Pocket ukulele - home made Sopranino Ukulele from scrap wood

Picture of Pocket ukulele - home made Sopranino Ukulele from scrap wood
How to make a Pocket sized home made Sopranino Ukulele from a plank taken from a shipping pallet.

First find a piece of straitish knot freeish wood about 3 and a half inches wide (90 mm) or more and half an inch thick or more and about 14 inches long or more. I got mine from a section of a plank taken from a shipping palette. A longer plank will give a longer ukulele. I have made a 2 foot long one (which is a Tenor Ukulele) using a virtually identical method and a standard soprano as well. 

You can see how they sound here

First is the sopranino tahitian style tuning (apologies for the fat fingers)
Second is a tenor Uke tahitian style tuning.
Third is a regular tuned soprano uke all made using roughly the same method.

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Step 1: Mark out your Uke

Picture of Mark out your Uke
Mark out the shape you want for your ukulele. I am going for as simple a shape as I can because I am a little simple myself.

The scale length here was going to be 20 cm but finished up being 22 cm,or around 8 and a half inches.

Step 2: Excavate out the back

Picture of Excavate out the back

Now turn the Uke over and mark out the area that needs to be hollow. Then have at it with your preferred method of excavation. For this small one I decided to go manual and used a chisel. Remember a plane is just a chisel held at a particular angle with a guide to stop it from taking too much off at once, working patiently from either end with the chisel and occasionally using a sharp knife to clear the ends and work on inside of the sides.

It is much easier to do this with a router.

Even I was not perfect and had to glue a crack back together.

If you don't feel up to the hollowing task you can just cut a hole and use something else as a resonating membrane. Heat shrunk PET bottles work magnificently.


diyusername6 months ago
There is only. 7
titchtheclown (author)  diyusername6 months ago

You can have as many frets as you like in theory. Physics says an infinite number but in practice it is usually much smaller. When playing I rarely use more than 5, and only then, when I am showing off. The more frets you have the more notes you can play. 12 frets would give you an octave on each string and this is pretty standard for ukuleles. Banjos can go up to about 26.

thanks,this was helpful
diyusername6 months ago
Shouldn't there be 12 frets
mni ming yun10 months ago


j7hs09911 year ago
How thick is the neck?
titchtheclown (author)  j7hs09911 year ago
The neck is as thick as the scrap of wood i started with.
Measured dimensions are
40 mm wide
15 mm thick

The neck thickness is not really that important as the tension of nylon strings is not that great. On the fancier ukes I have made the thickness usually tapers from about 20 mm at the body down to 15 mm at the nut.
marc.cryan3 years ago
What are the strings?
titchtheclown (author)  marc.cryan3 years ago
20 lb fishing line on this, but feel free to experiment. The soprano in the video is currently strung with a combination of 40, 80, 60 and 40 lb line for GCEA tuning.
DanYHKim3 years ago
This is wonderfully rough-and-ready. Your instrument is very accessible . . . even I think I could make one! This 'ible demonstrates many of the characteristics that make this site so very useful: the end result is kinda ugly, but works fine, the materials can be found cheap or free, and the steps are broken down into simple tasks that are easy to describe. Finally, the step that describes how to test the sound with one string anticipates a common point of failure. I am really impressed!

Oh, the pictures are great, and the video is really fun to watch.
Video or audio would be nice. A router might be a better way of excavating the back. It would definitely allow you to make a more precise depth.
titchtheclown (author)  mr.incredible3 years ago
dodgy video up
Will work on something better
mdog933 years ago
I am also interested in how this sounds; not particularly loud and fairly dull is my guess.. but I am not expert :p
every time I try to download a PDF it takes me to the login. so I login hit download PDF and it takes me back to login. I don't mind going around in circles when I'm on a merry-go-round but this is ridicules.
Aegian24243 years ago
how does it sound? maybe upload a video?