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PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2014 7:13 pm 

Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2011 9:13 pm
Posts: 200
For those interested, I built a concert ukulele from plans provided by Don Morris (the website is www.donsplans.com). The plans were pretty straightforward, except for one thing: the scale length is listed at 15.5" (394 mm), but the plans actually show an instrument with a 15.125" (384 mm) scale length. There are no dimensions given for the instrument itself. I decided to go with the actual scale length, since moving the bridge might have affected the acoustics, and took all the dimensions straight off the plans.

The plans called for a glued dove-tail joint, but I chose instead to bolt the neck on and modified the plans accordingly.

Since there was no soundhole reinforcement, I cut out a piece of linen to fit between the soundhole braces, saturated it with glue, and glued it in place.

I used kerfing, which the plans recommended. Since they recommended using the smallest size available, I sawed regular guitar kerfing to half the depth it came in.

Note that the fingerboard is a little less than 1/4". I used an old ebony guitar fingerboard (rejected because of a crack on one end, but I didn't use that end for the uke) and had to remove about 1/8" to bring it to the dimensions on the plans.

Although the plans didn't call for any neck angle, I found after assembling it that a negative neck angle (like that found on a classical guitar was necessary to avoid using an unnecessarily high saddle. It isn't much ... maybe half a degree. I suppose I could have avoided that by removing even more material from the fingerboard, but re-setting the neck was easier due to the bolt-on joint. Also, there is no truss rod in this instrument, so I wanted to keep the fingerboard as thick as possible to increase the stiffness in the neck.

As for the tone of the finished instrument, it's a bit thinner than other concert ukes I've heard, but the soundbox on the Don Morris uke is much smaller than on those other instruments. It'll do for a travel instrument, but if I had to do it again, I think I'd use other plans, or at least increase the size of the soundbox.

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