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7 April 2013

Pimp My Skylark - Gettin' Naked!

Welcome to the first post in the long-running project I call "Pimp my Skylark". You may remember me talking about a Skylark Ukulele I'd bought just after Christmas especially for pimping. I didn't know what that meant at the time and I'm still not certain! I figure this is the type of project that I can make up as I'm going along and pick up and put down as I see fit. Today I picked it up!

Pimp My Skylark!

Here's the ukulele I've started with. It's a MY-107 Skylark Ukulele,
and it's in pretty good nick! It hasn't seen much playing and unlike
my first Skylark, it looks brand new! Not for much longer! Ha ha!

Here's a slightly different set of views of the Skylark.
It doesn't know what it's got coming!

One last look at the ukulele before I strip it down...

Off come the strings...

Out come the tuning pegs. These ones are wooden violin style

Next, I removed the frets. The original frets are simply strips of metal.
I worried that I might damage the wood taking them out, but everything
was fine! 10 points to anyone who can tell me the name of the song I've
started tabbing out on the paper. I may do it as a sound check for the
Sharkfin
. My intention is to fit proper fret wire when I put it all back
together again.

Then I set to it with some sand paper. The surface lacquer and stain
came off easily leaving a really nice colour. The toughest part was the
front where the lacquer seemed a lot more stubborn. I'm still undecided how
I'm going to finish this off. My original thoughts were simply to
restain along the same lines as the original, but now I'm not so sure...
I kind of like the original wood colour... hmmm...

And here's where I ended today. I got round most of the ukulele and
wiped down with white spirit. See the crack I've discovered at the bottom.
I hadn't spotted that at the beginning. It was probably sealed with
lacquer. I'll glue that at some point.

I got quite a lot done this afternoon! One more chance for me to don my green boiler-suit! Fantastic! Until the next thrilling installment...

6 comments:

  1. I love the Skylark posts. My first uke was a skylark, It made me want to make my own ukulele as it wasn't the best in sound or playability but I was very fond of it and had it for years. Feeling the need to make a copy of one of these coming on. of course it will be made of solid woods throughout. I may need to get a template for the head and body and and measurements lol...

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  2. Well Michael... I am more than happy to provide any assistance required. ;-) You want measurements... you got em! I couldn't help but notice that you're from Cheltenham. Are you going to the Uke Fest of GB this summer? I am and would be happy to let you see my Skylark in the flesh. I'm hoping that I'll have finished pimping it by then. BTW... My last job is to fit the frets. Have you got any advice for me on the best approach for this?

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  3. Oh yes... and thanks for commenting! :-D

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  4. I'm very tempted to take a marker pen to a ukulele, trouble is I'm not much of a DIY guy and all the stripping and staining bit doesn't appeal so much. The worry is that I ink it all up and it starts to smudge after.

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  5. Dave - you should do this. I gave the idea to one of the UK ukulele festivals of taking a white uke and getting the artists to sign it for a raffle prize. Then you can simply spray lacquer it to make sure it doesn't smudge. All you've got to do is to make sure you don't get a lacquer that's going to react with the ink. They never did it (which tells you how much sway I have), but it's still a great idea!

    You do a bit more investigation than I have, but I think you can use oil-based sharpies with any standard clear car lacquer and it should be a cinch. As always test it out before you do the real thing.

    And when you've done it, I'd like to see the result. I'm thinking of doing the same myself with one of the ukes pictured in this post. I'm going to put some of my comic artwork on. Well, that's the idea. Oh, you've got me all excited! ha ha

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  6. It's definitely going to happen at some point. I like the signature idea, that's a shame they didn't do it - maybe one of the organisers will spot this and pick up on it for this year.

    Yeah I'll let you know when I do it - you should do another definitely!

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