Gibson look.
The outline is approached further and the bevel begins to take shape. The fretboard inset is cut into the top.
Beginning to shape the decorative neck-body junction.
setting carbon-reinforced maple around the pot cavity rim. I fixed the cavity covers with solid brass hardware, and to improve the longevity of this hardware the screws are mated to brass inserts. Beeswax and neoprene serve to prevent these screws from being loosened by vibration while allowing them to be easily removed for any future repairs or modifications. Note that repeated removal and replacement can damage the brass screws over time. Fortunately these screws are a standard size and can be easily replaced if necessary.
Because the shape and thickness of the volume pot cavity cover make it susceptible to damage with age and humidity changes, I have made it from a 5 ply lamination of torrefied maple, hard rock maple, and carbon fiber. The thickness and layout of the preamp cavity cover make this reinforcement unnecessary as the torrefied maple is very stable and durable, but I did cover the vulnerable endgrain areas of the screw holes with a brass sleeve.
Here your instrument is seen awaiting its fretboard while it hangs next to #1870, the custom concert for Randy Gapasin that seen in the process of having its bridge attached.
I have glued on the fretboard before carving the neck. Here you can see the beginning stages of leveling and crowning the frets.
Your instrument is sanded to 1200 grit and sealed with a coat of shellac.
The hand sanding succession I use for these wood species is as follows, with careful examination between each step:
•100 grit for final shaping
•first shellac layer to show previous missed areas from aggresive grits.
•second shellac test
After which the finish sanding takes place down to 2 micron.
The finish is scraped off the top where the bridge belongs, and the area is taped off to assist with positioning and glue cleanup. Then your bridge is glued on after being surfaced to a slight concavity on the mating face.
You can see here that the string holes drilled into the bridge exit as low as possible on the inner edge of the tie block. This is to provide the maximum break angle of the strings across the saddle, even should the action ever need to be lowered in the future.
After carefully shaping the headstock, the Fun logo is applied and the surface is sprayed with lacquer. The slightly eccentric tuner positions are located and drilled, after which they are reamed to accept the press-fit tuner bushings.
The pickup and potentiometer are carefully installed and wired with vintage Gibson style shielded cloth-insulated wiring. The joints are covered with heat shrink tubing and the pickup excess is gathered with an aluminum hold-down.
The cavities are closed after testing the electronics. Inspired by vintage Riva yachts, I have chosen to highlight the hardware rather than hide it. I have carefully de-burred and polished the brass hardware.
The endpin jack has a touch of gentle threadlock to prevent it from vibrating loose. This adhesive will release relatively easily in the event that repair or modification becomes necessary.
I carefully compensated the nut to optimize intonation. This is not common, particularly on ukuleles. But the process is simple and roughly parallel to the standard compensation at the saddle. The nut on your instrument is held in place with a whisper of isinglass emulsion, which I designed to release with the application of moisture. This facilitates future modifications.
The LR Baggs element is interfaced with the bridge with a shim of carbon graphite to enhance tonal transfer. I find that when an undersaddle pickup is used, this makes ebony bridges sound more like Brazilian rosewood bridges; greater sparkle and responsiveness.