December 4, 2009 by Tim
A month or so ago the kind folks at Papas Boxes sent me an e-mail saying that they were back to taking orders again. On a whim I e-mailed them and told them about my blog and they responded really quickly and asked what size, I went with concert. Not very many people have seen the soprano cigar box ukulele that I made 2 years ago, but I found the kit on EBay and it was basically a fret board, rough neck, floating bridge, and zither pins for tuning, Very basic and well-made kit. It played ok and the tuning was a little hard to do, so I bought the tuner kit and also replaced the bridge that came with it with a Grover 4 string banjo bridge. Now it plays really well and is a ton of fun. That is one of the best things about the kit. You can either put it together and play, or keep changing it and adjusting it until it is what you want.
I do not have the tools to make a full ukulele at my house which is why I bought the first kit. The new kit I received from Papas Boxes is a major upgrade from the first one that I made. The fret board has really nice light wood inlays and it is already glued to the neck. Another big thing that they did that I like with the neck is the little head piece. If you use a clip tuner this makes it possible to clip it to the head and not on the floating bridge. The L bracket is still there but recessed along with the floating bridge. I did not go with the zither pins for tuners on this kit and got the tuners and they also included the pickup (I think they make the pickups, looks kind of steam punk inspired). They also sent a cigar box but I really wanted to find something that was all wood and did not sound so dead. I ended up finding out that almost no one makes nice sounding cigar boxes big enough to make a concert sized ukulele, so I ended up buying a plain box at a craft store. Trust me the box will not look plain Jane when I am done with it!
The great thing about the kits that I have received from them is that they come with everything except the drill, screw drivers, and saw. The drill bits, templates, and many other little doo-dads are included so you can make the best instrument you can. How far you take the build is up to you.
The build will be several posts in the next few weeks, hopefully done by Christmas, and will begin with prepping the body (cigar box) then putting it together, and ending it with tweaking it. My end goal will be a full review and then next summer giving it away at a ukulele festival.
The building of the box is posted!! Click HERE
The Post on final assembly and a video is posted! Click HERE