Ukelation - The eclectic electric ukulele
You've never seen the ukulele like this before.
Ukelation - The eclectic electric ukulele
You've never seen the ukulele like this before.
The Ukelation is a ukulele for the future, today! It is amazingly fun to play, anywhere! Once you pick it up, you won’t be able to put it down.
You’ve never seen or heard the likes of it before.
How about playing a Caribbean song with some echo and reverb to make you feel like you’re right there at that perfect sandy warm beach with a sea breeze?
How about playing your favorite folk song with chorusing turned on and sound like you’re being accompanied by a friend?
What is the Ukelation?
Technically, the Ukelation is an electro-acoustic ukulele with tons of features built-in.
So, it’s an acoustic ukulele, and more.
It’s unplugged. No need to plug into an amplifier or find a power outlet. Just play it like an acoustic ukulele. Just show up and start playing. No need to fuss with wires, amplifiers or effects boxes. And if you are on a stage that has a microphone positioned for a stringed instrument, turn on the Ukelation speaker and start playing, just like an acoustic. You can also add some echo, chorusing, tremolo, flanging or phase shifting and crank up some reverberation too. Anywhere. You can also mellow the tone or brighten it up with the tone control. You can also turn the volume down and play it quieter than an acoustic ukulele or practice quietly through headphones. It is also smaller than an acoustic tenor ukulele (It’s about 1-1/2” shorter, narrower and thinner)
It’s an electric solid body ukulele, and more.
Plug it in to an amplifier, shut off the Ukelation speaker and start playing. The built-in effects are intuitive to use and they are handy because the controls are right there next to the bridge. And no foot pedals. The effect choice and level are displayed right there on top of the instrument where it’s easy to see. You can change the effects anytime while you walk around with the instrument. You can also plug in a headphone amplifier and practice quietly at home because it has a solid body and makes very little sound just like an electric solid body ukulele. Also, because it has a solid body, there is less risk of feedback when the volume is cranked up than a hollow body acoustic with a pickup added. The Ukelation has an under saddle pickup which also picks up the subtle percussive sounds from the strings for a more natural sound in an electric.
Here is what’s built right in:
~ A unique integrated speaker system transforms it into a new instrument
~ It has a powerful amplifier
~ Intuitive effects choices for a variety of sounds with no foot pedals
~ The size is small and compact, yet it is a full tenor scale length
~ It is beautiful.
~ Built to reveal the beauty of naturally finished woods. Custom combinations can be requested
~ Strung with classical strings and low G tuning
~ Unique replaceable sound hole covers
~ Uses standard AA alkaline batteries. Never stuck needing a charge. Batteries are available almost anywhere you go.
~ Automatic shutoff turns the power off after 3 minutes of non-playing to save battery life.
~ Years from now your instrument won't become obsolete. Keep it in your family for years. It’s high-tech, but there are no USB cables, no memory sticks, no special batteries, no software.
$5 We thank you and your name will be memorialized on the website as one of our backers.
$25 A sticker, a thank you and your name memorialized on the website as a backer.
$50 A Ukelation t-shirt, a sticker, a thank you and your name memorialized on the website as one of our backers
$500 PREMIUM BACKER – Most of this gift goes toward making the Ukelation happen. You will get a Ukelation t-shirt, a sticker, a thank you and your name memorialized in a separate list on the website as one of our PREMIUM backers. You will also get a phone call from the inventor. This money goes straight to pay for parts and tooling.
$1000 PREMIUM BACKER – Most of this gift goes toward making the Ukelation happen. You will get a Ukelation t-shirt, a sticker, a thank you and your name memorialized in a separate list on the website as one of our PREMIUM backers. You will also get a phone call from the inventor. This money goes straight to pay for parts and tooling.
$1999 Want one before anyone else? Get one of the first 10, first off the line. We choose the wood. You will also get a t-shirt, a sticker, a thank you and your name memorialized on the website as one of our backers. Retail value for the Ukelation is $2500.
$2500 Receive a Ukelation with your choice of wood from our available selection. You will also get a t-shirt, a sticker, a thank you and your name memorialized on the website as one of our backers. Retail value for the Ukelation is $2500.
$5000 PREMIUM BACKER – Receive a Ukelation with your choice of wood from our available selection. You will also get a t-shirt, a sticker, a thank you and your name memorialized on the website in a separate list as one of our PREMIUM backers. You will also get a phone call from the inventor. This money goes straight to pay for parts and tooling. All the money beyond the Ukelation amount goes straight to pay for parts and tooling. Retail value for the Ukelation is $2500.
How did I get to this point?
I started my interest in the ukulele when I purchased a souvenir ukulele at the airport in Hawaii. It had palm trees painted on the face, it looked cool.
But as I quickly found out, it was unplayable. The frets were in the wrong places, the strings were too high, it could not be tuned correctly, it was just a toy. I finally bought a “real” soprano ukulele for around $100 and learned to play it, my first musical instrument. I enjoyed it so much that I decided I wanted a tenor ukulele. This is because it could be tuned with a lower note 4th string like the famous artist Israel Kamakawiwo'ole played. It has a wider musical range then the re-entrant tuning of many ukulele’s. But I’m an electrical engineer, why don’t I just make one and make it electronic in some way? The Ukelation was born.
I built myself one and then showed it to many musicians. It wasn't very good looking but it proved the concept. I received a lot of input on features, cosmetics, playability and value. Musicians said it needed to have effects to make it worthwhile. It needed to look beautiful. It had to be louder. So I studied how to be a luthier and then I made a lot of changes to it and everyone that saw it got excited. This is the second one I built and it is the one used to make the video.
I brought this newer one back to musicians and they thought it was phenomenal. They told me I needed to make more and sell them.
This product is as much an artpiece as it is technology. The electronics design is complete and so will only need minimal support. We will remain in control of the fit, finish and final assembly even as our growth may require us to farm out the overflow. When we get funded to our goal level we'll have more than enough ability in our manufacturing shop to fulfill the orders easily to that level. In the event the demand becomes much greater, we have the design process set up in logical divisions so that our lined up manufacturing partners will handle the overflow demand as necessary.
Our manufacturing floor is laid out for a smooth flow of product from one step to the next.
One of our substations where minor wood trimming takes place.
Another run of Ukelation bodies ready for top carving and then the start of the appropriate wood finish for the type of wood.
~ February 2015 - Order tooling for metal parts and confirmation metal piece prototypes. Takes 60 days to build, refine and complete. Order circuit boards and electronic parts. While waiting for parts, begin manufacturing bodies and necks. Place orders for t-shirts (3 to 4 different sizes as needed) and stickers.
~ May 2015 Wood pieces completed. Begin wood finishing.
~ June 2015 Begin major assembly for bodies. Complete electronics assemblies and test.
~ July 2015 String up and calibrate action to prepare for electronics. Final test and break-in period.
~ August 2015 Begin first batch for shipment.
Special thanks to all those who helped in making this video.
Video Consultant - Valerie Blake
Musicians - Mike Eytcheson, Andre Feriante, Kuhio Travis
Videographer - Liz Ross
Risks and challenges
We have already built a working Ukelation, in fact we’ve built 10. So there is no risk of not being able to deliver the product as represented. Some of the parts we use are from limited quantity sources. When we need more, we will have to make a large minimum quantity order for a custom run of them. The expected delivery on these type of parts varies by a few months as the foundrys determine their schedules.
Some of the parts require expensive tooling for production quantities. Other parts need to be custom ordered with minimum quantities, circuit boards need to be assembled by pick and place machine rather than by hand.
That is why we are giving ourselves 6 months from funding date to order the custom tooling and parts to go into production by August 2015.
- (60 days)