Build a cigar box ukulele

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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.

imgThe 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. 

imgHalfway 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.


Hole saw 

imgStrung up 



Complete Flickr set:

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!


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