From the beginning, I knew I wanted to produce something along the lines of a cigar box guitar. I began with the basic plan written by Shelley Rickey and published in Bust magazine
. From there, I drew up a plan which changed several times before completion.
Ukuleles come in four basic sizes: soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone. The main difference is the scale length of the instrument, that is, the length of free vibrating string from bridge to nut. If I used Shelley's plan and attached the strings directly to the tail-end of the neck, a soprano or concert uke would have to have a comically shortened neck, and I'd need to extend the fingerboard over the tin box body to have enough frets to play with. Given that, I initially planned a tenor uke.
The more I played around with the design, though, I realized that the bridge would still be close to the edge of the body. I wanted it nearer to the midpoint, so that as much of the box lid as possible would vibrate. That's when I hit upon the idea of attaching a tailpiece such as banjos and resonator guitars have. That gave me much more geometrical freedom, so I settled upon a concert-size uke with a metal tailpiece. It turned out to have very nice proportions.
I also chose a trapezoidal headstock that ran parallel to the neck. In the final version, this is causing some trouble with string alignment above the neck, so future builds will have an angled headstock.