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Week 6

UFGB Tenor
UFGB Tenor

That short month I mentioned last week  got even shorter over the past week when we decided we needed to re-arrange the workshop. Not just moving a couple of bits, but changing the whole thing around! It took three days out of the week, and will take a couple more to complete the process properly.

The whole exercise has been worthwhile though, with a couple of major benefits already noticed. The first, and the most obvious  Continue reading Week 6

Week 5 already!

January was a month that, at times seemed to drag, and at other moments simply shot past. In

4 finished Tenor Ukes
4 finished Tenor Ukes

retrospect  it has gone pretty quick! It has seen the completion of seven instruments (One of those five tenors got a bit behind due to some extras needed on it) They include 4 tenors, Ben’s 8 string, Andy’s Soprano and that project instrument that those of you following this will have seen glimpses of.

I’ve called it a Continue reading Week 5 already!

Sunday Sermon, Wk 3

Using a workshop that is no more than a converted cattle stall, combined with sub-zero temperatures, and now, a carpet of snow, has had it’s moments this week. Most glues state ‘Protect from frost’ on the label and should not be used below 10 degrees C, and keeping the workshop at those heady temperatures has bee difficult. Thank heavens for Hide Glue! :)

Photo0306Mind you, carving seven necks has kept the body warm, it’s just the air temperature that has been a problem!

The instruments seen here all had their necks caved during the course of Continue reading Sunday Sermon, Wk 3

Sunday Sermon, Wk 2

To say we’ve had a hectic week would be an understatement! A simple plan, outlined last week, gone almost completely to pot this week. Batch building, yes, it’s a good idea, but the building methods that were in use are totally impractical in that situation.

Gobar 1
Go-bar Deck

To overcome that drawback, I decided to build a contraption called a go-bar deck. This requires a radius dish to complete Continue reading Sunday Sermon, Wk 2

Sunday Sermon

I’ve not been very good about keeping this site up to date of late, so for 2013 I have decided to post religiously, every week. And to keep the religious theme, I’m going to call it the ‘Sunday Sermon‘! The religion,  of course, is the Ukulele!! 😉

Ben’s 8 string

The tail end of 2012 got a little busy, not least because, for a while the bugs got into the staff (me) and I didn’t feel up to doing a lot at all. Fortunately, most of the jobs that had to be done got there, and those that didn’t weren’t a disaster. On the bench for the start of 2013 are Ben’s 8 string Tenor (is that a Taropatch?) and Andy’s Soprano while a third instrument, an experimental one, is also Continue reading Sunday Sermon

The ‘Custom’ advantage

The advantage of having an instrument built for you, as opposed to buying one off the shelf, is that you can have more or less exactly what you want. And that is not just having certain timbers or colours or tuners, but having the whole instrument designed for your specific requirements.

Parlor Gutar 1Take, for example, my daughter Lorraine, who you have seen before in these pages. She has always struggled with some aspects of playing a full sized guitar, due mainly to never having reached the five foot mark in her growth and having hands to match. By any standards they are tiny and the whole hand has difficulty spanning three frets!

The answer was a custom guitar, and although I don’t build many guitars I decided (as Dad’s do) that she deserved one for Christmas. As size was the main criteria I based it on a baritone ukulele body with a 22″ scale length. It was half built before she knew anything about it, but once the neck was made I thought I’d better check with her that the size of the neck was suitable. At that point she wasn’t shown the body!

I guess you would call it a Parlour or Piccolo Guitar, but the strings are so close together that virtually nobody else could play it sensibly. Many Thanks must go to Gary Zimnicki for his invaluable advice while building it. :)

She got her guitar for Christmas and earlier today she came along to the workshop to tell me how she could now form chords that were impossible with ‘normal’ instruments. I now have a very happy daughter! :)

This will be my last post for 2012, so may I take the opportunity to wish you all a Happy and prosperous New Year.

A few sounds

One or two of the instruments we have available for the Festive Season can be heard in these clips.

Long neck Baritone Uke.

Unfortunately, it is me playing them, rather than someone who really can, but they give you a reasonable idea of the sounds they make. Recorded straight onto the camera with no gimmickry prior to being crunched by youtube!

More details on each on the For Sale page

Yew top Tenor

Plain Soprano 

8 String Tenor


Baritone cutaway

Pure Craft Market November

The first Saturday in November is the date for the Craft Village’s next Pure Craft Market. With a number of visiting Crafters, along with the ten resident Craftspeople, it is the ideal place to choose a unique gift for the forthcoming festive season. The goods on offer are all hand made by local experts, or you can book lessons and learn the crafts yourself in some cases.

The Market runs from 10am until around 4pm and entrance, as well as parking, is free. Don’t miss it!