A Different Kind Of Ukulele

You’ve probably seen oil can guitars before – I stumbled upon them via YouTube where I saw a guy playing one that he’d built himself and became a little bit obsessed for a while. I dug around and found that a company called Bohemian Guitars had started manufacturing them for the mass market. Then a few months back I saw a few hints that an oil can ukulele was being developed too. I got chance to talk to the guys at Bohemian Guitars about their project and their upcoming oil can ukulele…

Tell us a little bit about Bohemian Guitars as a project, how it came to be and where it is now…

Bohemian Guitars was conceived as an alternative to the overpriced and antiquated guitars available today. The inspiration originated in the townships of South Africa, where street musicians were using their ingenuity and resourcefulness to repurpose discarded materials into playable instruments. Today, Bohemian Guitars is the fresh brand that the musical instrument industry is in need of. We are able to provide high quality and stylish guitars at a much more affordable price.

What made you want to make a Bohemian ukulele?

From our inception, I always wanted to make a ukulele. In fact, when I was first figuring out how to build the guitars, I was dabbling with ukuleles as well. We soon realized that it is important to focus on one product and get that perfect before moving on to others. Now that we have perfected our guitars, it is a natural transition to move into the ukulele space.

oilcans

In terms of the sound, what does it offer and how is it different from a traditional ukulele?

Our ukulele is constructed in very much the same way as the guitar. It was important to us that the can play an integral role in the sound. It is for that reason that we made the decision to use nickel wound strings and a single coil pickup. We wanted the pickup to interact with the can as well as the strings. The sounds is very full. It almost feels like you are playing a guitar.

Did the ukulele offer any challenges that you hadn’t encountered when making the bohemian guitar?

The biggest challenge with the ukulele was ensure that the neck would be able to withstand the tension from the metal strings. It just came down to trial and error. Constructing different neck profiles and altering the interior tenon to find that perfect combination.

Can you tell us a little bit about the spec of the Boho uke?

  • Soprano uke
  • 13″ scale
  • Nut width 1 3/8”
  • 19 frets
  • End of fingerboard width is 1 1/2”
  • Single coil pickup
  • Volume/tone

How does it sound?

We’re all very excited. I think the most surprising aspect was how explosive it sounded. It really does have the power of a guitar. We’re all ready to get it out in the hands of the uke community

What next?

Our biggest project at the moment is our customization tool. I can’t give away too much but we are going to be able to provide fully customizable accessories and instruments at very affordable prices.

Thanks to the guys at Bohemian Guitars for taking the time out to tell us about their soon to launch oil can ukulele, if you want to find out when they launch head this way!

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5 thoughts on “A Different Kind Of Ukulele

  1. I’m not keen on these. Some other makers have been making similar ukes out of real used oil cans (with logos like Castrol etc – actual recycled cans). I like that concept.

    I am sure these may play well enough, but I don’t like the faux branding on the cans – seems a bit contrived to me.

    Just my two cents of course!

    1. Hi Baz, I totally get your point. First time I saw anything like this it was a genuine battered old oil can, a couple of rusty nails and 2 pieces of wire. Someone who desperately wanted to make music making something from whatever they could find. The concept of a business then taking this idea, slapping a price on it and making a profit seems a bit wrong. That said, I do genuinely like the way they look.

  2. I just bought one of these and actually the play and sound amazing. I even like the sound without using the amp. The fact they stand on their own makes them really friendly to move around…….cheers, Mike

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