Introduction: Electric Altoids Guitar/Ukulele

Picture of Electric Altoids Guitar/Ukulele

I decided to make an Altoids guitar for my class project after seeing something similar online.  It ended up looking more like an ukulele than a guitar, so here it is... my electric Altoids ukulele!

Step 1: Materials & Tools


Altoids Tin

Wooden Slats/Stick (width should be about 2 inches)

Guitar tuning pegs (4)

Piezo buzzer

1/4” audio jack

Gorilla glue

Electric Guitar Strings

Bic Pen


Solder Wire

Tools I used-

Drill Press

Soldering iron

-  Band saw

-  Pneumatic rotary rasp bit


Step 2: Attaching the Neck

Picture of Attaching the Neck
  • Measure how far you want the neck to sit in the tin, and the amount of space you want on the ends of the wood for your guitar pegs. Then using a band saw, cut half way through the thickness of the wood.

    Cut a slot in the side of the Altoids can that you want the neck to be on. (keep in mind the orientation of the logo on the tin.)
    Make sure it's the same size as the wood so it fits. 

    To do this, I drilled a hole and used the rotary rasp bit to carve away the tin. If you don't have this, you can also use a router bit on a dremel tool instead.  

    Once the slot is cut, place the wood inside, and use glue to secure it. This is the basic body of the guitar.



Step 3: The Details

Picture of The Details

- Using the Drill press, drill a hole on the side of the tin to mount the mono jack.

Measure and drill holes for the tuning pegs (stagger them so the strings don't get too close to each other.)  Secure them onto the headstock.

- Drill holes in the tin for strings, and a very small hole on the center of the cover for the piezo sensor (I used a hammer and chisel to make the holes.)

-  Cut a Bic pen cap in half to use as the bridge. Glue it on the edge of the tin.




Step 4: Electricals

Picture of Electricals

Wire the piezo sensor to the audio jack. Be sure to test it before securing it permanently. 

Finally, run the strings through the holes in the tin and run them to their tuning pegs.

Hook it up to an amp and start jamming!



404_Error (author)2010-08-27

Hi, does anyone know if this would work with nylon strings?

saramaier825 (author)404_Error2010-08-27

I don't think it will since its meant to work as an electric guitar. If its nylon I don't think the sound will pick up...

nylons totally work. piezos pick up vibrations. by electric guitar, it pretty much means electric accoustic.

Sabazius (author)404_Error2010-12-28

A magnetic pickup works by creating an electromagnetic field which is affected by the vibrating metal strings of a guitar, which can be measured and translated into a corresponding sound. Because of this, a magnetic pickup only works with electric strings.

However, a piezoelectric pickup works by translating the vibrations of the sound into electrical signals, which a connected amp converts back again and amplifies/distorts/whatever. As such, if it makes a noise, the piezo will register that noise. Although a nylon string will probably make less noise than a metal string, purely because of the nature of the material, there's no scientific reason I can see to prevent you using a piezo with nylon strings.

FYI, piezos are used on all kinds of acoustic instruments with non-metal strings, such as instruments in the string family which are played with a bow. Hope this is informative and helpful :)

ScienceWiz (author)2010-01-28

How does the ukulele sound? Also, do u know if I could simply put the piezo sensor inside my accoustic uke and convert it to an electric?

I'm really lookin to make one, and, if I finally do, Ill upload a video of me playing it so people can hear how it sounds.

Great instruatable! Great idea

lemonie (author)2009-12-17

Can you upload an audio-file?


saramaier825 (author)lemonie2009-12-18

I don't know if there's a way to upload audio files on this thing but i'll try :)

lemonie (author)saramaier8252009-12-18

You do it the same as pictures (exactly the same), I'd really like to hear how this sounds.


masterochicken (author)lemonie2009-12-17

Yes. I was just thinking that.

Badger_Man (author)2009-12-17

Excellent, i now know the basics of making an electric acoustic instrument.

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