Unlike the high tech Hawaiian Ukulele, the South Pacific Tahitians used the tools available to create a completely different instrument more akin to the Banjo than a guitar. This 8 stringed Uke can be made without any laminating or wood-bending. That's because it's made from one solid hunk of wood. It will take more than fingernails and spit, but the end result is satisfying to the eye, ear, and soul.

It should be noted that this Instructable is best enjoyed when read in the voice of Ron Swanson. (shameless judge pandering, I know.)

Step 1: Go to Tahiti

First, get married at the courthouse so you can afford a honeymoon in Tahiti. There, you'll meet Andre and his authentic Tahitian Ukulele. He'll teach you how to play it and let you copy its dimensions. If this is not an option, skip this step and go to step 2.

<p>Stupendous! Amazing! Best 'ible I've read so far!</p><p>I will certainly give this one a try, although I may go for a 6-string version, tuned similar to a standard guitar. This also is feeding my recent desire to carve something from wood using only sandpaper and elbow grease. Granted, it will take much longer to complete, but this sort of determined dedication to creating an instrument appeals to me. </p>
<p>That would be really cool to make one like a guitar, and I do have an obsession with projects that annoy my parents... I know what I'm doing christmas break this year.</p>
<p>That would be a smart way to not have to re-learn all your chords. Go for it. The fishing line and the smaller sound chamber don't make for much resonance. That's why they double up the strings ... to double the volume. But definitely use the fishing line. It makes the sound true to the islands. Thanks for the positive feedback!!</p>
<p>Some have asked how my instrument sounds, so I thought I'd post this video of the Tahitian Ukulele in the hands of someone who knows more than I. This gentleman sat down at the Fairchild Tropical Gardens Annual Ramble where I was diplaying some pieces and appropriately played Norwegian Wood.... Although technically it's Cuban Mahogany and a Tahitian Ukulele. But I didn't want to press his &quot;wood&quot; related repertoire. </p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/dzNgUao25mw" width="500"></iframe></p>
<p>This is the reason I'm clicking this site at least once a day. Beautiful project and a really nice piece of art. Great craftmanship, I hope you're going to make it very far in that contest!</p>
<p>This is incredible. All of it. The process of the build, the humor of the write up, and mostly the beauty of the instrument; both it's sound and appearance. I tip my hat to you sir. Your dedication on this project has most certainly paid off.</p>
<p>So...I made it... and I am a cavaquinho and an ukulele player, so I would say that the result is somewhere in between...and still I like it! Your project is great and it was really helpful, although I am no longer on time to marry a Tahitian woman, nor I have a small Tahitian friend to advise me. But my Polish woman inspired me and appreciated the outcome as well. My son told me that if I am able to do a ukurere, I should be able to make him an electric guitar as well...I ran out of excuses!</p><p>This was a test, so I made it of pine wood. Next time I will make a bigger investment, as I really enjoyed doing it and I would love to repeat the experience. However, I would like to ask you how thick should the strings be: fluorescent green and able to resist 30lb is good enough for Tahiti reference, but after visiting 12 fishing shops in Cracow (Poland), I have concluded that all the fish around here must be quite small (I&acute;m a Portuguese used to the ocean). Could you please tell me the measure of the nylon strings you are using? If I don&acute;t loose an eye with the nylon I am using, I might order something better from a country with sharks and merlins.</p><p>Thank you indeed! Now I would love to play with you! Let me know if you come to Poland or to Portugal!</p><p>Marcos Vilhena</p>
<p>I just started one but the only lumber I have is a bit smaller than this, so I'm making it turtle shaped and using the scale length of a mini soprano.</p>
<p>Great instructable! Thanks!</p>
<p>That is beautiful!</p>
I may try to do this project
<p>Great project, having just finished one. No hard available at the time so used a cut off from a building project in Pine, 9&quot; wide, 35&quot; long and 1 3/4 &quot; depth. Great fun to build, thanks for the inspiration</p>
<p>Thanks! Well done! :-))<br>Which sort of wood can I use?<br>I live in Panama, what means I have only some tropical wood.</p>
<p>Hi Ken,</p><p>Once I made a Pacific Uke, but I can't remember where I got the fret calculator.</p><p>There are plenty, but they seem to be a bit different from each other.</p><p>Which is the best?</p><p>Regards Peter</p>
<p>Hey, Congrats on winning the Grand Prize!! You did a great job!! :)</p>
<p>Awesome ukulele! I like your step names too.</p>
<p>Awesome! Bonus dog!</p>
<p>Outstanding !</p>
Brilliant Ken!
<p>wonderful! the finish is so beautiful, you just want to touch it!</p>
<p>You are an inspiration. This is jaw dropping wonderful. The writing and project are stunning. As a non musician I still love it and want one. </p>
<p>Thanks Dr. J! Glad you enjoyed it. Wish me luck and please vote for me in the Woodworking contest!</p>
<p>I love your style, and your &quot;Man&quot; woodworking! Voted!</p><p>But, I know you deliberately gave no measurements, however I'm musically completely ignorant, but might have a go at making one of these for the Uke player in the family, so, as a starting point, what are sensible minimum and maximum widths of the log?</p>
<p>Thanks! This was my first instructible, and I think I underestimated how helpful actual measurements are to people. So I may ammend and include them. For you, I'll list here the following:</p><p>overall length 31&quot;</p><p>width at the widest point 10&quot;</p><p>width of neck / fretboard 1 3/4&quot;</p><p>thickness of original plank 2 1/4&quot;</p><p>finished thickness 1 7/8</p><p>sound hole front 6 1/4 &quot;</p><p>sound hole back 2&quot;</p><p>distance from nut to bridge 15&quot;</p><p>Let me know if you need any other numbers. </p>
<p>Thanks! Now I just need to find myself a log...</p>
I love this Instructable! Great humour and wonderful ukulele! I've never seen a Tahitian ukulele, but you've convinced me this is, in fact, an authentic ukulele=P
<p>Wow!! this is cool .. Watched the video and it also sounds great!! Great Job.</p>
<p>Great Instructable!! Very well documented, good pictures and video (dog leaving was priceless) and very humorous. Kept me interested and entertained all the way through! Beautiful Uke too, BTW. Thanks!!</p>
<p>Fine craftsmanship. You should be very proud of your work. Thanks for taking the time to document your work and putting on here for all of us to enjoy. I like your sense of humor too. :-) </p>
<p>Really great first Ible!!! This is your first instrument, so there is more to come?</p>
<p>that 's great man. i voted for you.</p>
<p>wow, that's beautiful ! Got my vote!</p><p>Still having issues believing this is your first insturment :P</p>
<p>I have since made one other instrument, but it was percussive. (Tongue Drum). I've wanted to make another uke, but am worried that my beginners luck will have run out. I'll definitely do it again.</p>
<p>This &quot;Tongue Drum&quot; is beautiful.<br>Do you have a source for the theory and measurements for this?<br>Or is there an 'ible for this beautiful drum?</p>
That is beautiful! Is it a mandolin or a uke?
<p>It is a Tahitian Ukulele. fingerings and strings are similar to the Hawaiian Uke, but the sound is very different. Very twangy banjo style of sound. Biggest difference from Mandolin or traditional uke is that the hole is in the back. Thin soundboard in front.</p>
You are a wizard! That is a beautiful work of art. I hope it plays as good as it looks.
<p>Thanks! You can hear it here: <iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/8sxI-3ZfGzo" width="500"></iframe></p>
<p>Brilliant. The is the grandmother of all ukes, a definite nuke uke Big Bad Boy! But what else can you expect from a uke birthed by a chainsaw and forged into a devil's own instrument by the hands of a madman?</p><p>i can see the dog was impressed and you got my vote too.</p>
<p>Wobbler! Thanks for the comments. It's definitely heavy and heavy duty. Doesn't even need a case because it can take a beating. Roger Daltry would wear himself out trying to smash this at the end of a concert.</p>
<p>The Tahitian ukulele is my favorite and one has been on my build list for a while to add to the two I already own. It's cultural roots, simplicity, and sound certainly help make it approachable and unique. Unfortunately it's never really gained much popularity outside of the islands but your Instructable just might help it along! Great project build instructions and documentation. Thanks.</p>
<p>About a year before I went to Tahiti, I had ordered a Hawaiian Ukulele construction manual. It was way beyond my skills and tools so I put it aside. I had never even heard of the Tahitian version until I saw it on my honeymoon. The second I held it, I knew it was very possible. I do hope that this instrument gets more air time. It's a very unique and fun with such a cool sound.</p>
What was the size of the hole on the front for the sound board?
<p>Hi darkside. The hole on the front was 6 1/4&quot;. The dug out bowl was exactly 6&quot; with a 1/8&quot; recessed lip running all the way around to rest the plywood disc. The hole in the back is 2&quot;</p>
<p>Great project, awesome write up, and a cute dog! It's the trifecta!</p>
<p>Hey you forgot the cat! (hiding behind the dog). Thanks for the ups.</p>
<p>Very impressive! I may have simply missed it, but approximately how much did this project cost? You have my utmost respect!</p>
<p>Thanks Little G! The most expensive part of the project was the honeymoon to Tahiti. Other than that, the wood was free. The fishing line was about $5. The only pieces I had to buy were the tuners $20-$30 and the fret wire $5. Of course, the tools aren't cheap, but the big tools I used aren't necessary. </p>

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