Summary: You will learn how to choose wood, build jigs, glue, clamp, carve, sand, and apply a finish to pieces of wood that will ultimately become an instrument. With precision and proper tuning, the instrument you create from this course will be more than just a novelty item or kids’ toy. It will be an instrument that you can use to entertain and display your skills as a craftsman combining traditional methods and modern technologies of lutherie.

Objectives: To perpetuate the building process of  stringed instruments that will maintain accurate intonation throughout a given scale. On completion of this course the student should acquire a minimal understanding of the craft of Lutherie and use that knowledge as a foundation or as an additional resource for future research and development of the ‘ukulele and/or tenor guitar.

Prerequisites: Understand the importance of safety and follow tool manufacturers warnings and directions. Purchase own materials and tools. Ability to use the Internet to search for additional resources. Have a positive attitude.

Evaluation criteria: Self evaluation…. each section will list desired outcomes but ultimately, if you’re happy with the results, you’ve succeeded. If not, repeat process until you have reach your personal level of satisfaction.


Course Topics and Descriptions

Phase 1 – Planning – Understanding the history, materials, and design features

Phase 2 – Construction – Step by step instruction on the instrument building process

Phase 3 – Setup – Intonation and pickup installation


Phase 1 – Planning

I. Intro to the ‘Ukulele and Tenor Guitar: Brief history and overview of the different instruments

  1. History of the ‘ukulele/tenor guitar
  2. ‘Ukulele body types; tunings and common scale lengths

II. Materials: Overview of different tools and woods

  1. Tone Woods
  2. Body Woods
  3. Neck woods
  4. Fretboard woods
  5. Power tools, hand tools, and misc. building tools …


Phase 2 – Construction

III. Construction process: Design, jigs, methods and principles

  1. Template and Plate Jointing
  2. Neck assembly
  3. Rosette
  4. Tone bars and braces
  5. Sides
  6. Spanish heel slots
  7. Attach neck to top
  8. Attach Sides to top
  9. Tentalones/Kerfing
  10. Attach back – “box up” the ‘uke
  11. Fretting and fret markers
  12. Head stock veneer
  13. Finishing
  14. Tuners and strings
  15. Tuning


Phase 3 – Setup

16. Adjust nut/bridge height and string action for intonation

17. Pickup installation


IV.  Chords and beginner songs

V. Accessories

VI. Additional Resources

VII. Course Evaluation: Comments and Suggestions

VIII. Upload project pics to website

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