Up till now, the beautiful sound of the Ukulele has been one associated only with novelty. It's something you maybe buy for a child as an educational alternative to a toy, but without expecting any level of mastery to come out of it. Well, how happy it makes us then to see this instrument, that's both fun to play and learn, slowly climb up into more hands as it's use in popular folk music grows. If you want your little one to learn it's twangy ways, and appreciate it's delicate tones, rather than hurriedly going out to a guitar shop why not let them grow to love the humble old Uke by letting them build their own? The DIY Ukulele kit from noted* is a wonderful way to not only give a child their very own instrument, but with it they can learn how such mysterious musical tools are put together and how they work. It also introduces them to the world of woodcrafting, and provides a great opportunity for the two of you to build something splendid together. Whilst it comes with instructions, we have a quick rundown of the easy to follow steps so you can see how simple it is to make your own quality four-string: First you need to attach the neck of the instrument to the body. Apply glue to the 'dove tail' (the little wooden slot on the top of the body), ensuring that the neck and body are aligned. Secure both parts together with tape or a belt until the glue dries. Put the kettle on. Position and glue the back of the 'fret board' onto the neck of the instrument, making sure you allow for a 5mm gap for the string gap to be placed at the top. Use elastic bands to keep it all together until the glue has dried (unless you have the time and patience to hold it in place for a long while!) Using masking tape, cover up the fret board so you can apply varnish to the body and head of the instrument. You can of course use paint to create a 'memory fret board' if making your Ukulele for a younger child. Now it's up to you what colour varnish you go with! We used Farrow & Ball Teresa Green. Glue into place the 'string nut', and attach the bridge and saddle according to the measurements provided. Nearing the end...insert 'gommets' into the head from the front, then insert your tuning keys from the back and secure screws and demonstrated above. For the final phase of stringing the Uke, we recommend this video that gives a perfect how-to on getting it pitch perfect. And viola! One wonderfully put together (if I do say so myself) Ukulele made straight out of the box. Once you got it wound right, it's time to join in the renaissance this instrument is going through! Master the essential chords and start surfing the web for tabs and sheets on how to play your favourite ballads, both old and new! And once you've learnt a tune or two, why not share it with us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+? Happy playing!
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