How to Build an Electric Ukulele!

Picture of How to Build an Electric Ukulele!
When I saw the telelele on tumblr, I was inspired to start building one of my own. I had never built anything instrument related before, and it sounded like an easy way to prep me for building my dream project; an archtop/hollow body electric guitar. (possibly looking a bit like the Gibson Trini-Lopez) This project taught me a lot about making fretboards, wiring, and the importance of being patient while the paint is drying! Although its not perfect, and although i'm not quite ready for the hollow body yet, this experience was very important (and really awesome!) and I plan to build an acoustic guitar next to give me a little more experience with building guitars. This instructable is not specific to this design, but instead gives you the steps you need to build an electric guitar/uke/bass personalized just for you. If you want instructions specific to my design, just ask me on my orange board or inbox, and I will try to work something out! And for all you experts out there: yes, I probably did some things wrong; feel free to correct me! Hopefully you will understand what iv'e done! Enjoy!
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Step 1: Lingo

After I finished the instructable and read it over, I realized that people may not know what some of the guitar parts/ building related words meant. So, I made this list. Here we go!

- Pots: Potentiometers; Used to control the volume and tone of the instrument.
- Nut: Bone or plastic piece at the beginning of the fretboard that holds the strings in place
- Bridge: In this case the metal piece at the bottom end of the guitar that also holds the strings.
- Pickup: Electromagnetic pickup; helps amplify the guitar string's sound
- Machine Heads/ Tuning Machines: Guitar strings are wrapped through and around these to tighten or slacken the strings.

You are a very impressive young lady. Keep up the good work.

Did you solve the problem with the lose of pitch?

OutdoorGirl16196 (author)  julio navarro12 hours ago

Thank you! And yes, I did fix the pitch problem. I simply had to adjust the position of the nut!

aharðarson6 months ago
is the templet the Stretched out one ? if not what are the dimensions if i may ask (great project by the way)
OutdoorGirl16196 (author)  aharðarson6 months ago
the template is the picture on this step. there is a link to it in the step. i'll try to get somw dimensions of it in a day or two
and thank you
technovative6 months ago
Seeing examples of young folks with consequential interests and skills warms my soul. Excellent Ible, I love the drawings, uniquely fun and informative. Awesome ukulele, well done!
OutdoorGirl16196 (author)  technovative6 months ago
thank you!
jonwannabuild7 months ago
I've made a regular paddle style soprano ukulele. what works really well for shaping the neck is a sanding drum. You can buy them single out as a set to fit your drill press. You then lock the press at the height you want to work with and start shaping.
OutdoorGirl16196 (author)  jonwannabuild7 months ago
oh yes! thanks for the tip! We have some of those, i never thought to use them for that
Skye21717 months ago
May I ask how old are you? And did you make it by yourself? :)
OutdoorGirl16196 (author)  Skye21717 months ago
i'm 14, and I did everything accept soldering, drilling the hole where the jack goes, cutting out metal plates
This is a seriously impressive Instructable, and a beautiful piece of work. Even without looking through the other entries for this competition I've cast my vote for you already.

Your drawings are not only clear and informative, you have a really cheerful drawing style which makes them especially attractive.

I've been planning on building a telecaster over the winter months but am now seriously tempted to make one of these first. Thank you for posting it.
Wow! Thank you for your vote! (I could really use a new leatherman) If you end up making a telecaster, send me some pictures! I'd love to see how it turns out!
uding507 months ago
Thank you very much
sylrig8 months ago
Nice job! And I like your use of hand drawings to add information.
OutdoorGirl16196 (author)  sylrig7 months ago
Thank you! I'm glad the drawings helped.
chriswatsen8 months ago
i worked at fender HQ for much of my adult life, and i think this thing is FANTASTIC! great job, BTW, fender has a contest for product ideas, you should look into it.
OutdoorGirl16196 (author)  chriswatsen7 months ago
Cool! I definitely will! and thank you for your feedback.
rhino8 months ago
Extremely awesome! Here is a link to one of the best guitar building websites out there. It says it is a Telecaster forum, but folks are building everything under the sun there.
OutdoorGirl16196 (author)  rhino7 months ago
Thanks for the link! It seems like a cool site.
onemoroni18 months ago
I congratulate you for how great this worked out and all your good work. Love the sketches.
OutdoorGirl16196 (author)  onemoroni17 months ago
thank you!
Jerry998 months ago
I predict that the "Outdoor Girl Guitar & Ukelele Co." will be a big success. An excellent project executed superbly.
OutdoorGirl16196 (author)  Jerry997 months ago
hahaha, thanks!
junkrigsailor8 months ago
While you're at this you might also find it fun to look at the people who are building Cigar Box Guitars. Check out http://cigarboxnation,com
OutdoorGirl16196 (author)  junkrigsailor7 months ago
I actually have seen that site! its pretty cool!

junkrigsailor8 months ago
I am seriously impressed. Seriously. Your work quality speaks highly of you.
OutdoorGirl16196 (author)  junkrigsailor7 months ago
Thank you!
pehughes8 months ago

Very seriously impressed here. Well thought out and elegantly related through your drawings and narrative. You reference those before you that had ideas you could borrow to fulfill your endeavor. Very beautiful, high quality work!
I play a uke, or at least try to. You have rev'ed me up up to start on my own electric. I will be borrowing your ideas!

Thank you.
OutdoorGirl16196 (author)  pehughes7 months ago
Thanks! I hope yours goes well! When your done, tell me how it sounds!
Quizicat8 months ago
Quite an undertaking. Particularly the neck and fretboard. I see you found Stew-Mac. They are a wonderful resource. They have great tutorials on guitar repair (free).
The washer thingy is called a ferrule. I am surprised you didn't go so far as to wind your own pickups since you did all the rest. :) Also you could use a plane to round out the neck. How long did this project take you? How does it sound? Nice work!
OutdoorGirl16196 (author)  Quizicat7 months ago
Thank you! It took me about a month, more or less. And I actually did decide to wind my own pickup, It sounds a lot better than I thought it would. The whole rig sounds great, except for the pitch problem with the strings (I am working on resolving).
hreid8 months ago
Awesome job, there. Did you do all of this yourself because, please don't be offended, you don't even look 15. If you're as young as you look and you did all of this on your own, it's all the more impressive.
OutdoorGirl16196 (author)  hreid7 months ago
thank you very much. I am actuslly 14, and I did the majority of it myself, except for where I have noted; my grandfather helped me rout out the part of the body where the neck goes in, He soldered the wires where I had attatched them (I am terrible at that), He cut out the metal plates from the templates I made, and drilled the hole in the side where the jack goes. There was a crack in the wood we did not see, so it was very difficult not to break. (while drilling that hole)
Shanderson8 months ago
I too have made an Electric Ukulele... However, it didn't turn out as clean(?) as yours did.
However, I will let you judge that for yourself.
OutdoorGirl16196 (author)  Shanderson7 months ago
I like it! Did you come up with your own design? Also, how does it sound? I'm working on figuring out why mine goes off pitch when you try to play it.
smstivers8 months ago
Could you show the steps to build the pickup?
OutdoorGirl16196 (author)  smstivers7 months ago
to build the pickup, I used Leperello Mikesiah's instructable:
pgherbaz8 months ago
Hey, two years ago I built an electric ukulele very similar to yours! Congratulations for your great work! Let me ask you... how is the pitch when you press metal strings? In my uke, although the sound quality is great, the stretch is too strong and it loses the pitch :(
Here's a pic :)
OutdoorGirl16196 (author)  pgherbaz7 months ago
Thats really cool! I love the headstock. Mine also loses pitch, i've been adjusting the bridge and trying different types of strings to fix it. If you come up with a solution, tell me about it, I'd appreciate it!

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