Homemade Banjo Ukulele Project




Hi Everyone!

As a wild and crazy ukulele player I love everything uke! I have long wanted a banjo ukulele to round out my collection, but there are none available in my area of the world and even ordering one is terribly expensive! SO whats a crazy ukulele man to do?

Easy, make one yourself! I used a 2 dollar tamborine (before upgrading to a 3 dollar hand drum), an old uke neck from a broken old uke, some VERY simple and low quality non-electric tools and some TLC.

I made several videos outlining the whole process and would love to share them with you! Please enjoy this instructable and hopefully you too can make the banjo ukulele of your dreams!


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Step 1: The Beginning

Getting the pieces together I will need to get started.

Step 2: Cutting Myself But Not Minding

My tools really are bad..... But I am trying my best. The pieces are coming together! Almost ready to build!

Step 3: A Couple Screws and Some Broken Bits!

Well, the neck is attached and using the old broken bridge I got strings on it, and NOISE!

Step 4: It's Alive! and Almost in Tune!

Well, almost... considering the broken and crazy bits and pieces, somewhat surprising to say the least!

Step 5: To Glue or Not Glue? a New Plan!

Funky tail piece and bridge not great.... Onwards and upwards! Goodbye tamborine, hello hand drum!

Step 6: Updates on the New Plan!

Ordered some new parts and bits!

Step 7: It's Finished! Kinda Sorta...

Got the bits in the mail, got it together, sounds ok! Almost done!

Step 8: Almost Done! Some Filler and Paint All Thats Left!

Almost done now! Sounds good, but, will it be electric?? Woohoo!

Fully painted and filled video to come soon!

Step 9: Almost Done! Filler Added, Looking Good!

Switched out the cardboard back for a wood one and got the filler all in place.... looking pretty darn good!

Step 10: Finshed Product! Painted and Strung!

Still not quite in tune, but you should get the idea!

I loved making this uke and look forward to my next homemade ukulele project!

I hope you enjoyed it too!



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    14 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Hi sirant,
    Thanks for the posts, I have gone ahead and made a banjolele from a ten inch tambourine. I have a problem with it being that there is a a bitof buzzing happening with unfretted strings. Any idea as to why? Thanks!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    This is awesome, but for people without broken ukulele's lying around, and not enough money to get a neck, how do you think one should go about making a neck?

    2 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    at a drugstore or department store there are usually toy guitars that cost 10-20$


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Look up cigar box guitar building, and take advice from there on how to make necks.


    9 years ago on Introduction

     wow so nice!!
    about half a year before i read the book called "mount dragon" where one of the characters is also playing banjo or ukulele as i remember. it just came me in mind now... actually i tried playing guitar before but ended up with not-practicing^^
    when im back in germany, i will try to build such a ukulele u showed here... coz im in hong kong now, so a bit difficult to manage...
    thanks for the great instructable!!


    10 years ago on Step 10

    Well done !!! But I have one question. Let's see neck length for a soprano ukulele is approximately 17 centimeters, measured from the nut to the 12th fret. This means that distance between 12th fret and the saddle must be 17 centimeters too (12th fret lies exactly at the middle of the string). So the tamborine diameter must be greater than 17 centimeters to get correct intonation. this means also we must use at least an 8" inches tamborine (12" sounds better according to me) ? Is this correct ? What is the size of the tamborine you are using ? Anyway, great job !!! Thanks.

    Here is another great banjolele palyer from the British Music Hall, Tessie O'Shea.

    Nice Instructable.

    Here's a video of George Formby, jr (often confused with his father, George Formby, Sr. who was also a Music hall performer) performing "With My Little Stick of Blackpool Rock."


    11 years ago on Introduction

    This is AWSOME!!!!!! I am considering on making one. this is a neat little project for me to do. This is genius. Congrats my friend. Keep up the good work!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    This is a really incredible project. Your videos are super clear and everything looks awesome. The only thing I could recommend is that you take a screenshot from each vid and post one with each step so you have pictures that will show up with the thumbnais and descriptions of this insructable. I know it's a bit of a hassle, but it will really make a difference when people take a glance at your tutorial in the feed and want to know what it's about from just a brief look. Again, this is an incredible project. Thank you for posting.