A Real(?) Hawaiian Ukulele Rescue

Builder/Blogger: Steve Eubanks

Flea markets really are a mixed bag. There's lots of junk, the occasional treasure, and then you find things like this.

I mean, really. What is this? Junk? Treasure? Well, I don't know if it falls easily into one of those categories, but I have to say, when I saw it, I instantly loved it. It was kitchy and cool, and when I tapped on the top and back, it resonated beautifully. The fingerboard was junk, and the hardware was barely any better, but I saw potential, and just couldn't let it go.

First step was teardown. I pulled off the fretboard, which fell apart in my hands, and the bridge.

I made a new fretboard from some repurposed maple, and gave it a 15" radius. Ukes often have flat fretboards, but I find a little radius more comfortable to play. I hand cut the fret slots and put a little detail on the body end, then glued it up.

I bound the fretboard with some repurposed wenge, and used the same for matching marker dots.

Next, a new set of medium, nickel-steel frets went in and got the full dress treatment, and of course I installed the new bridge.

A new bone nut, new tuners and of course new strings finished off the project.The label you see in the uke was from before the birth of CalStyle Studio when I was working under the Eubie Studio moniker.