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23 June 2012

How to wire up an electric ukulele


I've got another update on my electric ukulele build. When last we spoke I'd had a close shave whilst fitting the tuners. Things had been going so well too! Today we return to the scratch plate to do some Kung Fu with the electrics.

First off, a little bit of house-keeping. When I made the scratch plate I
mentioned that I needed to countersink the screws. Here... I've done it.
I wasn't being lazy; I just didn't have the tool for the job at the time.

I'll be perfectly honest and say that I know as little about
electronics as I used to do about routing. Perhaps a better
way of putting it would be to say that I know just
enough to be dangerous.  You will remember that
the basis of my electric ukulele design is my
Hohner Strat that I restored a couple of years ago
. I
had grounding issues with that project that taught me
about copper foil. I still have a roll of it that I'm using here.

The first thing that I did was to stick the foil on the underside of the
scratch plate around the whole area where the electronics will be. I've
seen people cover the whole underside of the scratch plate but that
seems like overkill to me. My intention is to line the body cavity with
copper foil so that pickup and pots are encased. I then fitted the pickup.

I fitted the pots and discovered that the shafts were way too long for
my liking. After much hunting about I found some plastic and cut
spacers that I fitted between the pots and the scratch plate. You will
remember that I was having second thoughts about the pots due to
their size, but I've stuck with them. It all fits.

I really didn't know how to wire everything up. Fortunately,
I know people who do! Daniel Hulbert came to my rescue
and revealed to me the marvel that is Seymour
Duncan. Seymour Duncan's wiring diagrams are
fantastic. They have a tool where you can put in the type of 
set-up you are going for and they'll tell you
how to wire it up
. This picture shows you the way that
I've chosen to wire my electric ukulele. It's a
fairly standard humbucker set-up.
Julian Davies tried to tempt me to try something a
little more exotic, but I figured I need to hear it
before I consider tinkering.

You'll see my lack of electronics savy here. The diagram talks about
500k pots and I've only gone and bought 250k ones! Fear not! The
solution simply seems to be to use a different capacitor. I really couldn't
tell you whether I've got the right one here, but  it was the one that
Daniel Hulbert recommended to me. This is as far as I've got with the
wiring. I'm colourblind, so I'll not talk colours with you, but the two
wires leading to the bottom are to connect to the jack. The last thing I
need to do here is to wire the ground to the bridge. I won't do that
until I've painted the body and I'm putting it all together for what I
hope is the last time. One added complication here is that the
pickup wires for my pickup are different to the ones in the diagram.
Fingers crossed, I've got this all correct!

Hold on a second. Haven't I forgotten something here?
"What about the Brimstone?" I hear you cry.
Be patient my friends! Brimstone will be added
when I plug this baby in and crank her up!
It won't be long before I'm rubbing shoulders with the
God of Hellfire!

That's this update over! I haven't tried to check the electrics at all. I'm working on the big bang principle. How exciting is this! I've now moved on to painting the body. Expect a post on this next...

4 comments:

  1. in the first step you mentioned something about countersinking the screws on the scratch plate. what does that mean to countersink screws and what is the point of doing so? thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  2. "what does that mean to countersink screws and what is the point of doing so?"

    All this is referring to is to widening the top of the hole that the screw goes into so that the head of screw is as smooth as possible with the surface of the plastic. So I did it to ensure as smooth a surface as possible. Does that make sense?

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is an informative blog by which I have got that info which I really wanted to get. Hook up wire

    ReplyDelete