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I have joined a an "oldies" uke orchestra and i think they need a bass uke and I am interested in making it (and playing it too)
I want it to look "uke Like", I would prefer not to amp it, I am using whipper snipper chord for strings.

I would love to hear what you think the specs should be.


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A bass (baritone) uke is essentially a tenor guitar - tuned to the treblemost 4 strings of standard guitar tuning - DGBE. If you want to take advantage of being able to use classical guitar strings, make your scale length match a classical guitar, and there you have it. If you want to go lower in frequency, try for a longer scale (longer scale or thicker strings yields lower resonant frequency, but you prolly know that already). Maybe go with 3 strings to reduce the tension, if it looks to become a problem. Your mileage may vary, batteries not included, void where prohibited by law and in the state of New Jersey.
I actually have beaten up old guitar laying on the bench. Are suggesting I could successfully modify this?
I suppose that it would work but i think I would lose the "Uke Look".

What do you think?
A guitar (if it was a steel string) is braced and built for six metal strings - lots of heavy bracing and wood, in most cases. A baritone uke, on the other hand, was built with the tension of four nylon strings as a design point - less bracing, lighter construction. A larger cigar box would be a good size for a baritone uke, but putting nylon strings on an old steelstring guitar most likely won't give you the sound you're looking for. Even an 1/8" baltic birch ply top attached to a different style of box would most likely work well. If you must have a 'classic' uke look, you could try making your own neck for a Grizzly soprano uke body - http://www.grizzly.com/products/Ukulele-Kit/H3125 . Would be a bit smaller than a typical baritone uke, but should still work okay. You might be able to convert a guitar, but it would probably be more work than building something from scratch.
Up until about 3 years ago a "Bass" ukulele was really a misnomer for a Baritone Ukulele. It was a ukulele that was @ 21" scale length, that was mostly strung with light metal strings or a combination of nylon and steel strings. Often tuned like a tenor guitar, although other tunings are common.

About that time, several builders independently startedto string ukuleles with scale lengths from 18 to 21 inches with polyurethane cord. One of the early retail builders of these instruments was roadtoadmusic.com .

These are true bass instruments with tunings down in the same range of bass guitars. Baritone ukuleles with their short scale and being strung with lighter weight guitar strings are tuned in the middle of a typical guitar range.

So..... now when you say "Bass Ukulele" you need to know if you're talking to an old school uke player or someone into the new and true Bass Ukulele...

BTW, I have built several ultra short scale (17-21") cigar box basses that achieve true low "E" using PU cord material for strings... they work fine....

the best,

Wichita Sam
That is good to hear ( the shorter string lengths). I presume the instruments were amplified?
On CBBassUkes, absolutely because of the small surface and thickness of the top.... I think roadtoad produces one with some fair acoustic volume, but probably not what most players would find acceptable...

Brian Lemin said:
That is good to hear ( the shorter string lengths). I presume the instruments were amplified?

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