Make a Cigar Box Ukulele

23 TUTOR: Richard Bending

On this course, you will have the opportunity to build a delightful, playable ukulele out of different woods and an empty cigar box. It doesn't matter whether you have playing ability, basic woodworking skills or you are a complete novice because you will be guided through the various processes by your tutor who has made over 40 ukuleles. Cigar Box Ukuleles originated in America during the Great Depression of the 1920s and 30s, when many people didn't have the money for an expensive musical instrument. The course will be informative and entertaining and there should be the opportunity for some basic tuition and playing when the instruments are completed. All materials will be provided.

1 PM
PM course

Course Notes

People have always wanted to make music. Homemade 'box' ukuleles (often utilising discarded cigar boxes) were popular in the U.S. in the 1920s - 30s, during the Great Depression, when professionally made instruments were unaffordable for many people.

This entertaining and enjoyable course is suitable for any adult, and I hope it will appeal to both men and women. It will introduce easily learned techniques (measuring, drilling, filing, sanding, gluing etc., to create an unusual, fully playable musical instrument. The course is suitable for complete novices and those who may have a few basic DIY skills. All materials including the cigar box will be supplied.

This year, the instruments we'll be making will have the slightly longer 'Concert' scale length for easier playing (compared with the standard 'Soprano' size ukulele).

To give an idea… we will thin down the top of the box to improve resonance, and strengthen the box by gluing thin wooden strips along the inside joints.

A sound hole will be cut in the box top. The neck and fingerboard will be pre-cut, but we will need to do some additional shaping, sanding and gluing. We will fit metal frets into the slotted fingerboard, and install the tuning pegs. When all the pieces have been assembled and glued, there is the option of adding a design to the back of the instrument, which will then be given a quick drying protective finish. The strings will be put on, and the instrument will magically come to life!

Finally, depending on how we progress, there may be time towards the end of the course for some basic playing tuition and practice with your new instrument …and a new ukulele ensemble will have the opportunity to play a few simple songs together! I'm sure you'll have lots of fun with your new ukulele, but if you decide not to play it, it'll look great hanging on the wall…!



Course Tutor

Richard Bending

About Richard

Richard has a wealth of experience with running ukulele workshops at festivals and schools, as well as a weekly ukulele club.  in addition to playing the instrument, he has also made over 30 ukuleles in the past few years.  


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All courses run for 5 days

WK 1 8 Jul - 12 Jul

WK 2 15 Jul - 19 Jul

WK 3 22 Jul - 26 Jul

WK 4 29 Jul - 2 Aug

Morning Courses

9.15AM to 12.15PM

Afternoon Courses

1.45PM to 4.30PM

All Day Courses

9.15AM to 4.30PM