Many, many years ago when I was a teenager the CBC used to broadcast a shortwave radio program called Hawaii Calls. The program was mainly a music show with singers and musicians from the Big Island. The predominant instrument was the ukulele in the four ranges and listening to that music was enchanting. Sunday nights were a real treat to look forward to. I don't think that either Arthur Godfrey or even Tiny (Tiptoe Through The Tulips) Tim ever made their own ukuleles, they could afford even the most expensive models. However, for the regular folk like me, Australian Bill Plant shows us how to make our own. Plant describes in detail the building of two types of the instrument, the traditional shaped and the simpler box type. There are four different types of ukuleles from soprano (Tiny Tim's) to the baritone and the author discusses these as well as suggesting the types of wood species that is best used for the instruments. Hawaiian koa is the traditional species. Solid wood is best rather than plywood. Plant shows us how to build the "Boxer," the simple style in chapter three and in the fourth chapter he details the construction of the professional grade. In each case he lists the tools and materials required. Plant also shows how to save money by using a shop made bending iron. Making your own ukulele looks like a lot of fun! Now, if only he could teach me to play it. I haven't built my ukulele yet but when I do I know that Bill Plant and Tricia Scott will show me how to play it in this excellent book and CD. The book has eight chapters but the tutors think you will be able to strum it in six or so. The book is designed for beginners like myself and judging by the text and photos it looks like maybe I'll easily get the hang of it in a short time. And, you can as well. Now, if only I could sing. I don't think the authors can help me there.
About the Author
Bill Plant is a woodworker from Australia where he has taught furniture design, joinery and general woodworking at a local college (Goulburn Ovens TAFE). He also teaches private classes. He has been published in Australian Wood Review, Australian Woodworker, Practical Woodworking (UK), Good Woodworking UK) and IO magazine. He has written brochures for Mitre 10 (an Australian hardware chain). He has a degree in fine arts including photography and has studied writing. He has taught over 300 people how to play the ukulele and has started several ukulele groups. When he is not surfing in South Australia or touring the desert, tropical rain forests, beaches and reefs---you'll find him in his shop playing or making ukuleles.