Introduction: Acoustic-Electric Ukulele
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Have you ever wanted to own an Acoustic-Electric Ukulele, but without spending hundreds of dollars on a pre-made one? If so, here's an easy guide on how to make your own. This only requires a small investment, a few hours of time, and some basic tools.
The only item I purchased was this product for $15 on Amazon. I already had a ukulele and amp.
Step 1: Remove the Strings From the Ukulele
Usually you can just unscrew the strings at the top and then untie the strings at the bottom, so you don't need any tools for this. You can reuse your strings later or get new ones if you'd like.
Step 2: Remove the Saddle From the Bridge
This will be where the pickup for the amp goes. It fits in under the saddle (the white piece). I removed it with a pocket knife fairly easily.
Step 3: Measure and Mark the Tone Controls
This just needs to be somewhat accurate, because you can aalways either cut a larger hole or glue extra space. I made the hole too small at first and made it larger when I was cutting it. I also tested the connections of the kit to make sure everything was correct.
Step 4: Cut the Hole for the Tone Controls
I used an X-ACTO Knife to cut the hole because the wood for the ukulele is usually very thin and easy to pierce.
Step 5: Drill the Hole for the Jack Input
This step sounds easier than it looks. First, you drill the hole (it can be anywhere you want, it just had to reach the tone controls). Screwing the top onto the jack took some effort, and I did it by holding the inside part down with a screwdriver while I screwed the top on.
Step 6: Drill the Hole for the Pickup
I used a small drill bit to drill the hole. The pickup fit right into the space where the saddle goes on my ukulele, but if it doesn't fit yours, you can sand down the edges.
Step 7: Check the Wiring Inside the Ukulele
I recommend checking that all of the wires are plugged into the tone controls. You can hold down the wires with tape or glue if you want, but I skipped this because it's not really necessary.
Step 8: Glue the Tone Controls and Jack
I used some hot glue to keep these pieces in place, which I highly recommend doing. Any glue should work but thicker glues will work better.
Step 9: Tie the Strings Back on
The next step is to tie the strings on. You can use whatever knots you like, just make sure the strings fit over the saddle.
Step 10: Insert Batteries and Plug in
The final step is to insert the batteries into the tone controls and to plug into an amp. Then you're all set!
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Please be positive and constructive.
As with Oldestgeek, ether trim the channel in the saddle to account for depth of the piezo bar or trim the bridge (I would recommend lowering the channel in the saddle as you need the bridge to push cleanly down on the piezo) This lowers the action and prevents the upper register from becoming sharp from the high action at the bridge (the string deflection from a high action is not as noticeable in the low register closest to the nut but becomes sharper and you move to the 12th fret and higher)
Check that the position of the output socket with the jack cable inserted is in a confortable location when the uke is played while sitting.
Trim the saddle down equal to the height the pickup adds so the action of the strings will be lower. Great Job!