Building my own Ukulele

Ukulele Front ViewOne of my favorite memories and all time rewarding experiences from the 3 years I lived in Hawaii has to be building my own Ukulele.  I found out about the class from a friend of mine who had taken the course.  He told me this was no ordinary class that has pre-cut pieces and all you have to do is glue them together and “Wahla” you have an Ukulele that looks pretty good but probably doesn’t play very well.  Rather, this was a class taught by the custom luthier Michael Chock, and that he only takes a few students per session so it almost feels like having private lessons.  My friend went on to say that the first class starts with just a stack of wood and by the last class you have an instrument that not only looks good hanging on the wall somewhere but it is an instrument that can be played on a daily basis.  Of course then he takes his Uke he built out of the case and I was shocked that my buddy made this himself and that it sounded and played so well.  I think my exact words were, “How can I sign up!!”

You can check out this link to learn more about Mike Chock and his son Asa Chock who also helps run the business Hana Lima ‘Ia at your leisure.  What I would like to do is describe my experience to you.  I was one of 3 students enrolled in a 10 week course.  We met every Saturday morning from 8:30 to 12:30, however some Saturdays went longer to get the day’s work finished.  I remember the first class looking at the stack of wood before me and thinking “Yeah right, there’s no way I can make an instrument from this.”  Mike wasted no time though, after a quick tour of the shop and tools we would be using, we were off and running.  By the end of the first day I was amazed at how much we had already done.  As the weeks progressed our Uke’s were really starting to take shape and we were just like 4 buddies hanging out on a Saturday building these instruments together.  Well, maybe like 3 buddies hanging out with their dad who was showing them everything.  Ha ha  Another great thing about Mike was he took the time to show us how to build all the jigs we were using and some of the specialty tools we would need to start doing this on our own if we decided to continue.  So 10 weeks later here I was going to my last class with my Uke in hand almost feeling a little sad that it was all over.  Now what was I going to do with my Saturdays?  I enjoyed going to the shop so much and building/ learning that it was going to be somewhat of a let down for me.  So after installing my tuning pegs, Mike had us string the Uke’s up and for the first time we all got to hear what our Ululele’s sounded like.  WOW!!  I was proud of myself, and as a musician, I was very pleased and amazed that this really sounded GREAT!!  Just like my buddies Uke had sounded several weeks before.  Mike always impressed on us that we’re building instruments here, not wall decorations, and this Uke I was holding was definitely an instrument that looked great and sounded and played just as good as it looked.  I was definitely like a proud father.

Me holding my finished Ukulele.As a matter of fact you can even listen to my Ukulele I built on 2 of my songs I recorded on my CD “VERVILLE.”  Listen to the tracks “Skinny Girls,” and “Livin’ in Hawaii.”  The Uke you will be hearing is the very Ukulele I built with my own hands.  I would like to thank Mike Chock for an incredible experience and would recommend this course to anyone.  It was definitely one of my highlights of getting to live in paradise for 3 years.  Oh yeah, I almost forgot, before I left Hawaii I bought an Ukulele kit (basically the stack of wood) and now that I’m settled here in New Orleans, I’m just about to start on my second Uke.  I sure hope it turns out as good as the first one even though I won’t have Mike looking over my shoulder.

Tags: , , , , ,

2 People have left comments on this post

» gry planszowe sklep said: { Apr 10, 2010 - 04:04:11 }

Could you give me the name of tamplate you used on your website


admin Reply:

The initial theme was named Velocity.