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Build a cigar box ukulele

From Scot Hacker's bucketlist

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I like to strum a little ukulele (Hawaiians pronounce it "ooh-ke-leh-leh") every now and then. Such a happy sound - you can play the saddest song in the world and it'll still sound cheerful when played on the uke.

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The kit

A while ago I found this company called Papa's Boxes, who sell DIY ukulele and banjo kits, using cigar boxes for the instrument body. Dear wife got me one for Christmas, and I got a good start on putting it together, then winter set in. Couldn't varnish the box in the cold and wet, so had to wait for spring. 

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Halfway there 

Finally finished the build in December 2010  - nearly a year later! Unfortunately the sound quality isn't nearly as good as a proper uke, but it's awesome to behold, and fun as a second instrument. Here are some pics from the build, and a video showing  how it sounds (comparison between finished cigar box and a professionally built koa wood uke from Hawaii). The slideshow includes all pics from the build.

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Hole saw 

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Strung up 

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Complete! 

Slideshow

Complete Flickr set:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/shacker/sets/72157625934733062/

And here's the video comparing sound of the cigar box to a "real" uke:

my video

Here's another guy's cigar box uke (actually, his does sound pretty good!). The fact that both of us demo on Sam Cooke songs is 100% coincidental, promise!

video

Added on June 1, 2010

Completed on January 29, 2011

Tags: Diy Music Ukulele

Comments

John Hacker on Jan 31, 2011

Hey hey....nice job on the build and with the playing. I def. like the sound of the Koa wood of course, but very cool nonetheless! Mohalo!

Scot Hacker on Jan 31, 2011

Thanks John. Next time I do a little vid like this I'll use a proper camera and mic rather than the computer - the difference between the two sounds is way more dramatic IRL. Mahalo to you too!

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Build a cigar box ukulele

Tristan Nelson  December 13, 2011

ukulele

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Build a cigar box ukulele

Matthew Yanek  June 1, 2012

Seems like such an amazing thing, such a refreshing sound! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpP4LEOoq3g&feature=player_embedded

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