May 10: The ‘heartfelt’ & ‘heart-broken’ ukulele

May’s ukulele, or should I say ukuleles, has been finished.

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The twins are the two sides of May for me. They represent something I can’t avoid.

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May’s namesakes come from the dreadful month of May, where I see off students who have changed me, and have made me a better person. I’m sure it’s suppose to be the other way round, but I’m not exactly a brilliant adult.

The ‘heartfelt’ uke is the older sibling of the twins, and is based on curves and represents the feelings of gratitude to my students. The ‘heart-broken’ uke is the younger of the twins, and represents the taboo feeling a teacher has, the fact that they do not want their students to leave. I based this on trapeziums, and gave it a yellow splash to highlight the helpless directionless rage I’m feeling now.

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Here are some comparisons to different things. The first is a bugs-gear ukulele. The next is a bananna. The other is a ruler. Both the twins are 9 inches long, and they both have a 7 inch scale too. They’re not the world’s smallest, but they’re still pretty tiny. I’d like to thank ProfChris and other on ukuleleunderground, and to Daniel from circuitsandstrings, whose design I’ve been using since the very beginning.

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We’ve reached the half way mark now. From December to May, I’ve built 7 ukes now. The ‘bonsai’ uke is missing from the photo as it’s in my classroom now. The next design is still floating in my head, but at some point I will be building a tahitian ukulele. I’ve fallen in love with it. I hope you’ve enjoyed the journey so far, and I hope also that you continue this with me to the end.

May 9: Breaking down

I’m almost done. The twins are just waiting on a few finishing touches, and they’ll be ready for the world.

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The younger sibling is enjoying a coat of a few paints, while the older sibling is enjoying a stretch.

The twins really represent my emotions in May. I’m crossing between the two constantly, and I’m finding it hard to keep it together. I think I know why I’ve been building these ukes now, and it’s to keep my mind busy, and to stop thinking about what is going to happen. Man, I really hate May. But boy, do I love it too…

May 7: The twins tiny

Having sometime off today (good old bank holiday Monday to thank for that) I’ve gotten pretty far on, what I’m calling, the ‘twins.’

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Here they are next to the ‘wanderer’ uke. March’s uke, if fact all the ones I’ve made so far, are standard soprano scales (if not a tad bit shorter.)

The twins have a tiny 7 inch scale length, and it shows. Below are the two on top of the wanderer uke, and on top of a bugs gear plastic uke.

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The overall length is going to be under 9 inches for both of them, the zither pins will be sticking out quite badly (or at least in proportion to the uke.)

There’s a theme going on with each of the twins, one being based on curves (the older sibling) and the other on trapeziums. Each has to do with what I feel about in May, I couldn’t decided which was most important, because both emotions are. So that’s why there’s two.

Those of you who are observant will have noticed that the younger trapezium sibling has a jack. As far as I know, I haven’t seen an electric uke this small.

I can hardly believe how small they are. Just checked up the  length of the kala pocket uke, and it’s 16 inches!!! I’m not sure how small the Reed Tiny is, but I’m sure ProfChris told me he made it with a 6 3/4 inch scale length. Mine might not be the smallest, but it’s still pretty tiny.

Though I’m still hoping I’ve made the smallest electric-acoustic uke (so far) at least.

May 5: It’s not a box!

So open day wasn’t so bad, actually had a good turn out. Plus I got to see one of my favourites play his sax. I had some time, so I worked on the body today.

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The walls would be impossible / useless if I made them out of the same thick pine sheets I’ve been using, so I had to rethink a lot of things.

Ended up with the design above. I had two curved blocks to shape the wood veneer, which will make up the sides, and the front & back panels. I’ll be layering up one or two more sheets of veneer just to strengthen everything, so this was a new experience. Both having to think about how veneers works, and the fact the whole thing was tiny to work with.

I will probably make another uke with veneer, probably a normal soprano sized one.

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It’s closed to being completed body-wise, but the strings will be the hassle. I will need to play around with that. But above you can see how far I got, it’s not much but it’s started to look like an uke now.

May 3: Don’t rush a good thing

I had to learn proof by induction and teach it today. It was nice, and I got to see some nice Maths but it turns out, it turned my brain to mush. How so? Well…

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Above you can see the testing rig I made for my tiny little 7 inch scale uke. I need to test some strings, and see which was usable.

Being all Physics like, I was heading into it like an experiment, there you can see some high tension classic guitar strings, ukulele banjo strings, soprano uke strings from aquila, and I’m waiting on some 40lb fishing line as well.

So the problem? That testing rig I built, which I used a jigsaw as a router (don’t ask,) has one huge flaw. Obviously, all that Maths and mock marking this week led me astray as that has a 7cm scale length,,, not 7 inch.

So I’m putting off the experiment to later. I might have started tomorrow depending how long open day is at college.

On other news, I came into contact with Chris Reed, or ProfChris, of the Reed tiny fame! He’s the one who suggested the ukulele banjo strings, and some helpful tips. The internet is a great thing!