Ukelele Building Workshop

Build an ultra-portable, precious, and functional object of desire!  Construct an acoustic ukulele (tenor or soprano) from a superior kit. Ukuleles are enjoying a renewed popularity and these kits can produce instruments of supreme quality.  Most of us are familiar with budget ukes of disappointing quality, but when complete these ukes will bring an instant smile upon first strum.  There is simply no comparison between the volume and tone possible with the ukes made from these kits and the store-bought factory models.

No previous experience required!

See photos taken during the October 2012 Seminar.

Tuition includes class fee, full ukelele kit, use of a dedicated guitar work bench and all the necessary shop supplies to complete this project.


This seminar covers all the basics of guitar making, just on a smaller scale instrument. It includes lectures, demonstrations and personal assistance from the instructor. The school has created special fixtures and a streamlined process to help facilitate the build.

Tenor UkuleleStudents have the choice of building either a Soprano Ukulele (13-3/4 scale length) or the slightly larger Tenor Ukulele (17-3/32 scale length). The building process is the same for both sizes.

Both of these kits include:

Solid mahogany soundboard and back

Bent solid mahogany sides

Shaped neck (requires final shaping and sanding)

Slotted inlaid rosewood fingerboard

Shaped rosewood bridge

Spruce braces and linings

Traditional tuning pegs for Soprano / Geared tuning machines for Tenor

Nut, saddle and soundhole purflings

Fretwire and strings

After completing this workshop, students should be knowledgeable enough to continue studies in the art of guitar making on their own using all the experience they gained from this workshop.


Workshop Materials and Supplies

Each student is provided with their own ukulele kit. These kits use top quality woods and produce instruments which can rival even the greatest luthier builds.

Ukulele Building Weekend Seminar at the Chicago School of Guitar MakingThe seminar fee includes the kit, plan, tuners and all required tooling and supplies. Each student will work at their own fully-equipped workstation. These specially-designed workbenches were created by the school expressly for guitar building and repair. Useful handout materials will also be provided.

Ukulele Finish

Students may elect to apply the finish on their own outside of class using French polish or other wipe-on and spray techniques. The school can also professionally finish the instrument in nitro-cellulose lacquer. If the student chooses to have the school finish their guitar, the student is welcome to help with this process and learn some techniques along the way, or the instrument can be finished entirely by the teacher.

Student Feedback

Here is what students from the last Uke Building Seminar had to say about their experience:

“The Uke Building Class was a great experience from beginning to end and I would highly recommend it!”

“My favorite parts of the seminar were Ian’s good humor, patience and willingness to share his tips and experience. I also really enjoyed access to the incredible shop space, excellent tool selection and being surrounded by Ian’s projects.”



This seminar will be taught by Ian Schneller, owner/luthier at Specimen Products and principle instructor at the school. Since opening the school in 2005, Ian has taught more than 2000 students how to build and repair guitars and build tube amps. Read about instructors here.