Grant's Instruments


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First of all, Kevin wants me to do this. The website hasn't had all that much attention lately so this is the latest news.
I got interested in making a small instrument that I could take camping. I have a very nice Kamaka baritone ukulele that I bought in Hawaii many years ago but it is just too nice to take camping. I thought that I might be able to make one out of scrap materials in the garage that could go camping with the idea that if it got scratched or worse it would be no big deal to fix it or replace it. So the first one was a proof of concept. Could I even do it?

It turned out to look pretty decent but it didn't really play in tune very well. That had to do with the way I cut the fret slots. (pretty much free hand following lines drawn on the finger board.)
I let that rest for a while and then tried another. This time I tried cutting the slots with a scroll saw that was carefully adjusted to cut straight and square slots. This time the thing played in tune!
But there were other issues with the first two tries.

The bodies were not bent accurately so I worked out a method for steaming and bending the sides more accurately using a pipe and propane torch. The sides finally were acceptable.

The first using the new steamer is made with a top cut from a pine wine box from Chateau St. Jean. I made it as kind of a joke but it turns out to play quite well and is kind of pretty.

After that I wanted to try a tenor sized instrument. That meant starting from scratch and calculating a new finger board fret spacing. The others were copied from the Kamaka baritone.
The first tenor is all mahogany.

So I made several more ukes using the improved techniques along with other small improvements.

The boys expressed interest in having their own so I continued building, making the instruments to their orders.
Pat had cherry lumber left from remodeling his kitchen cabinets so his is all cherry.

Kevin had some maple lumber from his shop so his is maple except for the top which is redwood.

Charlie really likes beech so the body of his is beech with a redwood top. You can hardly tell the two apart. Look closely at the tuner pegs and the fingerboard near the sound holes..

The last one is a size guitar because I wanted one with six strings. It is based on a drawing of an 1816 Spanish Salon guitar that I saw on a luthier website.
All of the instruments are made from materials I had in the garage left over from projects. The only things purchased were the tuning machines fretwire and strings so the cost of making these was very minimal, probably less than $20 each.


Ooops! that wasn't the last one after all . .

Willy Neson came to play at the B.R. Cohn Winery which is just up the road from us. I saw a photo in the local paper of him and his guitar that he calls Trigger. I found a drawing of a similar Martin from about 1918 and patterned this one from that. It is a 3/4 size guitar built in the classical style with slotted tuning head. This has become my favorite.

This next one was built for Butch and Sharl Warfield, Linda's nephew, and thier family. It is a baritone ukulele made with clear fir as the top and mahagony almost every where else. It is number 10 in the series.

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