Monday, 6 July 2015

3 String Cigar-box Uke building workshop at GNUF 2015...

Just one of the great things about a ukulele festival is the workshops. At the Grand Northern Ukulele Festival (GNUF) in Huddersfield a few weeks ago, I put together a 3 string "cigar-box" uke in a workshop by Rob Collins of These things fascinate me, especially when I hear someone who can play one.

Here's Emerson Rogers playing his - he certainly knew what to do with it! The slide is simply a small piece of copper tubing.
I was really impressed with the way Rob had prepared this workshop. It was an hour in length - no time to do detailed building instruction or to drill holes etc... but enough time to do an assembly job on the kit provided.
It's the sort of project that will benefit from a bit of finishing off - a sanding and coat of varnish of some sort. And the box (not a cigar box actually but it does the trick) would look good decorated. And then to get some music out of it..... it will wait til the winter months.
Rob was very innovative with the nut and bridge for this little "uke"...
As you caan see, the nut is a bolt - yes, the nut is a bolt! (Groan...) and the threads make good slots for the strings to fit into!
The bridge appears to be a bolt with the end cut off - the threads hold the strings in place. Very neat.
You'll notice that there's no sound hole - Rob explained that with a large enough sound hole, the top would be weakened and would need bracing - as a ukulele has. So there we go, we all had a neat and practical first foray into basic uke building! It was great fun, and everyone got their three string cigar box finished in the time. "f" holes would be cool though... I wonder....

Speaking of "cool"... this ranks pretty high on the list... In May we were fortunate to be able to visit the Kamaka factory in Honolulu, for the tour given by Mr Fred Kamaka himself - and here he is, showing me the museum-piece cigar-box uke made by Sam Kamaka... what a wonderful experience that was - and that's simply beautiful!

Well, I've got my porch, got my cigar box uke, all I need now is an injection of blues-ology to get me going! I live in hope.....


  1. Hi, I just think you and your site is wonderful!....I would love to ask you for your permission to use this photo and post about you and your visit to see Kamaka on my blog, it's at
    Once again your sprit is wonderful!...John

    1. Oh how lovely, thank you so much! And yes - you're welcome! Lesley


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