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AU$ 4,946
pledged of AU$ 25,000pledged of AU$ 25,000 goal
60
backers
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Aug 16 2019
AU$ 4,946
pledged of AU$ 25,000pledged of AU$ 25,000 goal
60
backers
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Aug 16 2019

About

The Ukulele - An Illustrated Workshop Manual

I have been building stringed musical instruments for over 35 years. It has never been solely what I do and I have had other jobs along the way, almost all to do with music in one way or another. 25 years ago I fell into journalism by accident and discovered the joy of writing. Writing books about musical instruments has become an interesting way to combine those interests. I published two workshop manuals on building mandolin family instruments (The Bouzouki Book-2004 & The Mandolin Project - 2008) followed by a history of mandolins (The Mandolin - a history) published with support through Kickstarter in 2016.


A few years ago some friends asked me to make a ukulele for their niece as a birthday present. I had never made a ukulele before and, as usual with any new project, went looking for what written information might be available. There was not much in the way of books, one on tenor ukuleles and another on building smaller soprano size instruments. Those and the usual on-line sources were a starting point, but I did become intrigued by these little instruments. 

An old island style of soprano ukulele made from Australian blackwood.
An old island style of soprano ukulele made from Australian blackwood.

I had just finished The Mandolin so a new writing project beckoned. Over the next couple of years I built more than a dozen ukuleles ranging in size from soprano, concert and tenor up to the larger baritone ukulele. There were experiments in ways to put them together, how to attach the neck and learning how to make rope binding for the top edges of the ukuleles. A corner of the workshop was set up as a photo studio and as much as possible of the process documented, taking photos and describing each step in writing. 

A mahogany and redwood tenor ukulele
A mahogany and redwood tenor ukulele

Documenting each step along the way is a tremendously useful way to refine the process of building a musical instrument. Having to think about how and why each procedure is done has led to many modifications through the process of writing this book. Because It deals with the construction of five different kinds of ukulele thought had to be given to how this would be done. Simply describing the construction of five different ukuleles would involve a great deal of needless duplication, so processes common to all the ukuleles, such as making soundboards, bending the sides, making fretboards and fitting the binding around the edges are described separately, distinct from the  chapters which show how different instruments are assembled from those components. 

This is the first comprehensive book on building all the common size of ukuleles. As is any such book, it is an introduction rather than a master-class. Wherever possible there are alternatives that use either hand or power tools or combinations of both. There are techniques which might only be applicable to one ukulele or all of them and the idea is that those techniques can be mixed and matched, a bit like a cooking class. There are couple of chapters available as a pdf here.

The book is written for people with some woodworking experience and access to a range of power tools as well as the usual woodworking hand tools. The reader is expected to be able to sharpen a chisel and drill a hole.

The book is ready for the printer, with an initial print run of 2000 copies. It will be 154 pages, printed in full colour with full size plans printed separately and included in an envelope securely glued inside the back cover. Measurements are given in both metric and imperial. The appendix includes metric/imperial conversion charts, fret placement calculations for all four scale lengths used, a glossary of the various bits that make up ukuleles, information of pickups and electronics and a suggested list of suppliers of wood and parts.

Distribution will be through the Independent Publishing Group, based in Chicago, Il.  Any  book or music store in the US and Canada will be able to get copies and it will be available through the usual on-line outlets. The costs in the rewards section are in Australian dollars, because I am in Australia and that is the way Kickstarter works. Approximate costs in US dollars are listed. Recommended retail in the US will be US$29.95 and the rewards costs are based on that retail with discounted shipping. Copies of the book for the Kickstarter supporters will be sent to a mailing house for postage in advance of the book's public release,

The upper tier rewards are four custom built ukuleles, two smaller instruments (either soprano or concert) and two tenor ukuleles. These will not contain any CITES listed rosewoods or shell as that makes it all too difficult to get them to the customers.

Help me get this book printed. Your help is greatly appreciated and you will have a really useful book on how to make your own ukulele. 

Six of the ukuleles built during the writing of the book
Six of the ukuleles built during the writing of the book

Risks and challenges

The main risk is not getting to the financial target, which has been carefully calculated to cover printing and mail-out costs only. All the costs of research, writing and pre-press should be eventually recovered by sales of the remainder of the print run.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 14 or more About US$ 10

    An ePub version of The Ukulele

    The Ukulele as an ePub, all the text and illustration of the print copy, but electronically.

    Includes:
    • Approximately US$10
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    5 backers
    AU$

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 42 or more About US$ 29

    The Ukulele printed version

    The print version of The Ukulele. An 11 x 8.5" softcover book, 154 pages with over 350 colour photographs. Separate plan sheets are inserted into an envelope glued to the back cover. Plus a download of the ePub version if wanted.

    Includes:
    • Approximately US$30
    Less
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    50 backers
    AU$

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 1,000 or more About US$ 679

    Soprano or Concert ukulele

    A custom made soprano or concert size ukulele. Made from select Australian tonewoods with delivery included and a print copy of The Ukulele (plus a digital version if you want).

    Includes:
    • Approximately US$700
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 1 backer
    AU$

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 1,200 or more About US$ 815

    Custom made tenor ukulele

    A custom built tenor ukulele, made from select Australian tonewoods with delivery included and a print copy of The Ukulele (plus a digital version if you want)

    Includes:
    • Approximately US$840
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 1 backer
    AU$

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Funding period

- (28 days)