DIY Sopranino Ukulele Part 1

Ok – there are lots of things I’m supposed to be doing but here’s another project just for fun. I’ve long wanted a Sopranino Ukulele but I can’t really afford one, plus it would be fun to have a go at making one.

A Sopranino is smaller than a Soprano Ukulele – the Soprano has a scale length of around 13″/330mm and the Sopranino has a scale length of around 12″/305mm. One big advantage of this size is that I can resaw the timber on my mini-bandsaw which has a capacity of around 75mm.

This is the concept I came up with:

Design for Sopranino Ukulele

Just because I can I’ve gone for ‘f’ holes rather than a conventional sound hole – these match my bass ukulele. I’ll use two braces running from the neck to the tail to absorb the rotational forces under the bridge. The neck width is the same as my Makala Soprano Pineapple.

The wood is unconventional. I’ve made the soundboard blank from bookmatched larch – from an old fencepost. This was cut to give me something approximating quarter-sawn. I wasn’t sure how it would work but it rings beautifully when tapped – lots of different tones and it rings for a long time. There is staining from the timber treatment but this adds character (even if it does mean being extra careful about PPE).

Soundboard blank

The fretboard will be an old parquet floor tile – I’ve got lots of reclaimed tiles that were excess to a job many years ago.

Not sure about timber for the rest of the body and the neck. I’ll probably try larch and see how it works out. It certainly seems stable and the whole post sounds nice when tapped so it shouldn’t dampen the sound.

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