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  #1  
Old 01-02-2018, 08:39 PM
LouieAtienza LouieAtienza is offline
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Default Ukelele dimensions/scale length

So I have some drop-offs that I'd like to use to build a ukulele. Never played one, have no clue how big they are and what scale length/number of frets to use. Steel or nylon?

Thanks in advance!
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  #2  
Old 01-02-2018, 10:45 PM
redir redir is offline
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I just started building Uke's last year. They are a whole lot of fun to make and play. I had no clue either but my wife lived in Hawaii once and her dad bought her a Uke. It was a Soprano Uke so I modeled them after that. But what you will find is that there are 4 styles of uke, 5 if you count the bass uke which is a weird but cool instrument. The soprano, concert, tenor and baritone in order of small to large.

They are all nylon string as far as I know, the bass strings are almost like rubber. I got most of my info from just googling around and a few tips at the OLF. Good luck, they really are lots of fun.
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Old 01-02-2018, 10:48 PM
Tony Done Tony Done is offline
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I have a couple of concert ukes. As I guitar player I would have been better going tenor. Nylon strings, low 4th string, not re-entrant tuning.
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Old 01-03-2018, 08:32 AM
redir redir is offline
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But in the end all ukes are tuned like the first 4 strings of a guitar. I'm sure there are many tunings but on my soprano ukes all the chord shapes are the same as guitar, you just don't get the bass strings.
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Old 01-03-2018, 10:03 AM
printer2 printer2 is offline
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A common tuning is GCEA, a guitar capoed at the fifth fret but the G is tuned up an octave. People have been taken to using a low G rather than a high G. I built a Tenor, a Concert is a little smaller, I don't care much for Sopranos. I have made a couple of guitars a little bigger than a Baritone. A Tenor is a good place to start.





You could resize this shape for your needs.



They are normally nylon, have to be braced a little more for steel.
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Old 01-03-2018, 10:13 AM
LouieAtienza LouieAtienza is offline
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Thanks all for the info... looks like its going to be fun!
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  #7  
Old 01-03-2018, 10:21 AM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redir View Post
But in the end all ukes are tuned like the first 4 strings of a guitar. I'm sure there are many tunings but on my soprano ukes all the chord shapes are the same as guitar, you just don't get the bass strings.
Not quite true. The intervals between strings are the same, but only the baritone ukulele is tuned like the high four strings on a guitar -- DGBE. All the others (soprano, concert, tenor) are tuned GCEA, like a guitar capoed at the fifth fret minus the bass 6th and 5th strings. Look here for some more discussion:
http://www.boiseukulelegroup.com/uke-basics.html

Reentrant tuning is high-G (gCEA) and is the traditional "my dog has fleas" tuning. Low-G tuning (GCEA) is becoming far more popular. I keep one or two ukes in high-G, but my primary instruments are all low-G. While I CAN play any of them (including my bass uke) I definitely prefer the tenor size -- more room on the fret board.
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Old 01-03-2018, 08:33 PM
LouieAtienza LouieAtienza is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earl49 View Post
Not quite true. The intervals between strings are the same, but only the baritone ukulele is tuned like the high four strings on a guitar -- DGBE. All the others (soprano, concert, tenor) are tuned GCEA, like a guitar capoed at the fifth fret minus the bass 6th and 5th strings. Look here for some more discussion:
http://www.boiseukulelegroup.com/uke-basics.html

Reentrant tuning is high-G (gCEA) and is the traditional "my dog has fleas" tuning. Low-G tuning (GCEA) is becoming far more popular. I keep one or two ukes in high-G, but my primary instruments are all low-G. While I CAN play any of them (including my bass uke) I definitely prefer the tenor size -- more room on the fret board.
Interesting info... I guess some experimentation in tuning would be needed as I have literally no clue how to play a ukulele. I thought they were tuned in fifth like a violin LOL...
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Old 01-04-2018, 03:00 PM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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Louie, if the ukulele were tuned in fifths you could not use guitar chord shapes. (You could use mandolin shapes however, since mandos are tuned in fifths -- GDAE). I had a friend (now passed away) that used to buy cheapo soprano or concert ukes, then change the string gauges so they could be tuned like a mandolin. He sold a bunch of those as inexpensive travel / practice instruments to mandolin players.

Standard uke tuning lets you use guitar shapes, but the names are three letters higher on ukulele. The guitar "D" shape becomes a "G" chord on ukulele. The guitar "C" shape becomes an "F", but you don't have the pesky bass strings to worry about -- it is a two-finger chord. Put another way, if you capo a guitar at the fifth fret and remove the two bass stings, you essentially end up with a low-G tenor ukulele. Hope this helps.

For baritone DGBE tuning, the chord shapes are just like guitar, but you only have the upper four strings (no bass). Baritone was invented to let guitar players have a ukulele without learning to transpose.
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  #10  
Old 01-04-2018, 04:29 PM
printer2 printer2 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earl49 View Post
For baritone DGBE tuning, the chord shapes are just like guitar, but you only have the upper four strings (no bass). Baritone was invented to let guitar players have a ukulele without learning to transpose.
No, it is probably more like they finally got one right.
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  #11  
Old 01-04-2018, 07:58 PM
redir redir is offline
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That's what I mean though, the intervals are the same, so the chord shapes are the same. Easy for a guitarist. Unlike for example a tenor guitar which is traditionally tuned in 5ths like a violin or a cello. Then you have to learn all new chord shapes but those are really fun to play too.
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  #12  
Old 01-04-2018, 09:05 PM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LouieAtienza View Post
So I have some drop-offs that I'd like to use to build a ukulele. Never played one, have no clue how big they are and what scale length/number of frets to use. Steel or nylon?

Thanks in advance!
Do yourself a big favor and pick up a copy of the uke construction manual and drawing from Hana lima Ukes.

https://hanalimastore.com/products/h...ruction-manual

You'll save yourself a lot of time re-inventing the wheel.
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  #13  
Old 01-04-2018, 10:04 PM
LouieAtienza LouieAtienza is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudy4 View Post
Do yourself a big favor and pick up a copy of the uke construction manual and drawing from Hana lima Ukes.

https://hanalimastore.com/products/h...ruction-manual

You'll save yourself a lot of time re-inventing the wheel.
Thanks....
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  #14  
Old 01-04-2018, 10:22 PM
redir redir is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudy4 View Post
Do yourself a big favor and pick up a copy of the uke construction manual and drawing from Hana lima Ukes.

https://hanalimastore.com/products/h...ruction-manual

You'll save yourself a lot of time re-inventing the wheel.
Nice! I think I'll pick up a copy of that too. I want to build a few more of these this year.
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  #15  
Old 01-04-2018, 10:34 PM
printer2 printer2 is offline
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A uke is just a mini-me classical guitar.
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