Saturday, October 6, 2018

No-Name Guitars

My next two projects involve two "no-name" guitars, that is, neither has a label or other identifying mark. The first is a mini-guitar that was purchased for $5 at a place called "The Wizard of Odds" in North Jackson, Ohio. It has several features that distinguish it from most of the mini / child guitars I have seen. 
Among the differences are a much fancier pick guard, a floating wooden bridge with steel tailpiece, and what appear to be friction style tuning machines. It was strung up with six steel strings, and rather than convert to a ukulele as I do with most mini-guitars, I plan on keeping this a six stringer. The guitar is 25" long with an approximate 16" scale length.


The second guitar is full-size and was rescued from a roadside trash pile by my thoughtful coworker (thank you😀). The bridge was split and detached, and one of the internal braces is cracked. I plan to make my own bridge, and the brace repair will be a challenge. The scale length is 25.75".
So that's what's coming up. Tune in later for an update. 😎

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Affordable Tools

Pictured below are some of the tools I frequently use while luthiering... two $3.95 sets of files, a $4.95 fretting hammer, some $2 wood clamps, a $2.95 pair of flush-cut wire nippers, $1.95 for a set of narrow-nose pliers, and a $9.95 X-acto razor saw.

You don't need crazily over-priced "luthier" tools to work on stringed instruments.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Ukulele Demo

IN ACTION - This is the previously posted ukulele made from a $10 craft-store guitar. Enjoy...

Toy Guitar to Ukulele

Converting a $10, unplayable craft-store guitar into a playable four-string ukulele. This project will require the removal of all (wooden) frets / re-fretting, a new four-string nut, and re-drilling the bridge to accommodate four correctly spaced uke strings. START to FINISH - here is the original guitar as purchased:

First up is to remove the plastic nut and shave off the frets with a wood chisel:

Shaving the frets left some gaps that I will fill with Elmer's wood glue:
Next I'll drill two-correctly spaceed holes in the existing bridge while plugging the unused holes with toothpicks:

Now I will cut all-new correctly spaced fret slots, and fret the ukulele using TOOTHPICKS - something I've never tried before. I'll nip them off on either side with flush-cutters. Oh, I also painted the fret board black.

Finally, a new NUT made from a pop-sickle stick, because like it says at the top...Low Budget. 😀
Ta-Da. A fun project and I learned some things. Somewhere along the way I also removed two of the original tuners, leaving four for the uke. Next post will be a video of this tiny tyke in action. Until then... Aloha. 😎 

Half-size Guitar to Ukulele

Converting an inexpensive, half-size guitar into a playable four-string baritone ukulele, from START to FINISH.
First up - fret #1 is about 1/8" too far from the nut, causing noticeable intonation problems. I'll remove the six string plastic nut, cut back the fret board by 1/8", and install a new bone nut to be slotted for four strings.
I also need to re-crown these worn out frets with an inexpensive triangle file.
Time to string it up with some quality uke strings and try it out. I'll use the four inner holes of the original bridge rather than re-drilling or replacing it.

Ta-Da! A fairly simple project using inexpensive tools and parts. Cost under $10 for a new nut and strings. The guitar was free. That's Low Budget! 😎