One of my favorite clients named this new instrument the Frankenuke Super Tenor Ukulele. I am thinking this is a creative name for a creative instrument. Now I feel like the Young (or maybe Old) Frankenstein of ukuleles.
Every major part is a different piece of wood.
I have a lot of unmatched “pieces parts” and leftovers. You can’t throw away exotic wood, and there isn’t much of a market for unmatched pieces of instrument wood. When I started building ukuleles I had the moto that there are no rules. Actually there are, but I sometimes can’t resist exploring alternatives. A build like this is the perfect place for those orphan pieces of wood. The Frankenuke might also be the perfect instrument for the individual who wants “one of each” but can only afford “one”.
Koa and Zebra wood for the back.
I used the following woods for this build: camphor burl, mango, spalted tamarind, limba, koa, India rosewood. spruce, sindora burl, Macassar ebony, ziricote, ambrosia maple and zebrawood. I left out the bolts in the neck!
Ambrosia maple and India Rosewood sides.
When I put the various parts together I didn’t try to match color, location or position for sound. That actually made the project a bit easier. What the hey, a combination of camphor burl and mango on a sound board? Talk about the mad scientist. The result provides a visual “jolt” from all angles.
My favorite part is this spalted tamarind neck.
What About Sound?
Fortunately, I didn’t need 100,000 volts and a Van der Graaff generator to bring it to life. I did, however, use a standard set of Romero tenor, flourocarbon with wound low “G” and found the instrument to be warm and inviting–not like the human version. As always, with the larger body there is plenty of sustain.
Sindora burl backstrap.
Note: keep away from women, children and pets–not house broken yet.
Oh, and keep an eye out for “Son of Frankenuke” a standard tenor now in production.