One thing I really like about building CBG's is that there are so many small steps where you can take a break. Some of them encourage you to start something else in the meanwhile. My ADD really approves of this!

So while I wait for glue to set and paint to dry, I either pick up an instrument and practice, or I surf CBN, or else I work on a different build.

So today I started building a resonator Uke. I bought a 6" pet food bowl at the local dollarama for $1.25, and mounted it into a "cosmetically challenged" 7x9" Brick House box that I had relegated to spare parts storage.

Since the box was written on with permanent marker by the cigar shop I bought it from, I sanded off all the paint with my belt sander and wound up with an interesting distressed look. I painted over that with ebony Minwax stain and it seems like it's gonna end up with a lot of character.

This being my first uke build, I have no idea what to string it with. Should I go with nylon, or traditional acoustic strings?  If I do use electric strings, what gauges would be recommended? I am planning this build to use a 17" scale as my wife already has a uke with this scale and we really enjoy it.

You need to be a member of Cigar Box Nation to add comments!

Join Cigar Box Nation

Email me when people reply –


  • Each choice has its merits. Nylon strings will give you that true "uke" sound, but not much in sustain. Steel acoustic strings offer better sustain, and both nylon and steel acoustic work great with piezo pickups. If a mag pickup is used, electric guitar strings give best response to pickup.

    The other thing to consider is nylon uke strings are designed for short scale length, and thus, will tune to proper pitch without strings beng too tight. With acoustic steel and/or electric strings, adjustment is necessary...since these are designed for longer scale (24-28" scale). With the shorter uke scale length, the gauge of strings must be increased to deal with the extra tension when bringing those strings to pitch.

    I had a resonator uke built for me by Harrison Withers, with a 19" scale. It is tuned ADF#B, and the string gauges are quite heavy. Without increasing the string gauge, you risk snapping the string(s) while tuning them to pitch.

    • Thanks Scott, (or do you prefer Ted, or Farmer Ted?)

      This is exactly the kind of input I was looking for. I will start with a set of  nylon uke strings and see how it sounds. I can always keep them as spares for my wife's uke if I don't like them on mine.

      • Scott or Farmer Ted is fine...there are at least two other members that go by "Ted"...Ted Crocker and Ted Hartman.

        • I see you are in St Andrews... I will be working in Pictou next week and staying in New Glasgow on Monday night. Any chance we could meet up some place?

          • Monday is a good night. I'll check with my better half (me wife of course) and see what we can do.

            • Ball end metal mandolin strings, or loop emd depemding on what fits your box................Cheers Ron

This reply was deleted.