Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fabuloso Baritone Uke (IW#050)

Well, it has been some time since I put any photos up here, but that does not mean that I have not been working. 

I had been wanting a baritone uke for some time.  My mom had one (still does) when I was small, and she played it for us and we sang together, so I had been waxing nostalgic about it for a while.  This particular cigar box came into my hands, and I was really surprised by how good it sounds.  The top is solid cedar, and although it is a little thicker than a guitar or uke top should be, it really has quite a nice sound. 

Number 50 is going to be a real player, I can tell.  Took it to the uke jam this past weekend and it really held its own well.  And I like the baritone uke scale length.  It is just a bit shorter than a tenor guitar, but similar in most other ways, so very easy to play. And it says "Fabuloso" right on the front.  What more could you ask?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Letter Box Uke (IW#49)

A friend gave me this box this summer, telling me that she used to keep letters in it.  It is one of these boxes that has 1/8" plywood as the lid, which makes it a pretty lively box.  Made a nice little uke.  I didn't make a video, though.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Rehumanizer (IW#48)

A friend wanted me to make him an instrument that sounded "real dirty."  Well, no problem.  We are recording a version of the Police's not-so-much-of-a-hit "Re-Humanize Yourself" and he wanted something that sounded good and unclean.

This thing is a cross between a diddley bow and a lap steel.  I had been wanting to make another one of these ever since the Cacophatar, which was a great deal of fun to play and I have been missing, so I thought I would make another instrument similar to that.  This time it is three strings (tuned D A d) and has a resonator that is an old aluminum stock pot.  It sounds pretty great, and the work we have been doing on the recording has been fun.  I will post that as soon as we get it finalised.  In the mean time here is what it sounds like:

Queen of Hearts (IW#47)

Had a family of good friends come and visit recently.  The 11-year-old daughter has been learning ukulele, and and was noodling around on some of the instruments I have kicking around here.  I asked if she would like to make herself a slide guitar.  She jumped at the chance, and the best part was how much she wanted to do the work herself.  I had a scrap of red oak from some old church pews kicking around that was too small to use for a neck unless it was a two string instrument, which was fine with her.  Here she is working, first at the band saw:

Then we drilled out the head stock and joined the drill holes with a coping saw.  She flattened out the rough cut with a rasp:

After that it was on to shaping the neck, first with a spoke shave and then with rasps and finally sand paper :

She wanted the sound hole in the shape of a heart, so she drilled two holes and we joined them with the coping saw.
All in all it was a fun couple of hours, and she got to use a bunch of tools (under close supervision, never fear), and she went home with an instrument that she made.  Pretty cool.  We strung it up with three strings and tuned them to C G C.  Sounds pretty good: